PIX 2015

RX100 at ISO 5000 and building RAW skills.

Started Jan 30, 2013 | Discussions thread
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RX100 at ISO 5000 and building RAW skills.
Jan 30, 2013

I've been spending some time trying to hone my RAW skills with the RX100 (my first RAW-enabled camera). I started out frustrated, not being able to even come close to the OOC jpegs. Maybe the fact that I was using IDC contributed to this. I've been getting better I think, moved to LR4.3, but I am still not able to really surpass the OOC jpegs in good light/low ISOs. I have managed to overall match them though. It does make me feel a bit better that DPR reviewers seem to share my experience with this:) They said the jpegs strike a "pleasantly un-compact-camera-like" look and it's difficult to get more details without increasing noise.

At high ISOs on the other hand I find I can get a clear benefit from using RAW. The main problem with the RX100's jpeg processing at high ISOs seems to be that it can blend areas of different colours together. It almost looks like a bug to me, I've seen it especially with adjacent areas of red and blue.

Anyway, the jpeg engine still does something good, same as in good light, so I use the jpeg (I shoot RAW&jpeg) as my guide, trying to match its overall pixel-level look because I like it. It kind of produces bold, solid edges within the image, which with default conversion settings come out a lot more faint and noisy. Then I try to see what extra detail I got left that the jpeg lacks. This way I get an image that doesn't keep the absolute maximum detail available, but still has visibly more details than the jpeg while being just as clean.

That's one way of doing it, I guess the other way would be to keep more grain (hopefully good-looking) and more fine detail too. I guess it also depends on what one wants to do with the result, view on a monitor, or print and at what size. I haven't experimented yet with what works best for printing.

So here's one example I'm happy with, from the first approach, i.e. one that produces a both clean (for ISO 5000!) and detailed, pleasing image to be viewed on a monitor. I'm sure a more skilled person could have made it better. Do let me know what you think of it and if you've made similar experiments what are your experiences.

ISO 5000 test shot converted from RAW in LR

In my gallery you can also find a larger version, as well as the corresponding OOC jpeg with minor pp applied (auto-contrast), down-sized to the same 4.3MP size. Notice the colour smudging in the red capital letters J and C in the OOC jpeg. You can sharpen it a bit, but you cannot of course "un-blend" the colours.

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