Canon PowerShot G15 Ken McMahon, November 2012

Canon G15 vs Nikon P7700 RAW Quality

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To compare real-life RAW performance I shot this scene with the Canon PowerShot G15 and the Nikon Coolpix P7700, within a few moments of each other using their RAW modes.

The zoom on both cameras was set to their maximum wide angles, 6.1mm on the G15 and 6mm on the P7700, providing an approximately equivalent field of view.

Image stabilisation was disabled for this tripod-mounted test and all other settings were left on the defaults.

  Canon PowerShot G15 results
1 Canon G15 Quality
2 Canon G15 Quality RAW
3 Canon G15 Noise
4 Canon G15 Noise RAW
5 Canon G15 Sample images

The image above was taken with the Canon PowerShot G15. The camera was set to Aperture priority mode with the aperture set to f4 and the sensitivity was set to 80 ISO. The PowerShot G15 metered an exposure of 1/125 at f4, which resulted in blown highlights in the sky and a histogram clipped on the right. In order to produce a correctly exposed result I adjusted exposure compensation by -2/3EV. Similarly the the Nikon Coolpix P7700 overexposed the scene and I adjusted its exposure by the same amount. This resulted in an exposure of 1/250 at f4 which most closely matched the result from the G15. The RAW image file size was 15.4MB.

I processed both files in Adobe Camera RAW using identical settings: Sharpening at 70 / 0.5 / 36 / 10, Luminance and Colour Noise Reduction both set to zero, and the Process to 2012 with the Adobe Standard profile. To further reduce any distracting visual differences between the crops I also set custom white balance to 6000K and tint to 0. These settings were chosen to reveal the differences in sensor quality and isolate them from in-camera processing. The high degree of sharpening with a small radius enhances the finest details without causing undesirable artefacts, while the zero noise reduction unveils what's really going on behind the scenes.

Just to note, at the time of writing you'll need the ACR 7.3 Release Candidate update to process PowerShot G15 RAW files, which is available from

Revealingly, these RAW crops show quite a bit more detail than the in-camera JPEGs on the previous page. They lack the softness of the G15's JPEGs, or at least, the fine detail and edges in these crops is clearer and more distinct. These crops also look more grainy than the JPEGs, but what they show is that, if you shoot RAW and process your own files, there's every chance of squeezing more detail from the G15's sensor than you'll get shooting with the best quality JPEG setting.

Compared with the RAW crops from the Nikon Coolpix P7700 processed in exactly the same way, there isn't as much of a quality gap as with the JPEG crops. The Coolpix P7700 still has the edge, with crisper, sharper edges and superior fine detail resolution, and the G15 crops still look a little soft in comparison, but the difference isn't nearly as noticeable. With these processing settings the P7700 crops also look grainier than those from the G15 and there's clearly some chromatic aberration that's being dealt with in-camera. But let's take nothing away from the P7700 which produces very good in-camera JPEGs from RAW data that reveals a very capable sensor and lens.

Now, it's time to examine their high ISO performance, starting with a JPEG comparison in my Canon G15 Noise results.


Canon PowerShot G15 RAW
Nikon Coolpix P7700 RAW
f4, 80 ISO
f4, 80 ISO
f4, 80 ISO
f4, 80 ISO
f4, 80 ISO
f4, 80 ISO
f4, 80 ISO
f4, 80 ISO

Canon PowerShot G15
results : Quality / RAW vs JPEG / Noise

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