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Fuji X-Trans RAW Converter Comparison: Lightroom 4.3 and Capture One (C1) 7.0.2

Discussion in 'Open Gear Talk' started by Amin Sabet, Feb 7, 2013.

  1. Amin Sabet

    Amin Sabet Administrator

    Jul 3, 2010
    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
    https://www.photographerslounge.org...ture-one-7-0-2-beta-vs-lightroom-4-2-a-15229/
    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:

    8451620867_e41267dd13_o.

    8452712134_bca734e844_o.


    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:

    8451620661_ca3d1244d7_o.

    8452711994_ace3f19556_o.

    8451620753_96dd65b58a_o.


    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.
     
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  2. Armanius

    Armanius Bring Jack back!

    Jan 11, 2011
    Houston, Texas
    Jack
    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?
     
  3. Amin Sabet

    Amin Sabet Administrator

    Jul 3, 2010
    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.
     
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  4. Luckypenguin

    Luckypenguin SC Hall of Famer

    Dec 24, 2010
    Brisbane, Australia
    Nic
    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.
     
  5. Amin Sabet

    Amin Sabet Administrator

    Jul 3, 2010
    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.
     
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  6. Pelao

    Pelao SC All-Pro

    Jul 11, 2010
    Ontario, Canada
    Stephen
    Sounds like a good idea.

    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.
     
  7. Archiver

    Archiver SC Top Veteran

    618
    Jul 11, 2010
    Melbourne, Australia
    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.
     
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  8. BBW

    BBW Administrator Emeritus

    Jul 7, 2010
    betwixt and between
    BB
    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?
     
  9. Luckypenguin

    Luckypenguin SC Hall of Famer

    Dec 24, 2010
    Brisbane, Australia
    Nic
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  10. BBW

    BBW Administrator Emeritus

    Jul 7, 2010
    betwixt and between
    BB
    Oh shhh! I'm a "card carrier" when it comes to computers but not to software. ;-)
     
  11. Ghosthunter

    Ghosthunter boo!

    Sep 8, 2010
    London UK
    Andy
    I have always used the in built converter in both the X100 and X-Pro1 and have found the files to be excellent. I am now thinking that it's time once again to dabble into the world of RAW seeing as the Xpro has such great dynamic range etc. I have been looking at C1 along side LR4 ( I have LR3) and it does seem to do a better job than LR. If C1 does Sigma DP raw files then I'm sold!!!

    EDIT: Bugger, It does not do Sigma raw or the Lumix LX7 which is a bit poor :frown: I can understand not doing sigma files but I did expect it to do the LX7. Anyhoo I have downloaded the trial and so far the program does a very decent job on the X-Pro1 Raw files. It's not as nice to use as Lightroom but then I am not used to it yet. Shame it's over £80 more than Lightroom!
     
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  12. flysurfer

    flysurfer SC Top Veteran

    791
    Aug 31, 2011
  13. tdp

    tdp Guest

    Amin had done an earlier post on SC about the RX100 (I think?) and how the more common image processors are automatically applying lens corrections and not having an avenue to remove those corrections on RAW files. In many wide lenses, this results in the corners being smeared a bit. Depending on the image you may not want or need those corrections. C1 lets you apply to whatever level, or to remove completely - those automatic corrections. My point is C1 has other benefits in RAW processing apart from it's abilities with RAF files.

    Of course most people either use Aperture or Lightroom and prefer those tools because they know them, and while Fuji has communicated to those two companies what was needed to work with their files it has yet to happen. With Canon/Nikon/Sony holding the share of the market, Apple and Adobe are making business decisions based off the numbers. It is a shame for us (we want the big boys to fully support our camera's RAW needs), but it is a business reality.

    Hats off to Fuji for doing something different, and for Silky Pix and Phase One (and others) that are meeting the needs of all photographers.
     
  14. Pelao

    Pelao SC All-Pro

    Jul 11, 2010
    Ontario, Canada
    Stephen
  15. Amin Sabet

    Amin Sabet Administrator

    Jul 3, 2010
    Stephen, I think he makes ACR/LR look poorer than it is by not processing "to taste" making use of all the tools in LR. As I tried to show in my example, the results are much closer if you use the available tools.
     
  16. Ghosthunter

    Ghosthunter boo!

    Sep 8, 2010
    London UK
    Andy
    Do you mean Silky Pix 5? THe disc I got with my X-Pro1 is finepix 3.2. Will this be good? I don't mind the clunky UI but as long as it does a good job and saves me spending £180 on Capture one.
     
  17. Pelao

    Pelao SC All-Pro

    Jul 11, 2010
    Ontario, Canada
    Stephen
    Good point Amin.
     
  18. Garylh

    Garylh SC Veteran

    I like RPP on the Mac better than silky pix. It is free but talk about a crappy UI :(. It is Mac only though. I will most likely get c1 eventually. The main reason I am using RPP over LR is due to batch processing capability. Once u setup a raw default profile, u can take a bunch of raw files, drag and drop them on the RPP icon, it will automatically kick off the raw processing and save the new files for you (I use TIFF). Once that is done u can import it to your favorite editor (in my case Aperture) for final manipulation work.

    I find RPP slightly better than Silky pix. Silky pix a hair better than LR. C1 is a slightly better than RPP in some cases but UI is so much better. I was lucjky enough to be part of beta trial. It turns out that the sw developers of c1 were the guys who initially did the photoshop stuff for adobe (they were bought by adobe).

    Hope that helps
    Gary
     
  19. Ghosthunter

    Ghosthunter boo!

    Sep 8, 2010
    London UK
    Andy
    I have been playing with the trial version of C1 and it is good. I have also been playing with SilkyPix which gives pretty good results. I think I'll stick with SilkyPix for now as it does a good enough job and I never batch process so that's not a problem.It is a shame that this Fuji version of silkyPix does not process my LX7 Raw files.
     
  20. Amin Sabet

    Amin Sabet Administrator

    Jul 3, 2010
    I forgot to disclose that Phase One gave me a copy of C1 for review purposes!
     
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