Compared to... Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX3 (Adobe Camera 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:

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.

In both cases we used our standard workflow (sharpening turned off in the raw converter and applied at an equal level in Photoshop before saving as JPEG):

  • Load RAW file into Adobe Camera RAW
  • Set Sharpness to zero (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

In this instance, because it more accurately matched the JPEG's brightness levels, we have processed the S90 using the 'Camera Standard' profile in ACR that attempts to match the manufacturer's rendering of colors.

Compared to... Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX3

Canon PowerShot S90 (ACR 5.7 RC)
Panasonic DMC-LX3 (ACR 5.6)
ISO 80, 1/30 sec, F5
ISO 80, 1/100 sec, F3.5
3.5 MB JPEG (3648 x 2736)
4.0 MB JPEG (3648 x 2736)

The LX3 benefits considerably more from the switch to raw than the S90. This is partly because the S90's JPEG files are better to begin with, but mostly, we suspect, because Adobe Camera Raw's output (here using ACR 5.7 RC - which is a little better than 5.6) doesn't do the S90's raw files justice. In fact we know this is the case because - as covered in the raw section of the review - we can easily produce better results using a different converter (or even just using a lot more sharpening in ACR).