Comparison of 6 RAW engines

Started Mar 13, 2005 | Discussions thread
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Greg Kovacs Senior Member • Posts: 1,425
Comparison of 6 RAW engines

Being a RAW-only shooter since the 300D, I was happy every time I had the chance to try out a new software that was introduced to the market. The last couple of months brought us a lot of new developments in this area: established players upgraded their offerings and newcomers entered the field as well.

There are many ways to compare these software packages, such as user interface design, feature set, speed of conversion, price, etc. - each of us take different, subjective positions over these. However, the most important factor should be image quality - and I hope my results show that it can be judged (more) objectively.

In this test, I focused on three key components of a RAW conversion package which inevitably affect quality and are hard to correct later in post-processing:

WHITE BALANCE: RAW software SHOULD be able to set WB to a point in the image the user selects as gray,
COLOUR: RAW software SHOULD reproduce colours faithfully if WB is correct,

SHADOWS/HIGHLIGHTS: RAW software SHOULD be able to handle (and recover) shadows and highlights well when the under or overexposed image is corrected.

To test along these criteria, I chose an image that was about a stop underexposed for the subject and had absolutely white balance thanks to fluorescent lights screwing Canon's AWB. Here it is:

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Greg

 Greg Kovacs's gear list:Greg Kovacs's gear list
Sony a6400 Sony FE 50mm F1.8 Sony E 18-135mm F3.5-5.6 OSS
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