Canon PowerShot G1 X Gordon Laing, March 2012

Canon PowerShot G1 X JPEG vs RAW

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To compare real-life performance between RAW and JPEG files on the Canon PowerShot G1 X, I shot this scene in the camera's RAW+JPEG mode.

The sensitivity was set to the minimum 100 ISO and the aperture to f5.6.

The JPEG was processed using the in-camera defaults, while the RAW file was processed using Canon's Digital Photo Professional software, supplied with the camera using the default settings.



  Canon G1 X results
1 Canon G1 X vs G12 vs T3i / 600D Quality
2 Canon G1 X vs GX1 Quality
3 Canon G1 X RAW vs JPEG
4 Canon G1 X vs G12 Noise
5 Canon G1 X vs T3i / 600D Noise
6 Canon G1 X Sample images

The PowerShot G1 X may have a large sensor that's similar in specification to a DSLR sensor, but in my tests its RAW files proved quite different to work with. Open one in Canon's supplied Digital Photo Professional software and you may be surprised to find the default Unsharp Mask setting at its highest value of 10, compared to, say, 3 for a typical EOS DSLR. And yet with these default settings they deliver final images with a similar degree of sharpness. Reduce the G1 X sharpening on the RAW file and the image quickly becomes very soft, and conversely increasing the sharpening on the EOS RAW file introduces undesirable artefacts.

On this page, I try and develop the RAW file to look better than the JPEG, but I admit I struggled here. Maybe DPP was at fault, but I just couldn't get the converted RAW file to look as good as the JPEG straight out the camera, and after much tweaking I was also getting the feeling the RAW file somehow wasn't as adaptable as one from an EOS DSLR. This doesn't make a great deal of sense to me, but I'm simply reporting what I found in my own tests. Your mileage may vary and of course there are other RAW converters to try, not to mention additional benefits to shooting in RAW such as easy control over white balance after the event.

Another important benefit of shooting in RAW is greater latitude for tonal adjustments and highlight recovery. While there weren't any areas in this image to really benefit from this, I did manage to retrieve blown highlights on the white feathers of seagulls which were irretrievable on the accompanying JPEG.

But two observations I kept coming back to while playing with the G1 X's RAW files were that the optics were already very well corrected for fringing and the in-camera JPEG engine was doing a great job with the image data.

Next up, some low light comparisons in my G1 X Noise results, or for some high res downloads, check out my G1 X sample images.


Canon PowerShot G1 X
(JPEG using in-camera defaults)
Canon PowerShot G1 X
(RAW using Digital Photo Professional defaults)
f5.6, 100 ISO
f5.6, 100 ISO
f5.6, 100 ISO
f5.6, 100 ISO
f5.6, 100 ISO
f5.6, 100 ISO
f5.6, 100 ISO
f5.6, 100 ISO

Canon G1 X results : Quality vs G12 vs T3i / 600D / Quality vs GX1 / RAW vs JPEG / Noise vs G12
/ Noise vs T3i / 600D

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