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Why shooting in RAW and JPG

1. April 2013. One of the first things I ever learned after reading DSLR guides following the acquisition of my then new Canon t2i (550D) was that in order to get complete benefit of the camera, you should shoot you photos in the RAW format.

One problem was that I didn't know how to edit, so my pictures turned out much worse than what the camera would have done given the opportunity to conver them to jpg. The opportunity to compare your own edit with the camera edit is one reason why beginners should shoot in RAW pluss Jpg instead of just RAW. However, that is not the point I will elaborate here. There is one very good reason to shoot in both formats.

The time I realized that I had F.... up when shooting only RAW was when I went on vacation to the Amazonas in Brazil. I shot photos like crazy when I was there and I couldn't wait getting my 3-400 pictures into my photoeditor. On a relative modest computer it would have been very easy to browse through that many Jpgs. If you are going to handle this many pictures in the RAW format it is a more tedious process. Some will argue that this would not be so tedious if one used Lightroom. Personally I don't like the file-handling in Lightroom, so I haven't used it for this set. But still it usual take several seconds to load each picture, which is very tedious when just selecting the pictures. With JPG you can very easily select the usable picture using Picture Viewer in Windows.

For a professional photographer, every picture should be edited in Photoshop. On a vacation, where you also take pictures of sentimental reasons, the situation is quite different. I would have liked to see the JPG directly from the camera for the pictures that are not of a high enough wuality to share, but good enough to use in ones own archive for this vacation. Many pictures were taken in mid-day. A simple JPG would be easy to just crop and then save.

Even the ones worth keeping it can be, if you are inexperienced editor, an advantage to have the JPG as a reference after you have heavily edited your RAW files. Some adjustments can easily be done on the jpegs also, like darkening areas like sky.

I have started to also include the JPG in all my shooting. This might not be for everyone. It will slow your camera down if shooting in burst mode. However, if you are new to DSLR keep those JPG pictures. It will give you a great reference and memory cards are very cheap.