If you are happy with your jpg images then keep shooting them..
The main reason most photographers shoot raw formats is to process the image. Your camera processes the image, white balance, noise reduction, etc. While it is amazing (to me) what a camera can do your computer can often do better..
I shoot 75% of my images as jpgs because I'm generally happy with my camera's abilities. I mostly shoot raw when I want more dynamic range for a contrasty scene..
The raw format is your *digital negative*. It is the closest thing to the raw data straight off the sensor that is available to the photographer..
A jpg is created in the camera from the raw sensor data and processed according to the settings the user has dialed into the camera. It is akin to a polaroid print. When those settings are applied to the jpg image, they cannot be reversed or undone. The jpg is a cooked version of the raw data..
For the vast majority of people, the jpg image will suit them just fine as they do liitel with the image other than look at on screen, email to friends or make the occasional small print..
But for those that want to get the most out of their images (including making LARGE prints) the raw data file presents the best option to post manipulate the image to get the most out of it. Because the raw data is 'uncooked', changes in image processing parameters can be applied, changed and reapplied until the photographer is happy with the resulting image. At that point, a jpg can be produced from the raw, but the original raw data file remains unchanged. The parameter changes are not written to the raw file, but (usually) to an accompanying 'sidecar' file. But always the original raw data file is left untouched..
The jpg file format is lossy. That means that some of the data in that original raw data is discarded and CANNOT ever be recovered. This tends to limit post processing somewhat..
As a general rule, the raw data file is lossless, meaning no data has been discarded and that presents the photographer with more data available to him for post processing the image..
The greatest of mankind's criminals are those who delude themselves into thinking they have done 'the right thing.'- Rayna Butler..
If you are interersted in RAW, but don't currently have the time/energy to process them, you can always shoot in RAW today, but then immediately convert them to JPG.
1. Shoot in RAW2. Upload the images to your PC3. Use the free Nikon Viewer to automatically convert your RAW files to JPG4. View/print/edit your JPG files as usualy5. Archive your RAW files and save them for a rainy day .
Note: Step 3 above is based upon my experience with a D70, YMMVWarm regards,DOF..
RAW as shooting negatives.
And JPEG as shooting polaroids..
With RAW you get uncompresed data, the information that the digital light sensor stores when it takes a picture..
When you load it up in a RAW converter program, you can do almost anything you want with it to adjust the picture, white balance, colour tones, more light less light and so forth.
While some of these options could be done in jpeg, because there is more information in a RAW image there is less impact on image quality and the results of post processing give positive results...
What is RAW? Why do you shoot that way?.
What advantages to it?.
Must you post-process in RAW?.
Can be found on this web site: http://www.ronbigelow.com/articles/raw/raw.htm.
RAW as shooting negativesand JPEG as shooting polaroids..
IMHO, a better analogy might be:RAW = Having the negativesJPEG = Having just the final print.
With either one, you can get a decent final print of the original imageRAW allows you to do much more down-the-lineWarm regards,DOF..