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Old Oct 17, 2010, 12:39 PM   #1
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I recently picked up a A550 for my wife and it's the perfect camera for her. She's a point and shoot girl and with the great lcd and fast live view the A550 is arguably the best point and shoot there is.

I recently took it for a test drive and shot raw to see what it could do. I was surprised twice during the download.

First surprise;
I use Aperture 2 as my main editor and library and I did not know that the A550 raw files are and will not be useable with this editor. Apple makes you spend a $100 to upgrade to Aperture 3. Luckily I also use Photoshop Elements 8 to do advanced editing that Aperture 2 could not do. Mostly selective ( magic wand ) editing.

Elements opened the A550 raw files and does a excellent job with noise and even the default curve it applies.

Second surprise;
After editing in the raw display of Photoshop Elements you have to click on the open button and go to a new display if you want to save the photo as a 8 bit jpeg. After going to the second display window I was surprised to see the amount of noise that was not present in the raw display, even at 16 bit. At this point during editing I could not find a way to clean up the noise to level of the raw display or to my satisfaction.

What a difference between the raw display and the second open display. Is this normal?

I was shooting at ISO 1600 and expected to see much better results. My ISO 1600 A700 raw files converted to jpeg in Aperture are much cleaner comparatively.

Here's an example processed with Elements. It's small so it's probably hard to tell.
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Old Oct 17, 2010, 6:31 PM   #2
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I don't think you can call the A550 a point & shot really. And remember that Elements (a great software for the price; i use PE8) can't manage noise as efficiently as a dedicated plug in like Topaz Denoise or Neat Image.
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Old Oct 17, 2010, 6:34 PM   #3
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aperture 3 is a more powerful editing program with allot of slider. Allot better then aperture 2. But if you want NR reduction, something like denoise from Topaz or Neat Image will do a better job.
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