Sony Alpha NEX-7 Ken McMahon, March 2012

Sony Alpha NEX-7 JPEG vs RAW

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To compare real-life performance between RAW and JPEG files on the Sony NEX-7, 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 Sony's Image Data Converter application for processing raw images.



  Sony NEX-7 results
1 Sony NEX-7 Quality
2 Sony NEX-7 RAW vs JPEG
3 Sony NEX-7 Noise
4 Sony NEX-7 Handheld Twilight
5 Sony NEX-7 Sample images

The first issue I had with processing these files was that the software supplied with the camera - Image Data Converter SR 3.2 wouldn't process RAW files from the NEX-7, producing an error message at every attempt. I hade more luck with version 4.0 which I downloaded from the Sony website.

At first glance you'd be forgiven for being a little disappointed at the RAW results form NEX-7. The top row shows much crisper detail from the in-camera JPEG than the crop from the RAW file processed with Image Data Converter using the default settings. And in fact all four crops from the RAW file look softer than the in-camera JPEG, but depite the enhanced sharpness and edge contrast in the JPEG crops they don't look any noisier.

In fact it isn't too difficult to match the in-camera results by tweaking the settings - reducing the noise reduction and increasing sharpness. This comparison illustrates what an excellent job Sony has made of the in-camera processing of sensor data in the NEX-7, managing to produce consumer-friendly crisp and detailed images whilst at the same time keeping low ISO noise at an acceptable level. The downside to that is you may not be able to improve greatly on these result by shooting RAW and processing the files yourself. Of course there are plenty of other reasons to shoot RAW including the ability to adjust exposure, increase dynamic range and change white balance.

Now let's see how they compare at higher sensitivities in my NEX-7 noise results.


Sony NEX-7
(JPEG using in-camera defaults)
Sony NEX-7
(RAW using Image Data converter 4)
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

Sony Alpha NEX-7 results : Quality / RAW vs JPEG / Noise
/ Handheld Twilight

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