Originally Posted by donheff
I have never shot or processed RAW. The advanced edits I most appreciate in Photoshop include values, curves, setting neutral gray with a dropper, and the shadow and highlight controls. Those controls seem to work well with jpegs. Are they substantially more useful with RAW? In RAW editing can you click on a preview and see what you will get with modified vs original settings?
Yes, you will get a preview of the image as you adjust settings, at least in Photoshop and Lightroom. I've never used Gimp so can't speak for that one.
Shooting in RAW gives you much more adjustability than jpg. Two or three stops on exposure, bringing up dark areas or toning down highlights but especially bringing up underexposed areas because you have the full set of data to work with before graininess sets in. White balance is another area that gives RAW files the edge too.
In a jpg image the camera has thrown away most of the data to give you the final image. In RAW you still have it to work with. Now, in most cases the engineers who designed the camera have done a fine job anticipating what you're going to want the image to look like, and for most people that's good enough.
But not all. If you like tweaking your images, or you're especially fussy about what it should look like then you will want to shoot RAW.
Here's a good discussion of the differences: RAW vs JPEG