This almost painterly image came about as a the comparing the processing of some of my RAW files using different software. One of te packages i was “testing” was a trial version of the latest Photoshop Elements. There beside the image on the right hand side is a filter dialogue box and it is set to Artistic (the alphabetically first option) and there is a nice looking apple and if you move your mouse pointer over it you see it called paint daubs. To temping for me and the image above is the result.
Ok back to the actual comparison, well to be honest there is very little in it. The original photo, artificial flowers taken with strong natural light backlighting, in the top left is the version my camera also creates when I take a RAW image (because I told it too). I liked the lighting and think is is a good image for a comparison of RAW capabilities. The next three are the results you get when you run each piece of software using it auto process or fix option. All three RAW converts have less distinct noise in the background and from there the differences are subtle. Raw Therapee is by far the simplest and fastest to use. The Pentax Lab result is still the one I like best but the Photoshop Elements version is pretty much the same, just slower and a two step process to reach (and the luminosity noise fix is not part of the default).
I am still not totally convinced the extra load for “processing or converting” RAW version is really all that justified in routine snap shot stuff. For difficult exposure, like low light or really special subjects and fleeting moments I now usually hit the RAW button but for the rest of the time I am still likely to be taking JPEG, getting a lot more photos on my memory card and I doubt most folk will even notice.