How’s The Quality of Your JPEG Right Out of Camera?

Posted Nov. 16th, 2016 by Daniel J. Cox

The boys at The Camera Store TV are at it again with a new video showcasing several cameras and the JPEGs directly output from each model. In other words, they did a test to see how several different manufacturer’s  JPEGs compared without running them through a RAW processor. It’s a great test since many of our Explorers don’t want to fiddle with RAW capture and the added work that goes into processing them.

Not wanting to spoil the end result, I can tell you that there was one surprise with Panasonic, coming in third place overall with the best color and JPEG quality. I’ll leave you to guess which cameras were #1 and #2. Watch the video and let me know what you think. How many of you have no interest in working with RAW? I’m often asked if I think RAW is worthwhile, and I have to say ABSOLUTELY! That said, if you’re adamant about watching your histogram to make sure your highlights don’t get clipped, JPEGs can do just fine. But clip your highlights even one stop and you will be sorry you didn’t shoot RAW. We all know about Lightroom, but many don’t realize that one of the easiest and simple to use RAW processors out there is Mylio. I personally don’t see much benefit to shooting JPEGs since I try to get the image right in-camera from the start. It’s super simple to export the image as a JPEG and have the ability to do a bit more tweaking as far as adjusting the exposure, white balance, etc., if needed.

Either way, Chris Niccolls does a great job showing you which cameras are the best for giving you quality JPEGs right out of the camera. Give it a watch and let me know what you think in the comments below.

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There are 2 comments on this post…
  1. AlanOn Jan. 20th, 2017

    I have been shooting RAW for the last 4 years, first with Panasonic FZ200, and for the last year with the Panasonic G7 with the PL100-400 for birding.

    I import RAWs to LightRoom with some custom defaults (+20 contrast, +30 Clarity, 50-0.7-25-90 sharpening, NR 5) and then tweak the keepers (usually 20 out of 400-500 images on an outing).

    For the last year, with the G7 Raw Images, LR would show a very sharp, low contrast preview and say “Loading”, and then show a soft, contrasty image. I like the more contrast, but cannot for the life of me find settings to achieve an image as sharp as the preview.

    I occasionally shoot JPEG+RAW (with iRes and iDynamic on for the JPEG) and find the JPEGs are often better than I can achieve from the RAW.

    My head says the RAW images *have to be better than the JPEGs*. My eyes tell me the RAW images are more pleasing, and the JPEGs are sharper.

  2. Bill BurkholderOn Nov. 16th, 2016

    Very subjective test. I’ve never trusted manufacturers’ defaults to do what I like. A lot of personal testing is in order. Most of these cameras have enough controls to provide JPEG color suited to most subjects. It’s up to each owner to test and tweak to taste.

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