Also, I've found that the software Sony bundled with the camera has two distinct drawbacks:
- Converted images are scaled down very slightly in the vertical axis.
- A straight conversion sometimes looks exactly like the original, and sometimes it doesn't (half of the converted images were darker - not insignificantly so - than the original
So there's a guy at work that shoots /everything/ in RAW mode and then comes back to the office and simply converts all the images to jpeg before trashing the RAW files. Correct me if I'm wrong: that's completely pointless, is it not?
Not entirely. The Sony jpeg is converted in-camera, and it is a bit lacking. Because its simply an on-the-fly conversion and compression, it is going to have some issues. However, Sony's in particular have a bit lesser quality. If you take in RAW+JPEG, you can do some "pixel peeping" and compare. The colors just aren't as good. For myself, I bought LR4 for tweaking, but to also do RAW->JPEG conversion. I am happier to let the slower conversion in LR occur than to get off-colors.
But, for a working solution, shoot jpeg for fun family outings where you are just having fun. Same with walking around and you bring the camera. However, when you are composing
shots such as portraits or being artistic, shoot in RAW. There just isn't any substitution for the quality in RAW.
Also, I highly recommend you play with the DRO options. I either use AUTO or the highest option. It does some interesting things with the color and balance.
Also, shooting jpeg and in HDR will give you some fun results as well.