Sony DSLR-A560 RAW
Sony A560 High ISO RAW Image Quality
We've recently started looking at RAW files converted with dcraw, an excellent freeware raw converter. dcraw usually offers timely support for the latest cameras, but more importantly, it does not apply any noise-reduction, sharpening or other corrections such as geometric distortion correction to the output files. (We found that Adobe Camera Raw still applies some limited noise-reduction when its NR settings are set to zero, and it also applies other corrections depending on the make and model of the camera). There will always be differences between RAW converters, in terms of the sort of demosaicing algorithms they use (the processes by which they convert the separate Red, Green, and Blue data sets to an array of full-color RGB pixels), but dcraw seems to use a fairly generic algorithm that delivers good sharpness with relatively few artifacts, and can be counted on to not apply any noise reduction if you don't want it to.
Below are crops from Sony A560 high ISO RAW files compared to RAW files from other cameras such as Canon T1i, Nikon D5000 and Sony NEX-5 converted with dcraw.
Here, we can see all the cameras in this group perform similarly well, with perhaps the Canon T1i and Nikon D5000 just slightly edging out the two Sonys at higher ISOs. The Sony A560 and NEX-5 likely share the same sensor, so it's no surprise that they produce very similar results.
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