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Thread: ACR RAW vs SHQ, an E-300 comparison

  1. #1
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    Default ACR RAW vs SHQ, an E-300 comparison

    After reading all the rave about the RAW mode of the camera, I just had to go test it out for myself. Shot using E-300 + Kit lens

    The shots were taken using the RAW+SHQ mode and on Aperture priority. Unless otherwise stated, no other processing has been done.

    SHQ JPEG (USM @ 70)


    RAW(NR @ 0, Sharpening @ 70)


    As can be seen, the details from the raw mode is certainly much much better than the SHQ mode. The most obvious areas being the petals. The petals in the SHQ are a solid yellow while groves and lines can be seen in the RAW photo.

    Colour wise, the RAW photo seems a little dull. The SHQ colours are a little more accurate. They'll need a boost in the saturation and contrast controls to get things correct.

    For landscape shots, I honestly can't see any difference between them and actually prefer the SHQ photos for its better colours.

    SHQ JPEG(USM @ 70)


    RAW JPEG(NR @ 0, sharpening @ 70)


    Your opinions?

  2. #2

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    If you shoot RAW, you have the option to correct any shortcomings before final conversion without affecting the eventual quality of the converted image unlike post-processing a jpeg file where every change or save deteriorates the image quality.

    The default settings of most if not all RAW converters are not always the best for a particular shot and I find that it is necessary to adjust the exposure, white balance, saturation, sharpness (subjective depending on the quality of the algorithm used by the respective RAW converters), shadow, contrast, etc... to get the best out of any pic. If all these were done adequately, I have found that the converted RAW image is always better than the straight-out-of-the-camera jpeg image.

    Cheers

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    Right! Thanks for the info! Never shot raw before lah!

  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by tomcat
    If you shoot RAW, you have the option to correct any shortcomings before final conversion without affecting the eventual quality of the converted image unlike post-processing a jpeg file where every change or save deteriorates the image quality.

    The default settings of most if not all RAW converters are not always the best for a particular shot and I find that it is necessary to adjust the exposure, white balance, saturation, sharpness (subjective depending on the quality of the algorithm used by the respective RAW converters), shadow, contrast, etc... to get the best out of any pic. If all these were done adequately, I have found that the converted RAW image is always better than the straight-out-of-the-camera jpeg image.

    Cheers
    One advantage of RAW is that you get more depth per RGB channel and more depth to play with, but 70% of the people are happy with JPEG quality. Processing RAW files takes time. But for sure RAW is better quality than out of box jpeg, as the processor on the cam is not powerful enough to do what the things u can do on a pc, surely the picture produced by the in jpeg will be of lesser quality.

  5. #5

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    personal note: the RAW converter provided by Oly is very good in the colours & details. the only & biggest set back of it, is speed. very very slow.

    u shud try a test using the viewer provided & Pshop ACR. the colours r world apart & u can never get the exact same colour on ACR to look like viewer. tried it myself & no colour balance, saturation, contrast, etc. can 'outcolour' Oly's viewer.

    heard the Studio is faster than viewer but that cost quite a lot of money. so, if any of u r keen on a MO, maybe we can get it at a lower price.

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by nightpiper
    personal note: the RAW converter provided by Oly is very good in the colours & details. the only & biggest set back of it, is speed. very very slow.

    u shud try a test using the viewer provided & Pshop ACR. the colours r world apart & u can never get the exact same colour on ACR to look like viewer. tried it myself & no colour balance, saturation, contrast, etc. can 'outcolour' Oly's viewer.

    heard the Studio is faster than viewer but that cost quite a lot of money. so, if any of u r keen on a MO, maybe we can get it at a lower price.
    Hi nightpiper,
    As you suggested, I converted a .ORF file from the E-300 using both ACR v2.4 and Olympus Master that came with the E-300. In both, I only adjusted the exposure compensation by the same amount with no adjustments to colour, saturation, white balance, sharpness or contrast. In ACR, I did set the noise reductions to zero as recommended by users in dpreview.

    These are my observations:
    (a) You're right. The colours in the Olympus converted image is much nicer. In fact, it is downright attractive to me.
    (b) With the same amount of exposure adjustments, the Olympus Master tended to blow highlights more readily
    (c) There are slightly more details visible at 100% view in the ACR converted image, especially obvious in the areas where highlights were blown in the Olympus converted image.
    (d) Apart from details, I don't notice any jaggies as complained about by users in dpreview when using Studio or Viewer to convert. Maybe they would be more prevalent in architectural images with lots of straight and diagonal lines.
    (e) The actual conversion process using Olympus Master is not slow at all. To me, it seems to be faster than ACR. It is the preview that is slow as every change in the parameters needs 'developing'.
    (f) Also, only a small no. of basic parameters are adjustable in Olympus Master. There are much more adjustable options in ACR in comparison.
    (g) The converted image using Olympus Master retains a lot, and I really mean A LOT of Exif info, while ACR only allow a limited amount of info to be retained in the converted image. However, these extra info could only be read fully by Olympus Master and I presume, also Olympus Studio and Viewer.

    So, for those shots that are well exposed or have little or no blown highlights, I would certainly like to use Olympus Master to convert because the colours are really rich and beautiful.

    I read that although it is faster now, Olympus Studio v1.2 is still quite buggy and it did away with many advanced features that were present in previous version. I don't mind getting it if the bugs are resolved and if a MO would result in a lower price.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by nightpiper
    personal note: the RAW converter provided by Oly is very good in the colours & details. the only & biggest set back of it, is speed. very very slow.

    u shud try a test using the viewer provided & Pshop ACR. the colours r world apart & u can never get the exact same colour on ACR to look like viewer. tried it myself & no colour balance, saturation, contrast, etc. can 'outcolour' Oly's viewer.

    heard the Studio is faster than viewer but that cost quite a lot of money. so, if any of u r keen on a MO, maybe we can get it at a lower price.
    Hello Nightpiper,

    I agree that Oly produces very usable (great if fact) out-of-camera images. If images are well exposed to begin with, I've found the much faster Viewer 1.2 to be a capable utility for managing pics & when when basic adjustments are needed for a RAW workflow.

    And in agreement with tomcat that Studio 1.2 needs to be debugged. But Viewer 1.2 is great and my forays into PS has been reduced :-)

    I would also like to compliment tomcat on your great photos with the E300.

    Cheers,
    Last edited by chancy; 23rd December 2004 at 03:51 PM.

  8. #8

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    hi Chancy, did u manage to get an english ver of viewer? i d/l the jap ver & i m seeing all '?' & boxes. i did manage to guess the functions & i really like the sharpness control. its diff from the older ver & seems to be more pleasant.

    i have not used the Master from Oly but for what i have tried, with a shot that has some blown outs, the viewer s/w can, to some degree, retrieve details from them. however, i will need to save the pic in 16bits TIFF in order to preserve colours & details.

    side track alittle, did any of u guys noticed that the aperture of the E sys is smaller than 35mm lens? i did an unscientific test on my 14-54mm & found that from aperture F4.5-F7.1, images r sharp. but once i hit F8, diffraction occurs (images not as detail).

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by nightpiper
    side track alittle, did any of u guys noticed that the aperture of the E sys is smaller than 35mm lens? i did an unscientific test on my 14-54mm & found that from aperture F4.5-F7.1, images r sharp. but once i hit F8, diffraction occurs (images not as detail).
    That's standard. Aperture is just a ratio, everything is relative. And with a bigger aperture lens (eg 2.8), you cannot expect it not to suffer from diffraction more than say 3 stops esp if it is already designed to be quite sharp wide open.

    Interesting comparison between jpg and RAW. For quite a lot of other cams, you cannot see such a diff between RAW and jpg. Not unless you blow up to 200% and compare, which is not applicable most of the time in real shooting conditions anyway.

  10. #10
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    Hello Nightpiper,

    I had my english version of the Viewer 1.2 from Oly JP's website after news of its existence broke on dpreview. I can't remember the thread (do a topic search) but you do have to navigate pages of jap to get to the download page. My version is for MacOS X, so I can't vouch for the Win version. The most welcome change is the speed, controls are simplified and adjustments are rendered progressively & faster.

    I guess as sensor size decrease, depth of field for a given aperture increases. So it is not unrealistic to expect great DOF at apertures that are considered intermediate for 35mm systems. The situation is worse for P&S digicams with even smaller sensors, you will observe that most have F8-F11 as the min. aperture. I guess we should not think 35mm terms in applying when diffraction effects set in. Despite this, I inclined to think that lenses should generally operate optimally at F8.

    Traditionally, ED glass is suppose to counter the effects of diffraction (up to a limit), the 14-54 has aspheric elements but no ED elements, that may explain why diffraction sets in before minimum aperture. As one is expected to stop down more for macrophotography, the 50mm has one ED element, I wonder if diffraction is better controlled at F8 & smaller. Perhaps those with one can chime in.

    But I'm only hazarding a guess and in honesty I don't look at my pics in that great level of detail :-)

    Cheers,

  11. #11
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    I just installed Olympus Master and just can't find any controls to turn down the Colour Noise reduction! All I see are contrast etc etc....where is it!?

  12. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by Evilmerlin
    I just installed Olympus Master and just can't find any controls to turn down the Colour Noise reduction! All I see are contrast etc etc....where is it!?
    You can't turn off noise reduction in Olympus Master, Viewer or Studio. That was the gist of the complaints by users in dpreview and the reason why they felt that RAW conversion using ACR is better for low ISO shots.

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    ARGH...no wonder....then they shouldn't have placed that function in the help menu!

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