- Neat Image could be applied to the jpg image as well. The point is really what amount of noise/detail is present in the converted image vs jpg,
- Canon's decision if anything is probably based on their assessement of what their Raw converter can do. You might call this poor market intelligence if you'd like, but it makes complete sense from a Japanese standpoint. They just would have no control on the support of the G7 by third party software.
I understand Jonathan, but to what extend has this influenced Canon's decision?
I don't believe Canon's assertions regarding RAW vs superfine JPEG noise are correct; they fly in the face of all of my experience processing RAW and JPEG images and the relative quality of the two. Yes, noise reduction can be applied to JPEGs, but doing so is less effective than applying the same noise reduction tool on a 16-bit converted RAW. There are no JPEG artifacts in the RAW data, and noise reduction tools work better in 16-bit mode, as do lens correction, sharpening, and other tools.
Nor do Canon's assertions address white balance or color accuracy issues at all; a properly profiled/calibrated RAW converter is clearly superior to camera JPEGs in both color accuracy and ease of setting the correct white balance, especially when the camera doesn't get WB quite right. Canned printer profiles are not better than well-made custom profiles in the vast majority of cases, why should the generic camera profiles used to create camera JPEGs be better than a custom-profiled/calibrated RAW converter? The notion simply defies common sense.
And what about tone curves? With all decent RAW converters, you have the ability to select or create the most appriate tone curve for the image after the shot, and preview the results of tweaks as you do so, to ensure the best possible result. With camera JPEGs, if you don't like the camera-applied tone curve, you are far more limited in how much you can change it before banding and posterization set in.
I don't really care what Canon is basing their decisions on, or whether those decisions make sense to the Japanese mindset; the bottom line is that the decisions are stupid, based on premises of extremely dubious merit, and very much likely to alienate the serious-photographer-wanting-a-decent-compact-camera market segment. They've certainly alienated me; I bought the Olympus SP-350 specifically because it supports RAW. I would have preferred to buy a Canon instead to maintain E-TTL flash compatibility and not have to buy yet another memory card format, but Canon didn't see fit to offer me what I was looking for, so I went elsewhere.
Even if camera JPEGs were always just as good as the output of the best RAW converter + noise reduction tools in existence (which they are certainly not, for the reasons I mention above), adding the ability to save a RAW file to firmware functionality is trivial; certainly far less complex than converting the RAW data to JPEG and then saving it. There is no logically defensible argument for not allowing the RAW data to be saved.
I realize I'm just one person. But if enough of us complain loudly enough, the current silliness may go away.