RAW images initially load clear, and then snap to blurry

As soon as a RAW file is loaded in Photolab 3 for the first time, there is a split second where the image appears very crisp and in focus, and then as the RAW file processes, it snaps to slightly blurry. What is the solution to this problem? Because changing sliders around doesn’t get back the nice quality you initially see!

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What you initially see is actually the embedded jpeg preview, which may have in-camera sharpening applied. Once the RAW file has been processed, any in-camera settings will no longer be visible because you are no longer seeing the jpeg. Instead, you need to apply sharpening to the RAW in PL.

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Aaron - Does a DxO Optics Module exist for the {body+lens} combo that you’re using ? … because, if so, and the captured image is properly in-focus then I’d expect the rendered image (from your RAW file) to be at least as sharp as the glimpse you see of the embedded JPG (as explained by Joanna).

IOW: Are you seeing this icon in the top-right corner of the thumbnails in your image browser ? image … If so then the Optics Module is missing … and you will need to download it, assuming one exists for your {body+lens} combo.

John M

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And please be advised that you will not see the sharpness contributed by the Lens Sharpness slider or Unsharp Mask unless your screen magnification is 75% or higher.


Unfortunately, none of these replies are going to help, since I already know about all of the things mentioned. (And I’ve addressed them)

After I posted this question, I used zoom to closer inspect what’s going on per image. It only affects RAW files.

It turns out that the software is currently unable to show a sharp picture unless it is zoomed in to 75-76 percent of the full image size. At this exact percentage, the image snaps instantly from blurry to sharp and in focus. Zoom back out again, and it’s blurry.

So it isn’t the processing, but the software’s ability to show me how something actually looks.

I’m lost about this. It’s impossible to even use the software, if I am unable to see things properly, as they really are.

If anyone needs a video recording of this phenomenon, I’ll be happy to post one.

This isn’t the problem. RAW files appear blurry, unless zoomed in by a whopping 75 percent, which means that I cannot even look at the image in it’s normal appearance (at a zoomed out view) The only way to see the image clearly is to zoom in on it like a microscope. It is than that it “snaps” into focus again.

This sounds familiar (see my replies since making the post), but I don’t use those sliders for anything.

I don’t shoot in jpeg, or even have any jpegs on my camera. I cannot actually change the sharpness of the image, seeing as it just snaps automatically to “blurry mode”

Please make available a screenshot with a blurry image and the corresponding image and .dop sidecar files.

I had a similar issue a few years ago. Wonder what yours looks like.

Camera automatically saves a small JPEG preview to RAW image metadata. It is not a separate file and it is used to visually see the content of the RAW file.
I suspect RAW is just what you see (blurryish) and you are supposed to fiddle with controls to coax similar sharpness out of RAW. Usually RAW converter can be set to apply some setting automatically which takes you halfway there, PL should behave similarly.

Yes please, Aaron - that would help us to help you.

John M

What you see is a combination of showing the embedded jpg first and then the converted raw file. Pl uses some tools that can only been seen when zoomed in at minimal 75%. Open an image at window size and activate all the tools. You will see some mark next to it when the image hasn’t been zoomed in enough.
You can make another test with the camera. If possible set the camera on b/w and take a picture, in raw. Open it in pl. You will first see a b/w picture and then it will change to colors. The b/w picture are the embedded jpg’s, the later one is the converted raw image.


Yes, that’s what Joanna suggested as the reason too, George … The curious thing, tho, is that OP is saying the RAW-rendered image looks “blurry” … I’ve never experienced that, even at <75% zoom. Perhaps it’s a factor of his particular {body+Lens} … I’d be interested to see a video/screenshot.

John M

Me neither - unless I’ve got the focus wrong or got motion blur :crazy_face:


If the image used tools that are only visible above 75% you will see it. It’s how pl is build, not how the image is taken.


Hi aaron;

Well; … welcome to the club.
What you’ve discovered is already discussed ‘‘thing’’ in PL. Check the second link and scrool down.
You will find two printscreen images I’ve posted. One from PL and second from LR. Image preview in PL is slightly blurry and LR preview is sharp.

I’m not saying LR is better. It’s just an observation. When the image is ‘’Fit on screen’’ LR preview of the image is sharp and PL preview of the image is slightly blurred.

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The issue affects RAW preview only. If you’re used to shooting in anything other than that, you never would have noticed. As others mentioned, you can see the issue resolve at around 75 percent zoom. The problem is so bad that I will probably have to migrate to another software program. If I cannot see how the image actually looks, then I cannot edit it properly, either.

I am interested in eliminating the problem, not running further tests. If I cannot eliminate the problem, I may switch to another software program.

To eliminate the problem you first have to understand what the problem is.