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Old May 17, 2005, 10:31 AM   #11
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Join Date: Dec 2002
Posts: 5,803

This question comes up every couple of months and the answers are basically the same every time (although I hadn't though of Meryl's kiosks issue. Good point.) I'd suggest searching this forum for discussions on this.

It is my opinion that it all comes down to your skill with PS and your standards of "what is good enough?".

Personally, I find that I can make a better final picture in PS if I start with a RAW than if I start with a JPG. I find it easier to adjust white balance and recover shadow & hilight detail than with a JPG. Could I do it as well with a JPG? Probably, if I owned the right tools for PS, or was just better at it. I truly don't know. But for me it is easier. My final product is usually print (for my good stuff) and the web for pictures I just post to share. For me, highest quality matters, period (I sell some pictures.) So it's worth the extra time and disk space.

But there are some big downsides, as listed in other posts. They take more disk space, they write slow to the memory card (CF/SD/whatever) in your camera, they take more memory in your editor (unless you reduce them to 8-bit), the propritarty nature of RAW... and others. Are these issues/problems worth it? For some, yes (like me and many pro photographers.) For others, no. I have only 1G of ram on my PC at home and find that on rare occasions it can bog down my computer. But I'm very aggressive about pruning history (I don't "delete" something, when I can remove it from the history.) I rarely open more than one picture at once. All this saves RAM.

Try using RAW for awhile and see if it works for you. Give it some time, as you'll need to get used to it. One time out isn't enough.


ps. All I do is wildlife. I find the white balance adjustment such a huge win because the lighting is so variable in the wild. Auto just doesn't do it for me.
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