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12-16-2009, 08:55 PM   #1
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Do camera settings affect RAW pics when opened?

Hello all,

I just purchased a k-x and was comparing similar pictures I had taken with a canon xsi under the same lighting and same settings both in raw format. This includes indoor and outdoor shots. I opened both using infranview and noticed almost everytime the canon pics look sharp with more detail when compared to the k-x pics. This includes comparisons at low, med, and higher iso. The canon pics seem to have more "pop" to them where the k-x pics look a bit bland in comparison. when I reviewed the exif data in infranview it states the settings that each camera had been dialed into concerning contrast, sharpness, etc that I thought normally only affected the jpeg. I have read though that when the Raw file is opened, it is opened as a Raw file and the settings are applied to the picture when it is opened. Could this be a reason for the difference and the cameras are dialed in differentlly?

Any help would be appreciated b/c although ever since I had a k20d I went to pentax and never looked back, but the pictures I have seen so far haven't been as impressive to me as the Canon xsi. If this makes any difference I have been using the DNG format.
Thanks to all,
Jeff

12-16-2009, 09:06 PM   #2
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The software might be reading the preferred settings and displaying accordingly. Lightroom does, but the file is not affected, only the preview. I have simply set my k10d to neutral settings, and work from there myself.
12-16-2009, 09:20 PM   #3
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AFAIK, the camera settings are stored in the RAW file, but are not part of the image information. When you open the file on your PC, the software you use (Photoshop, Lightroom, etc.) will use those settings to render the image you see.

However, unlike JPEG files, the settings are not "baked into" the image. The underlying original image data is still there, so you are free to change those settings at will and ignore the ones that the camera stored. This is why it is easier to change the white balance on a RAW file than on a camera-created JPEG.

It is my understanding that Canon has used a different set of assumptions in the way the JPEG engine works in their cameras. Pentax claims to have tried to achieve a "film-like" look to the JPEGs created by their cameras. Canon, I believe, uses higher saturation and contrast settings, and applies more sharpening and noise reduction than does Pentax. That may be why Canon images have "more pop". If you crank the saturation, contrast, sharpening and noise reduction way up on a Pentax camera, you can achieve a similar look. Some feel that Canon images look "plasticy". This is also why some people, who are used to Canon, and to some extent, Nikon, feel that Pentax JPEGs are inferior to others. This is another argument for using RAW.
12-16-2009, 09:48 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by noblepa Quote
AFAIK, the camera settings are stored in the RAW file, but are not part of the image information. When you open the file on your PC, the software you use (Photoshop, Lightroom, etc.) will use those settings to render the image you see.

However, unlike JPEG files, the settings are not "baked into" the image. The underlying original image data is still there, so you are free to change those settings at will and ignore the ones that the camera stored. This is why it is easier to change the white balance on a RAW file than on a camera-created JPEG.

It is my understanding that Canon has used a different set of assumptions in the way the JPEG engine works in their cameras. Pentax claims to have tried to achieve a "film-like" look to the JPEGs created by their cameras. Canon, I believe, uses higher saturation and contrast settings, and applies more sharpening and noise reduction than does Pentax. That may be why Canon images have "more pop". If you crank the saturation, contrast, sharpening and noise reduction way up on a Pentax camera, you can achieve a similar look. Some feel that Canon images look "plasticy". This is also why some people, who are used to Canon, and to some extent, Nikon, feel that Pentax JPEGs are inferior to others. This is another argument for using RAW.
I am one who dislikes the over saturated high contrast look. I much prefer the way my k10d renders the images to what Canon does to theirs (at default settings!).

If you prefer the saturated high contrast look (and only you can say whether you do or don't), select Bright, +3 on Saturation, Contrast and Sharpness in the Record Menu. Bright is often called Vivid by other makes of camera.

12-16-2009, 11:02 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by harleynitelite Quote
I just purchased a k-x and was comparing similar pictures I had taken with a canon xsi under the same lighting and same settings both in raw format. This includes indoor and outdoor shots. I opened both using infranview and noticed almost everytime the canon pics look sharp with more detail when compared to the k-x pics.
There is a full sized jpeg stored in every RAW file. This jpeg is generated by the camera and embedded in the RAW file for the instant replay, the histogram, and just for browsing your files on the camera. Unlike the RAW file, this embedded jpeg reflects the settings used in the camera. You probably have guessed, but Infranview also uses this embedded jpeg to display your photos.

I don't own the K-X, but for the K20D there are a number of Custom Image Settings that can be used. These settings are the ones that effect the embedded jpegs as well as your jpegs if you are also using that file format. For the K20D there is Bright, Natural, Portrait, Landscape, Vibrant, and B&W. You can, of coarse, tweak these in a number of ways, sharpness, contrast, saturation, ..., to add your personal taste to the settings. I would imagine the K-X will have more of these images profiles than the K20D, so look around as you might find one that gives you the look you want without any tweaking.

Thank you
Russell
12-16-2009, 11:27 PM   #6
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Thanks to all for your input.

After reading the replies I realized it had to be applying the settings made in the camera to the "preview". What I didnt understand was that what I was looking at when it first opened WAS the preview with the settings already applied. When noblepa made a reference to something like this, through some investigation I found there is an option in irfanview to open the file without the camera settings applied. I re-opened the pics I had referenced to before and now the k-x comes out on top no question about it. The xsi detail may be slightly better but thats after I discovered the sweet spot in the lens having owned it 6 months up to that point. I've only had this for less than a week and after discovering all of this I have no doubt with some trial and error the k-x will outresolve the xsi.

With all the excellent reviews the k-x has been recieving, I figured it had to be something I was missing or doing wrong.

Thanks to all for the help!
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