Camera Testing

I spent some time on my day off last Friday taking shots with my Nikon D50 and Canon S100 to do a bunch of testing.

  • Compare the cameras 
  • Compare RAW and JPEG formats for the same picture
  • Compare features of Picasa, iPhoto, and Aperture for adjusting images

I’ve never used RAW format before but both cameras allow storing two versions of a picture: RAW and JPEG. I’d heard that RAW format is a truer picture in that the camera doesn’t perform a bunch of compression. It’s hard to show the comparison on the blog because the RAW formatted picture is converted to JPEG in order to be displayed. The RAW image picks up a lot more color nuance; it will be interesting to see if you can tell the difference here. Both images are from the same activation: 2 versions got created.

RAW Image (but compressed for display on the blog)
JPEG version from the same photo snap

No post processing on either image; maybe it’s my imagination but the RAW image just seems a little deeper. Click on the first image above to get a closer view; then arrow to the next version; notice the difference in the blue squiggles on the body of the rooster. The RAW is definitely closer to real life.

Hmm; maybe it’s the compression formula on the Canon S100. Let’s do the same review from the Nikon D50

Nikon RAW
Nikon JPEG

That’s enough evidence for me. I’m going to be shooting RAW from now on unless my SD card is running out of space or something.

As far as the pictures go; both cameras took good pictures. The Nikon allowed me to get a shallower depth of field. Could be I don’t know how to get the f-stop adjustments right on the Canon yet.

Then loaded the photos into Picasa, Aperture, and iPhoto to see how they worked. Picasa failed on the RAW images; it tried to load them but they ended up with a pink or purple cast on everything. I ended up liking Aperture a little better because I like how it displays the photo metadata (f stop; aperture; white balance, etc). iPhoto may be a little easier to work with but I think that is because Aperture has more features. In aperture I can magnify an image 1600 times and do pixel-by-pixel adjustments.

Here we have an original and then an adjustment after I cropped it and applied various enhancements.

Looks like I don’t have to be a good photographer; I just have to learn to process the pictures after the fact.

Update: March 4, 2012
I sold my Nikon D50 and purchased a Sony Alpha A55. Here is another RAW image of the same critter with the new camera. FWIW this one is closest to its real color.

Sony A55 RAW
Sony A55 JPEG

2 thoughts on “Camera Testing

  1. “Looks like I don't have to be a good photographer; I just have to learn to process the pictures after the fact.”

    That's what I always liked about slide film, it was all about light and what I could do with the camera (and maybe a filter or two).

  2. Definitely. It's probably too easy to be a picture taker these days; I can take dozens of pictures without worrying about paying for film and processing.

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