Nikon 1 V1 Gordon Laing, December 2011

Nikon V1 RAW vs JPEG

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To compare real-life performance between RAW and JPEG files on the Nikon V1, 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, which I'd previously confirmed delivered the sharpest images.

The JPEG was processed using the in-camera defaults, while the RAW file was processed using Nikon's optional Capture NX 2, again using the default settings, although with a minor boost in sharpening from 3 to 4.
  Nikon V1 results
1 Nikon V1 vs NEX-5N vs E-P3 Quality
2 Nikon V1 vs S100 vs S95 Quality
3 Nikon V1 RAW vs JPEG
4 Nikon V1 vs S100 vs G3 Noise
5 Nikon V1 vs NEX-5N vs GX1 Noise
6 Nikon V1 Sample images

On the previous pages you saw how the Nikon V1 delivered natural-looking, if slightly laid-back looking JPEGs using its default settings, so in this RAW comparison I decided to boost the sharpening in Capture NX 2 a notch from the default setting of 3 to 4. I also applied chromatic aberration correction.

In the first row of crops you'll see the processed RAW version has effectively removed what little coloured fringing the in-camera JPEG left behind. I believe like other Nikon cameras that the V1 reduces coloured fringing on JPEGs automatically, but as you can see here, Capture NX has done a better job.

Moving onto the other crops, the processed RAW file has a more contrasty appearence which you may or may not prefer to the in-camera JPEG. I actually prefer the look of the JPEG, but look closely and you'll notice better definition in the fine foliage details on the processed RAW version.

As always, your mileage will vary depending on the scene, the settings and even the RAW converter itself. But like all cameras which can shoot RAW, there's a number of key benefits over JPEGs. Not only can you easily make all manner of adjustments from white balance to sharpness and noise reduction, but you can also dictate the level of compression (if any at all) when exporting the file at the end of the process.

Additionally RAW files generally include a higher tonal dynamic range to work with, which often allows you to retrieve detail previously lost in the highlight areas. I tried this with several RAW files on the V1 and found there was indeed some exposure latitude available. For example, the areas of this image which are saturated white, such as the rooftops, revealed subtle shades when levels and curves were adjusted on the RAW file.

Now lets see how the camera performs at high sensitivities in my Nikon V1 noise results page. Alternatively if you'd like to download some photos to check out for yourself, head over to my Nikon V1 sample images page, or if you've seen enough proceed directly to my Nikon V1 verdict!


Nikon V1
(JPEG using in-camera defaults)
Nikon V1
(RAW using Capture NX 2 defaults + levels)
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

Nikon V1 results : Quality vs 5N vs E-P3 / Quality vs S100 / RAW / Noise vs S100 / Noise vs 5N vs GX1

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