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

Pentax K200D (RAW) vs. Olympus E-520 (RAW)

Pentax K200D
Olympus E-520
2.8 MB JPEG (3872 x 2592)
2.6 MB (3648 x 2736)

Shooting RAW reveals what the Pentax K200D is really capable of. You get more detail and and a visibly cleaner image than you would get from the JPEG engine. Artifacts and jagged lines have largely disappeared, the colors are slightly more muted.

In contrast the Olympus' RAW output does not show any significant improvements over its JPEG images. On the one hand this means the E-520's JPEG engine works pretty efficiently, making the most out of the RAW data. On the other hand the Olympus is simply not capturing as much detail as the K200D.