How much image quality is thrown away by JPEG vs a properly converted RAW file? Steaming truck loads of stuff from the barn has been written on this subject.
Your eyes won’t lie to you.
The Nikon D800E was set for JPEG fine Optimal Quality at standard settings with maximum sharpening (in the hopes of increasing detail). The RAW was 14-bit lossless-compressed NEF, converted to 16-bit TIF using Adobe Camera RAW 7.2.
The camera was set for 4400° K white balance, actual gray-click white balance in ACR was 4200° K, fairly close and of no consequence to our sharpness considerations.
Article continues for subscribers...
If you’re already a subscriber, CLICK HERE TO LOG IN
diglloyd Advanced Photography includes hundreds of pages of exclusive coverage and high resolution, Retina-grade example pictures detailing Canon and Nikon DSLR bodies and their lenses, with in-depth analysis of sharpness and contrast, color, bokeh, vignetting, distortion, MTF, and flare. Also included is a wealth of in-context technique and workflow insight. Since 2006, diglloyd Advanced Photography is the authoritative review and on-line reference for discerning Canon and Nikon shooters. Subscriptions cost $ per year.