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Software - RAW conversion

Supplied software

Kodak has put a lot more effort into providing a usable RAW converter than many of its competitors, and although it doesn't offer anything like the fine control of something like Adobe Camera Raw, it does at least allow you to tweak exposure, contrast, sharpness, noise reduction and white balance. One neat touch is that once you've made the changes you can save the result as a new RAW file (.kdc format), and go back and tweak the settings in the future as all the original RAW information is still contained in the file. Interestingly, the copy of EasyShare supplied with our review camera wasn't actually able to open the RAW files - we had to download an update from the Kodak.com website.

So then, a far better effort than the likes of Panasonic and Samsung provide with their RAW -capable cameras - in functionality terms at least.

Kodak's EasyShare software has developed over the last few years into a fairly well-specified application offering browsing, printing, sharing and a decent smattering of simple image editing tools. And naturally, it's very easy to use. RAW images appear as thumbnails like any other file.
Double click on a raw file and it opens full screen in the raw developer. The preview image is low res, but there's enough detail to work with. Buttons along the top of the window take you to various editing options; rotate, picture detail, 'one click enhance, scene balance (shadow & highlight exposure), white balance and scene effects.
Selecting the correct white balance is a simple case of clicking on one of the presets, or going 'manual' and choosing your own gray point. As with all corrections the preview image is split vertically, showing 'before and after'.

Scene balance lets you adjust overall exposure, and also has sliders for shadow and highlight levels, plus a 'flare correction' slider (essentially a contrast adjustment).
'Picture detail' has two sliders - noise suppression and sharpness. A small rectangle can be moved around the preview frame, the contents of which are shown at full resolution in the left hand panel.

JPEG & RAW Resolution compared

As the crops below show, the P880 is capturing a little more resolution than the out-of-camera JPEGs would suggest, and the good news is that the sharper lens means that there's much less of the excessive sharpening we saw with the P850. Processing the files as usual produces a slightly softer result, but one that's a lot cleaner and has marginally more resolution - ideal for post processing.

Adobe Camera Raw
RAW -> TIFF (Default)
Manual White balance
ACR 3.3

JPEG from camera

EasyShare Raw -> TIFF (Default)
Manual White balance

Studio shot comparison

Looking at our studio shots it's obvious that you can get a little more detail out of raw files than JPEGs, but it's not a huge difference, and is to some extent masked by the fairly strong in-camera sharpening. The Adobe Camera Raw (ACR) files are slightly noisier, and don't have the strong colors you'd normally associate with Kodak cameras, but they are less processed looking and have slightly more detail, producing very impressive results if you're prepared to do some post-processing on them. As usual processing ISO 400 shots through ACR shows the true extent of the noise in the image, but it's not unmanageable, and at least allows you to make your own decisions.

So, not a lot in it when it comes to detail, but in truth, the real appeal of raw capture for P880 users is that you can alter white balance, exposure and sharpening / noise reduction after the shot has been taken, and that you can choose to live with a little more noise at higher ISO settings for the sake of sharper, more detailed images.

Adobe Camera Raw, RAW -> TIFF (manual white balance, all other settings default) ACR 3.3 Beta
ISO 50 studio scene 100% crops
EasyShare software , RAW -> TIFF (manual white balance, all other settings default)
ISO 50 studio scene 100% crops
JPEG out of camera, Fine quality setting
ISO 50 studio scene 100% crops
Adobe Camera Raw, RAW -> TIFF (manual white balance, all other settings default) ACR 3.3 Beta
ISO 400 studio scene 100% crops
EasyShare software , RAW -> TIFF (manual white balance, all other settings default)
ISO 400 studio scene 100% crops
JPEG out of camera, Fine quality setting
ISO 400 studio scene 100% crops
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