The Raw v JPEG challenge (RX100)

Started Jan 28, 2013 | Discussions thread
Docno
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My revised view now
In reply to Docno, Jan 29, 2013

Thanks for all the inputs and the examples some gave of what could be done with the jpeg file. After more experimenting for myself, I've arrived at the following conclusions (for myself, not to convince others).

  1. Under typical non-challenging circumstances and ISOs below 3200, camera jpegs are at least as good as (if not better than) what can be achieved with Raw files in ACR in terms of detail/noise. Colour is also excellent.
  2. Raw files appear to take the lead only with very high ISOs and/or where there is extreme dynamic range in the scene. With ISO 3200 and 6400, noise can be managed better, with less smearing, though this may only be apparent when pixel-peeping (i.e., it may not be a meaningful advantage). More important, the Raw files allow for more recovery of detail in blown out areas.
  3. I further suspect that if you intend to do further processing in Photoshop (for example, black-and-white/duotone conversions) there may be an advantage to shooting in Raw because you get to work with a 16-bit rather than 8-bit file, so there's more info to work with and perhaps smoother transitions. [Someone might be able to correct me on this]

So, as some of you are doing (and I occasionally do), it makes sense to shoot in JPEG+Raw under uncertain conditions, and JPEG alone under 'everyday' conditions. However, if I'm shooting in very low light or very contrasty scenes, I will still make sure I have Raw files to work with. Thanks.

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