JPG vs RAW part 2

To explain why you would want to use a RAW format, we have to explain what RAW is.  Every camera manufacturer gives you this option.  The files have a specific extension that denotes a RAW file.  Nikon (my preference) uses the NEF format (Nikon Electronic File), Canon uses either CRW or the newer CR2 and Olympus uses ORF (Olympus Raw Format).  These file types all have the same attributes but are no compatible with each other.

They are different from JPG's in that they contain 100% of the data "seen" by the sensor and the camera does not process any of it.  The file sizes are much larger than JPG's since none of the information is discarded.  So it appears that RAW should be "better" since it has way more data than a JPG file.  Well, it may be true, but......

Since the camera's software is not used to process that data, you will need something to do it.  It is similar to shooting film in the "olden days" and then having to develop the film to get an image you can see.

If you shoot in a RAW format, you will need software like Adobe Camera Raw, Aperture or Lightroom to process (think - develop) the data.  There are others, but these are the top 3.

Now that we know what RAW is, we can go on to explain why you'd want to use it....