February 7th, 2013, 12:19 AM
Fuji X-Trans RAW Converter Comparison: Lightroom 4.3 and Capture One (C1) 7.0.2
As many of you know, Fuji's X-Pro1 and X-E1 cameras use a non-standard color filter array (CFA) in contrast to nearly all other cameras which use a Bayer array. As a result, support from 3rd party RAW converters has been somewhat diminished. The Fuji cameras include a version of Silkypix for RAW conversion, but many users are unhappy with this solution.
The leading RAW processor, Adobe Lightroom, has been widely criticized for the quality of conversions with these cameras. Whether that criticism is warranted remains controversial, despite several widely read comparisons between Lightroom, C1, Silkypix, and Fuji's in-camera JPEG engine:
Capture One Fujifilm X-Trans Raw support tested: Digital Photography Review
Fujifilm X-Trans RAW (RAF) processed in Capture One 7.0.2 Beta vs Lightroom 4.2
Comparison between Capture One-Beta / SOOC JPG / Lightroom / Silkypix | Fuji Rumors
Comparing RAW converters: JPEG vs. Lightroom, Capture One, Silkypix & RPP | Fuji Rumors
Several S.C. members kindly contributed X-Pro1 and X-E1 RAW files for testing, and I'll be presenting representative data from one file in particular, which was contributed by tdp. You can download the RAW file and in-camera JPEG for evaluation from these links: RAW | JPEG
The specific problem with Adobe Lightroom conversions is that the files, when viewed at 100%, can take on a "watercolor" or "orange peel" effect. This effect is generally unnoticeable unless the files are sharpened well beyond the program's default setting. To give a clear example of the phenomenon, I sharpened these Lightroom crops excessively and also boosted clarity:
Normal processing, however, gives a different result.
Before I present the comparative crops, it's worth mentioning that C1 default settings boost color saturation and local contrast quite a bit relative to the default LR settings. I attempted to equalize these factors between the C1 and Lightroom when I processed the files. However, I did not try to match the in-camera JPEG colors or contrast.
Here are a few representative 100% crops:
You can still see the watercolor phenomenon in the Lightroom crops, but the differences here are far more subtle, and I don't see them translating into the final product, whether a resized on-screen image or print.
The biggest differences I noted between C1 and Lightroom are that C1 has higher local and increased color saturation. I also think C1 handles high ISO noise reduction better, while Lightroom is slightly more able to recover highlights. Disclosure: Phase One gave me a copy of C1 for review purposes.
February 7th, 2013, 09:42 AM
Thanks for the testing Amin. And thanks TDP for the sample photos.
So for RAW x-trans sensor camera photographers, is it worth investing on C1?
Current Gear: A little bit of this and a little bit of that, but want more!
February 7th, 2013, 10:43 AM
For me, Silkypix is out of the question from a usability standpoint, in-camera JPEG is a non-starter (whole nuther discussion), and C1 gives better results than Lightroom. I'll probably continue to catalog all my RAW files in LR but do the X-Trans processing in C1.
Originally Posted by Armanius
February 7th, 2013, 11:59 AM
I've seen a few people recommend the in-camera raw editor, but it still does seem a bit bizarre that there is a decent functioning raw converter inside the camera yet it doesn't also come loaded on a CD for use on a computer in however basic a form that might entail.
Nic (Canonite, Olympian, Panasonian, Samsunite) ~flickr~
February 7th, 2013, 12:11 PM
The ideal solution would be for Fuji to enable, through firmware, the option to shoot in linear DNG format. Linear DNG would mean that the file had been demosaiced using the Fuji algorithm but otherwise endowed with all the flexibility of RAW and ready to be processed further in Lightroom, Aperture, etc.
February 7th, 2013, 12:36 PM
Sounds like a good idea.
Originally Posted by Amin Sabet
Thanks for the test.
I like LR for it's overall strengths; it's very rare that I would need PS, though I do use plugins from Nik, and LR's cataloguing is good, while the Print module is excellent (and very important to me). If I do use another converter it would likely just be for basic conversion and export a TIFF to LR.
In ost of my work I don't yet see a real need - LR does a good job, except when there is lots of foliage, and even then the result is not always negative.
The trouble for me is the price of C1. I'll wait a bit to see if adobe make some changes. With the increase in X-Trans bodies, they might up their work a bit.
February 8th, 2013, 10:23 AM
Perhaps because the software is written for the in-camera hardware, and not for a specific operating system? Not sure how that would work, as programming is not my thing. And a standalone raw converter might be criticized for not having more features if it is just a barebones conversion program. Methinks Fuji have a deal with Silkypix that they must honour for a while, too. Maybe the consensus at Fuji is that Silkypix delivers just enough functionality, so they don't have to create their own standalone converter.
Originally Posted by Luckypenguin
February 8th, 2013, 03:36 PM
Hmm, this whole discussion makes me feel as though I might prefer to buy the current iteration of the X-E1, if I'm reading this discussion properly. I apologize for being so out of the loop on all of this.
Doesn't everyone always wish for DNG?
February 8th, 2013, 03:53 PM
Not if you are a card-carrying member of the "Apple does it best" club
Originally Posted by BBW
why use DNG? - Micro Four Thirds User Forum
Nic (Canonite, Olympian, Panasonian, Samsunite) ~flickr~
February 8th, 2013, 03:55 PM
Oh shhh! I'm a "card carrier" when it comes to computers but not to software. ;-)
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