I've run out of reasons for not shooting RAW

posted on 9th of november, 2012

I've finally run out of reasons for not shooting RAW.

In days of yore, I used to be able to say:

1)' It's a TIME-CONSUMING step importing RAW photos' into my computer and into my image-processing software--but, truth be told now, it takes about the same time regardless of the format I shoot in. With Photoshop or Lightroom and the speed of the latest multi-core processors, getting a bunch of RAW files onto the computer isn't cumbersome at all and actually unifies the workflow.

2) 'The large files take up too much room'. Well, that's gone out the window, I just got a 16 GB SD card on sale last week for $19! And I'm sure there are even better deals on 32 GB cards. The harddrive on my laptop is 650 GB and I've barely used 20% of it after almost a year of shooting and editing photos and videos! And external storage drives are plentiful and cheap.

3) 'The difference between between RAW and JPEG is negligible'. Well, this was partially true when I wasn't editing after shooting that much and I wasn't examining the files too closely. But now that I tend to tweak exposure and white balance, etc. quite extensively and often, I do notice slight artifacts if I do a lot of re-editing of JPEGS, whereas with RAW, I'll always have that pristine original for safety. And if I'm doing a lot of retouching and using images at high resolution, the RAW files retain more information and detail.

4) 'RAW files are too big to work with'. Again, with the speed of 64-bit computers and 64-bit software and the huge amounts of RAM available, I don't notice any slowdown in working with RAW files. In fact, now that all my files go through the Adobe Camera Raw process, it actually speeds things up with presets and easily accessible editing menus.

5) 'Shooting RAW slows down camera operation'. Not really, I can still shoot as quickly with RAW as I do in JPEG in burst mode or any other mode. There is just a teensy delay if I've burst-moded a whack of shots and files are being written to the card, but it doesn't hamper my work at all.

So, I've given up. I shoot RAW all the time now and I find I appreciate the details in my photos more and I enjoy looking at them more. It may just be psychological but that's a rumination for another day!

Tags: raw shooting
Comments (19)

Posted by Peanutroaster on November 14, 2012
RAW + Lightroom for me. Can't beat the ability to fix white balance after the shot and over/under exposure.
Posted by Laurasinelle on November 12, 2012
With my camera I dont have a problem of shooting speed operation, but for many years I was a little insecure of using all the time Raw, but now I cant imagine take a image without Raw! It really gives you more control of the image!
Posted by Maddrew on November 12, 2012
I can't live without RAW! :)
Posted by Vilaimages on November 11, 2012
Small Jpeg+RAW for many years. RAW for editing is the only way to go.
Posted by Celiaak on November 11, 2012
Ive been shooting JPEG+RAW for the last year, but I'm too afraid to edit the raw inages, because I use GIMP and it wasnt able to open the raw file and had to use another program. Maybe this is leading me even more to start editing raw files.
Posted by Igordabari on November 10, 2012
There is no choise, in fact: RAW is mandatory. Shooting JPEG one (i) corrupts the image by strong compression (quality 8 by photoshop scale for my camera, e.g.) and (ii) losses 5 or even 6 bits for brightness depth (8 bits instead of 13 or 14) which may lead, e.g., to posterization when correcting the image contrast. Practically, 70% to 90% of information collected by sensor is lost forever and can't be recovered, anymore. As a matter of fact, shooting JPEG one allows the camera processor to perform postprocessing by unknown algorithm (which is not under ones control) and then save result with very low quality. Why???!!!
Posted by Bradcalkins on November 09, 2012
I'm a Lightroom guy, so shooting RAW is a must for lots of reasons! Being able to change white balance and recovery highlights are helpful, and I find that Lightroom processing gets better over time so that I can now submit higher ISO photos from my old RAWs. Would have been locked in a JPGs. I do find that RAW take longer in camera, but with updated cards and my new OM-D it is finally at a point where I don't notice any delay...
Posted by Egomezta on November 09, 2012
You're totally right, You convince me.
Posted by Edonalds on November 09, 2012
Yes, I agree - Raw is the only way.
Posted by Chanevy on November 09, 2012
I always shoot in RAW. I think any time difference is made up in the speed of making post processing adjustments to tweak the photo. I just can't imagine doing anything else at this point.
Posted by Antoinettew on November 09, 2012
For nearly ten years now I am shooting in RAW. Allthough it costs some extra time I never regret it
Posted by Bobbrooky on November 09, 2012
Yes, as everyone has said in these comments, RAW is definately very forgiving for manipulation.
Posted by Thanatonautii on November 09, 2012
That`s a great blog! Shooting in RAW is really something indeed!
Posted by BCritchley on November 09, 2012
Only RAW, Just seems bonkers now to even consider shooting in JPEG.
Posted by Emicristea on November 09, 2012
In the past year i edited only RAW images for stock :)
Posted by Digikhmer on November 09, 2012
You still can continue to shoot JPEG ... most of the DSLR can shoot JPEG+RAW. I used to keep an option of extra editing with the RAW format specially under a bad weather condition.
Posted by Martingraf on November 09, 2012
once you start with RAW you wonder why you didn't before - agree to all your points!
Posted by Alamourus on November 09, 2012
thanks for having a look:)
Posted by Maigi on November 09, 2012
Great blog entry! It's so true. Thank you!

Comments (19)

This article has been read 2228 times. 4 readers have found this article useful.
Photo credits: Alphonse Leong.

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