Capturing Passion and Magic

February 14, 2010

50D RAW Processing Shootout 2: ISO 3200

As promised, here's the follow up to my previous post comparing RAW Processing from Aperture 2 (AP2), Aperture 3 (AP3), Digital Photo Professional (DPP), and Lightroom 3 Beta (LR3b).

Someone did ask about the newly-released Bibble 5. I haven't downloaded the trial version to play with yet, so it's not included.

This time, we'll be looking at 100% crops from this image, taken at ISO 3200 under some weird tungsten/compact fluorescent light.

RAW Shootout: Lady

As before, I simply opened the file in each program, and then exported the result of its default processing as a 16-bit TIFF file. In this case, that means no color correction was performed on the photos before export, so they are yellow.

I cropped out the same section of each file and put them into this one composite image to make it easy to see the differences between the noise and detail levels. The image is really big because I saved it at maximum quality when I converted to JPEG to preserve the chroma noise detail.

My conclusion - LR3b did the best, closely followed by AP3. The difference here is nowhere near as dramatic as it is with ISO 400 photo, but LR3b seems to do a slightly better job with the chroma noise while retaining more detail.

AP2 gets third place, because even though it doesn't deal well with the chroma noise, it does a good job preserving detail. DPP is last: it does a good job eliminating chroma noise, but is by far the worst for destroying detail.

RAW Shootout - Canon 50D ASA 3200, 100% Crop


  1. If you don't mind, I would like to ask a related question. I was working with some photos from a wedding with some difficult light situations and I started to notice that I didn't like the edge transitions from the Adobe conversion. At times they seems somewhat artificial and exaggerated. Aperture 2 (at the time) seemed more film like and Capture One 4 was probably the best. I cannot seem in this example, but I have you noticed the same thing with the 50D. I was shooting with a 40D at the time.

    Great comparison... thanks for sharing!

  2. Ok... I take it back. There are a few edges to examine in the samples. Look at the top edge of her the subject upper lip and look at the line along the edge or her nose. I like the transitions in Aperture 3 better than in LR. But this is just my opinion and there are trade offs either way. I'm curious if you see a difference or am I inventing this on my own?

  3. I see a difference, but I don't find the LRb3 transitions jarring.

    To each their own. :-)

    By the way, I ended up buying Apeture 3 and Photoshop CS 5. Throw in the Catapult plug in, and I have two RAW rendering engines to choose from for each file, and a pretty straight forward workflow.


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