Raw v Jpg
When shooting in raw, of course you need to make the correct exposure settings on your camera, but things such as white balance, saturation, sharpening etc are not taken into consideration by the camera. These are done later in editing.
Raw means just what it says. Raw - untouched - unedited. When editing raw files, you don't ever lose your original image, as the changes you make to the image are kept in another file called an xmp file (or sidecar file) and are referenced to the image. You can go back any time and make whatever changes you like, without causing any degradation to the image. This is called non-destructive editing.
When shooting jpg, a raw file is first taken, camera settings such as white balance, saturation, sharpening, contrast etc, (picture styles) and colour space, either sRGB or Adobe RGB are processed to create the jpg, and the original raw file is deleted. Therefore you need to get it right in-camera.
There are usually three different quality levels to choose from with jpg: fine, normal and low. It's best to always choose "fine" for the best quality.
Differences Between Raw and Jpg
|Larger file sizes - take up more space on memory card and computer hard drive.||Small file size - takes up less space. Fit more photos on the memory card.|
|Slower to save to the memory card.||Faster to save to the memory card.|
|Must be edited.||Doesn't need to be edited.|
|Maximum image quality for editing. More scope to bring detail out of shadows and highlights.||Already edited in-camera, compressed with up to 20% loss of data. Detail lost in shadows and highlights can't be brought back.|
|The original image can be reproduced any number of different ways, or times.||As above.|
|Ability to change white balance, saturation etc in editing.||All done in-camera.|
|When editing, the information is stored in an xmp file and the images' pixels aren't touched. The original image is still available.||If editing in ACR, editing is done on the pixels themselves, degrading them.|
|When a final save to jpg is done after editing, it's only compressed once.||When saved to jpg again after editing, more data is lost when compressed again.|
|Image capture can be up to 16 bit.||Image capture is 8 bit.|
|Your computer's software must support your camera's raw format.||All jpgs are supported.|
|Better control over noise.||Can be noisy with jpg artifacts.|