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Nikon D3200 Ken McMahon, June 2012
 
 

Nikon D3200 JPEG vs RAW

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To compare real-life performance between RAW and JPEG files on the Nikon D3200, I shot this scene in the camera's RAW plus Large Fine JPEG mode enabling me to compare images created from exactly the same data. The sensitivity was set to 100 ISO and the aperture to f5.6.

The JPEG was processed using the in-camera defaults, while the RAW file was processed using the supplied Nikon ViewNX 2 software which provides basic RAW editing tools.

  Nikon D3200 results
1 Nikon D3200 Quality
2 Nikon D3200 RAW vs JPEG
3 Nikon D3200 Noise
5 Nikon D3200 Sample images

 

The first colunm shows the results from the in-camera processed JPEG using the default settings. alongside in the middle column are the results produced using Nikon ViewNX 2, also on the default settings, and the results, if not identical, are so similar as to make little difference.

The third row of crops was also produced in ViewNX 2, this time with the sharpness setting increased to 4 (from a default setting of 0) and the contrast boosted to 15. The result is a much punchier, consumer-friendly image closer to the results we saw from the NEX-7 on the outdoor test. Possibly I've gone a little too far with the contrast, but it serves to demonstrate what you can achieve with just a couple of basic tweaks to the D3200's RAW data.

Editing the RAW files in this way of course offers the scope for much more, but you can achieve a similar result to this in-camera by changing the Picture Control settings in the Shooting menu. The question is how many novice DSLR users will be aware of that or bother? One reason Nikon may be treading gently when it comes to in-camera contrast and sharpening is noise. In my tweaked RAW output, the noise is more visible but, for a 100 ISO shot, I think it's pretty acceptable. The same might not be true as you move up the ISO sensitivity range. To find out how they compare at higher sensitivities see my D3200 noise results.

 

D3200 in-camera JPEG
 
D3200 RAW default processing
 
D3200 RAW tweaked processing
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
f5.6, 100 ISO
f5.6, 100 ISO
f5.6, 100 ISO
f5.6, 100 ISO


Nikon D3200
results : Quality / RAW vs JPEG / Noise


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