LX5 RAW - Aperture 3 vs. LR3, Silkypix, and JPEG

A quick follow up on my original comments about Aperture 3 and the Panasonic LX5 RAW processing. Included are a few screen shots where you can examine the relative differences between these popular RAW processors. I know I have done my share of complaining about Aperture and NEF files over the years but when it comes to Panasonic RAW files Aperture 3 does a bang up job in my opinion. I have yet to have any reason whatsoever to revert to another RAW processor for either the LX5 for the GF1.

Here is a full frame comparison of all four. Going from left to right and top to bottom the images are from Silkypix,ACR5 (LR3/ACR), in camera produced JPEG, and finally the Aperture 3 RAW conversion. Note that these are as imported into Aperture with NO adjustments, the same applies to both Silkypix and ACR as well - strait defaults. The in camera produced JPEG was on the "standard" setting.

Next in the same order we have the obligatory 100%view…

Finally we have the same view but with a minor color and sharpening adjustment quickly applied to more closely mimic the in camera produced JPEG. I could get a little closer but couldn't help myself to back off the "range" adjustment a bit when shifting the greens in order to differentiate the yellows a bit more.

All three RAW processors use far less aggressive sharpening than the in camera produced JPEG, all three seem to show a slight increase in tonal gradation or color differentiation between similar hues, and surprisingly all three have almost identical color treatments by default. As is obvious the greens are probably closer to reality and more yellow than the JPEG but who wants reality. All of the RAW processors are also almost identical in their treatment of lens distortion and other lens defects like CA which leads me to believe that the info to do those corrections is probably embedded in the RAW file versus a guess.

One other thing to note is that all of these RAW processors are slightly more saturated than the camera "standard" JPEG and out of all of them Aperture 3 seems to have the most saturation by default. It's not over the top but definitely more saturated than the other two. To match the camera standard JPEG I reduced the overall saturation level quite a bit. The bottom line is that Aperture 3 does a great job on LX5 RAW files and I have no complaints at all when compared to the other leading RAW processors for Panasonic files.


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