#processing

Picktorial - A New Kid on the Block for Fuji Fans!

Hi! Stumbled over this: Picktorial v3 post processing software (Mac only - special introductory offer!). Many thanks to Fujirumors (good place to get the latest Fuji news) and Thomas Fitzgerald (where I always go for expert image processing advice) for pointing me to it! The main reason I´m now starting to use it for all my post processing is coz for the first time there is ONE SIMPLE, intuitive platform for image management AND processing, compatible with Fuji JPEG and (compressed / uncompressed) RAW images, please read on how so!

Candles in Church, Fuji X-T2 and XF 23mm / f2, ACROS JPEG processed in Picktorial

As mentioned before here I mainly use ACROS JPEG´s & rarely do RAW anymore. So, a couple weeks ago I was in an awesome Russian orthodox church with my lovely wife & fancied capturing the rich gradations and tonality of this scene. Then I would´ve developed the ACROS JPEG with Lightroom CC (LR) and resorted to Capture One (CO) in case I´d want to try any fancy RAW processing ... But I really don't like hulking for hours behind a computer. Nope. And, using different bits of processing software means I need to have all kinds of directories on my Mac to save intermediate versions of my images (I´m kinda paranoid about losing my work ...). On top of this both LR and CO use catalogues, so I need to manage and back up those too ... I tell ya, I could've become an IT expert (who maybe gets to take a photo now and then ;-). No sir, not good. Not good at all!

Picktorial has an intuitive, fluid & simple user interface (look & feel very similar to Apple´s legendary Aperture, which was unfortunately discontinued). Overall it´s very minimalistic: No jumping around between library and develop panes as in LR. It works directly in your image capture folder and stores your image edits in the image file (for JPEG, TIF, DNG) or in a XMP sidecar file (for RAW) w/o changing the original image. By this non-destructive workflow you can backtrack your work anytime (even taking out single steps) and save your image as often as you want without any image degradation. If you want to transfer your images just be sure to copy the whole directory (images incl. the XMP files), then you can just pick up from where you left off!

Russian Orthodox Mural, Fuji X-T2 and XF 23mm / f2, ACROS JPEG processed in Picktorial

Another great Picktorial feature is the luminosity masks (yes, photoshop has those too, but it´s much easier to use with Picktorial), please check out this great instruction video from Eric Marcs at findingmiddleearth.com (I´m still a learner on how to do that properly ;-)

The only additional feature I could wish for is to have a mobile version for my iPad which can sync with the desktop version (like Lightroom mobile), that would be awesome!

Picktorial offers an easy, fluid, and seamless experience and is much faster than Lightroom, I love the simplicity and intuitivity of the user interface!

Last but not least I compared the results with my until now preferred applications:

RAW file processed in Picktorial

RAW file processed in Iridient Developer

JPEG file processed in Picktorial

RAW file processed in Capture One Pro

RAW file processed in Photo Ninja

JPEG file processed in Lightroom CC

Summarizing the results I can recommend Picktorial as an easy & fast processing tool for those who want to minimise post processing effort & get best possible results w/o a lot of effort

Many thanks for visiting & please leave me a message in case anything is unclear or is you´ve any questions, 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!

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 !

How to Get Best Image Quality Out of Fuji X-Trans III RAW´s

Hey I got something for those of youse who REALLY wanna get the very best possible image quality out of Fuji´s new X-Trans III image sensor (as currently used on Fuji´s X-Pro 2 and X-T2 mirrorless APS-C cameras). Yeah I know ... Said some posts ago that Lightroom´s all you´ll need ... Basically that still holds true but it all depends on what you expect from your photography, please read on to discover how:

Portrait of my lovely wife: Fuji X-Pro 2 with 35 mm f2 WR @f2.8 1/125 sec

Portraits seem to present quite a challenge regarding image quality (apart from the obvious challenge to capture the right facial expression reflecting persona & character of your model ;-) ! Working on a portrait series I discovered that different RAW developers produced subtle variations in the results. So I thought I´d share them here, starting off as baseline with Fuji´s very good SOOC JPEG rendering. This already delivers an overall pleasing result, however finest details are lost during in-camera conversion:

SOOC JPEG using Fuji X-Pro 2´s X-Trans III 24 mp sensor

Then I tried RAW conversion using Affinity Photo, a relatively new kid on the block (many thanks to The Lightweight Photographer for pointing me to it !). With this one I do get a very nice contrast, which I initially liked a lot (for me nearly the most pleasing off the bat). But on closer scrutiny I discovered it dissolves finer details even more than the JPEG and also produces some unwanted artefacts (see the line between the cornea and the lower eyelid):

RAW conversion using Affinity Photo

This is not the case with Adobe´s latest version of Lightroom CC. Better fine details than the JPEG´s and a fully integrated workflow to boot (no external RAW converter, so no additional exporting / importing needed). However ACR does seem to slightly exaggerate high contrast fine detail - the eyelashes seem to look a bit thicker / heavier than perceived (I learnt a lot from Thomas Fitzgerald´s excellent X-Trans guides & used one of his sharpening presets, they´re really good !). To further optimize this I may need to experiment a bit more in detail with the sharpening settings:

RAW conversion using Adobe Camera RAW in Lightroom CC

Last but not least the most balanced high quality result came out of Iridient Developer: Extremely fine details are retained and beautifully rendered (using default "Iridient Reveal" sharpening). No artefacts, no exaggeration, IMO the very best result I could achieve (with a reasonable effort - I really want to minimize the time spent in front of my Mac, of course ;-)

RAW conversion using Iridient Developer

Concluding I have to say that Fuji shooters have a lot of choices nowadays: Need a fast result w/o hassle ? You can use the SOOC JPEG´s without any problem, they´re amazing ! Want to go RAW for a really good result with an integrated workflow ? Lightroom CC ain´t gonna disappoint you ! But if you want the very best image quality & don't shy away from some extra workflow integration ? Use Lightroom CC for image management and Iridient for RAW conversion (it can be easily integrated into your workflow - excellent "how to" advice available here)

Hope y´all liked today´s post & could find some guidance & information for your own work ? If you´ve any questions, comments or ideas - please leave me a note in the comments section or on my "Contact" page ! Many thanks for reading, for your continued interest & support, and hope to see you here again soon !

Good luck & 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 !

Fuji X-Pro2 System Meta Review 3xF - Behind Every Shadow there´s Light !

Weird title, huh ? But it´s true, I had ´em all - Minolta, Nikon, Hasselblad, Leica, then digital ... again Nikon, jumped ship to Canon ... then I 3xFFinally Found Fuji ;-) ! Yep, I know it´s the photographer that makes the image, not the camera ! Well ... not quite, I beg to differ - please read on for a "meta review" of the Fuji rangefinder system !

Contre Jour in the Park - Visualized with XF 16 mm f1.4 WR on X-Pro2

There are 3 steps in the image creation process which all consume time until you can review your results and learn from them:

  1. Image visualisation and framing (moving around, finding right perspective & selecting lens)
  2. Image capture (using camera controls to set exposure to get visualised result & focussing)
  3. Image processing (developing image to a reviewable result on screen and/or print)

The faster this process, the shorter are the learning cycles and the faster you improve your photography. Let´s look at the above steps in more detail and see how the choice of a camera system can & does influence them !

1. Image Visualization:

True, a camera can´t make the blind see, it can´t replace the intuition, creativity & perception of the photographer, it can´t help those inspiring images find you (yes, images find you, not the other way around !) ... But I kid you not, the camera viewfinder can sure as hell block your creative photographic process and throw rocks into the path of capturing and creating the image you visualised ! I always struggled with those SLR viewfinders - seemed kinda like sticking a haze filter in between my eye and the scene !

Trees casting diagonal shadows - Seen with XF 35 mm f2 WR on X-Pro2

Then I "fund" Leica (pun intended - damn thing cost me an arm & a leg) - the "transparency" of
it´s rangefinder cleared up the fog in front of my scene & seeing beyond the frame made photography feel like being able to carve my image out of reality. However what came after that was a pain in the butt ...

2. Image Capture:

The Leica´s fiddly, not always reliable manual focussing & centre weighted exposure metering are simply not well suited for fast focussing and balancing lighting with the limited exposure latitude of film (using Zone System). This cost me a lot of time during image capture. And then ...

3. Images Processing:

It still took ages till i could review the images - no "quick-check-and-redo-if-not-happy" with analogue photography, no sir ! Then along came digital - instant WYSIWYG (what-you-see-is-what-you-get) ! No more processing delay but i was again stuck with that "hazy" SLR viewfinder (no rangefinder style digital cameras available at that time ...). Another disadvantage was size & weight of DSLR´s - so, unfortunately I didn't have my camera with me often ... below image only "happened" coz i had my compact Fuji with me !

People casting diagonal shadows - Found with XF 35 mm f2 WR on X-Pro2

So, then I Finally Found Fuji !

it must´ve been a very clever person at Fuji who got the inspiration of combining modern digital technology with a clear Leica-esque rangefinder and traditional "photographer´s" control dials (and all that at a reasonable price too !)

For me the Fuji X-Pro2 & lenses is the ONLY camera system with minimal impact on my creative process - it kinda never gets in my way:

  1. Fluid Image Visualization by transparent optical rangefinder viewfinder, allowing me to also see the larger context of the image outside the frame-lines (OVF)
  2. Lightning Fast Image Capture by reliable autofocus and multi zone metering or intuitive at-a-glance exposure adjustment using traditional manual dials for the 3 original exposure elements (ISO, aperture and shutter speed)
  3. Immediate Accurate Final Result Review using Fuji´s amazing film simulations (especially like the ACROS one with red filter !): SOOC JPEG´s are immediately useable and have an amazing film-like quality !

So, what more would I want ? Well if you askin´ me like that a short 70 mm f1.4 WR (105 mm FF equiv.) telephoto and a more compact 16 mm f2 WR would just be fan-tas-tic, c´mon Fuji you can do it ;-) !

Why ? IMO the 50 mm telephoto (75 mm FF equiv.) Fuji is planning is too short (had that on my Leica and didn't like it) and the amazing XF 90 f2 WR (135 mm FF equiv.) is too long - flattens faces too much. On the other hand a 90 mm f1.4 would´ve turned out too bulky, but that f1.4 70 mm would really hit the sweet spot ! Anyway with Telephotos I usually use the EVF (could never do that on my Leica ...)

As for wide-angles I prefer to use the OVF to see "around" my scene - great to capture the best context and cut out of the scene ! So my XF 16 mm f1.4 for me blocks too much of the OVF, a 16 mm f2 would be more slim, comparable to the XF 14 mm f2.8 & less intrusive !

Modern wheel vs. old pavement - captured with XF 35 mm f2 WR on X-Pro2

I hope y´all liked my "3xF Finally Found Fuji" meta review, thanks for looking by ! If you´ve any questions and/or remarks please leave a comment, I´ll answer ASAP ! Wish you a great Sunday and the best of luck for your photographic endeavours,

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 !