RAW conversion

As is normal in our digital SLR reviews I like to compare the supplied RAW conversion software, any optional manufacturer RAW conversion software and some third party RAW converter. At the time of testing the only third party tool which could read Sony DSC-R1 RAW files was a Beta version of Adobe Camera RAW 3.3.

  • JPEG - Large/Fine, Default settings
  • IDC - Sony Image Data Converter SR 1.0
  • ACR - Adobe Camera RAW 3.3 Beta (Photoshop CS2)

Color reproduction

Place your mouse over the label below the image to see the GretagMacbeth ColorChecker chart converted using each RAW converter. Unsurprisingly Image Data Converter SR delivered an identical color response to JPEG from the camera, Adobe Camera RAW taking a much more muted (and perhaps more gamut-friendly) approach to color rendering. The other primary difference is the rendering of greens, with Sony delivering more 'foliage friendly' green hues.


Sharpness and Detail

Confirmation again that Image Data Converter uses the same 'engine' as the camera, results are identical. At first it does look as though the camera/IDC has retrieved more detail than Adobe Camera RAW, however a closer look reveals that there is in fact just as much (if not more) information available in the ACR image and that the JPEG / IDC images suffer from fairly basic (unsophisticated) sharpening with lumpy details and halo artifacts.





As expected Image Data Converter SR produces the same results as a JPEG direct from the camera, a very respectable performance but with noticeable red/green moire between 1800 and 2400 LPH. A nice clean performance by Adobe Camera RAW, no noticeable moire, no sharpening halos and great resolution.

JPEG from camera Image Data Converter SR
Adobe Camera RAW  

Noise Reduction

Both Image Data Converter SR and Adobe Camera RAW have noise reduction features which can be user controlled. In IDC there is a 'Noise Reduction' slider which even when set to its minimum -100 appears to still apply some noise reduction, at the maximum +100 the image is quite obviously smoothed with detail loss. Adobe Camera RAW provides control of Luminance (LS) and Color noise reduction (CNR).

The test image below was shot at ISO 1600 (1/640 sec F8), crops are a 100% portion of the same RAW file converted using Image Data Converter SR and Adobe Camera RAW, the top row of crops using the minimum level of noise reduction, the next row the default level of noise reduction, the bottom row the 'best case' (max in the case of IDC).

Image Data Converter SR Adobe Camera RAW *
IDC, NR -100 (min) ACR, LS 0, CNR 0 (min)
IDC, NR 0 (default) - same as in-camera JPEG ACR, LS 0, CNR 25 (default)
IDC, NR +100 (max) ACR, LS 50, CNR 50

* Adobe Camera RAW; LS = Luminance Smoothing, CNR = Color Noise Reduction