RAW Vs JPG

NewThis subject is now featured inVolume 1,  Number 1of The Luminous Landscape Video Journal

My original tests and write-up comparing the D30’sRAWmode withLarge/Fine JPGmode showed a dramatic difference in favour of RAW. Phil Askey ofDigital Photography Reviewdrew to my attention that this results was very much at odds with his own tests. I have consequently redone the tests and find that Phil is essentially correct. I’m not sure why these new test results are different, but I’m glad that they are.

Is it Worth The Effort?

The answer is a qualified "yes". Below are the examples. The one on the left is inRAWmode while the one on the right was shot inJPG Large/Finemode. 

Photographed with a Canon D30 at ISO 400. 1/125th sec @ f/4.5 with a Canon 70~210 f/2.8L lens @ 120mm. 

   

RAW                                                                        JPG Large/Fine

In both cases the files were loaded intoZoomBrowser. TheRAWfile was converted to aTIFFand loaded intoPhotoShop. TheJPG Large/Filewas loaded directly intoPhotoshopfromZoomBrowser.  Both files had the same amount ofUnsharp Maskingapplied byNIK Sharpener Pro. A small amount of colour balancing was done to try and get the images to match.

The enlarged sections below have been displayed here in the highest quality Internet JPG setting possible so that you can draw your own conclusions. Just remember though that you are looking at a 72 dpi screen.

 

RAW                                                                                                        JPG Large/Fine

  

RAW                         JPG Large/Fine

Some readers have asked to see a section of these images without any processing whatsoever. These two section are at "actual pixel" size and have had no sharpening or colour adjustments. Sorry, but bandwidth limitations on my server prevent me from posting larger files right now.

My evaluation is that Phil is correct. The image quality is close, though I do judge theRAWfile to be somewhat sharper ‹ maybe by 5% – 10%. You’ll have to decide for yourself if it’s worth the extra storage space and processing to work inRAWmode. I probably will.

NewThis subject is now featured inVolume 1,  Number 1of The Luminous Landscape Video Journal