The choice of RAW conversion technique can have a significant effect on every aspect of image quality:
- Color — even at the same white balance and tint, the output from different RAW converters can be very different in color balance and color saturation.
- Contrast — an “as shot” or default setting can result in a subtle to markedly different tonal distribution.
- Noise — sharpening and processing algorithms can reduce or increase the appearance of sharpness.
- Sharpness — sharpening algorithms can produce a crudely harsh look, a finely detailed but grainy look, or anything in-between. Effects can be global, or vary by image constant throughout the frame.
- Distortion — can be corrected by choice or implicitly with no choice, and when corrected is not necessarily the same with two different converters.
- Vignetting/HDR — affects the light/dark balance of the image globally (by location) and/or by localized tone adjustment.
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