Uncompressed NEF: Forget it.

Started Dec 29, 2006 | Discussions thread
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Martin Datzinger
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Uncompressed NEF: Forget it.
Dec 29, 2006

One thing that bothered me on my new D200 was whether to set NEF compressed or uncompressed in my raw images.

Shortcut: I'll set it compressed, because uncompressed doesn't make any usable difference and compressed saves me lots of MB per image (in this particular case: 6.9MB vs. 15.1MB).

Here is the test:

Camera pointed to a bulb, exposure deliberately over the top.

To see, how much I'd like to have an advantage in highlight recovery, here is a -0.5 EV compensated ACR 3.6 raw conversion. See the wierd color circle?

Now how is the difference in ACR in the worst case setting of -2 EV? Top is compressed RAW, bottom is uncompressed.

There is a difference in graduation, uncompressed seems a tiny little bit more smooth. But compared to how big the color mess is, I'd call that negligible.

The same with dcraw wich I guess offers the user the best controll over how highlight recovery is handled. I used the following settings: . dcraw -v -q 3 -T -o 1 -H 9 -w Pictures/test/[...] The important part here is -H 9, means highlight recovery with emphasis on color (guesswork). And this truly does have an impact, dcraw chews around on that part alone 2 minutes per file. So here is the result, again top compressed, bottom uncompressed:

Here the difference is more noticable, but still, what is going on within the burnt part of the circular gradient is such a mess, that this little improvement (well, if it can be called so anyway) doesn't make any difference in the end.

So, for me, compressed, thank you.

Kind regards,
Martin

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