#mono

Street Night, with Nikkor AF-S 58mm f/1.4G

Just a few images off the street with my absolute favorite ever lens, the Nikkor AF-S 58mm f/1.4G! I love the discrete perspective this lens gives me. Images with gorgeous bokeh & tonality. Please read on if you’re interested in how to capture intimate, natural positive images of street life around you!

Two walkers before the gate. Nikon D850 & AF-S 58mm f/1.4G @f/2, 1/45 sec, 3200 ISO

Look at the tonality in the above image: From inky shadows still disclosing details to delicate highlights framing the two walkers thru the gate. Amazing how I still got a full range of gray tones in between the black & white extremes - too stark contrasts would’ve given the image a too ominous look ;-)

Thoughtful, captured with Nikon D850 & AF-S 58mm f/1.4G @f/2, 1/125 sec, 2500 ISO

The Nikon D850 thankfully has a flippy rear screen and a reasonably good working live-view function allowing me to take pictures much more discreetly, without needing to look thru the viewfinder (similar to a medium format camera with a waist-level finder). This and the lower position of the camera results in more pleasing & natural images taken from a better perspective. Combined with the slightly narrower field of view of the AF-S 58mm (vs. a normal 50mm) you get a great framing of life around you from a more respectful distance of 3-5 feet. I remember when I was photojournalist, my go-to focal length was a 28mm wide-angle. To fill the frame I had to get right into peoples’ faces, which they didn’t really appreciate (apart from the unflattering distortion evident in the resulting images)

Empathy, observed with Nikon D850 & AF-S 58mm f/1.4G @f/2, 1/90 sec, 3200 ISO

3D auto-focus face tracking over nearly the full frame in live-view frees you from the limited focus point coverage in the optical viewfinder. The fast focus acquisition even in low light conditions allows you to use a larger aperture, creating a pleasing separation from an otherwize distracting background. This is not possible if you use the so-called “zone-focussing” method which requires a small aperture to give you sufficient depth-of-field. That again drives you ISO thru the roof and/or leads to motion blur causing longer shutter speeds. As you can see in the above and below image this enabled me to capture fleeting expressions or emotions of people, resulting in spontaneous images full of life!

Evening drinks, taken with Nikon D850 & AF-S 58mm f/1.4G @f/2, 1/125 sec, 3200 ISO

As you can see on my blog my images are mostly land- or cityscapes. But I also love to observe people & capture their emotions and interactions! Like in the image below where what the girl on the right is saying seems to elicit some skepticism in the girl on the left! Or what do you think?

Scepticism after shopping, seen with Nikon D850 & AF-S 58mm f/1.4G @f/2, 1/125 sec, 720 ISO

With these “Street Night” images I’d like to thank y’all for visiting and for your interest. Looking very much forward to your comments, questions and suggestions - please leave a note either in the comments section or send me a message! Wishing youse a great Sunday evening & a good start into the new week …

Best regards,

Hendrik

I hope this post was helpful / interesting for you - If you like you can support me by sending me a small donation via PayPal.me/hendriximages ! Helps me run this site & keeps the information coming, many thanks in advance!

Fuji ACROS: Amazing JPEG´s with Film-Like Grain !

Since Fuji appeared on the scene we have been spoilt by intuitive cameras delivering wonderful images & amazing JPEG´s - Hey, some photographers didn't´t even wanna touch RAW´s ! And now that the new 24 MP X-Trans CMOS III sensor is here (Fuji X-Pro2, X-T2 and the new X100F) we get as bonus the ACROS film simulation mode for smoothly gradated black and white JPEG´s with deep blacks and a beautiful film-like grain texture. Interested how to get the best out of ACROS ? Please read on !

Waiting at the Airport, seen with Fuji X-Pro2 and XF 16 mm f1.4 WR, SOOC ACROS JPEG

Since going digital I´d always missed that "organic" film kinda look I got from my beloved Kodak Tri-X negs (man, I loved that film ...). Now, finally I can get it in digital - just compare below crop of a RAW file, developed in Capture One Pro 10 (left image) to crop from the original SOOC JPEG, which sports a subtle but distinct grain effect:

RAW developed in Capture One Pro 10

SOOC ACROS JPEG

This grain is amazingly "organic", way better than the more "sterile" digital grain which is applied in post as a generic image overlay eg. with 3rd party software ! ACROS has some kind of magic algorithm built in which selectively applies analogue grain, depending on ISO level and tone - you get "photographic" looking images with wonderful smooth gradations and a subtle "film-like" grain, right off the bat:

50 Shades of Lighter Grey ;-) captured by Fuji X-Pro2 & XF 35 mm f2 WR, SOOC ACROS JPEG

To achieve such JPEG images SOOC and still get sufficient "punch" in the shadows I apply following settings in my X-Pro2´s Q-menu (saved as preset):

  • ACROS-R film simulation
  • GRAIN effect OFF (ACROS has its own built-in ISO dependent analogue grain effect)
  • -3 NR (noise reduction)
  • DR auto (auto dynamic range)
  • -1 H-TONE (highlights contrast)
  • +3 S-TONE (shadows contrast for sufficient "punch")
  • +1 SHARP (sharpening)

I´ve discovered that the sweet spot (detail rendering vs. micro-contrast vs. grain) for ACROS simulation is around 2000 ISO. To compensate the JPEG´s reduced highlights & shadows recovery latitude (vs. doing RAW development) I set the highlights tone to -1 (increased highlight tonal range) and my dynamic range to "Auto" (automatically adjusts dynamic range to the subject contrast), see example image below:

Casting Shadows Ahead, with Fuji X-Pro2 and XF 35 mm f2 WR, SOOC ACROS JPEG

I´ve really fallen for this ACROS film simulation, and you can't get it any other way except by shooting JPEG´s ! So I set my camera to record RAW´s & Large/Fine JPEG´s. This allows me to speed up my workflow by primarily using JPEG´s and having the RAW as a back-up in case tricky post processing is needed (only in approx. 10% of the cases). Another benefit is that the image review on the camera´s LCD uses this high quality JPEG rather than the embedded low quality one when shooting RAW only

Hope y´all enjoyed this post & there was something interesting in it for you ? Thanks for looking by and of course you´re most welcome to leave me constructive critique and/or questions in the comments section below or on my "about" page !

Best regards & have fun shooting !

Hendrik

I hope you enjoyed reading this post - If you like you can support me by sending me a small donation via PayPal.me/hendriximages ! Helps me run this site & keeps the information coming, many thanks in advance !

Capture ONE Pro 10 for Fuji - A First Look !

When I jumped ship from CaNikon to Fuji a couple years ago I didn't find ANY integrated RAW converter / image management solution able to deliver the full potential outta Fuji´s unique X-Trans sensor. Only way out was to use a standalone external RAW converter (eg. Iridient) requiring a 2 step workflow. Then, earlier this year Adobe launched a major Lightroom CC upgrade delivering results very close to the till then Best-in-Class RAW converter Iridient (see my comparison here). Finally on December ONE Phase ONE launched Capture ONE Pro, version ONE-O. Hey, with so many ONE´s popping up I thought I´d take a look and see, please read on for my initial impressions !

Street in the winter sun, captured by Fuji XF 23 mm f/2 WR on X-Pro 2, developed in CO Pro 10

I decided to try out the newest version 10 of Capture One Pro after being intrigued by Thomas Fitzgerald´s excellent blog post describing latest improvements & features, please go here to discover them ! For me the above image has a wonderful glow to it and it took me only a couple minutes to get there - impressive how fast & easy I could get a really good result ! Furthermore Capture One Pro allows me to change any parameter at any time in its logical and clear dashboard (see left side of the screen grab shown below):

Capture One Pro 10 User Interface with logically grouped intuitive setting panels

What I liked most was the fluid interaction between Exposure, Levels, Curve, High Dynamic Range and Clarity settings. In contrast Lightroom IMO has a more linear (chronological) workflow which feels less intuitive and kinda "old fashioned" ...

Concluding, the PRO´s of Capture One Pro 10:

  • Great results. At least at a first glance I couldn't detect any disadvantages vs. my previous favorite Iridient in eg. highlight/shadow recovery, color rendering, detail rendering, sharpening, noise, etc (but I´ll come back here with a more detailed comparison soon)
  • Lens optimization finally working (incl. purple de-fringing !) - this was missing in previous versions of Capture One Pro
  • Fluid, logical and intuitive user interface allowing changing of all parameters in any order
  • NO more external standalone RAW converter needed ! Capture One Pro combines RAW conversion and image management. Strictly speaking this is no advantage over Lightroom

And the CON´s:

  • Capture One Pro 10 can´t read Fuji´s compressed RAW´s (yet). Now this one is really a bummer for me coz Fuji´s uncompressed RAW´s eat up memory at twice the rate compared to the compressed RAW´s (50 vs. 25 mB a pop !). C´mon, Phase One, give us the compressed RAW reading capability, you can do it !
  • Pricey - nearly 300 US$ ain´t a bargin (even though you get a lot for it). Ok I have a CO Pro 8 license so it´ll cost me 105 US$ to upgrade. Still a lot ... but at least it ain´t a subscription rip-off like CC (if you can live without Photoshop CC that is)

Here another "glowing" Capture One Pro image:

Contre Jour in the park, seen with Fuji XF 23 mm f/2 WR on Fuji X-Pro2, developed in CO Pro 10

If you have any questions or would like any advice, please leave me a message in the comments section or on my contact page ! Many thanks for your kind support, interest, liking & sharing ! Herewith wishing y´all a lot of fun trying out Capture One Pro 10 ! Enjoy your December holiday season, all the very best & good luck !

Yours, Hendrik

I hope you enjoyed reading this post - If you like you can support me by sending me a small donation via PayPal.me/hendriximages ! Helps me run this site & keeps the information coming, many thanks in advance !

Adobe´s got the best RAW converter for Fuji X-Trans now, or what ? Part 1

Recently I got this pop-up on my MAC informing on new Creative Cloud App updates, so I downloaded ´em & was looking at some high contrast images after import using Lightroom´s ACR (Adobe Camera RAW). Here FYI the JPEG SOOC, with totally jacked highlights & shadows:

Dogging the Fountain - Fuji X-Pro2, WR 35mm/f2, JPEG SOOC: Jacked highlights & shadows !

But when opening the RAW´s with ACR - what the ... ??? ;-) Hey, could it be that Adobe´s now finally gotten their Fuji X-Trans rendering act together ? Intrigued by this performance I decided to (again ... yawn ;-) compare Adobe´s Camera RAW (included in Lightroom & Photoshop CC) with the best external RAW converters out there (Iridient & Photo Ninja) - ya just gotta keep on your toes here ;-) please read on if interested !

I´ve been using Photo Mechanic for culling / key-wording & Lightroom for (mobile) image management / processing since way back, so obviously a built in RAW converter would have major advantages for my workflow compared to an external one (no more needing to export & copy back in, nor splitting image processing over 2 bits of software, etc.)

I´m posting this in 2 instalments: 1. Highlights & Shadows Performance (this post), and 2. Detail & Sharpening (coming up soon !)

Let´s start with Highlights & Shadows Performance. Although aesthetically the SOOC JPEG quite faithfully rendered what I´d originally visualised at time of capture the highlights & shadows are like totally blown out. So I was interested how much detail I could pull back into the image during post processing:

To do this I basically first maxed out the highlights recovery and then pushed the shadows by slightly increasing exposure until just before the highlights started blowing out again (thereby keeping an eye on not losing too much contrast). See below the comparison & results !

1. Adobe Camera RAW in Photoshop CC:

This one I liked the most:

Highlight & Shadows compression using Photoshop CC´s built in ACR RAW converter

Dunno why, but i seemed to get a slightly better rendering outta Photoshop´s built in version of ACR than LR´s (maybe the PS ACR interface is better, or I was too dumb or lazy to get 100% the same result with Lightroom´s built in ACR ...). Here a 100% crop view showing vastly improved shadows & highlights areas vs. the JPEG:

100% Crop of Photoshop´s ACR rendering

2. Adobe Canera RAW in Lightroom CC:

Nearly as good (yeah, right - both platforms use the same Adobe Camera RAW built in RAW converter):

Highlight & Shadows compression using Lightroom CC´s built in ACR RAW converter

Here a 100% crop view showing the improved shadows & highlights areas, with slightly less contrast in the shadows whereas highlights seem to have a bit more detail ...

100% Crop of Lightroom´s ACR rendering

3. Iridient Developer:

Iridient is amazing in its ability to bring out detail with a unique & careful sharpening of Fuji X-Pro2´s files, but I was quite shocked to see that its highlight & shadows detail recovery seems to be limited:

Highlight & Shadows compression using Iridient´s external RAW converter

Compared to ACR the highlight head room is quite limited, meaning I have less "foot" room available for pushing the shadows, before the highlights blow (compare the crack between the tiles on bottom right with the ACR versions):

100% Crop of Iridient´s rendering

4. Photo Ninja:

This one I liked the least - highlight head room seems a bit better than Iridient, but didn't matter what I did, i just couldn't manage to bring out more shadow detail (it always kinda remained a dark soup). Also Photo Ninja does not react on EXIF lens correction parameters, you get the total image (see the additional details at the image borders), but the image is still distorted:

Highlight & Shadows compression using Photo Ninja´s external RAW converter

And here the details - highlights OK´ish but the black dog just remains a black silhouette:

100% Crop of Photo Ninja´s rendering

Sorry, did´t have no more access to Capture One & never used Raw Therapee so those two are not covered here ...

Interim Conclusion: Adobe´s ACR wins the dynamic range battle !
(please also check out part 2 soon for details & sharpness comparison and for the final conclusion)

From a highlights & shadows recovery point of view the benefit of not needing to use external RAW converters seems to be an achievable target, Adobe´s ACR is doing an excellent job here ! OK I´d not push it that far for a fine art print to preserve the visual impression of the original situation, but good to know there is room for manoeuvring !

I hope this was an interesting read for all you Fuji fans out there - please leave me a comment in case you´ve any questions and/or suggestions ! Many thanks for looking by & wish y´all good light !

Best regards

Hendrik

I hope you enjoyed reading this post - If you like you can support me by sending me a small donation via PayPal.me/hendriximages ! Helps me run this site & keeps the information coming, many thanks in advance !

Mobile X-Trans Image Sharpening

Hey, Fuji's JPEG's are awesome. Fact! So, after going "mobile" with my online workflow (post processing on my iPad), I was doin' some experimenting on in camera settings & sharpening which I'd like to share here - please read on, hope y'all like it! Starting point was a nice portrait of my lovely wife:

X100T 23mm (35mm FF eq.) @ f4, 1/50sec

To save y'all from searching my previous blogs I'll do a quick recap of my simple 3-step mobile workflow here:

  1. Select best images on my X100T's LCD & perform in camera RAW conversion to Classic Chrome, with color +1; NR, highlights, and shadows -1, sharpening as required (see below)
  2. Export the Classic Chrome JPEG's to my iPad using Shuttersnitch App (for automatic adding of IPTC copyright & author info)
  3. Post processing the JPEG's on my iPad by first optimizing WB, exposure and contrast using Athentech's Perfectly Clear App and then post processing them into black & white images using Photogene4 App

For the sharpening evaluation I prepared 2 JPEG's with "capture" sharpening settings of -1 (soft) and +1 (hard) using Fuji's in camera RAW converter. Then I exported them to iPad and applied to both 1.5 strength / 0.3 radius "output" sharpening in Photogene4, see enlargements below:

Capture sharpening +1 in camera

Capture sharpening -1 in camera

For me the one which had +1 sharpening in camera during RAW conversion is on the edge (too harsh) for portraits, the milder -1 sharpening delivering the more pleasing & natural result. Here the effect on hair with same sharpening settings as above:

Capture sharpening +1 in camera

Capture sharpening -1 in camera

On request of reader here a version with -1 sharpening applied in the in camera RAW converter, but no additional sharpening applied in Photogene4 post processing:

Capture sharpening -1 in camera, no additional sharpening in post

Curious to hear what's your view? Please leave me your comments below or contact me via my contact page! Many thanks in advance for reading & for your feedback, best rgds,

Hendrik

I hope you enjoyed reading this post - If you like you can support me by sending me a small donation via PayPal.me/hendriximages ! Helps me run this site & keeps the information coming, many thanks in advance !

Fuji X100T - Fly on the Wall!

In my DSLR days people resented me shoving that "Big Mean Photo Taking Machine" into their faces, but I felt it to be my god given right as photojournalist to do so! The resulting images however always came out kinda "staged", behavior & reality changed by my presence. Since I've downsized to my Fuji X100 I can feel much more like the proverbial "Fly on the Wall", unobtrusive, fast, silent! Please read on, if you're interested how!

Holy walk in Bologna

With a fixed lens camera I don't anymore waste time fussing over focal lengths & secure speed by zone focusing (letting the camera adjust auto ISO). This allowed me to capture above image in the spur of the moment!

The order

Also had only seconds to capture this one, of the friendly lady engaged in avid discussion with the waiter - no need to manipulate the scene or ask people to stage anything!

Enjoying the sun

This guy was enjoying the evening sun in Sardegna, when the other guy on the right suddenly appeared! In these situations the Fuji X100T's optical viewfinder (OVF) helps to predict the decisive moment, as you can see what's happening outside the actual frame & evaluate when the picture elements will come together harmoniously

Early boat

With this image of passengers wondering what the horizon will bring I close shop for today & hope y'all liked this post! All images were post processed on my iPad, using my mobile workflow described in previous posts. Please let me know your thoughts by leaving a comment below, or sending me a message via my "about" page! Many thanks for looking by & my best wishes,

kind regards,

Hendrik

I hope you enjoyed reading this post - If you like you can support me by sending me a small donation via PayPal.me/hendriximages ! Helps me run this site & keeps the information coming, many thanks in advance !

Going "light" - Mobile Post Processing without PC!

So, that's it. Finally I dunnit - switched my online workflow fully to mobile, meaning: Using Fuji JPEG's, RAW developed in camera & post processed only on my iPad before uploading to my blog / social media! No more PC? Well, not quite - for those of you interested, please read on ...

Rainin' up?

I always capture RAW+JPEG(F)'s. This way I have the best possible sensor output (14 bit RAW) of my Fuji X100T for later making large prints (normally up to A1), using PhotoNinja RAW conversion & Lightroom on my PC. But believe you me, the workflow for getting fine art quality prints of that size off an APS/C format sensor takes a LOT of effort, is very time consuming and very expensive to boot!

On the other hand sharing images on the web luckily don't require such stunts ... The "light", On-the-Go workflow shared here - based on using the amazing 8-bit Fuji JPEG's has proven to be more than enough for web use IMO - please take a look for yourselves:

No guests? Deserted bar in Sardegna

I already previously shared "prototypes" of this mobile workflow on my blog, but needed to further refine some steps / choice of tools to make it more fluid & efficient, here the final 6-step workflow:

  1. Capture - Fuji X100T set to RAW+JPEG(F); B(R) film sim; sharpening +1; hi-light & shadow +1; NR -1; DR, WB, ISO on auto (ISO base 200, max 1600, min SS 1/80). Configured like this the X100T acts like a "monochrome" camera with preview & review of images in contrasty B&W!
  2. After the shoot, I check the images in camera & delete those which are unsharp / poorly exposed (washed out hi-lights) and/or have unsatisfactory content (this helps reduce the amount of "waste" on storage media & in my archive)
  3. In camera RAW conversion of "keepers" to flat "digital color negatives", with following settings: CC film sim; color +1; hi-light & shadow -1
  4. Download these "color negatives" to my iPad via WiFi, using Shuttersnitch App (which automatically updates IPTC metadata with copyright & usage rights, etc.)
  5. Process on iPad into final B&W images using Photogene4 App. I did previously use Pixelmator but found the processing options in Photogene4 to be more useful (eg. hi-light & shadow recovery) and the its user interface more fluid. Only disadvantage of Photogene4 is that the healing tool can only do spot healing (instead of Pixelmator allowing me to paint over areas, but that I don't need so much anyway)
  6. Finally I add my copyright text to the image, resize to 1500 pix web dimension, save to output folder and upload to my blog / social media - DONE!

Here another example - even in 8-hit the dynamic range of Fuji's JPEG's is impressive:

Two chairs four two?

Well, I hope this was helpful for some of you? Doing PP on iPad during traveling has seriously reduced the amount of time I needed to spend staring into a PC screen at home - Now I got much more time for taking photos (or for relaxing with a glass of fine Italian prosecco ;-)

Thanks for reading, please let me know what you think (comment below or send me email)!

Best regards,

Hendrik

I hope you enjoyed reading this post - If you like you can support me by sending me a small donation via PayPal.me/hendriximages ! Helps me run this site & keeps the information coming, many thanks in advance !

Go Light: Just JPEG & iPad - is it enough ?

Hey, the JPEG's coming out of my Fuji X100T are really amazing ! So much that I looked for a "light" image processing solution for "On-the-Go" & found a great full featured photo editor for iPad called Pixelmator. See below example image of the famous Roman aqueduct in Segovia, Spain:

Roman Aqueduct in Segovia, Spain

For this I developed following simple "On-the-Go" imaging workflow which I'd like to share with y'all:

  1. Set up my Fuji X100T to take rather neutral / flat color images (kinda digital "negative" with maximum dynamic range, if you like):
    • Classic Chrome
    • Hi-light -1
    • Shadow -1
    • Color +1
    • NR -1
    • Sharpen +1
    • JPEG+RAW (to still have a RAW backup ! ;-)
  2. Import images to iPad using Fuji's Wifi connection App or Apple's lightning to
    SD card connection kit
  3. Use "Pixelmator" App to optimize image (exposure, contrast, levels, color, etc). If you prefer Black & White you can use the color sliders to influence the grey tones !
  4. Upload finished images to my site

The advantage of this approach is that you can process & upload your images while travelling, just using an iPad w/o any compromise on image quality (at least for web applications) and you still have the back-up original RAW files to make fine art prints !

Hope you liked it ! Curious about your comments, many thanks in advance for looking & wish y'all a great weekend !

Best regards, 

Hendrik

I hope you enjoyed reading this post - If you like you can support me by sending me a small donation via PayPal.me/hendriximages ! Helps me run this site & keeps the information coming, many thanks in advance !