For some people a cameras ability to shoot in RAW format is as important as the camera itself. The thinkig is that the RAW format retains more detail information than the camera's Jpeg equivalent. In cameras of previous generations, be they DSLR's or point & shoot cameras, this was often the case. The gap between the two formats however is narrowing. With the HS20 Fuji included a new Jpeg engine to support the EXR sensor. This Jpeg engine is better than the one included in the HS10 ( although the difference isnt as large as one may expect).
In previous articles I have mentioned that I almost exclusively shoot Jpeg, and this still holds true. Some folk like to shoot Jpeg with the in camera sharpennig set to low, in the belief that it is better to sharpen in the Post Processing than allow the camera to do so. To me this is a mistake. I always shoot with the Sharpness setting set to Hard. The HS10/HS20's in camera sharpening algorithms are from my perspective superior to those of third party software sharpenng. All introduce extra noise in the sharpening process. This being the case it begs the question why sharpen at all in the PP stage of of the image.
I have found the the Fuji cameras in the HS series need very little PP sharpening if the image is correctly exposed. The follow on from this is that you then need less agressive noise reduction applied in the Post Process as well, as you are effectively only using noise reduction to negate the ISO created noise.
Whilst at the local lake park yesterday I took several shots in RAW and Jpeg at various ISO settings. The conditions were very poor as it was continually overcast with heavy showers. I shot Jpeg mode in 16:9 as it best suited the environment. You will note that in the comparison images the RAW format image is full sized rather than the automatically cropped 16:9 provided by the camera's Jpeg output.
I used Lightroom 3 and Photoscape 3.5 to Post Process the images.In lightroom I use predefined presets that I have created to simplify the process as I find using Lightroom to be somewhat tedious.It does however have its uses. The photoscape images are processed more by eye than using an automated script.
This image shows the extent of the
overcast conditions and poor light.
Focus was a little off in this image
due to the AF haveing problems with lack of contrast
As you can see in the above images there really isnt a lot in it when comparing the two post processing packages. In some images I prefer the Lightroom output and in otheres I prefer the Photoscape image. As Photoscape cant presently open Fuji RAW files, and having compared the two editors, I will use Lightroom 3 to do the editing for the Raw images, as it is able to import the Fuji Raw files.
Raw Vs Jpeg... Part 2