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Most high end DSLR cameras these days have the ability to shoot RAW files and almost all camera companies seemingly have their own proprietary “flavor” to confuse matters even more.
It takes extra time, extra software, extra storage space, and little bit of extra learning to get used to using the RAW format, but in the end though I personally believe that it is a far superior format to shoot with. This has come with a serious amount of time spent trying to figure out the benefits between RAW and other formats and almost always, starting with a RAW file yields better results I’ve found.
Bruce Fraser breaks down RAW and it’s overall superiority from the JPG in amazingly simple terms via the Adobe help center. If you are one of those people who just don’t want to hear about it and feel that the JPG is the only thing you’ll ever need you can listen to Ken Rockwell’s rant over on his site regarding why RAW is a complete waste of time.