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RAW Format

Supplied software

Although Ricoh does supply a basic raw conversion application in the form of Irodio Photo and Video Studio I would imagine most users will be shelling out for something more sophisticated (the GX100 uses the 'universal' DNG format for raw files, so plays happily with any recent version of Photoshop CS, Photoshop Elements or Lightroom, or one of the growing number of third party options). Note that the supplied Irodio software is Windows only; Mac (or Linux) users will need to look elsewhere.

Irodio Photo and Video Studio is a slightly clunky but fairly well equipped photo browser and editor with a simple but usable raw conversion module. This allows you to set white balance, exposure/contrast, and sharpness and noise reduction and to save the result as a JPEG or 16-bit TIFF. The results aren't fantastic, but this is more to do with the GX100 than the raw converter.

JPEG & RAW Resolution compared

Although the camera's processing engine manages to capture a lot of high contrast resolution, and with the fairly strong sharpening applied by default the output does look very crisp. Adobe's camera raw produces softer results at its default setting, but there is even more resolution here (it's beyond Nyquist so you also get strange demosaicing errors and artefacts - and there's quite a bit of moiré too). As noted below shooting raw is the only way to get images without excessive noise reduction, though there's a limit to what you can do with the resultant files. The supplied raw converter (from Irodio) also squeezes a little more detail out of the res chart, but the output is very soft and shows even more artefacts.

Adobe Camera Raw, RAW -> TIFF (Default)
Irodio, RAW -> TIFF (Default)
Camera JPEG

Studio shot comparison

Although, as mentioned above, there is a small resolution advantage over JPEG, the big difference is the one common to all raw files; the ability to control the processing of images yourself, to set the white balance after the shot is taken, to choose how much (or how little) sharpening and noise reduction is used. As the 100% crops below show, the GX100 is doing some noise reduction (and a lot of sharpening) in-camera. At ISO 1600 you can see (particularly in the Irodio version) just how much noise the camera's processor is having to deal with, and that even shooting raw won't bring back the lost detail.

Adobe Camera Raw (ACR 3.7)
Default settings DNG-JPEG
ISO 64 studio scene 100% crops
JPEG out of camera,
Fine quality setting
ISO 64 studio scene 100% crops
Irodio RAW
Default settings DNG-JPEG
ISO 64 studio scene 100% crops

Adobe Camera Raw (ACR 3.7)
Default settings DNG-TIFF
ISO 1600 studio scene 100% crops

JPEG out of camera
Fine quality setting
ISO 1600 studio scene 100% crops
Irodio RAW
Default settings DNG-JPEG
ISO 1600 studio scene 100% crops
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