#raw

Capture with Style!

Been some time since I posted ... Was kinda busy movin´ house & couldn't find my camera ;-) Now I´m back with Style! Capture (-ing) with Style, using Capture One Pro 10 with a modified Style (never liked the "canned" stuff, always like to do my own thing!). Please read on to find out more!

Into the Sun, with XF 35/2 WR on X-Pro2, Capture One 10 with modified BW-15 Style

In Capture One Styles are sets of presets driving several adjustments simultaneously, while presets adjust only a single parameter, eg. "grain". Means you can dramatically speed up your post processing workflow by applying such Styles during image import. By selecting a Style suiting your needs you can automatically adjust eg. gradation curve, sharpening, noise reduction, etc. of your images when importing your images into Capture One and you´re already 90% done without lifting a finger!

Bridge in the Park, with XF 35/2 on X-Pro2, Capture One 10 with modified BW-15 Style

As already mentioned here my favorite Capture One Style is the BW-15 (grain) black & white Style, which IMO comes closest to Fuji´s amazing ACROS JPEG film simulation. But the grain´s too much salt in my soup and the default sharpening settings seem a bit too aggressive. So I was trawling (not trolling, mind you ;-) the net for optimal Capture One settings in combinmation with Fuji´s 24mp X-Trans III RAW files & stumbled across Thomas Fitzgerald´s "X-Trans-Files-in-Capture-One-Guide". A great read, costing only 4€ and well worth it in my opinion!

Red Chair on Stone Patio, XF 16-55/2.8 WR @16mm, X-T2, CO 10 with modified BW-15 Style

Using Thomas´ settings for 24mp RAF files in Capture One 10 as a starting point I modified Capture One´s BW-15 (grain) Style by reducing grain level to 60 and optimizing sharpening and noise reduction settings slightly (of course you can also use your own favorite settings). The trick is to select an image, apply the style, adjust the various settings to your satisfaction and save it all as a new Style (take care to deselect those items which are image dependent):

Deselect presets which are image dependent!

This ensures the same film simulation, gradation (tonality curve) and grain are saved in your new Style but image specific parameters, like exposure, contrast, etc. are not affected!

Apply saved Style & auto adjust on import!

Then select your new Style and "auto adjust" in the import menu. This makes Capture One apply your Style and auto adjusts exposure parameters automatically during import, resulting in 90% ready images, which only need minor final tweaking (if at all)

View from Villa Sermolli over Buggiano in Tuscany, Italy, X-T2 with XF 16-55/2.8 WR @23mm

Summarizing, Fuji JPEG´s are good but RAW files just have that extra flexibility: If you want to get the best outta your images you gotta go RAW, allowing you eg. to change color sensitivity (like applying color filters during post processing) and offering that extra bit of highlight headroom. Looking forward to your comments, questions, and critique, thanks so much for looking by,

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!

Want Best Image Quality From Your Fuji ? Here´s How !

After my first try-out of Phase One´s new Capture One Pro v10 (here) I thought those of youse in constant search of getting the very best image quality might be interested in a re-comparison of latest available RAW development solutions ! For this I took a challenging high contrast image shot after dusk - quite scary how much achievable image quality still varies among contemporary RAW converters. Curious ? Please read on !

Great result: XF 18-135mm @18mm f/5.6 1/8" on X-Pro2, developed in Capture One Pro 10

Small side remark: I´m repeatedly amazed about what I can do with Fuji´s XF 18-135mm OIS (Optical Image Stabilization): Apart from replacing a full bag of lenses I´m getting sharp results down to 1/8 sec at any focal length (sometimes even 1/4 sec !) - Hello ... that´s 4-5 stops autonomy vs. non OIS lenses ! Means I could take the above image of a museum venue after dusk at ISO 3200, f5.6 and 1/8 sec hand held !

Ok, so before looking at the various RAW converters I´d first like to share the SOOC JPEG taken with Acros-R film profile - a bit too dark for my taste:

Original SOOC JPEG, using ACROS-R film profile - too dark IMO !

I compared following RAW converters (in order of preference):

Disclaimer: I am not affiliated with any of the above software providers, nor a "fan-boy" of any one of them - I just choose the best solution for my type of images and workflow. However I excluded some RAW developers (Raw Therapee, Silkypix, ACDSee, Aperture, ...) from this comparison as these either were not available to me, or not compatible with Mac OS Sierra, or having an IMO too complex user interface (eg. Silkypix). So, in case you don´t agree to my conclusions you´re most welcome to leave me a comment and/or suggestions below !

Basically I aimed for maximum highlight recovery and dynamic range, covering all zones from pure black to white with balanced gradations of grey in between. I further tried to prevent over sharpening (to which Fuji X-Trans files do not agree too well). Below you can see 200% crops of results achieved with each RAW converter (arranged in order of my personal preference):

My Conclusions:

  1. Overall Capture One Pro 10 delivers IMO the most balanced result, with good contrast and sharpness in the background billboard text and not too aggressive rendering of the grass and the hedge. Capture One now automatically corrects distortion (often prevalent on zooms) by straightening & cropping. However, left at 100% this correction effectively reduces the FF equ. widest angle of view of the XF 18-135 from 27mm to 28.5mm. So I reduce the auto-correction to around 60% allowing me to retain around 28mm FF equ. max. field of view while still getting reasonably straight lines
  2. Photo Ninja brings out more contrast in the text but IMO renders the tree, grass and hedge too aggressively. The image also seems to be overlaid by a visible grain structure. Unfortunately Photo Ninja doesn't´t offer lens correction based on embedded EXIF data and delivers somewhat strange colours (for those into colour imaging)
  3. Lightroom CC delivers reasonable results, albeit with subdued sharpness in the text (with optimal settings for Fuji X-Trans) and a hint of detail smearing artefacts in the foliage
  4. Iridient  (my previous favourite, before trying the newest version of Capture One) disappointed me on this image: I couldn't get sufficient contrast in the text and finest details in that text do not seem to be resolved well enough (lines in the letters break up). Also here IMO too aggressive rendering of the grass & foliage
  5. Affinity Photo delivers a similar balanced result to Capture One but clearly lacks contrast, sharpness and detail rendering in the fine details of the background text
  6. The SOOC JPEG is IMO the least attractive of these (apart from being too dark). This confirms that JPEG´s, while being good enough for sharing images on social media / web are insufficient for big fine-art enlargements - see how the fine details in the text are lost ...

Another aspect to consider is that from my point of view only 2 solutions of the above offer a complete all-in-one image management / RAW development solution: Capture One Pro and Lightroom CC. The others are usually applied as external RAW converters integrated into a Lightroom workflow, requiring exporting and re-importing of images & more complicated handling

Even Capture One is currently my preferred image management solution it has one big deficiency: It is the only software of the above NOT able to handle compressed Fuji RAW´s. This means each RAW file blocks approx. 50mB of your disk space vs. the approx. 25mB per compressed RAW !

Ok, this will be my last post of this year. I sincerely hope you enjoyed visiting my blog during the past year & will continue to follow me thru 2017 ! As always please leave me any comments and/or questions you may have in the comments area, many thanks for your continued support & for your interest / contributions !

Wishing y´all a wonderful, successful, fun new year 2017 & the best of luck for all your (photographic ;-) endeavours, 

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 !

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, Part 2 & Conclusion

Last week I shared with y´all how various RAW converters render the Fuji X-Pro2´s new X-Trans III sensor´s hi-lights & shadows, see here. Now for the second (and last) part, I´m looking at details & sharpening - I must say, very interesting ! Please read on if curious - again I start with the SOOC JPEG, showing how the camera interpreted the scene:

 Park with Lake - Fuji X-Pro2, WR 35mm/f2, JPEG SOOC: not bad at all, but a bit too dark !

Here an enlarged portion of this SOOC image:

Crop of above SOOC JPEG, observe some "watercolor" artifacts in the background bushes !

Serves me right, at this extreme magnification level (300-400%) I managed to identify the famous "watercolor" effect in some areas of finest low contrast foliage detail ! Now this is a special feature of Fuji´s X-Trans sensors, developed to punish "pixel peepers" ;-)

Believe me, if you focus your photography on developing the best image content, rather than searching for artifacts at crazy magnifications you'll never need to bother about it. This effect is definitely NOT visible at normal viewing magnifications, nor in print ! As this "watercolor" effect remained visible with all RAW converters, I believe it´s caused on pixel level by interference between finest details and Fuji´s proprietary demosaicing pattern (designed to maximize sharpness by not needing an AA filter for moiré prevention). I also get the impression that it´s less evident on Fuji´s new 24 mp sensor compared to the previous 16 mp sensors (where i could make it visible already at lower magnifications)

Having said that now let´s look at how the different RAW converters perform on details & sharpness:

1. Photo Ninja:

Apart from the missing lens correction the "watercolor" effect is less prominent as it´s masked by a kind of "smearing":

Park with Lake - Fuji X-Pro2, WR 35mm/f2, RAW developed in Photo Ninja

Here the enlargement, showing quite good details & sharpening, but for my taste too harsh micro-contrast ...

Crop of the above Photo Ninja rendering, less visible "watercolor" but harsh micro-contrast

2. Iridient Developer:

From my point of view detail & sharpening are better balanced here (less "smearing") & better sharpening in contrasty details:

Park with Lake - Fuji X-Pro2, WR 35mm/f2, RAW developed in Iridient Developer

See here the enlargement:

Crop of the above Iridient rendering, excellent details & more balanced sharpening

3. Adobe Camera RAW (included in Lightroom & Photoshop):

Last but not least here the rendering of Adobe Camera Raw, with some tweaking of sharpening in Lightroom nearly as good as Iridient !

Park with Lake - Fuji X-Pro2, WR 35mm/f2, RAW developed in Adobe Camera Raw

Details, see here:

Crop of the above Adobe Camera Raw rendering, nearly as good as Iridient !

Conclusion:

From my point of view based on detail & sharpening alone Iridient wins, but with some tweaking Adobe Camera Raw can come quite close !

So, overall combing this with last week´s conclusion I´m gonna try "survive" ;-) without an external RAW developer (i.e. see if I can limit myself to just Lightroom) !

Will keep y´all posted, please feel free to visit me here soon & see how it "develops" (pun intended !)

Many thanks for looking by & for your interest, please feel free to contact me via my contact page & drop me a message, I´ll be most happy to answer your questions as good as I can !

Best regards & wish great imagin(in)g !

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 !

TWO of a Kind !

OK, So it's been quite a time since my last blog post - my sincere excuses to those who have been eagerly waiting for news ;-) ! I was quite busy & couldn't spend as much time on my blog as I'd have wanted to, still, I hope y'all will enjoy this post about looking for & finding pairs of things - "TWO of a Kind !"

Two Funnels

I like the symmetry of this image, broken by the vertical shadow on the wall and the random nature of the clouds. Also the vertical lining of the clouds contrasts nicely with the horizontal wall panels. I further abstracted the image by pointing the camera nearly straight up, making the normally vertical funnels look as if they're lying down. I always look for such conflicting elements to bring tension into my images, here's another example:

Two Pillars

Two vertical columns in the Botanical Gardens of Villa Melzi in Bellagio, Lake Como (be sure to take a look if you should be in that area - really worthwhile and very relaxing !). Looks like the shorter pillar just got some help from the vertical cloud formation on the top right !

The image below was captured on the terrace of a hotel with lemon trees, where some of the lemons had fallen off & I could take the image before the personnel had a chance to remove 'em !

Two Lemons

Here the round shapes of the fruit and the ashtray in the back are nicely contrasted by the regular pattern of the wicker table !

For those interested all images were taken on Fuji X100S and Fuji X100T cameras and the resulting RAW files developed in Photo Ninja, subsequently fine tuned in Lightroom.

Hope y'all liked my post ! As always your comments, constructive critique and questions about the images, technique, gear are most welcome ! Just drop me a message on my contact page or send me your comment below ! Many thanks in advance & wish y'all a great Sunday, 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 !

INTO the Light !

Here in Europe we have them: Seasons, the cyclic changing of nature’s weather, temperatures, colors, … and Light ! After the dark, wet and cold of winter it’s great to enjoy the warmth & light of the sun’s spring rays … that’s what I’ve tried to capture in these images:

Terrace of VIlla Sermolli in Buggiano Castello, Tuscany

Lovely, how the afternoon Tuscan sun lights up the first spring blossoms and breathes life into the weathered terrace of the gorgeous 16th century Villa Sermolli and overgrown backyards of Buggiano Castello, Tuscany:

Overgrown Backyard in Buggiano Castello, Tuscany

The good thing about spring is that the light’s still coming in low during the day, allowing it to better sculpt textures and shapes on otherwise unremarkable subjects, like this back alley in Montecatini Terme:

 

 

 

Below diffused lighting after sundown highlights the white marble of the fountain, while the water turns inky black from the reflection of the dark evening sky !

Back Alley in Montecatini Terme, Tuscany

Fountain after Sundown

For those interested, all this was shot using the amazing Fujifilm X100T; Always with me, never in my way, delivering fantastic rendering and image quality, THANKS Fuji !

Post processing: No cropping, RAW development using Photo Ninja and some contrast enhancement using Tone curve in Lightroom ...

I just never cease to be amazed by the dynamic range & highlight headroom of the Fuji X-Trans sensor !

So, I hope y'all enjoyed this week's blog post, many thanks for visiting & reading – As always your comments & constructive critique are most welcome and appreciated, thanks in advance & 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 !

NO Time & Your Images SUCK ?

Recognize this ? You're stuck in the rat race of your day (and night) job, and/or your agenda’s jacked with back-to-back assignments – all maybe good for the biz, but …

Somehow your creativity seems to haven gotten lost along the way, and the lighthearted joy of creating what YOU fancy has meanwhile become a long forgotten memory - Your images SUCK. Big time !

Afternoon Sun's Shadows

And ... you unfortunately don’t have the opportunity to make them more interesting by going exotic places to take photographs ... :-) ? Today I'd like to share what worked for me:

Look around & experiment ! Often the beautiful effects of light are right there, in front of your eyes (while you were too preoccupied with dreaming of those far away locations) !

In my case it was the light of the afternoon sun passing thru the regular geometric shapes of the metal grille outside our window, creating distorted shadows on the uneven folds of our curtains ...

A Different Perspective ...

RAW processing in Photo Ninja preserved the highlights. Then I went B&W in Lightroom & only manipulated the curves a bit (the tonality curves of course, not the curtain's ;-) ... The result’s quite interesting, don't you think ?

Your constructive critique & comments are, as always, most welcome ! Looking forward to hearing your view - thanks for reading, take care & 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 !

Taming the Beast ! X-Trans RAW, Part 2

You liked PART 1 ? Already curious about PART 2 ? OK, as promised last week today I would like to follow up with PART 2 of my X-Trans RAW converter evaluation by sharing ALL the results - wish y'all an interesting read, please check it out below !

Behind the House ...

But in order to allow easy comparison, I've used the same RAW image as last week, a house façade in Buitrago del Lozoya in Spain ...

the following 4 main X-Trans RAW converter (Windows only) options were analysed:

  1. Picture Code’s Photo Ninja 1.2.4, with post processing in Lightroom
  2. Phase One’s Capture One Pro 8.1.1 (all-in-one solution)
  3. Adobe’s Lightroom 5.7, with embedded ACR (all-in-one solution)
  4. Silkypix’s Raw File Converter EX 3.2.22, with post processing in Lightroom

Please see below the results - click on the images below to see an enlarged version:

Photo Ninja

LIghtroom

Capture One Pro

Silkypix

And here (finally ;-) the detailed evaluation of the various (windows only) RAW converters & post processing (if needed):

1. Photo Ninja & post processing in Lightroom:
Delivers the best detail & highlight recovery, but colors are difficult to manage & a bit more noise reduction is needed in LR (details, please see my previous Post here and integrated Photo Ninja / Lightroom workflow here):

2. Capture One Pro:
More natural colors (less corrections needed) but vs. PN less sharp detail rendering & less highlight recovery, see "Capture One Crop 1". Don't need additional noise reduction, but tendency to show conversion artifacts (see door bell panel in "Capture One Crop 3"). Advantage is the "All inclusive" integrated workflow !

3. Lightroom (using built in Adobe Camera RAW converter):
Main issue here, from my point of view is still the well know "smearing effect" (albeit better than previous versions) and lower detail rendering, see "Lightroom Crop 1". Like Capture One also this one has an "All inclusive" integrated workflow !

4. Silkypix & post processing in Lightroom:
Also here less highlight recovery and lower detail rendering, see Silkypix detailed crops. Apart from this Silkypix from my point of view has a complicated user interface which needs some getting used to ...

Photo Ninja Crop 1

Capture One Crop 1

Lightroom Crop 1

Silkypix Crop 1

Photo Ninja Crop 2

Photo Ninja Crop 3

Capture One Crop 2

Capture One Crop 3

Lightroom Crop 2

Lightroom Crop 3

Silkypix Crop 2

Silkypix Crop 3

As you can see (recapping my last week's conclusion in PART 1 of this evaluation), from my point of view Photo Ninja has the best detail rendering and highlight recovery potential, followed by Capture One Pro, Lightroom and Silkypix !

But I'm sure some of you out there will come to different conclusions, better fitting & optimized for your way of working, so looking forward to an interesting discussion !

Hope you enjoyed the read, please let me know by entering your comments on this page, or by sending me a message via my contact page if you've any questions - I'll be happy to answer them !

many thanks, 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 !