As Popo mentioned, the line about JPG getting only some of yoru resolution while RAW gets all of it was way off base and verymisleading. You always get all of the resolution of your camera when shooting in the highest resolution setting, whether you are shooting RAW or JPG.
The RAW capture essentially hasn't done all the camera's internal processing yet to apply noise reduction, shadow correction, white balance, sharpening, applying contrast levels, etc. All of those things remain 'tunable' by you when processing the photo in the RAW converter. JPGs on the other hand apply the camera's settings to the capture to output a fully prepared photo, with all the color, contrast, sharpening, white balance, etc applied to the shot. Whatever range of white balances, highlights and shadows, etc that it hasn't applied are now removed, and the end result a compressed and smaller file size JPG. The out-of-camera JPG can potentially look just as nice as a RAW file coverted - assuming all the camera settings were good, the JPG engine is decent, and the exposure was correct. There's even a small amount of correctability existing with the RAW file, because even the JPG has a bit more information than will typically be distplayed on an LCD screen or in a regular sized print - so you can still edit and process a JPG. The RAW just has a lot of additional information that can be accessed when processing, since the camera hasn't thrown away any of the data yet.
Remember that RAW files don't just contain all this wonderful extra data over a JPG that all makes your photo better - RAW files contain all the extra data, good and bad, wrong or right - everything. When the JPG tosses out some of the info and gives you a fnal shot, a lot of what it threw away was junk. Some of what it threw away might have been useful. If you set up your camera's JPGs properly to come out the way you like them, and nail the exposures, you can get very nice results that require no editing and can look just as lovely as a converted RAW, with the excess information that was tossed simply unnecessary and useless. If your camera settings weren't great, and your JPGs are a bit flat, your white balance was off, your sharpness was too high, etc...then your JPG comes out of the camera with its flaws, and there's very limited ability to correct them. If you took the same shot in RAW, that flatness doesn't matter since the contrast can still be tweaked from far too low to just right to far too high, the white balance can still be seleted at any preset or any temperature range, the sharpness can be turned way down or way up, the colors can be altered, the shadows can be brightened significantly, and so on. There's more correctability and tunability in the RAW than the JPG.
What you should do is shoot the way that makes you happy, and gets you the results you want. If you like shooting in JPG, and you are happy with the results, there's no need to go to RAW. Maybe you simply don't want to post-process, maybe you want to learn to nail everything in camera, maybe you shoot well enough that you don't have many mistakes or maybe you don't mind if you flub a shot and can't recover it...maybe JPG is for you. Maybe you enjoy post processing, maybe you enjoy taking over the process of creating the final photo and want to tweak all the parameters, maybe you aren't great at nailing exposures, maybe you wish you could recover some of your flubs...maybe RAW would be for you
- whatever the reason, shooting JPG or RAW isn't a right-or-wrong decision, or a pro-vs-amateur decision - simply a personal preference.
I can tell you that as an amateur for years I shot only JPG. As I started to get some pro work, I started to feel the need to shoot RAW. As I got more experience and more pro work, and learned to nail exposures and set up my camera's output, I found myself very comfortable going back to mostly JPG. Now, for all of my unhired or freelance shooting, personal and fun shooting, I shoot in JPG. For my hired event shoots where there wouldbe consequences if I did make a mistake (many events have moments that only happen once), I shoot RAW+JPG, and use the JPGs 95% of the time, with the RAWs there to back me up in case of a flubbed shot that needs to be recovered. It's my personal choice, as I much more enjoy being out taking photos than being inside in front of a computer processing them...I consider computer editing/processing to be 'work' or 'chore' whereas photography for me is joy/fun. Everyone's different - and some folks absolutely and thoroughly enjoy the process of editing, tweaking, and processing photos, working on computers, etc. So don't let what I do, or what someone else does, dictate what you do - you just have to be enjoying yourself and loving the results!
Sony DSLR-A580 / Sony 18-250mm / Minolta 50mm F1.7 / Sigma 30mm F1.4 / Tamron 10-24mm / Tamron 200-500mm / Tamron 90mm F2.8 macro / Minolta 300mm F4 APO
Sony NEX5N / 18-55mm F3.5-5.6 / 55-210mm F4-6.3 / Pentax K adapter / Konica K/AR adapter / bunches o' Konica & Pentax lenses!