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Raw and Raw Conversion

Supplied software

The GXR-body comes with the Irodio Photo & Video Studio software package which offers a bit of everything - image browsing and editing (including RAW conversion) and video editing. Each of these modes has a button on the application's main screen. While the white balance, exposure and sharpening options in the RAW conversion module are relatively basic there is a whole stack of image editing options available, including many filters and effects.

The video editing module adopts a story board approach which allows to compose movies from video clips and other types of media. You can create effects and transitions between clips, add captions and overlay audio. Considering it's a bundled software Irodio is quite comprehensive and offers enough functionality to keep beginners and occasional RAW-users happy. However, if you're particularly fussy about your RAW conversion software you'll probably want to look out for alternatives with more options in that area.

Apart from Irodio you'll also find three small tools on the GXR software CD. There is the DL-10 application to copy pictures to the computer in a single operation plus USB- and WIA-drivers. The latter two are for use with older Ricoh models though and not required for the GXR.

This is Irodio's Browser view. Here you can organize and view images, rotate, resize and print them. Batch renaming using EXIF information is also available. In the editing window a comprehensive range of tools is available. This includes red-eye removal, basic editing such as cropping and resizing and an array of effects and filters.
The Warp filter lets you create distortion by moving nodal points on a grid pattern. A range of 'artistic' effects is available.
Video editing includes story board functions for composing videos from various media files, animations, effects, transitions, narrations and captions. The final product can be created in several file formats. The DNG RAW converter offers fairly basic white balance, exposure and sharpening options.

RAW conversion

As is normal in the RAW section of our reviews we like to compare the supplied RAW conversion software, any optional manufacturer RAW conversion software and some third party RAW converters. In the case of the GXR we used the supplied Irodio Photo & Video Studio, Camera RAW 5.6 and Capture One 5.0.1

  • JPEG - Large/Fine, Default settings
  • IRO - Irodio Photo & Video Studio
  • ACR - Adobe Camera RAW 5.6
  • CAP - Capture One 5.0.1

Color reproduction

Place your mouse over the label below the image to see the color from a GretagMacbeth Color Checker chart produced using each RAW converter. While the out-of-camera JPEG delivers a fairly natural color response the Irodio output is slightly less saturated and contrasty. ACR unusually produces the most saturated and contrasty output while the Capture One rendition on the other hand is extremely flat and with very muted colors.

Ricoh GXR (A12) Compare to:  
      
      
      
      
StandardNaturalB&WB&W(TE)
VividAdobeRGB

Sharpness and Detail

The RAW converters produce not only a different color response but also apply varying levels of sharpening. As we've seen in previous reviews Capture One's sharpening at default settings is very strong. The GXR's default JPEGs show very good detail without being over sharpened. The default output of both Irodio and Adobe ACR is slightly softer. Of course sharpening can be adjusted in all of the RAW converters.

JPEG out of camera (High quality setting, all settings default)
ISO 200 studio scene 100% crop
Irodio RAW ->JPEG (Default settings)
ISO 200 studio scene 100% crops
Adobe ACR RAW ->JPEG (Default settings)
ISO 200 studio scene 100% crops
Capture One RAW ->JPEG (Default settings)
ISO 200 studio scene 100% crops

Resolution

In the resolution comparison the out-of-camera JPEG shows good resolution with hardly any artifacts. Despite using more sharpening the Capture One output does not squeeze any extra resolution out of the file. It also shows fairly large amounts of color moire. The ACR output is slightly softer than the JPEG but resolves a tiny bit more detail. So does the Irodio image. The latter shows some demosaicing artifacts at higher frequencies though.

JPEG from camera Irodio (RAW)
Adobe Camera RAW (RAW) Capture One (RAW)

Real world advantages

While we used the converters' default settings for the studio shots above we played with the parameters for optimal results during the conversion of this real life shot. Only by using excessive sharpening were we able to generate any additional visible detail in RAW conversion, and even then it's questionable whether we're actually seeing anything beyond the increased sharpness. The Ricoh JPEG engine's demosaicing algorithms are squeezing a lot of the available detail out of the RAW files. Additional detail is therefore not necessarily a reason for shooting RAW with the A12 50mm module.

JPEG from Camera
(default sharpening)
ACR conversion (sharpened for detail)
(Amount 117, radius 0.5, detail 21, Masking 9)

RAW files for download

Here we provide RAW files, both from the review and the sample shots we take, to allow you to apply your own workflow techniques and see whether your experiences match ours.

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