Lightroom RAW format file image quality degradation?

Community Beginner ,
Apr 30, 2017 Apr 30, 2017

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In the image below, you will see the face of a peacock. Both are the same image, however, the image on your left is how the picture looks when it is downloaded onto my Macbook Pro and called up from my photos. The image on the right is how it looks when it is put through Lightroom CC (with zero adjustments). If you look closely at these two images, you will see some distortion and blurring of the minute details. It is most evident around the peacocks neck area where you can see the fibres of the feathers on the left but not in such a level of detail on the right. It is also readily visible around the peacocks eye on the left side of the image. I've asked this question (using a different picture) in a Facebook group. I'll put the settings below, not that I would think they matter, given that I have been able to download the images to my computer with a level of quality that I am pleased with and the issue seems to be with LRCC. Anyone know what is going on?

 

Settings:

Sony A77 M2

ISO 1600 (via auto)

F 8.0

SS 1/1000

Tamron 600mm.

peacockissue.jpg

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correct answers 1 Correct answer

Adobe Community Professional , Jul 24, 2021 Jul 24, 2021
@Seraj90 wrote: What is even worse is that if you try to compare the before and after (using the before and after tool in LR) even without applying any edits you will notice the quality drop inside LR (you don't have to export them !!)
That comparison is competely unfair, because if the image viewed outside Lightroom is a JPEG preview of the raw (or if the image viewed in Lightroom “Before” view is the embedded JPEG preview), then it is showing you fully corrected tone, color, sharpening, no...

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LEGEND ,
May 01, 2017 May 01, 2017

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But the two images don't have to match. Any two different RAW converters will give slight differences. Neither is correct, neither is wrong. But if you like one better than the other, then maybe you should use a different RAW converter that matches your needs.

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Enthusiast ,
May 01, 2017 May 01, 2017

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What dj said is true; at the same time, there could be other factors at work.  "Put through" - is this an export from Lightroom?- a screen shot @ 1:1 from the Develop module?  "Zero adjustments" - is RAW sharpening applied, default settings or otherwise? Those are immediate things that occur to me as possible degrading possibilities.

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Community Beginner ,
May 01, 2017 May 01, 2017

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The image on left is the photo as it looks from MacBook photos. The image also has this level of detail when viewed directly on my camera's LCD screen. The image on the right was uploaded directly into Lightroom, then immediately exported with no adjustments in order to demonstrate that some sort of adjustments were being made without my having done so as the user. A number of folks have made reference to sharpening. If you look at the image below of the hummingbird, the issue is even more pronounced when you look at the detail where you can see feather fibres in the above picture, but not the one in the image below (where I did the same experiment, uploaded into LR but exported with no adjustments). I am not sure how to determine if RAW sharpening is applied as a default. In the develop module, sharpening is turned off completely, in that, it is set to the far left (for both cases). In the image below, no amount of adjustments to sharpening or noise reduction can recover the detail I have lost in the photo after having imported into LR and then exported 9with no adjustments of any kind).  

hummingbirdissue.jpg 

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LEGEND ,
May 01, 2017 May 01, 2017

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Heubs77  wrote

The image on left is the photo as it looks from MacBook photos. The image also has this level of detail when viewed directly on my camera's LCD screen. The image on the right was uploaded directly into Lightroom, then immediately exported with no adjustments in order to demonstrate that some sort of adjustments were being made without my having done so as the user.

As people have been pointing out, different RAW converters will render images slightly differently. It's not that Lightroom is doing something, it just has a different default than Apple Photos. Neither is right, neither is wrong. Your conclusions are totally incorrect, especially given the next fact: Whatever you saw on your camera's LCD screen was a JPG preview, with (probably) sharpening applied, and doesn't indicate what an unedited RAW should look like.

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LEGEND ,
May 01, 2017 May 01, 2017

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You are totally mistaken.

LR is showing the actual RAW image with NO adjustments.

Photos, I have never used Photos, is more than likely showing you the Embedded JPG with whatever sharpening you have set in the camera and more than likely applying some extra sharpening.

I don't know why you aren't grasping this as it has been stated by every single person that has replied.

In LR go to the Develop module and apply some sharpening in the Details section.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
May 01, 2017 May 01, 2017

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I'm not sure what your point is of showing the Lightroom rendering with no adjustments. You haven't tried to improve anything. The whole point of bringing an image into Lightroom is to improve it. If you aren't going to use the tools, what is the point?

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Community Beginner ,
May 01, 2017 May 01, 2017

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"I'm not sure what your point is of showing the Lightroom rendering with no adjustments." - I am still very new to all of this and the point of showing an untouched image having been uploaded and then exported from LR was to demonstrate that some sort of adjustment had been made without my asking it to do so. The adjustment in question resulting in detail which was lost which suggests to me that the program did something I didn't ask it to, which is what I am hoping this community can help me with.    

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LEGEND ,
May 01, 2017 May 01, 2017

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I think you have that backwards. I think the Photos app is applying sharpening where LR is not.

Also the Photos app may be showing you the embedded JPG image found in all RAW files. If you have the camera set to add sharpening to JPG images that will be added to the embedded JPG in the RAW where the actual RAW file won't show that.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
May 01, 2017 May 01, 2017

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Neither are right or wrong, just different. As Paige states.

Different processors produce different results and have different defaults. You can easily change settings for sharpens, clarity, etc in Lightroom and have those applied to file upon import as default.... that is you can change the default settings for each camera and ISO....

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LEGEND ,
May 01, 2017 May 01, 2017

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given that I have been able to download the images to my computer with a level of quality that I am pleased with and the issue seems to be with LRCC. Anyone know what is going on?

Adding to my other comment ... I don't think this is an "issue" with LR. One converter, by default, applies more sharpening than another. I don't see that as an issue, you can have LR add more sharpening if you want. Nor do I see this as "image quality degradation" as your title implies.

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Community Beginner ,
May 01, 2017 May 01, 2017

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That very well may be the case, but the quality of detail in the image once uploaded into LR and then exported without any adjustments is clearly different (as in, less detailed). The level of detail I was going for was clearly present on the LCD screen on the camera when I reviewed these pictures. It is also clearly present in the photo displayed from Macbook. It may very well be some setting somewhere as some have mentioned, but to a new user who did not prompt this change, or make the adjustment himself (that he is aware of?) it would appear to be an issue.     

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LEGEND ,
May 01, 2017 May 01, 2017

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If you are exporting the RAW file with no adjustments and whatever the export settings are the image will look slightly different.

You are using 2 different programs and expecting each to look the same as the other.

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Community Beginner ,
May 01, 2017 May 01, 2017

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dj_paige,

Here is a better image that highlights the issue I am having. The image on top is how the picture appears in macbook photos, the default program that opens pictures on my laptop. The image on bottom, is the untouched version of the exact same image file having been uploaded into LR and exported with no adjustments. Do you see what I mean? I get that these are two different programs but I can not even manually readjust these settings to recover any of that lost detail.        

hummingbirdissue.jpg

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LEGEND ,
May 01, 2017 May 01, 2017

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So we need to determine if the Apple Photos is showing you the embedded JPG or not. It sure seems as if the top photo has been processed somehow, while the bottom photo has not.

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LEGEND ,
May 01, 2017 May 01, 2017

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There has definitely been some massive amounts of sharpening applied to that bird photo. It is actually out of focus which you can see in both images. The sharpening applied to the one that looks clearer has tons of noise.

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Community Beginner ,
May 01, 2017 May 01, 2017

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I was unaware that RAW also embedded a JPEG. Part of my confusion there is that my camera settings allow me to shoot in RAW and JPEG, but I am assuming this means that it saves 2 separate photos (because it does). When you say massive amounts of sharpening, I presume you mean the top photo (as displayed by MacBook photos). This is the photo sitting in LRCC. I have made no changes to the sharpening or noise reduction as you can see. To me, as an amateur photographer, I am going for detail. In the top photo, with the massive amounts of sharpening, I can not apply any combination of sharpening with its subset detail, radius or masking to recover (or create then I guess) anything even close to that level of detail. It actually makes the photo worse. (Just read Bob Somrak's comment - I'll upload this photo to Dropbox).   

lrccsettings.jpg

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LEGEND ,
May 01, 2017 May 01, 2017

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Yes your camera does save 2 separate images. LR by default won't import both of them (or import both but only displays the RAW image in the catalog) unless you have the option set to treat JPGs next to RAW images as separate file. You find that option in the LR Preferences on the general tab under Import Options.

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Community Beginner ,
May 01, 2017 May 01, 2017

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Thank you very much for your assistance (... and dj-paige, Joefry99, Bob Somrak, Geoff the Kiwi and anyone else I've missed), and apologies for how obstinate I can be. I am relatively new to taking this seriously and wanting to maximize the power of this program. 

I usually just shoot RAW. I don't do RAW + JPEG. Takes up way too much space.

These are taken directly from my computer and have not been processed or imported to LR:

Peacock

Dropbox - UNADJUSTEDRAW_thumb_38ad.jpg

Hummingbird

Dropbox - UNADJUSTEDRAW_thumb_334e.jpg

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LEGEND ,
May 01, 2017 May 01, 2017

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Please upload the Full RAW images. Not JPGs.

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Community Beginner ,
May 01, 2017 May 01, 2017

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It would seem I have discovered another issue. I am unable to export these as anything else as anything besides a JPEG. Evenif I go to export as "original"

screencaplrcc.jpg

I shot these in RAW, the default name of the file is even "UNADJUSTEDRAW..."

18261512_548692145518355_1379020428_o.jpg

I am starting to think I understand why you chose to call yourself "Just Shoot Me". I'll keep troubleshooting this to dig these RAW files up. I am at a loss to explain why I can't access the RAW files. 

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LEGEND ,
May 01, 2017 May 01, 2017

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I suggest you review some of these tutorials on how to use LR properly.

Lightroom tutorials | Learn how to use Lightroom CC

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Community Beginner ,
May 01, 2017 May 01, 2017

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I just did a search of my entire computer for .ARW files, and there are only a few. I have always downloaded these directly to my computer - and then imported them into LR as a separate / secondary function. Is it possible the RAW Files didn't even make it into LR in the first place and that it simply transferred the embedded JPEG file?  

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LEGEND ,
May 01, 2017 May 01, 2017

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I thought you said you normally shoot RAW.

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Community Beginner ,
May 01, 2017 May 01, 2017

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I do. This is the setting my camera is always on. Most of these files ar called by default "UNADJUSTEDRAW...". I am at a loss to explain this dog's breakfast.

18261512_548692145518355_1379020428_o.jpg

All of my photos have "RAW" on the LCD screen.

18296807_548737998847103_1810686748_o.jpg

When I open this in Photos, it even says RAW at the top of the original photo.

screencaplrcc1.jpg

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