Fuji Raw processing with the X20

Lawrence A.

Hall of Famer
Nov 8, 2012
New Mexico
Larry
I went to an old, local cemetery today, hard scrabble rock and dirt, not the garden paradises you see sometimes. It's a very touching place, speaking of hardship and hope and the love still felt by the living.

For my money (and I paid retail!) the X20 performed very well. We pretty much know about its jpeg issues, though turning NR to -2 helps them considerably. These were shot raw, processed in LR 4.4 and BW Effects, then tweaked in Photoshop. Larger version are accessible by clicking on the image.








The metal tag reads, "Our Darling". Heartrending.
 

Lawrence A.

Hall of Famer
Nov 8, 2012
New Mexico
Larry
The more I use the X20 and process its raw files the stronger my conviction becomes that it is a camera capable of producing detailed images with good tones. It depends on the raw processor used no doubt, and the ability to extract the information in the file. Just as in the darkroom the negative is merely the medium that holds the information you are going to use to make your print, and a large part of what will follow will depend on your darkroom skills and determination, so with digital the raw file is just the medium with the information. You have to take control of it and make it do what you want. Sometimes a camera just not deliver a file that gets you where you want, no matter what you do. Other times, though, we are not willing to change our routines for a very different kind of camera with different processing needs. I don't know where some of the disappointment with the x20 raw files comes from, but I do know that I don't share it. I think it is an amazing raw shooter.

Below, a couple of shots of a wall I found interesting. iso 100 raw, Lightroom, BW Effects, and Photoshop



 

nippa

Top Veteran
Aug 7, 2010
Cheshire UK
Dennis
I too have been playing with the RAW files in Lightroom 4.4 and they are full of detail ; only Fuji knows why the JPEG engine doesn't cut it.
 
P

pniev

Guest
Thanks, Lawrence for taking the time to share your thoughts. The photos are beautiful (both sets) and sobering (set 1). My favorite is #3 of set1.

I totally agree with you with respect to post-processing of raw-files. Works very well, at least in the LR4.4 version.

Peter
 

carlb

All-Pro
Feb 6, 2013
Since I don't have a post processor that supports x20 raw, I've been experimenting with shooting raw, then in-camera conversion. So far, seems fine although I haven't done anything challenging.

Interesting: the camera zooms into jpegs farther than it does raw files, and neither all that far. Makes in-camera assessment of jpeg vs raw marginal at best.
 

Lawrence A.

Hall of Famer
Nov 8, 2012
New Mexico
Larry
Carl: the Silypix that came with the X20 should support raw processing. I'm not very fond of Silypix, and the defaults settings are not good, but it you want to give it a try and compare it to in camera processing, it's there (hint hint). If you do I'd be interested in what you think.

Dennis: Why Fuji released the X20 with a sub-par jpeg engine is baffling to me, especially as a follow-up to the x10, with its wonderful jpegs. Certainly they knew that, the second being marketed as an upgrade of the first, they would be compared. That said, I love the camera and am satisfied with what I can get from it. But the jpeg issue is odd.

Peter: Thanks for your kind words. I like that shot too. The cemeteries are old and mostly abandoned, those who left flowers, etc. undoubtedly mostly gone now too, since there are very few markers later than the 1940's -- some, but they are few and far between. It is indeed sobering, but oddly not depressing, considering its dilapidated state. It does get one into a "tempus fugit" frame of mind, but our courageous, if ultimately futile attempts to arrest time, such as putting up a "permanent" memorial, are touching, even admirable. One has to live, after all; you can't just roll over and die, you have to go on, and you have to go on loving.
 

Armanius

Bring Jack back!
Jan 11, 2011
Houston, Texas
Jack
Nice photos Lawrence!

What do you think of the RAW files at ISO 800 and up? In pixel peeping mode, I've found it difficult (for portrait purposes) to retain enough detail after applying NR and then re-sharpening (which then gets me artifacts).
 

flysurfer

Hall of Famer
Aug 31, 2011
The best way to learn more about this would probably be to share the RAW files in question, so every reader can give it a shot. Then, let's compare notes.
 

Lawrence A.

Hall of Famer
Nov 8, 2012
New Mexico
Larry
Nice photos Lawrence!

What do you think of the RAW files at ISO 800 and up? In pixel peeping mode, I've found it difficult (for portrait purposes) to retain enough detail after applying NR and then re-sharpening (which then gets me artifacts).
I've gotten a couple of things at 1600 that I find quite acceptable. At 100% the evidence of noise left behind, and/or sharpening is evident. But I'd never use those, or any file, for that matter, at 100%. At 50% on screen, already bigger than I'd plan to print a 1600 iso file from this sensor, they look good to me, although retaining tight but noticealbe "noise" -- luminance not chroma, which I can't abide. I prefer a well controlled noise that looks grain-like to significant loss of detail so I sharpen in LR, do a bit of luminance NR, 10 to 20% max. Beyond that I start to lose detail that I want to retain. With this size sensor at that speed, it's a trade-off, but I'm not disappointed in the results.

I'm only interested in what the final product looks like at sizes I might use. Evidence of sharpening at 100% just does not concern me. Even on bigger sensor cameras, if all evidence of post processing is invisible at 100%, I usually don't have the detail I like to retain.

The 1600 iso files at 8x10 would be no problem as far as I can see, which is really all one can reasonable expect from a camera in this class. Those with less tolerance for any noise at all, who like a much smoother appearance might not agree. But I always used a developer that gave me a good grain structure and for most purposes stayed away from "fine grain" developers, whose solvent action dissolved the grain, and a bit of acutance too. I don't find a well defined and even grain unattractive. Color blotches give me the willies.

Below are examples at 25%, 50%, and 100%. I acknowledge that for some the noise at 50% is excessive. But it represents a print size where I could live with it. shot at 1600

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RichardP

Regular
Oct 13, 2010
Since I don't have a post processor that supports x20 raw, I've been experimenting with shooting raw, then in-camera conversion. So far, seems fine although I haven't done anything challenging.

Interesting: the camera zooms into jpegs farther than it does raw files, and neither all that far. Makes in-camera assessment of jpeg vs raw marginal at best.
The latest free Adobe DNG converter works on X20 (and X10) RAW files.
 

Lawrence A.

Hall of Famer
Nov 8, 2012
New Mexico
Larry
Armando: here's an 800 iso portrait shot in raw - at 2.5, so not much DOF. I used more luminance nr than usual. LR settings were sharpening at 45, level 1, detail 30, luminance NR at 30. color NR was left at default. I then gave it a high-pass sharpening in Photoshop at .8. I think the processing makes a reasonably portrait, even if it is a horrible picture of the person. (who will probably kill me for putting it up).

 

Lawrence A.

Hall of Famer
Nov 8, 2012
New Mexico
Larry
No, I was trying to show noise levels at iso 800 on a portrait, as Armando had some questions about it and I think noise is more apt to be objectionable in color.
 

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