There seems to be a lot of confusion among some new digital camera owners about exactly what the difference is between RAW, JPEG and TIFF files. This article is intended to be a very basic guide to these file types and how they are related in a typical digital camera.
RAW flow chart
When to shoot RAW, when to shoot JPEG?
The main reason to shoot JPEG is that you get more shots on a memory card and it’s faster, both in camera and afterwards. If you shoot RAW files you have to then convert them to TIFF or JPEG on a PC before you can view or print them. …
You shoot RAW when you expect to have to do some post exposure processing. If you’re not sure about exposure or white balance, or if you want to maintain the maximum possible allowable post exposure processing, then you’ll want to shoot RAW files…
Note that some cameras can store a JPEG image along with the RAW file. This is the best of both worlds, you have a JPEG image which you can quickly extract from the file, but you also have the RAW data which you can later convert and process if theres a problem with the JPEG….
[side note: RAW stands for “Reconfigurable Architecture Workstation”, hence the customizability of the file type]