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03-14-2014, 03:29 PM   #1
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RAW and High ISO NR

Does the 'in camera' High ISO Noise Reduction operate while shooting RAW with the K-5 or K-3? I know the function is available but I thought RAW was capturing strictly non-processed images.


03-14-2014, 03:32 PM   #2
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The setting doesn't modify the data in the raw file. When developing in ACR it also doesn't seem to change the default NR slider, though I'm not 100% sure about how the Pentax software would behave.

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03-14-2014, 04:42 PM   #3
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I am pretty confident that the noise reduction settings have no bearing on RAW. I have tested this pretty extensively and have come to the conclusion that no noise reduction is being done to RAW files, only JPG. The settings will automatically apply to your developed image if you develop it in camera, or shoot in JPG. As far as I can tell, all of the image settings are saved in the META data of the RAW, but are not applied to the image. For instance, if you set your mode to B/W then import your RAWs into Lightroom, the images are now displayed in color.

As far as I can tell, shutter/aperture/ISO are the only settings that change the actual RAW file, every other setting is simply meta data that the camera uses to display the thumbnail on its screen and to develop the image in camera to JPG.

The Pentax Silkypix software might, I assume, take this into consideration, but other softwares do not.
03-16-2014, 08:42 PM   #4
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Yes, thats right, the Pentax Digtal Camera Utility is the only software that will recognise and act upon all the in-camera settings - this includes NR, custom image modes, white balance plus fine tuning and shadow / highlight corrections.

The PDCU software has panels that reasemble to an extent the actual camera menu pages for making these settings, and where there are directly matching slider controls then these will be automatically set to the positions that were set on the camera when the file is first opened (its default state).

There are plenty of additional controls in PDCU you can also use as well, but the default state of the shot will be as per your camera settings. I'm not aware yet of anyone actually showing that any other RAW software will act on all the camera settings this way (eg Lightroom). These other converters will generally apply their own default settings, depending on whether they have a profile for the file type (eg DNG).

Some converters (eg Sagelight) carry out some analysis of each image and produce an optimised opening state, brightening and recovering shadows & highlights for example, but again this works based on pre-programmed algorithms.

03-16-2014, 08:57 PM   #5
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Thank you all for the info.
03-18-2014, 09:14 PM   #6
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With the more recent cameras over the past several years, it is likely that some form of noise reduction is integrated into the process on most cameras - even for RAW. DxOMark has flagged the K5, but not the K-3. It seems that Pentax was less-than-subtle in the way this was implemented in several models as the effect was especially apparent once past ISO 1600.

Pentax was also flagged as early as the K20D, but at that time I had just moved from the Canon 5D - which showed very obvious smoothing effects by IS) 1600, but DxOMark somehow didn't catch it on that one. While the Canon certainly was great in the low ISOs, it was hopelessly smeared and far less sharp than the K20D by ISO 1600 in comparing RAW images.

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