Canon R5 and R6: Evaluating the File Codecs (RAW, CRAW, JPEG, and HEIF)


In my final article, I shot photographs with each the Canon R5 and Canon R6 to match the ISO efficiency of each cameras. As at all times, this result in a variety of feedback, emails, and DMs asking me if I might additionally evaluate the totally different file codecs of those cameras. Whereas I nonetheless have each these cameras on mortgage from Canon, I made a decision that now can be a superb time to checks these parameters for all of you (and me too).

Editor’s be aware: This text was initially printed on photographer Jeff Cable’s weblog and has been syndicated with permission.

I’ve at all times most popular to shoot in RAW mode solely. You possibly can see my newest video explaining why that is the case.

However these new mirrorless cameras supply new codecs, comparable to the brand new CRAW and HEIF codecs. Would both of those be tempting to me? Truly, after doing this take a look at – possibly sure!

Identical to my take a look at of the cameras ISO efficiency, I created labels to place into every picture in order that there was no mistake on which format I used to be . Every digital camera was set to Handbook mode, ISO 160, f/8 at 1.6 seconds and utilizing the brand new Canon RF 24-70mm f/2.8 L IS lens.

With every digital camera, I took one picture in every format (RAW, CRAW, JPEG and HEIF) to match picture high quality and file dimension. Right here is the info:

Canon R5

RAW: 47.5MB
CRAW: 22.3MB
JPEG: 12.4MB
HEIF: 13.1MB

Canon R6

RAW: 22.5MB
CRAW: 11.1MB
JPEG: 6.5MB
HEIF: 7.3MB

If you wish to see these photographs intimately, you may obtain them from this Dropbox folder.

Earlier than I commenced the testing, I already knew the place I’d focus my consideration. I do know that the brand new HEIF format is a more moderen and higher file format as in comparison with JPEG, however that each these codecs pale compared to RAW and CRAW. Why? As a result of each of the RAW codecs embrace much more knowledge and make it simpler for me to make changes to the ultimate photographs (defending the small print within the shadows and highlights).

So… did I open the JPEG recordsdata to match them to the RAW? Sure, and as I anticipated, the standard was subpar. Did I open the HEIF recordsdata? No, as a result of right now, Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop (ACR) won’t open these recordsdata. However as soon as once more, I already know that I’ll shoot one of many two RAW codecs to retain the very best high quality attainable.

However right here is the place issues get attention-grabbing!

As I discussed, for the previous 10 years I’ve opted to shoot in full RAW format for many of my images, solely selecting to shoot within the older MRAW (medium RAW) format when photographing receptions and events, in conditions the place purchasers usually are not more likely to be ordering very giant prints. I sometimes opted to shoot full RAW recordsdata as a result of I needed the very best quality photographs for myself and my purchasers.

However when evaluating the RAW recordsdata of the Canon R5 and Canon R6 to the brand new CRAW (Compact RAW) recordsdata [which use a lossy compression algorithm], I couldn’t see a distinction within the picture high quality. even when zooming at 500%! All I noticed was equal picture high quality however half the file dimension to obtain and retailer. And understand that each the RAW recordsdata and CRAW recordsdata are the identical decision (8192×5464 on the R5 and 5472×3648 on the R6).

I even referred to as a good friend at Canon to ask if I used to be lacking one thing right here, and he confirmed that it is vitally troublesome to see the distinction between a RAW and a CRAW picture. So I requested him “Are you able to give me one motive why I’d not default to taking pictures CRAW solely as a substitute of RAW?” and he couldn’t.

Canon R5 CRAW file at 500%
Canon R5 RAW file at 500%

So my conclusion is that this: I believe I could also be defaulting to taking pictures CRAW any further. It feels unusual to write down this since I’ve at all times been a proponent of taking pictures full RAW recordsdata. However I simply can’t see any motive to not default to CRAW shifting ahead.


Concerning the creator: Jeff Cable is a photographer based mostly within the San Francisco Bay Space. Yow will discover extra of his work on his web site, Fb, and Instagram. This text was initially printed on Cable’s weblog.





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