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 an 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. Lighting: daylight simulation, >98% CRI. Crops are 100%. Ambient temperature was approximately 22°C (~72°F).

Olympus E-520 vs. Pentax K200D

Camera settings:

  • Olympus E-520: Olympus 50 mm F2.0 lens, Aperture Priority, ISO 100
    JPEG Large/SHQ, Manual WB, Default Parameters (Standard), Self-Timer
  • Pentax K200D: Pentax FA 50 mm F1.4 lens, Aperture Priority, ISO 100
    JPEG Large/Fine, Manual WB, Default Parameters, Self-Timer
Olympus E-520
Pentax K200D
2.6 MB (3648 x 2736)
2.8 MB JPEG (3872 x 2592)

It's a tribute to the engineers at Olympus that they've managed to get just about everything that is in the E520's RAW file into the JPEG. This is particularly important in a camera at this level, where many users will not want to heavily process their files to get the best out of them. By contrast, Adobe Camera Raw has been able to pull much more detail out of the Pentax RAW file than the camera's JPEG engine could. And there certainly appears to be more detail in there than the Olympus is capturing.