10-23-2010 07:51 AM - edited 10-23-2010 08:38 AM
On my Nikon's I can choose to do "both" when I can't make up my mind....
It's a matter of preference and what you plan to do with the picture. JPG's are your standard image files. JPG's are ready to be viewed on a computer, emailed, and photofinished. However JPG files have been compressed and have limited image manipulataion opportunities.
RAW is the camera's "native" image file. RAW files are uncompressed and are much larger files. RAW files are basically a straight sensor dumps. RAW files also take a long time to save to your media card. If you want total image control and have "time" to perfect your image with dedicated software for white balance, exposure, sharpness, and other settings. Go for it. Not all programs support your camera manufacturer and camera model, so do your research.
Here's some more info.... http://www.kenrockwell.com/tech/raw.htm
Personally, I don't make money from my images, so I do nearly everything in JPG's. As I'm color blind, I'm also dangerous with image manipulation. I also don't have the patience nor storage space to deal with countless RAW files from a personal vacation trip.
Take a few pictures with RAW and do some experimenting to see what you like. If you find the camera manufacturer's software limited and Adobe RAW software expensive. Download and try out ACDSee Pro (check the software to see if it supports your camera model first as the list gets additions every few months).
10-23-2010 06:38 PM - edited 10-23-2010 06:40 PM
My friends have the D80 and I love the image results. While the market has gone CMOS for low light and improved battery life, the D80 CCD produces nice warm skin tones for portraits. You have a keeper there, treasure it.
With regards to RAW software... support won't be an issue for a 3 year old camera. While Nikon will provide you a richer result, many find the Nikon software to be painfully "slow". I prefer ACDSee Pro and you can download a trial copy from their website (don't download the Beta 4 at this time).
Adobe makes some great software (not Elements) at a premium price for RAW manipulation... perhaps others can jump in with their experiences with Photoshop CS, Lightroom, and Aperture for RAW processing.
10-26-2010 11:27 PM
Great question. And one many have come across.
Think of RAW as an unedited, untouched negative of your digital photos. One you can change a 100 times, for a 100 different results, and alway be able to go back to your original. Also consider that editing pretty much takes the same amount of time as editing a JPG image does. That combined with the price of storage having dropped dramatically over the past years, just makes the case for shooting RAW stronger.
So I shoot RAW, and I love it.
For more insight, here is a post I wrote for the Future Shop tech blog last year:
In regards to RAW editing software, my short list would include:
+ Google Picasa
+ Adobe Elements 9
+ Adobe Lightroom
Happy (RAW) shooting.
12-24-2010 12:26 AM
JPG - compressed image data so you can fit lots onto a memory card.
RAW - data rich so you won't get anything like the same number of shots onto a card
(Pretty important if you're shooting a hockey game at 8 frames per second....and you only have one 4GB card)
RAW is the way to go if you're serious.
Lightroom, great for importing shots (IMHO) but not editing. CS4 or CS5 is pretty standard for editing. The pro-level Nikon software is also good.