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Raw

Supplied software

The Canon EOS 650D comes with the 'Canon EOS Digital Solution Disk' which includes:

  • Digital Photo Professional 3.11.30 - Advanced image workflow and editing, specialized in Raw conversion with a range of adjustment and output options.
     
  • ImageBrowser EX 1.0 - Easy to use image browsing and organization with a unique interface. Includes rudimentary image editing, printing and e-mail. This latest version of the software also provides some very basic video editing.
     
  • EOS Utility 2.11 - A tool to download images as well as control the camera remotely and adjust its settings when tethered to the computer.
  • PhotoStitch 3.2 - Panorama stitching utility.
  • Picture Style Editor 1.10 - Utility to create custom picture styles that can be uploaded to the camera.
  • EOS Sample Music - Royalty free audio files to upload to the camera and use as background music.
  • CameraWindow - Tool for transferring images to a computer

Digital Photo Professional is an image workflow and RAW conversion application that provides for the browsing and management of images in a folder structure as well as tagging, rotation etc. In addition it also provides an extensive range of RAW conversion features which include digital exposure compensation, white balance, tone curve, color, picture style, sharpness and lens correction parameters.

A number of different tools can be accessed from the tools menu. The Quick Check tool allows you to browse through a selection of images and assign check marks to them. The Trimming tool can be used to apply a crop to an image (the image itself is not modified, this is simply saved in the recipe).

The Stamp tool works in a similar way to the clone stamp or healing brush in Photoshop (although it is primary designed for the removal of light or dark blotches).The Rename tool can be used to change the filename of a selection of images based on a rule set. Finally you can convert multiple RAW files at a time using the batch conversion tool.

Digital Photo Professional has a comprehensive feature set. Raw conversion (in this image you can see the Edit window) certainly offers enough to satisfy even the most advanced user. One of the main advantages of working with Raw files is that DPP offers much more control over noise-reduction than the in-camera settings.
Tone curves can be adjusted for each color channel separately. The lens aberration window offers correction of light fall-off, chromatic aberration, distortion and color blur.

This latest version of Digital Photo Pro which is provided with the EOS 650D includes a new, fairly comprehensive lens correction module which allows you to correct your raw files for vignetting (peripheral illumination, purple fringing (color blur) and chromatic aberration based on lens profiles, offering greater control than the 650D's in-camera corrections. For the vignetting, CA and distortion correction you have sliders which allow you to apply a partial correction between 0 and 100%. There is also a slider to indicate the subject distance the image was taken at which helps optimizing the distortion correction.

The Lens aberration correction dialogue opens as a separate window within DPP. It contains the full image view and a magnification area at the top right. There is also the option for a grid-overlay which is useful when correcting distortion.

Raw file conversion

As is normal in our reviews we like to compare the camera maker's supplied raw conversion software with competing third party raw converters. Here we've picked Adobe Camera Raw and DxO Optics Pro alongside the Canon software. We'll compare these three converters to the camera's JPEG engine to see how each of them pulls detail out of the images.

  • JPEG - Large/Fine, Default settings
  • DPP - Digital Photo Professional
  • ACR - Adobe Camera raw 7.1
  • DxO - DxO Optics Pro 7.5.3

Sharpness and Detail

Canon's Digital Photo Professional emulates the output of the camera's JPEG engine very closely. Color rendition and tonality are virtually identical. DPP does apply a touch more default sharpening, resulting in images that are - at a pixel-level - a little crisper.

Adobe Camera Raw's default output is less contrasty and benefits from subtle, small-radius sharpening. This results in a more appealing image with natural tonality and an increase in fine detail. DxO's output combines contrast similar to that of the in-camera JPEG, with even more saturated colors. It also offers a greater degree of high contrast fine edge detail than the other raw converters. Keep in mind though that we're looking at 100% crops here. Small differences like this in detail rendering really only come into play if you plan to display your images at very large sizes.

JPEG out of camera, High quality setting (all settings default)
ISO 100 studio scene 100% crop
Digital Photo Professional ->JPEG (Default settings)
ISO 100 studio scene 100% crop
Adobe ACR 7.1 Raw ->JPEG (Default settings)
ISO 100 studio scene 100% crop
DxO Optics Pro 7.5.3 Raw ->JPEG (Default settings)
ISO 100 studio scene 100% crop

Resolution

The resolution chart confirms the observations we've made when looking at the crops above. DPP applies more aggressive sharpening than the out-of-camera JPEGs (notice the more prominent edge halos) while Adobe ACR's sharpening is more subtle with a smaller radius, resulting in the ability to resolve marginally finer detail. And DxO's sharpening again gets the nod with slightly crisper edge separation, all the while avoiding edge halos. Notice that along with their detail gains, both ACR and DxO display slightly more prominent moiré.

JPEG from camera Digital Photo Professional (raw)
Adobe Camera Raw DxO Optics Pro 7

Real-world advantages

While Canon provides generally pleasing image processing defaults, one of the benefits to shooting in raw mode is the ability to fine-tune settings post-capture in order to gain maximum image quality. With custom sharpening settings you can enhance image detail while avoiding edge halos. Chromatic aberration (CA) along high contrast edges can also be easily removed post-capture.

Camera JPEG Raw + ACR 7.1 Sharpening set to Amount 57, Radius 1.0 and Detail 25; CA removal enabled and Vibrance set to +25
100% crops

In low light conditions, having access to the raw file allows for a more subtle approach to chroma and luminance noise reduction, when compared to the camera's default settings. You also have the luxury of adjusting white balance to taste.

The image below was shot handheld at ISO 6400. As you can see below, the 650D's standard NR setting combined with the JPEG compression, can lead to false colors and more prominent artifacts. By making a quick adjustment in ACR we can largely eliminate color noise and reduce luminance noise to a degree without making the image overly soft. We also made a small white balance adjustment for a slightly cooler, more neutral rendering.

Camera JPEG Raw + ACR 7.1 Custom WB, Luminance NR +10 and Color NR Detail +40 (all other settings at their defaults)
100% crops, ISO 6400

Raw files for download

Don't just take our word for it though. Below you can download EOS 650D raw files of 'real-world' scenes for yourself, and run them through your preferred raw conversion software and settings. If you want to take a closer look at the 650D's studio scene shots, you can download original raw files from our image quality comparison raw page.

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