#xtrans

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 !

5 Senses of the Fuji X100T, Thanks for 2015 & wish y'all Happy 2016 !

Thanks Fuji for all the amazing images & all readers / followers of my Blog for your interest and constructive comments - you've made 2015 such a great year for me ! Right now I'd like to wish y'all a fantastic, happy & successful New Year - may all your (not only photographic ;-) dreams come true ! Dreams ... ? Hey, what's that gotta do with photography and are you interested to discover the 5 "Senses" of the Fuji X100T ? Please read on ...

Shadows of transition - g'bye 2015, hello 2016 !

Dreams are made of images which often fade away when we wake up. They relate to important experiences in our lives, so sometimes we aspire to capture these images for eternity. Just like in photography, where we try to capture in our images the atmosphere, experiences and feelings of a moment in time, allowing us to enjoy and revisit them later !

Replacing all of my DSLR gear with the Fujifilm X100T a year ago (when I started this blog) has truly helped me a to improve my ability to capture such fleeting moments. The restriction to one lens / one camera has boosted my photographic vision & creativity, see below to discover why:

Flower power

Fuji X100T - 5 "Senses", or Key Attributes for Success:

  1. PORTABLE: Due to the X100T's small size & weight I can easily always take my camera with me, so I rarely miss out photographic opportunities ! The X100T has become like an extension of my hand & eye (now try that with a 4-5 lbs DSLR / 70-200 mm zoom combo !)
  2. SIMPLE: Having just one fixed lens (35 mm FF equ.) has greatly improved my ability to pre-visualize a scene even before lifting the camera to my eye, as I'd internalized the lens's field of view (like seeing with the camera's eye). It also saves me the dilemma of deciding on which lens to use (no more time wasted changing lenses / juggling lens caps and the added bonus of not having to bother with sensor dust or cleaning)
  3. INTUITIVE: The X100T's traditional user interface (aperture ring on lens, speed and ISO dials on top) allows me to check / modify the settings at one glance (w/o having to lift the camera to my eye or needing to look at the LCD). No time lost before / during the shoot by fumbling with menu's and buttons !
  4. DISCRETE: I found that my X100T never had an intimidating effect on people, in fact subjects rarely even realized their picture was being taken. The absolutely silent operation of this camera also helps a lot: Try shoving a massive DSLR in between you and your subject - tends to disconnect you from your scene and the subsequent "bang" of the mirror finishes the job by destroying any remaining intimacy ...
  5. QUALITY: The images coming out of this camera (especially the JPEG's) are simply stunning: Exposure, contrast, sharpness, definition, dynamic range, texture, depth, bokeh, etc. ... Fuji's f2/23 mm asph. / X-Trans sensor combo rocks ! The in-camera RAW converter is an additional asset for mobile post processing (see my previous blog posts on this topic) !

A new cup to fill in 2016 !

Sure, image QUALITY is a super important attribute but I've listed it last, because IMO if i wouldn't have had the first four attributes i'd only get perfectly exposed, sharp images of ... an empty space !

In addition to  this the Fuji X100T seems to have an additional "sixth sense" (success attribute no. 6), kinda like a personality or soul:

EMOTIONAL: A quality hard to describe in words ... The X100T's rangefinder design links back to the traditions and origins of photography, focused on making images. Many modern cameras, however come across kinda more like digital computers, designed to "scan" a scene rather than capture emotions ;-)

A gate ... to the past or the future ?

Ok, so I realize this kinda turned out to be a review of the Fuji X100T, but I prefer to not call it that way as I've focused more on attributes (or "senses" ;-) of the camera which have been instrumental in revitalizing my photography and filling it with life ! I hope this article helps some of you to experiment and find exciting photography opportunities in 2016 - please share your experiences & views in the comments below or by sending me a message from my "about" page !

Many thanks for visiting and the very best wishes to y'all for 2016 !

Sincerely 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 !

 

Gotta love The Square, improved mobile workflow

The square has a magic quality - serenely balanced, a frame in perfect symmetry, having four equal sides and four equal angles, allowing the observer's eye to focus on the essentials:

The Holy Walk - in The Square!

Originally this image was captured in my X100T's native rectangular aspect ratio, but I never liked the unimportant areas left and right of the main motif. Cropped to square it looks so much better! Ok now, what about this "improved workflow" and what's it gotta do with this square business? Before I go into that, here another example benefitting from the attention focusing effect of the square:

The order - also in The Square!

Image post processing is normally independent of how I later want to use the image. The intended final image use and size do however Influence the level of output sharpening, cropping, etc. So I modified my workflow to separate these "finishing touches" steps from the actual image post processing:

  1. First I perform all image post processing (exposure, contrast, levels/curves, shadow/hilight treatment, etc.) in Photogene4 on the imported JPEG. This saves the non destructive image adjustments as metadata which can be rolled back / modified at any time
  2. After finishing post processing I export the resulting image as a TIFF (by selecting the appropriate export settings in Photogene4) on my iPad and copy it to a previously created "edits" album on my iPad (open 'Photos' App, go to 'All Photos' album, select latest saved TIFF image and 'Add To' the "edits" album)
  3. Back in Photogene4 I open the just saved TIFF from the "edits" folder and modify output size, output sharpening, cropping and adding my copyright logo, depending on the intended final image use (web, social media, blog, print, etc.). By pressing the 'original' icon I can revert to the post processed TIFF and change the output parameters. This way I can always keep a master image file (incl. post processing) in its dedicated "edits" album

Enjoying the late afternoon sun in Sardegna

Of course if you're planning to use a square output format it's wize to already apply the 1:1 aspect ratio to your camera's viewfinder so you can properly pre-visualize your image in camera!

Early Boat

With this closing image of tourists on the ferry looking forward to new experiences, I hope y'all enjoyed the read & found something which helps you in your photographic endeavors!

Please leave me a message below or send me an email from my "about" page if you've any questions, suggestions or ideas, many thanks for your visit here and wish y'all a great, fun and satisfying holiday season!

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 !

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 !

X100T = View FINDER !

My Fuji X100T's OVF (Opical View Finder) does exactly that: It FINDS VIEWS ! Like the view below thru an arch in the ancient town of Pescia in Tuscany, Italy:

Pescia, Tuscany - View thru arch

Sure, you can precisely preview your image on a digital camera's LCD screen or thru the lens of a DSLR, but I prefer the superior clarity and brightness of the X100T's optical viewfinder, which intuitively helps me to frame the part of the scene I wanted to show:

Barred Window

 In fact this is one of the main reasons I have chosen to go back & limit myself to this one camera / one lens combo - NO more fussing about equipment and more focus on making the image !

3 Steps to ... Heaven ?

I hope y'all enjoyed today's post - please let me know ! Thanks for visiting & my best wishes for 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 !

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 !

The Very Best X-Trans Lightroom Workflow !

OKOKOK - or maybe the very worst ;-) ... All depends on your preferences and from which perspective you look at it ! I just prefer to spend as little time behind a computer screen as possible & rather'd go out take some PIX ! ... Like this one, i found in Buitrago del Lozoya, Spain where there's a great Pablo Picasso Museum: Go on and take a look, if you get a chance, you sure ain't gonna regret it !

Lovely House Façade in Buitrago del Lozoya, Spain

Lovely House Façade in Buitrago del Lozoya, Spain

Anyway - in this Blog i'd like to share my X-Trans workflow. Yeah I know this kinda topic has been beaten to death elsewhere, but after reading 'em all i developed my own "simplified" workflow & hope it's of some interest to you X-Trans fans out there !

So, before X-Trans life was easy: import images, move some sliders around, DONE ! Then along came Fuji with their ab-so-lute-ly AWESOME APS-C X-Trans sensor - and nothing worked no more ! Even Adobe's latest re-incarnation of Lightroom 5.7 still don't cut it for me: The converted RAW files still often demonstrate the dreaded "smearing effect" on green foliage and other small details ...

After some research i stumbled over Picture Code's Photo Ninja with a nifty solution to integrate their RAW converter into a Lightroom workflow ! Here's how it works best for me:

  • Import images (RAW+JPEG seperated) into date stamped folders on my laptop
  • Sort, rate & add copyright info using Camera Bit's Photo Mechanic software
  • Copy images selected for processing into Lightroom auto import folder, see here how to set that up ...
Sort, Rate and add © in Photo Mechanic ...

Sort, Rate and add © in Photo Mechanic ...

  • Open Lightroom & your copied images will magically import & appear:
Open Lightroom & see your auto-imported images !

Open Lightroom & see your auto-imported images !

  • From the Develop module export your selected image to Photo Ninja. if you've set up Lightroom & Photo Ninja as indicated here, this will make Photo Ninja open the original RAW file with the same file name, see below:
Original X-Trans RAW file opened in Photo Ninja !

Original X-Trans RAW file opened in Photo Ninja !

  • In Photo Ninja I just make sure that I get a "digital negative" with maximum dynamic range to have the best starting point for later post processing - normally it's all about recovering highlights (and Fuji X-Trans files have a lot of highlight headroom !). See these great Photo Ninja tutorials to learn more !
  • I then hit "save", which makes Photo Ninja overwrite the TIF file in Lightroom:
Photo Ninja overwrites the TIF file in Lightroom !

Photo Ninja overwrites the TIF file in Lightroom !

  • This TIF from Photo Ninja exhibits wonderful details rendering & now includes an amazing dynamic range - ideal as a starting point for my subsequent post processing in Lightroom !
  • My first step back in Lightroom is to render the image to Black & White in the Develop module's "Basic" tab (but you can also skip this if you prefer color):
First step in Lightroom is to  change over to Black & White ...

First step in Lightroom is to  change over to Black & White ...

  • I then basically play around some with the sliders in the "Basic", "Tone Curve" and "HSL / Color / B&W" tabs, optimizing my image until it fits the pre-visualization I had at the time of capture (note: changing color filter sliders in "HSL / Color / B&W" tab is obviously only relevant for Black & White images):
Improve your image by changing sliders in Basic, Tone Curve and B&W tabs !

Improve your image by changing sliders in Basic, Tone Curve and B&W tabs !

If necessary I apply some retouching and/or graduated filters at this stage. The final result is what i call my "master image", from which i render web or print versions. Due to Lightroom's "non destructive" image processing I can change any slider at a later time if needed. To render web or print versions I export to another folder, apply sharpening / noise control / sizing as required and add my copyright information !

Hope you've enjoyed this post & it can help you to get the very best out of your X-Trans RAW files. Fuji sure makes fantastic lenses & sensors, but they do need some attention in post to realize the stunning rendering potential in them ;-) ! Thanks so much 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 !