Olympus Master 2 - simple image transfer, browsing, basic editing, simple RAW
conversion, printing and sharing.
Olympus Studio 2 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 compare the supplied RAW conversion software and some third party RAW converter. The development engines in Olympus Master and Olympus Studio produce exactly identical results and therefore here we have only used Olympus Studio along with a beta version of Adobe Camera RAW 4.5 which supports the E-420.
JPEG - Large/Fine, Default settings
Studio - Olympus Studio 2.11
ACR - Adobe Camera RAW 4.5 Beta
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
The output from Olympus Studio with default settings is virtually identical to the an out-of-camera JPEG. Note some jagged pixelation on the arc on the left hand side (a little stronger on the Studio output than on the JPEG but visible in both images). Adobe Camera RAW delivers slightly softer output with marginally more detail but no artifacts.
Olympus Studio's RAW conversion engine is clearly designed to emulate JPEG from the camera but there are still some subtle (but visible) differences in the image output. While resolution is identical (softness is caused by the AA filter rather than noise reduction) there is more color moiré in the Studio output. In conclusion, while Olympus Studio gives you the flexibility to adjust parameters after shooting it won't give you any better image quality than your out-of-cam JPEG.
Adobe Camera RAW 4.5 Beta delivered the cleanest image without any moire but slightly softer and no more resolution.