Aurora HDR 2019 – Questionable RAW support of Sony RX10M4

I’ve had support communication with Aurora about problems reading Sony RX10M4 RAW files, which they claim to handle. At the time, I was complaining about invalid cropping: The corners of a RAW image containing vignetting (the dark edges), and Aurora did not remove it. Aurora support said that this is normal operation.

The following image shows this artifact. Same image in RAW and JPG processed by Auror without any subsequent processing. On the left is the RAW image and you can see the vignetting. On the right is the JPG image and you can see the vignetting was cropped and the image was enlarged to the same pixel dimensions.

Note that the JPG image was generated by the camera, i.e., I am saving in RAW+JPG format.

I also use the Sony Imaging Edge app to read RAW images on the computer and save them to JPG. When I do this with the RAW image, I get the identical JPG that is stored on the camera. So this tell me that Imaging Edge DOES choose to apply the vignetting when converting RAW.

Well I can live with this decision by Aurora. But that isn’t the full story. As you can tell, the above images are not the same otherwise. For example, the colors are different. Perhaps this is due to Aurora having better information from the RAW images and making more informed decisions. I can live with this too, if it is true. Color can be altered.

It is when you get to the details that the serious problems appear: 1. Aurora has made different decisions about the cropping/expansion. 2. The RAW image has bad noise artifacts. 3. The RAW image has chromatic aberrations.

Remember that the RAW image is stored with all the imperfections: The sensor itself has noise artifacts, chromatic and lens aberrations. But the RAW image also contains the information that lets the processor compensate for them. Aurora is not doing so.

Look at a close-up image. Below is a portion of the tent on the left-hand-side. On the left the RAW image processed by Aurora. On the right is the exact same region from the JPG image.

 

First, we see that we have different shapes. This is what leads me to suspect that Aurora is not using the lens information to correct for it. (I am assuming that Imaging Edge IS correcting for it, as well as the in-camera software.)

Second, look at the noise. The RAW image contains a lot of noise. In comparison, the JPG has eliminated that noise, but now has JPG noise artifacts.

Another close-up image below, showing the noise problem again AND the chromatic problem. On the left, the RAW images show serious color error along the borders. The JPG image does not.

If Aurora is doing “correct” RAW image processing, I don’t want it. (This is why I am currently saving in RAW+JPG and only working with the RAW when I absolutely have to.) But really, I am seeing so many issues that I am not convinced that Aurora is processing the RAW correctly.

Back to tech support …

…Back from tech support. Confirmation that this is a bug.

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