Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Fuji X10 – JPEG versus RAW (ACR)

ACR 6.6 has finally arrived and it supports the Fuji X10! Hallelujah!

I see some weird comments about noise and such and I wonder to myself, are you seriously saying that you prefer the JPEG output to what could be achieved in RAW? I find that ludicrous, so I thought I should check this out. After all, what if they are right?

I went back to an often used well with and their X10 samples gallery. I selected a challenging image, the low light mannequin shot at 3200 ISO, about the highest ISO that might not look too bad if processed well. Imaging Resource typically post jpeg and RAW for every image in the ISO series now, so we have the perfect test bed for the comparison.

Conversion of the RAW file was trivial. It required no work on the dials, and the white balance was nailed. I did not touch anything except the sharpness panel. There, I carefully balanced sharpening against luminance NR. The default chroma NR worked fine.

And the results are stunning …

Seriously, ACR destroyed the built in jpeg engine. Massive clumping and smearing, excess smoothing, mottling everywhere, and funky white balance. All cured in ACR, and as I said, this was what came up by default with only a few tweaks in the NR panel.

If that small amount of left over grain bothers you, then you are far too sensitive. That is a very fine grain and it disappears at any normal web or print size.

So they look like this at web sizes:



No contest at all … this, by the way, is why I shoot the F550EXR in RAW all the time.