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Raw and Raw Conversion

Supplied software

The PowerShot G11 is provided with the Canon EOS Solutions Disk which includes:

  • Canon Digital Photo Professional 3.7 - Advanced image processing tool, described below.

  • Canon ZoomBrowser EX 6.4 - 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. (Image Browser on Mac platform)
     
  • Canon PhotoStitch 3.1 - Panorama stitching utility. 

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. It combines file browsing with RAW conversion, including exposure, white balance and noise reduction fine-tuning. It also includes a variety of options for reducing chromatic aberrations. Luminance and chroma noise reduction can be set independently, allowing a good level of control over the noise/detail balance in high ISO shots.
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.

RAW conversion

As is the case in our DSLR reviews, we will compare the appearance of the camera's JPEG output to that of the supplied RAW converter and Adobe's Camera Raw converter which, as a part of Photoshop, Photoshop Elements or Lightroom is probably the most widely-used third-party converter.

  • JPEG - Large/Fine, Default settings
  • DPP - Digital Photo Professional 3.7
  • ACR - Adobe Camera RAW 5.6

Color reproduction

Place your mouse over the label below the image to see the color from a GretagMacbeth ColorChecker chart produced using each RAW converter. As we would expect there is hardly any difference between JPEG from the camera and Digital Photo Professional. Adobe Camera Raw now features profiles for some cameras that attempt to mimic the camera maker's color response. We have included both the default Adobe profile and the one that attempts to offer Canon color.

Canon PowerShot G11 Compare to:  
      
      
      
      
Vivid GreenVivid RedMyColors OffVivid
NeutralSepiaBlack and WhitePositive Film
Lighter Skin ToneDarker Skin ToneVivid Blue

Sharpness and Detail

DPP (top) is over-sharpening the image to the extent that artefacts are starting to appear. ACR, meanwhile, isn't representing as much detail as the JPEGs, when using the default sharpening levels. Upping the sharpening in ACR (using a small radius and relatively high amount), can match the JPEG but we were only able to pull out a fraction more detail than the JPEG, even when trying to match the sharpening to the specific subject.

Digital Photo Professional -> TIFF (Default settings, manual WB)
ISO 80 studio scene 100% crops
Adobe ACR 5.6 RAW ->JPEG (Camera Standard Profile, manual WB)
ISO 80 studio scene 100% crops
Adobe ACR 5.6 RAW ->JPEG (Default settings, manual WB)
ISO 80 studio scene 100% crops
JPEG out of camera, Fine quality setting (all settings default)
ISO 80 studio scene 100% crop

Resolution

These crops demonstrate that more detail is available from the RAW converters than can be obtained from JPEG. That said, a lot of this detail could be described as 'false' (produced beyond Nyquist), although frankly the majority of the time this is useful as it improves the appearance of 'texture'. The ACR output is significantly softer than either the JPEG or the output from DPP but this is, in part, a result of DPP's over-keen approach to sharpening.

JPEG from camera Digital Photo Professional (RAW)
 
Adobe Camera RAW 5.6 (RAW)  

Real word advantages

Because Canon's JPEG engine is really quite good (if, perhaps, a little keen on sharpening), there's little resolution advatge to be gained by processing from RAW. Indeed DPP's default treatment of the G11's output isn't as good as the JPEG results because it significantly over-sharpens the results to the extent of leaving rather unpleasant artefacts.

However, there are benefits to be had from processing high ISO images from RAW. The camera itself offers no control over the level of noise reduction being applied (which is an unusual omission on a camera aimed at a fairly sophisticated audience), and its default settings are not exactly optimal. Thankfully, DPP allows separate control of chroma and luminance noise reduction, alllowing you to fairly easily produce images as you'd prefer them.

Here we compare the camera's JPEg output (which gives no control over noise reduction), to a DPP conversion that places less emphasis on the luminance noise reduction. We've also pulled the rather high default sharpening down.

JPEG from Camera
 
DPP conversion
Luminance noise reduction: 6
Chroma noise reduction: 15
Sharpening 1
 
DPP conversion
Luminance noise reduction: 0
Chroma noise reduction: 15
Sharpening 1
 

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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