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Software (contd.) - RAW conversion

As is normal in our digital SLR reviews I like to compare the supplied RAW conversion software, any optional manufacturer RAW conversion software and some third party RAW converter. As you may or may not have read Nikon has chosen to alter its RAW file format by encrypting (or encoding depending on how you spin it) the white balance recorded at the time of exposure. This has meant that third party converters either can't open D50 RAW files or can't properly determine white balance. At the time of testing only Adobe Camera RAW would open D50 RAW files although it doesn't decode white balance correctly.

  • JPEG - Large/Fine, Default settings
  • PictureProject - Nikon PictureProject 1.5
  • Capture - Nikon Capture 4.3
  • Adobe Camera RAW - Adobe Camera RAW 3.1 (Photoshop CS2) *1

   *1 Because of the encryption issue we used the eyedropper to achieve correct white balance

Color reproduction

Place your mouse over the label below the image to see the GretagMacbeth ColorChecker chart converted using each RAW converter. There's absolutely no difference in color reproduction between PictureProject and Nikon Capture, this can probably be attributed to PictureProject using the image processing 'engine' from Nikon Capture to perform its RAW conversion. Between the two Nikon RAW converters and JPEG straight from the camera there's a slight difference in contrast but not actual color.

JPEG PictureProject Nikon Capture Adobe Camera RAW

Sharpness and Detail

The same results as we observed in our recent D2X review, the most detailed results from PictureProject and Nikon Capture closely followed by Adobe Camera RAW and in-camera JPEG. Bear in mind that sharpening for the in-camera JPEG was set to 'Auto' and so we can't be sure just how much sharpening is applied.

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Resolution

As you can see fairly different results from JPEG and RAW converted by PictureProject and Nikon Capture. The JPEG direct fro the camera exhibits noticeable moire and maze artifacts, however the RAW image converted using either Nikon application remove this completely although do still exhibit some moire. Adobe Camera RAW produces the cleanest image with no sharpening artifacts although does exhibit both moire and maze artifacts at the limit of resolution.

JPEG from camera PictureProject
Nikon Capture Adobe Camera RAW
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