I’m trying to pare down the size of my file and backup load.
My workflow includes putting nearly every image through Adobe Camera RAW (v12.0) and Elements (v2020) and saving them as pst files. I don’t edit the Elements background layer; it remains the unedited image, other than minor changes in Camera Raw.
I assume I can always recover the original image from the background layer of the pst. Is there a reason I should save original RAW files from which I’ve saved those pst files? Is there any loss of quality in the pst file compared to the RAW file?
Yes, Save the original RAW file-- it's uncompressed and contains all possible image information.
I've been using digital cameras now since 2000--- that's 23 years. I take raw photos sometimes- I'm just a casual Bum with a camera--- I also don't give a hoot about trying to save space- Hard drives are so cheap now when space become lacking I just buy another hard drive. Western Digital sells a 6TB HDD for $109 on Amazon- zero reason to worry about space nowadays.
Many will state "OMG you lose control over shadows and color balance if you don't stick with raw".
You think I'm worried about that stuff found in RAW? Nope, I really don't think most users give a hoot about raw-- but some folks like to see tons of options for editing--- Photoshop by comparison is insane.
RAW edits done in PSE are non destructive- you only can work on a copy of a raw file, not the actual raw file using photoshop elements.
For the average user there is no difference in PSD and RAW.
Is there any loss of quality in the pst file compared to the RAW file? It can be difficult to see the difference at times.
For the average use who takes pictures on the beach, pictures of grand kids, and various pets- do whatever makes you al lwarm and fuzzy inside.
It's all actually PSD, not PST. PST files are used by outlook to store calendars and emails.
I just did a quick experiment. I took a 70 MB raw file, made a simple adjustment in ACR, opened it in the Editor and saved it to .psd format. The resulting .psd file was literally more than twice the size (142 MB). So, even adding in the few KB for the edited raw file's .xmp sidecar file, I don't see how saving your raw files in the .psd format will save you any storage space. (BTW, saving the file as a .jpg reduced the size to 56.2 MB.)