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Old 24th of August 2007 (Fri)   #1
Ikari
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Default Powershot S3 jpg-raw comparison

I've been doing some research shots with S3's raw. At the first time I was using Drifft to convert all raw files into (unfortunately only) .tiff, since it cannot produce the .dng format (though it also made dng and jpg folders instead of tiff). After couple shots, I still couldn't find a consistent conversion results since drifft wasn't previewing some settings. I was only getting one very nice iso400, low light, indoor shot result compared to the jpg's, with a significant difference in noise grain (all the raw are almost always have finer, relatively smaller grains of noise). The other shots were not promising at all. I was about to give up, but eventually found the "DNG for Powershot 1.1.4". It was very relieving to get the program works without any problems. Working with .dng, bring it into photoshop's ACR, the adjustments sliders are abundant and also previewable.

The whole new world begins. The raws are just what they are promised to be. I took extreme test shots outdoor under harsh midday sunlight, and low-light indoor. I managed to recover things more than I expected. In photoshop's dialogues, all settings are left unadjusted but the "sharpness", "recover", "contrast", and "noise reduction" are properly adjusted (except for contrast is almost always set to minimum, and sometimes the recover is set to maximum, and maybe due to default ACR's noise reduction the noise is significantly lower compared to Drifft's. But if you're lucky enough to own more advanced programs like neat image etc., I'd recommend you to leave 100% noise reduction to them).

Unlike once said that small sensors are just useless for its raw, it surprised me that those sayings are not completely true. Completely white surfaces reveal their textures and colors, unsaturated shadows reveal their true colors, lightings are more balanced, and noise characteristics are also a lot friendlier to manipulate. However, some cons are also emerging. The appearance of chromatic aberration in some unexpected places, possible occasional aliasing in some edges, possible highlight banding due to "over-recovery", hot-pixels in long exposures, and sometimes a lot softer images compared to the original jpg. The unsharp mask with 100% strength and 2.0 pixel radius is closing the gap, but not as good. I'm still researching on that.
Watch closely to my sample image attachments. 4 crops of each jpg and raw, side by side.
The first 2 are high contrast outdoor shot, the next 2 are low-light long exposure indoor (15 sec).

If I may summarize the characteristics of S3's original jpgs:
1. No matter how you set the in-camera-contrast adjustment, the whole images are always processed relatively in high contrast (that's why I won't set the contrast higher than 2 - it will hide things even more in hilites and shadows), results are lower dynamic range.
2. Low-light images or even most deep shadows in bright images are highly desaturated, losing their original colors that you can't recover no matter what (btw, the iso800 itself desaturated around 25%). Try boosting up the brightness or gamma and also the saturation of my jpg versions, or shoot and find it yourself.

Have a nice try yourself! Sorry for the long post...
Attached Images
File Type: jpg s3 jpg-raw comparison1.jpg (77.1 KB, 63 views)
File Type: jpg s3 jpg-raw comparison2.jpg (51.9 KB, 63 views)
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Old 25th of August 2007 (Sat)   #2
PacAce
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Default Re: Powershot S3 jpg-raw comparison

Maybe I'm missing something here but as far as I know, the Powershot S3 does not support the creation of raw files. So, were you referring to some other camera, perhaps?
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Old 25th of August 2007 (Sat)   #3
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Default Re: Powershot S3 jpg-raw comparison

Hacked S3?
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Old 25th of August 2007 (Sat)   #4
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Default Re: Powershot S3 jpg-raw comparison

Quote:
Originally Posted by cdifoto View Post
Hacked S3?
I thought you were kidding but I just found out that there really is a RAW hack for the S3 IS.
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Old 27th of August 2007 (Mon)   #5
Ikari
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Default Powershot S3 jpg-raw comparison, update

Wow, I'd never be kidding about anything like this. I'd swear by my own S3!

Anyway, the next other time I tried indoor long-exposures (from 1 to 10 secs, iso 800 to 80), lit by fluorescent light equivalent to 85W (not too dark, but the camera needed to lower its speed below 1 sec and get on a tripod), and the results are too disappointing, that are quite similar both the raw and jpg and sometimes opposing any credits of my previous research. The raw didn't recover anything in highlight areas, and sometimes even losing some important details in shadows! I can't figure out why it seems that the raw is far superior and usable only in highly contrast scenes (where you can still recover shadow or highlight details), or in a very low light ones (for shadow details and colors' saturation). I've tried such conditions over and over again and it's pretty consistent.

It's less powerful in balanced, adequate lighting, where you can already have wonderful camera jpgs by default (especially with iso80 - yes, iso80, you may end up in raw with hard-to-rid hot pixels and annoying noise). In an already-wonderful jpg, overall sharpness is something that the raw can't match by any standard sharpening methods, other than maybe photoshop cs series' "smart sharpen" with "remove: lens blur", which reaching equally sharp, but without strong viewable halos around edges. By far it's the best I've ever tried.
Another story with iso800, with proper lightings they are still good, but if you can manage to get rid of intrusive noise (with extensive, multiple, boring, time-consuming filterings) the raw is still nice by it's small and a bit more uniform grains (the jpgs have slightly bigger grains and less uniform, and even a bit better in shadow area noise), but it's not that significant. Unfortunately, I think, those fine results are only achievable with expensive, multiple tools like a combination of photoshop's filtering and neat image. Such time and resource consumption definitely not recommended for ordinary-day shots.

Another next shot is an outdoor one, I was trying to recover a very bright highlight in white, shiny floor. I can only recover slight lines with aliasing and banding. White and shiny floor is likely something terrible for the camera, even for its raw shots. Those slight lines are recovered when the shot was set at 2x speed (equivalent to -1 EV), so it was twice the darkness. Brighter than that I'd have recovered nothing at all. Disappointing. However, like I said before, you can still get a better shadow detail and color saturation in such dark images. It is the only advantage.

One more less significant note: in the raw images (whatever shooting condition is), edges in shadows are somehow by default sharper than its edges in highlight, so if you sharpen the whole images by referring to the highlight and get equal sharpness to the jpg's, the shadow details will be sharper than the jpg's.

I haven't found the exact overall formula yet.
Have a nice try!
Attached Images
File Type: jpg jpg-raw comparison-iso80+800 indoor.jpg (99.3 KB, 41 views)
File Type: jpg jpg-raw comparison-iso80 outdoor.jpg (99.3 KB, 40 views)
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