I have never believed in shooting just .jpg. Some photographers make a big deal of this. I do not. I like to be able to post-process my shots the way I prefer and not put my fate and faith in the "hands" of the in-camera jpg-processing computer. Raw files are minimally compressed by the camera and simply give me more to work with. So the materials on my site always come from raw-files unless otherwise indicated.

All digital images need some basic adjustments such as sharpening and sometimes cropping. I want to be able to do that in as detailed a file as possible. Also, I have no problem admitting that raw files have saved my butt numerous times. I misinterpreted the light or I simply did not applied the correct settings and boom, the image went bad. I am always very grateful to be able to correct bad shots so that they still produce an acceptable image. I do not use software to "cheat"; I use it in much the same way I did in the old days, in the dark room. Give some more light to the highlighted areas, reduce it in darker sections. work with contrast and sharpness. In the digital material we already have much less to work with than in a true film negative. You would have to seriously over-expose to have zero pixels in your image. But digital work just is more risky than that. There is less to work with anyway so why not retain as much detail as possible?

LCD quality versus on-computer
Also, I don't think any digital camera can, at this time, show us the raw picture on the LCD. I found this out on my big Canon DSLR when it was accidentally set to "creative black & white mode" one day. I did not want to work in black and white; after all, I can revert on-computer to grayscale or pure black and white at any time during post processing. So I thought I had messed up because the LCD showed the shot in black and white. But when I opened the raw file (I only shoot in raw, so there was no jpg shot on the card), it showed up in colour.

What this means is that we can never really trust the image as it is shown on the display, not on my big Canon and not on the FUJI either. The computer is needed to really judge the quality of the pure material. If you are just taking snapshots that you want to exchange using WIFI with somebody, having a JPG is of course very practical and quick. But for serious shots and by this I mean: stuff that I venture out for with a purpose, I just prefer to have my results in a raw file. It is minimally compressed and I can adjust settings to my preferences. Also, I can add my copyright info to it.

To illustrate my point have a look at the two examples below.

The first shot is the jpg file the FUJI created after I had adjusted my settings to show stronger contrast, more detail in the shadow and more definition in the highlights. As you can see the contrast in the darker areas is overpowering. If this was the only material to work with in JPG, there would not have been much to correct.


Now have a look at the unprocessed exact same shot in DNG format in Adobe Raw:


Hard to believe they are the exact same shot, right? So this is why I prefer raw files. It is also the reason to never trust what you see on the LCD. Not only the exposure and the colours look different, but sharpening according to your settings is also applied. The shot may look in-focus in jpg but be more fuzzy when opened on computer.

Noise-reduction equals "waxing"
I have the distinct impression that some of the settings DO influence the raw file. Such as the level noise reduction and the selected colour profile. In fact, the "waxing" that I found in my early shot of the railway had to do with overactive noise reduction. When I switched that off, there was much more crispness to the image.

Sharpening
Then there is the sharpening. I read an article on-line that stated that Adobe Lightroom (I am on version 5.7.1) uses different 
algorithms than Adobe Photoshop. It does not mention Adobe's Camera Raw software and in fact, any changes I make pertaining to sharpening in Lightroom are also implemented with the same values in Adobe Raw. As far as I can tell they use the same method and sharpening before post-processing other elements can be done in one or the other. There is a setting in Lightroom that you can check that ensures that any changes you make in Lightroom are written to the .xmp files as well so that you do not have to re-do work in Camera Raw.

White-Balance
Just like any other setting, WB-values will attach to the jpg-file without you being able to make significant adjustment in post-processing. So I set my WB to auto in nearly all cases. For those of you who like to work with jpg images only, white balance changes might add to the in-camera creative effects.

Which method you use to "develop" your digital negative remains a matter of personal preference. Things that play into it for me is the accuracy, predictability, quality and speed of the workflow. Adobe still wins that race for me.