I finally had time to do some testing and would like to share my results with you. It is about something that has always kept me wondering since first testing an M9: Is there a difference between shooting compressed or uncompressed raw files with the Leica M9? And if yes, how significiant is it? After all file size is twice as large and this is something for me to consider.
The first thing I did, when I received my camera in June of this year was to set it to uncompressed capture mode as I'm always aiming for the highest IQ possible. Logic says (at least mine does) that the words "lossless" and "compression" don't add up too well.
So what I tried to achieve in this test was to determine how severe an adjustment had to be, in order to show a negative effect on image quality and whether it shows earlier in the compressed raw file. Please note: These adjustments are beyond all reason and a sane person would probably never adjust that much. I personally try to do as little PP as necessary but it's a test after all, so please put on your color muting protective goggles!
What you could say is that I basically tried to destroy the files through postprocessing...
The first image of each set was shot in uncompressed mode and the second one was in compressed mode. The first set was overexposed just enough for LR to show a highlight clipping warning.
This is what the files looked like right out of the camera:
And this is what they looked liked after these adjustments to the right. I boosted vibrance and saturation to try to cause banding in the sky...
Here are some 100% crops side by side:
Next I did the exact same thing with an increadibly underexposed file.
And after this processing-torture:
Even though I did this test with an M9 the same might apply to the new M aswell.
So in the end what does this tell us? Well, to me it is very confusing that there doesn't seem to be the slightest difference between compressed and uncompressed raw files.
What am I missing here? I would at least have expected some banding issues in the sky, more noise, artifacts whatever. Or is it just my screen that isn't capable of displaying the horrible differences?
On the bright side it shows what a great camera the M9 still is.
What do you think?