As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases from

Is XF-AVC Higher than RAW? This Deep Dive Video Busts Widespread Myths

Capturing in RAW format is the go-to methodology if you would like superior picture high quality, flexibility in post-production, and peace of thoughts that you simply’re getting nothing however the most effective out of your digicam, proper? Effectively, not so quick. Björn Kurtenbach took a complete have a look at the variations between processed XF-AVC and RAW codecs together with his Canon EOS C300 Mark III.

Being a filmmaker and cinematographer for a few years, Björn Kurtenbach has gained some expertise with totally different taking pictures codecs through the years. And now that RAW codecs appear to have lastly grow to be mainstream in lots of sub-$10-15k cameras (Nikon Z 9 for instance – article right here), the query arises whether or not it actually is sensible to shoot every little thing in RAW.

The whole lot seems to be the identical (till we begin pixel-peeping). Picture credit score: Björn Kurtenbach


The Canon EOS C300 Mark III provides one thing referred to as Cinema RAW Gentle as an inside recording choice. This format is considerably manageable when it comes to file sizes, as its bitrate is just a tad larger than the XF-AVC All-I (Intra-Body) codec. Since large file sizes are one of the generally cited issues in RAW workflows, Björn thought this could be a superb strategy to check the precise picture high quality of the RAW-Gentle format in comparison with AF-AVC codecs in each intra-frame and inter-frame compression.

It seems that filming in RAW format only for the sake of it doesn’t make a lot sense. The picture high quality shouldn’t be higher per se. It does maintain the potential to ship higher picture high quality, however not in all taking pictures conditions. RAW is actually not the holy grail right here.

On the flip facet, there are a lot of instances the place the inner (compressed) XF-AVC footage seems to be nice, even higher than the developed RAW footage. And that’s one other caveat: you’ll be able to’t simply throw a bunch of RAW clips in your timeline and begin working, you must develop them first. Totally different instruments produce totally different outcomes, it’s actually not a what-you-see-is-what-you-get scenario.

One technical element to notice although: XF-AVC is proscribed to 4K DCI (4.096 x 2.160) or 4K UHD (3.840 x 2.160) in 10-bit 4:2:2 in All-I compression whereas HD (1.920 x 1.080) provides upt to 12-bit 4:4:4 in All-I mode. Decrease resolutions and Lengthy-GOP (Group of Pictures / inter-frame) compression can also be attainable. So for resolution-aficionados, RAW codecs have extra to supply (relying on the sensor).

Bitrate chart
picture credit score: Björn Kurtenbach

Maybe an important level right here is that this: Trendy cameras are superb units, they’re extremely specialised computer systems with a picture sensor connected. And so they provide many intelligent instruments to course of the incoming sensor info in a method that gives the consumer with nice footage to work with on the fly. Log codecs give the flexibleness wanted, noise discount algorithms clear up the footage earlier than it’s written to the playing cards, digital picture stabilization reduces digicam shake, and different digital methods drastically scale back chromatic aberration and different nasties.

With RAW, none of that’s the case. Certain, you’ve full management over the event and fine-tuning of the footage you shoot, however: you truly need to do it. And the outcomes, because the video above exhibits, should not all the time definitely worth the problem, at the least in my e-book.

picture credit score: Björn Kurtenbach

I received’t checklist all of the examined features and outcomes of the video right here, as this subject is extra about seeing the outcomes than studying about them, as an alternative, I’ll go away it to you to attract your individual conclusions. For me personally, a well-compressed format like XF-AVC All-I utilizing a log-gamma curve is all I would like for many jobs. RAW could sound fancy, however with all the trouble concerned, I believe it’s solely value it if you really want it for a really particular software.


What do you suppose? Do you shoot RAW or do you like a stable LOG format utilizing a compressed codec? Share your experiences within the feedback under!

We will be happy to hear your thoughts

Leave a reply

Gadgets Deal Shop
Enable registration in settings - general
Compare items
  • Total (0)
Shopping cart