Are you scared of RAW?

11 Aug

I’ve been trying to figure out for a while why there are cameras that don’t offer raw output as an option. I can only think that some people who don’t know what it is, enable it, then aren’t able to view their pictures on their PC, and complain or change brand. So I’m furthermore guessing that camera manufacturers find themselves in a position of having to decide, for each model, whether the benefits outweigh the risks in enabling raw access. Sony, Pentax and Nikon decided to lock themselves out of the prosumer market by deciding not to include raw in the HX300, X-5 and P520, respectively, whereas Fujifilm played a mixed strategy and included it in the SL1000 and HX50EXR while leaving it out on the S8500. As a result, it seems the raw-lacking cameras aren’t getting reviewed in online publications.

Moreover, on amazon, a group of five “raw” cameras (HS50EXR, SX50HS, FZ200, FZ150, HS50EXR) was rated better than a group of 6 “non-raw” cameras (S8500, P520, P510, HX300, X-5, FZ62), and consistently so over the three largest local amazons (.de, .com, .co.uk). Interestingly, the UK was strongest in this discrimination (raw 4.33 stars, non-raw 4.08 stars, mean of amazon’s rounded means).

The per-brand comparison was less conclusive, however, with amzn.de preferring the S8500 over the SL1000 and the FZ62 over the FZ200/150, while the UK strongly rejected the S8500 on reasons not to do with raw.

However, if the obsolete P510 and FZ150 had not been included, the overall group picture would be much clearer in favour of raw, with the HX300 being universally panned (in spite of some interesting features, I might add) and the the X-5 finding favour only in the UK (but strongly so at 5 stars). Viewed thus, the FZ62 is the only positively rated camera among the non-raw group (where a positive rating is an amazon average greater than 4 stars).

Feel free to comment!

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