Raw comparison (Adobe Camera Raw)

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:

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 (Auto mode disabled) / Capture One
  • 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

Sony DSLR-A550 vs Canon EOS 500D (Rebel T1i)

Camera settings:

  • Sony Alpha 550: Sony 50 mm F1.4 lens, Aperture Priority, ISO 200 Raw,
    Manual WB, Default Parameters (Standard), Self-Timer

  • Canon EOS 500D: Canon 50 mm F1.4 lens (@F8), Aperture Priority, ISO 100
    JPEG Large/Fine, Manual WB, Default Parameters (Standard), Self-Timer
Sony DSLR A550

Canon EOS 500D

8.5 MB JPEG (4592 x 3056)
5.1 MB JPEG (4032 x 3024)

Switching to raw and developing with ACR doesn't make a huge difference to either camera's sharpness / detail. At the moment very few raw converters fully support the A550, making it difficult to assess ACR's relative performance - as shown earlier you can get fractionally more detail using Iridient Digital Raw Developer. The EOS 500D has better pixel-level sharpness but if you increase the sharpening on the A550 file the 'real world' differences are minimal.