We've all heard it hundreds of times: unless you're a journalist zooming off shots to an editor as the action happens, you should be shooting in raw. But why is it so vital to the quality of your images? Watch this video for a great explanation.
Coming to you from Nathaniel Dodson of tutvid, this video examines what bit depth is and why it makes shooting in raw so vital, particularly for those who edit their images heavily. It's true that an 8-bit JPEG has 2^8^3 (16,777,216) colors, which is more than the human eye can distinguish (about 10,000,000), so it might seem unnecessary to have any more beyond that in a file. However, the advantage comes not in the final product, but in the process of getting there, i.e. editing the image. Having a greater bit depth gives the computer far more information, which in turn gives you far more leeway to adjust the colors and exposure of your image without seeing the trademark consequence of too little information in an image: banding. It's similar to why you want to expose your images properly. Give the video a full watch to go more in depth and see some helpful examples, and make sure you're shooting in raw!