Join Date: Nov 2003
Member GG#: 37369
Location: Fort Worth, Texas
I've been looking for folks to report the filesize of D200 images in their various modes... RAW only.. RAW + JPG... but so far, I've not seen any reliable filesizes given. I'm shooting a D100 now, and have the cash waiting for the D200 to show up, so I'm more than a little interested in this subject.
Right now, shooting a D100's RAW image takes up about 9.5 Megabytes for that 6 Megapixel image. Guessing here, but the D200's 10 Megapixels will probably bump the filesize up to about 16 Megabytes for a RAW only image. That means you'll wind up getting about 32 shots on a 512 MB card... about 65 on a 1 GB card.
I find that, now, the 51 shots on a 512 MB card in the D100 gets me a pretty good run of images, usually having gotten the 'money shot' and allowed me to keep shooting in that setup, without problem. By the end of the card, i'm usually ready to change things up drastically, so that shot-count works out well for me. Your mileage may vary.
As far as what you should shoot (RAW, versus RAW+JPG versus JPG only)... here's my take:
RAW gives you the most information to work with, there is no question about that.
Can you produce good images shooting JPG? Of course, but you'll find that shooting RAW allows you to make adjustments to the image that will definitely enhance your image, whereas most folks seem to agree that to get great images with JPGs, you need to be pretty close to right-on-the-money with the exposure.
Using the RAW adjustments, you can be off probably 1 stop overexposed and maybe 2 stops under and come up with a salvageable image. You can't do that with JPG.
Obviously, the closer you get to the "proper" exposure (and understand, that there are times when you can have to different "proper" exposures for a scene and both be right, depending on the effect you were trying to achieve) the better.
Right now, I don't see me shooting anything but RAW for 95%+ of my shooting. The few times I shoot JPG, now, are give-away shots done for someone else, and that will probably continue. RAW just gives me too much control to give it up, even for the routine and mundane shots we all seem to take a lot of the time.
As far as RAW+JPG goes.. I know a lot of folks like it, saying that it simplifies their ability to sort quickly, etc. As I said, I shoot RAW almost exclusively and do an initial viewing using Nikon's VIEW browser. I rotate the shots in VIEW and then use Nikon's CAPTURE to do any gross exposure changes, white balancing, curve adjustments, etc. CAPTURE's batch mode works well for me in that regard because if I'm chaning one shot, I'm usually changing 25-50 shots (remember my 512 MB shot-count of 52 images on a card?) at a time, anyway.
I've got VIEW and CAPTURE on my laptop, and if I'm shooting anything serious I'm not too far away from my laptop, so viewing the RAW images is just as easy as viewing the JPGs for me. The ONE time i've ever shot something real important and was away from my laptop was when I photographed a particularly bad car wreck and a reporter for a local newspaper arrived with his point and shoot -- I chimped him some of my images and he wanted to take my CF card back to the newspaper to dump 'em. He didn't think they had a viewer/converter for Nikon RAW files (turns out they did.. he just didn't know it), so I made a quick trip back to the house, dumped the card into the desktop and resized the images into JPGs and burned a CD which I drove to the newspaper office and delivered. All told, it took an extra hour and a half to take care of things, but I was well compensated for the time and effort, so it all worked out.
My advice would be to remember how to get a JPG out of your camera should the need ever arise (and it does, occassionally), but if you're shooting for quality images, shoot RAW and don't bother looking back.
Take a look at my portfolio and see if you think I know what I'm talking about... they're all shot in RAW.