For all those of youse love fussin´ with RAW files I got news: Forget RAW and go ACROS! If you want your images to look less "canned" (i.e. digital) and more real (analogue-like), that is. As a bonus you get to spend less time hulking in front of a computer & can go out shooting ! Why ? Please read on if interested ...
Don´t dare to shoot only JPEG´s ? No problem, just select RAW+Fine JPEG image quality! Then you always have both & can stop worrying (like I do, but ever since my hard-drive´s filling up with unused RAW files ;-) But hey, I kid you not: There´s just no way you can get Fuji´s unique in camera ACROS analogue film like appearance from post-processing!
So, what´s all this ACROS excitement about ? See Fuji´s website for details: During in camera JPEG conversion a subtle random graininess is selectively added to image areas the darker their tone is. This effect is amplified the higher the ISO setting is, giving the images a wonderful analogue film-like aura (in contrary to the "digital" grain effect applied uniformly during post-processing on the computer, resulting in the ubiquitous, artificial "processed" look). This can only be achieved with Fuji´s X-Trans CMOS III sensor & X-Processor Pro technology!
To demonstrate what I mean I´ve prepared a number of comparisons at ISO 200, 800 and 2000 using the in camera RAW converter vs. post processing in Lightroom (apologies for the somewhat mundane image, but it includes many details and textures to better compare the grain effects ;-)
1. Monochrome-R JPEG film simulation in camera w/o any grain application:
I find that w/o any grain effects the images tend to have a "synthetic, digital" look!
2. Monochrome-R JPEG film simulation with separate grain effect "Grain=Low" added in camera:
The uniformly added in camera grain effect makes the images look even more artificial (even at "Low" setting) IMO ...
3. RAW files developed in Lightroom with post processing ACROS-R film simulation applied:
Trying to add grain in post processing using Lightroom´s ACROS-R preset appears to add an additional layer, not at all comparable to Fuji´s in camera applied film simulation ...
4. ACROS-R in camera film simulation, using Fuji´s unique differentiated grain application:
Fuji´s in camera ACROS film simulation definitively creates an analogue, "Film-like" look, achieved by differentiated grain application to darker image tones and amplified at higher ISO settings!
I hope this post was an interesting read & has brought some light into the mystery of Fuji´s amazing ACROS film simulation! The fact that no external RAW converter can achieve a similar analogue film-like look is for me an additional incentive to focus on using JPEG´s (on top of the already simplified and faster workflow)!
Please let me know if you have any questions, I´d be most happy to help and learn from your comments & critique!
Have a relaxing Sunday eve, best regards
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