Your camera is set, by default, to save photographs using the JPEG file format.
The JPEG file format is useful for making prints, e-mailing, and for websites.
JPEG files are compressed.
Unimportant image information is thrown away.
You can select different levels of quality, based on how much compression is implemented.
Don't automatically use the highest quality setting.
If you do, your memory card will fill up faster.
And, the quality may not be needed.
Use the highest quality if the photograph will be cropped, or has important detail in the shadow areas.
Each time you make a change to a JPEG file, and save it, more of the image information is thrown away during compression.
So, JPEG files deteriorate with repeated editing.
You must reserve the original JPEG file, and use a copy for editing.
A raw file is created when you press the shutter release.
The file contains all of the information gathered by the camera sensor.
The raw file is huge.
The raw file is processed into a JPEG file by your camera.
On digital SLR cameras, you can choose to save your photographs as either a JPEG file or as a raw file.
You can often choose to save your photographs using both formats.
Many point-and-shoot cameras also allow you to use raw files.
An advantage of using the raw file format is how easily exposure and white balance mistakes can be corrected when processing a raw file.
A disadvantage is that the huge raw files are saved to your camera's memory card more slowly than are JPEG files.
If you're shooting quickly, such as sports or dance, save your photographs as JPEG's.
Go to to Raw v. JPEG.