Here’s 7 Reasons to go RAW.

 

1. To store the most from each photo.

This is my number 1 reason why people should shoot RAW, even if they don’t know how to process a RAW file.  A RAW file contains all the information the camera sensor recorded.  Its the negative of the modern age.  A JPG has some information stored in it, but compared to a RAW there is no comparison on sharpness,colour,toning, highlights etc.

 

2. To be able to fix White Balance

If you shoot in RAW, you can very quickly and easily change the temperature and tint of the image.  If you shoot in JPG, the sliders won’t be as effective; you’ll be adding color ON TOP of the colors that were engraved in the image when you shot it.  Thus, if you shoot in RAW, you have greater flexibility to change the white balance settings come post production.

And you can try several different color temperatures and find something you didn’t consider in the shoot.  To correct the WB without destroying information you need to shoot RAW.

 

3. To extend the Dynamic Range

There are several tools and utilities to create HDR images from a single RAW.  The explanation is very simple: A RAW contains all the exposure information the camera sensor could capture and that’s more than what a single JPG can represent.  So a good piece of software can use that exposure information in the RAW to create a photo with more dynamic range compared to the default JPG that the camera creates.

 

4. To improve our processing options

There’re several good tools to develop RAW files.  Many of those applications can fix distortion, correct chromatic aberration, correct lens softness and do many, many interesting things.  They are not a complete solution for a photo-editing workflow but they are a great first step before editing with Photoshop or something else.  DxO optics for example can create an image from a RAW file that is far better than a default in-camera JPG.

 

5. To reduce noise

There are two big advantages about shooting RAW in terms of noise.  The first advantage is that you can expose to the right maximizing the signal that the camera gets and thus improving the signal to noise ratio.  If you expose to the right you need to shoot RAW to be able to fix the exposure of the shot to something you like.  The second advantage is that the RAW processor can apply a first instance of noise-reduction to the RAW file with results that are not as destructive as a noise reduction applied to a JPG.  If you shoot frequently in twilight or at night RAW is mandatory to improve your shots.

 

6. To improve prints

This is as simple as “real pixels are better than software created pixels” when you shoot a photo as you will probably need to do many things before printing.  Leveling the shot a little, cropping, changing colors to match the printer profile and of course sharpening.  If you do all these things over a JPG you will be editing and modifying a file that is not intended for editing.  JPGs are the final step in any workflow, so if you start with a JPG you can’t do anything and we all know that no photo is perfect for printing straight from the camera.

 

7. Why not?

Unless you really need to shoot JPG because you need a certain burst speed or you have a small memory card, there’s really no reason against shooting RAW.  You can even shoot RAW + JPG if you want and use the JPG storing the RAW for the future.  Shooting JPG is like using a polaroid camera, you lose your negatives and what you get is the final representation of your photo, it has little flexibility.