« on: September 10, 2014, 11:34:42 AM »
If you want to get the best out of your photographs, and you're willing to learn and use a good RAW processing program like Lightroom, then yes. Switching from out-of-camera JPEG to RAW will likely do more for your photography than any upgrade in camera or lens.
I admit that RAW intimidated me a bit at first. The file size devoured my disk space, and I was finding DPP a little challenging. After seeing so many really helpful YouTube videos on Lightroom, I finally bought it, and I haven't looked back. The file size is a cheap price to pay for the results one can achieve. I can't count the number of times I've been able to recover a hastily snapped photo from a family vacation and produce not only a good "memory" photo but a beautiful photograph. When I see the difference between the camera's JPEG and my processed RAW file, it's shocking.
Before I was confident in RAW processing, I decided to shoot RAW+JPEG so I had the option to process a RAW file or not. While I'd have no problem doing RAW-only these days, I find that RAW+JPEG works nicely for me. Here's the process I tend to follow:
1. Shoot in RAW+JPEG
2. Import into Lightroom
3. Cull images that are obviously useless
4. Flag the images that I may want to process
5. Delete the RAW copies of the rest
6. Process and export my flagged images
This leaves me with RAW files for the keepers and JPEGs for the "nice to remember the moment, but not a great photo" images. Because the camera produced those JPEGs, they don't add to my workflow.
PS: Culling is probably the hardest part of the process for me. You can't really re-create a photograph, and once it's deleted, it's gone forever (well, once it's overwritten, anyway).
That reminds me -- a relative of mine was lamenting that while trying to transfer photos from her memory card to her computer, she accidentally deleted them -- hundreds of great family photos. Thankfully, when you delete a file, you only delete the address to that file (giving the system permission to write new data to that space). Since she hadn't taken any photos since the incident, I was able to use a free program (in this case, Recuva, from Piriform Software) to recover every single photo. She was elated.