Compared to...

Studio scene comparison (RAW)

For a (more) level playing field for comparison we also shot our studio scene in RAW mode with each camera and converted it using Adobe Camera RAW. Because Adobe Camera RAW applies different levels of sharpening to different cameras (this confirmed) we had to use the following workflow for these conversions:

  • Load RAW file into Adobe Camera RAW (Auto mode disabled)
  • Set Sharpness to 0 (all other settings default)
  • Open file to Photoshop
  • Apply a Unsharp mask: 80%, Radius 1.0, Threshold 0
  • Save as a TIFF (for cropping) and as a JPEG quality 11 for download

This is our standard studio scene comparison shot taken from exactly the same tripod position. Lighting: daylight simulation, >98% CRI. Crops are 100%. Ambient temperature was approximately 22°C (~72°F). Camera settings as per previous pages.

Please note that we have not included the Olympus E-620 in this RAW comparison because ACR 5.4 Beta currently does not produce the detail we would expect with the E-620 RAW-files and it would therefore be very unfair to the E-620 to use it for pixel-level comparisons. We will update these pages as soon as this issue gets fixed.

Canon EOS 500D (RAW) vs. Nikon D5000 (RAW)

Canon EOS 500D (RAW)
Nikon D5000 (RAW)
4.2MB JPEG (4752 x 3168)
3.4 MB JPEG (4288 x 2848)

Switching to our benchmark RAW converter, Adobe Camera RAW, equalizes image processing between the two cameras and allows us to get a much better idea of the level of detail actually captured. Both cameras gain some extra image detail from the RAW process but with the Nikon the difference is much more obvious. While the out-of-camera JPEGs are visibly softer than the 500D's when shooting in RAW the D5000, despite its lower nominal resolution, more or less catches up with the Canon in terms of image detail. Both cameras do an excellent job and it would be virtually impossible to spot a difference at normal print sizes.