Once I got a camera that would write RAW files, I made up my mind to shoot everything (or almost everything) on RAW. Despite what one or two loud-mouthed guys on the web say, RAW does enable you to get considerably more out of your pictures – and the only real disadvantge is the extra time involved in processing.
Some cameras do have RAW+Jpeg modes which save both types of file, giving you the potential advantage of speed as well as the higher quality ofRAW – but with the disadvatnage of filling up memory cards with fewer pictures. But what many photographers fail to realise is that RAW files actually contain a jpeg image as well as the sensor raw data. It’s this jpeg image that you see on the screen on the back of the camera, and also that is used to show the files in your RAW processing software before you process the files, and in other software that displays images direct from RAW files.
A couple of years ago I found (and wrote about) a piece of PC freeware called Preview Extractor which I use to tell me the total number of exposures I’ve made with my Nikon cameras, but also will rapidly extract theses jpeg preview images from a batch of images.
Recently I’ve come across another free application that can also do this – and is available for both PC and Mac, and is handier to use as it adds itself in your right-click menu. You can right-click on a file or group of files and select it to extract the full size jpegs, or smaller size files. This is a virtually instant process. Install this small utitlity and you never need to use a Jpeg + RAW mode.
So, thanks to Michael Tapes of RawWorkflow.com and the programmers at Imagenomic for the free Instant JPEG from Raw and you can read more about it and watch a video showing it in use on Scott Kelby’s blog.