If there is one area that raw always saves the day it’s it ability to with stand heavy adjustments without showing artifacts. Getting nice deep blue skies out of a single exposure while maintaining shadow detail usually means making some strong adjustments to the file. Raw’s ability to better recover highlights comes to play here as well.
White balance is also another area that raw has saved me. To test this just extract the embedded jpeg from your raw file and see. or convert your raw file before making any adjustments.There has been too many times that the jpeg could not be made to have the correct WB globally, yes you can adjust the Jpeg but not every area will adjust the same because you have cooked in the color and changing it after the fact is not as accurate as being able to adjust the file as if it were shot that way in the first place. Raw files are nothing but raw data with no adjustments having been made, you do that.
For some people getting raws to look as good as the cameras jpeg is not easy, If you occasionally can’t get the look you want just extract the jpeg, I have given you the link in my link section for the IJFR software it’s free.
Keep in mind this example here has been saved to a low quality Jpeg to save space. click on the photo for a better quality file.
Now you can also see the difference between medium and low quality jpeg files, this is why you should save only high quality jpegs or tiffs. If you try to adjust the low quality files you will quickly bring out artifacts.
The white balance example shows what a difference the two formats can give. I could adjust the jpeg to be closer to the raw but if you look carefully you can see that there are other color shifts there like the green on the boxes. In this case raw saves the day. I tried to get the jpeg to match by clicking all over the same board. When you are doing exposure blending or HDR you are going to have files like these on the over exposed shots, so even with EB or HDR your better off using raw. By the way the jpegs in these examples were made from the raw files first to equalize the comparison. This situation does not come up every shoot but when it does your glad you shot in raw.