Many people ask me why to shoot in RAW files. The files are so big and you can’t easily view them on every computer. What’s the advantage? Then when I tell them it gives you an incredibly amount of control in post-processing they believe it’s not worth the time.
Let me show you why it is most definitely NOT a waste of time or space.
Let’s consider the following picture:
As you can see it’s severely underexposed, there is absolutely no details in the blacks and the picture seems beyond recovery. So since Camera RAW (the RAW processor I’m using in this example) support JPEGs as well, let’s see what we can do!
As you can see, it’s not pretty. The colors are washed out and while some details are recovered, many are still lost.
Now take a look at the same picture (using the same settings) in RAW format:
Much better, no? Of course it’s still noisy since the SNR (Signal-to-noise ratio) is much higher when shooting underexposed due to how digital sensors work. This is however a result we can work with. Then there’s the fact that you can change white-balance as you please, it’s not baked into the image as it is when shooting a compressed format such as JPEG.
For more reasons to use RAW see also: The Power of RAW Processing