Olympus Master 2.0 - simple image transfer, browsing, basic editing, simple RAW
conversion, printing and sharing.
Olympus Studio 2.0 Trial - a 30 day trial copy of Olympus's more advanced image
editing and RAW conversion application.
As is normal in our digital SLR reviews we like to compare the supplied RAW conversion software and some third party RAW converter. Previous versions of Olympus Studio have offered two different RAW development engines; High Speed or High Function. The High Speed engine was the same as used in Olympus Master, however the High Function engine took longer but generally produced better results. With the advent of version 2.0 of both Master and Studio it appears as though they now both use the same development engine (results are pixel identical), there is no option in Studio to select a different engine. Hence here we have only used Olympus Studio along with Adobe Camera RAW 4.3.
JPEG - Large/Fine, Default settings
Studio - Olympus Studio 2.0
ACR - Adobe Camera RAW 4.3 (default)
Place your mouse over the label below the image to see the color from a GretagMacbeth ColorChecker chart produced using each RAW converter. There is almost no difference between a RAW converted using Olympus Studio (or Master) and a JPEG straight from the camera, obviously both the RAW conversion engine and camera using the same tone and color mapping.
Sharpness and Detail
Studio produces output (using the default settings) that is very similar to the camera's own JPEGs indeed (remember all these crops come from the same exposure, not different shots), and you still get slightly jagged artefacts around the clipped highlights. There is no resolution gain at all to be had by shooting raw and developing using Studio (though of course you can increase sharpening).
ACR, which by default applies less sharpening, produces an even softer result. There simply doesn't appear to be any detail hidden away in these raw files.
So let's see whether the resolution chart paints a different picture. As the crops below show, Studio is obviously designed to emulate the camera's JPEG output by default, and the resolution it pulls from chart is identical. ACR's less sharpened output is no better; though it shows a little less moiré it also appears to have marginally less resolution too.
For comparison in the table below I've included the res chart from the Panasonic DMC-L10 processed through Adobe Camera Raw using the same settings. Although there are some moiré and demosaicing issues at very high frequencies it's obvious that the L10's lighter anti-alias filter gives you a lot more resolution to play with, something that could be important in critical shooting situations.