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Compared to...

Studio scene comparison (RAW)

For a (more) level playing field for comparison we also shot our studio scene in RAW mode with each camera and converted it using Adobe Camera RAW. Because Adobe Camera RAW applies different levels of sharpening to different cameras (this confirmed) we had to use the following workflow for these conversions:

  • Load RAW file into Adobe Camera RAW (Auto mode disabled)
  • Set Sharpness to 0 (all other settings default)
  • Open file to Photoshop
  • Apply a Unsharp mask: 80%, Radius 1.0, Threshold 0
  • Save as a TIFF (for cropping) and as a JPEG quality 11 for download

This is our standard studio scene comparison shot taken from exactly the same tripod position. Lighting: daylight simulation, >98% CRI. Crops are 100%. Ambient temperature was approximately 22°C (~72°F). Camera settings as per previous pages.

And, so that you can try subjecting the images to your own noise reduction and image processing workflow, you can download the following RAW files (Caution: Very large files):

Nikon D3X (RAW) vs. Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III (RAW)

Nikon D3X (RAW)
Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III (RAW)
6.2 MB JPEG (6048 x 4032)
4.8 MB JPEG (5616 x 3744)

Switching to a standard RAW converter (in this case our benchmark; Adobe Camera RAW) means that the image processing pipeline is equalized between the cameras. Both cameras get a sharpness and detail boost, but it's more noticeable on the Canon (basically the Nikon JPEGs are so good there's little more to see in the RAW output). Overall the two cameras produce very similar results, with just slight variations between their tonal and color responses; any differences in detail or sharpness are mostly attributable to the optics on the front of the camera and the D3X's slight resolution advantage.

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