As you know, I've been shooting individual photos in RAW lately. Given the ongoing debate between RAW vs JPEG photography, it was worth getting my feet wet with a few shots. Alas, RAW photography isn't everything that it's cracked up to be - at least, not with my current software.
Before you start throwing tomatoes at me, let me explain the reasoning behind my conclusion. After I download a RAW image to my PC, I convert it to DNG format using Adobe's free Digital Negative Converter. Next, I open the DNG file in Photoshop Elements 4.0 and make the necessary changes before finally saving the file as a JPEG. Keep in mind that upon initially opening the DNG file, a window opens where I can make changes which don't subtract from the quality of the file. This is a clear advantage over editing a JPEG file, where every edit takes away from its quality.
Unfortunately for me, the advantages end here. Since there is no direct option in Elements 4.0 to save a DNG as a JPEG, I have to work around that issue by saving for the web. Even though I always save it as a maximum-quality JPEG, my dpi is sharply reduced to 96. That's a very low value compared to the 300 that a normal JPEG gives me and the 240 in a DNG file.
The disadvantages don't stop there, neither. When I upload a 96-dpi JPEG to Flickr, no properties (things like ISO, aperture and whatnot) are available for viewing. I'm all about details when it comes to my work; I simply cannot accept the fact that the information behind any photograph is invisible. I might as well keep it on my PC instead of uploading it.
Having said all of that, there is one way that I can work around these problems: use the in-camera editing software on the RAW file, then save it as a JPEG for further editing. Even with this extra step, I retain my 300-dpi advantage. Going forward, this is only way that I'll be shooting and processing RAW files...at least, until I get software that doesn't strip information from photographs.