In-Camera JPEGs vs JPEGs from RAW files

It's often the case that a good third-party RAW converter can extract a lot more detail from a camera's RAW files than the camera's own internal processor can. RAW conversion software also generally gives you much more control over how to make the tradeoff between subject detail and noise suppression, better control over the sharpening process, and better control over tonal rendition.

Much of this appears to be the case with the Canon PowerShot G9. While it does deliver very nice JPEGs right out of the camera, Adobe Camera Raw (as just one example of a third-party RAW converter program) manages to find quite a bit more subject detail, particularly at low ISO settings.

Canon G9 JPEG vs RAW Comparison
ISO 80 - 400
ACR RAW, Sharpened
Image Browser RAW
ISO 80
ISO 100
ISO 200
ISO 400
The above crops compare low ISO JPEG images with RAW files processed via Adobe Camera Raw and Canon's Image Browser that ships with the G9.
  • The first column are crops from camera JPEGs.
  • The second are RAW files with no sharpening applied.
  • The third column is the RAW file sharpened in Photoshop with USM=250, radius=0.4 pixels.
  • The fourth are RAW files converted with Image Browser's RAW Image Task using default settings.

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