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Old Jul 2, 2006, 1:18 AM   #1
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I have a quick question; I've played around with shooting in RAW+JPEG the past week or so and I've realized it reduces the estimated number of pictures on my 1GB CF card from 580ish JPEG files to about 160 RAW+JPEG files. I've also noticed that it loads up the buffer on my Rebel XT quite a bit quicker (only 4 shots can be in the buffer with RAW+JPEG versus 14 shots when shooting in just JPEG).

So this brings me to my question: Do certain scenarios cause you to change the file type you shoot in?

For example, at a sporting event where it is fast action, are you more likely to shoot in JPEG so you can take more shots in less amount of time without having to worry about filling your camera's buffer? And are you more prone to shooting RAW for landscape/portrait/still objects?
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Old Jul 2, 2006, 2:58 AM   #2
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You're examples are pretty typical choices, though it also depends on the photographer.

Shooting in RAW gives you some more options of what you can do with your images once they're taken. A RAW image can be more effectively brightened or darkened, as well as color corrected. A RAW file contains far more subtle detail than a JPG does, so a lot of these changes are much less destructive when performed on a RAW image. You also get some additional control of the sharpening and noise reduction.

However, if you are not someone who wants to take the time to tweak every image, or if the scene you are photographing doesn't really warrant the time and effort, shooting RAW may not make a lot of sense. I do product photography at work, and I always shoot JPG for graphics that are only meant for the web. Shooting RAW would only cost me more time and storage space without offering any real advantages. I tend to shoot RAW when I photograph items for print, or in situations where I think I might want to tweak the white balance.
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Old Jul 2, 2006, 7:50 AM   #3
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Justin Hancock wrote:
So this brings me to my question: Do certain scenarios cause you to change the file type you shoot in?
No, I shoot only RAW. JPG is a lossy format (image information is discarded) and also 'fixes' the image options (color balance, saturation, contrast, sharpening, etc) at the time the JPG is made. RAW allows you to make all those decisions later, using software that is much more sophisticated than what the camera is doing.
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Old Jul 2, 2006, 8:11 AM   #4
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I have a camera that is capable of shooting in RAW format and I have editing software that is capable of reading the RAW files produced by the camera...but I never use it.

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Old Jul 2, 2006, 9:13 AM   #5
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I usually shoot "JPG", but under some conditions, like indoors with low/strange light, i prefer to shoot raw.

I could shoot raw all the time, but i just don't see the point in doing that. Maybe it's what i'm usually photographing (sports/action), that i dont like raw, having just a burst of about 11 images/2 seconds available, instead of 40 images/8 seconds.
with JPG i never have to wait for my camera to get ready.
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Old Jul 2, 2006, 9:19 AM   #6
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I try to shoot in raw or raw + jpeg for most shots.

Adobe Camera Raw can give you a couple of stops of extra dynamic range compared to jpeg, depending on the camera. Most other raw converters don't do quite that well, though - but, they still give you a lot of flexibility for processing the images later.

It's also great for recovering from user error (white balance set incorrectly, exposure not quite nailed, etc.).

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Old Jul 2, 2006, 1:45 PM   #7
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Just like anything else there are always compromises. As JimC mentioned, RAW gives you a lot of flexibility to increase dynamic range or correct white balance problems. But it adds steps to your workflow and takes up more space and clogs the buffer on most cameras.

Given that, I tend to shoot in JPEG only unless I believe I'll need the dynamic range or will have white balance issues. But I'd say 80%-90% of the times I shoot I don't believe RAW would give me a significant advantage. If I were doing more portrait or landscape work it would be different.
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Old Jul 3, 2006, 2:14 AM   #8
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It really depends on what you want from your photos.

There is a very significant quality difference (gain) to be gained from properly processing a RAW file using the massive resources available on a home PC compared to a very fast in-camera conversion.

There is also a very significant difference (loss)in convenience.

Shooting RAW and digitally processing on a PC and printing on a high-quality inkjet is still massively faster than the traditional darkroom however, so it all depends on what you want.

If you are only printing 6x4 prints then JPG is probably fine. If you want to really push the limits of size and quality available from your camera then you will want to shoot RAW.

The only time I ever shoot RAW + JPG is when I want to be able to print some 6x4 from my card at a retail outlet and then process normally in RAW when I get home. This is pretty unusual, normally I shoot RAW only.

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