Who is at fault for the waxy skin tones? Locked

Started Feb 20, 2014 | Discussions thread
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Re: Who is at fault for the waxy skin tones?
In reply to Peter Jonas, Feb 21, 2014

Peter Jonas wrote:

wyldberi wrote:

It's a software issue programmed into the EXR image processor.

Do you mean it is hard coded into the processor, or is the code in firmware?

... and the same "glitch" was present in the X-E1 and X-Pro1.

Most people believe this is not case, and apparently, it was done differently in the X-E1, which resulted in less loss of skin details and more realistic texture and colours. The problem seems to be that the X-E2 renders skin in a less pleasing way at very high ISO settings.

In absolute terms images taken at ISO6400 with the X-E2 are nice, but the X-E1 was just a little better. Of course there are workarounds, but those workarounds are not convenient for all.

Some people complain as they thought they had it better before. See how you go with a toddler when you take away from him/her the half eaten chocolate bar you had just given him/her 10 minutes before.

I am not terribly concerned about this since I recently read the interview with a Fuji executive where he said Fuji had done this because this is how most people like it in Asia. However, they realise that it was not everyone's cup of tea, and they are now thinking about a solution. There is hope ...

This is quite relevant to me as I use the X-E2, and shoot lots of pub concerts with really badly lit places, and only regularly use ISO3200 and 6400, and I only use SOOC JPEG output.

The workarounds are not really suitable for me as I cannot put more light on, don't want to use a flash most of the time, and don't want to PP RAW either. I just want to get the optimum performance out of the camera at hand.

I used to have the X-E1 and now I have the X-E2, but I cannot see a lot of difference between the too. It is not a deal breaker for me, as I am OK with the X-E2 in many respects.

However, improvements are always welcome.

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Peter Jonas

I am saying the issue is not related to the hardware, including the EXR processor. My understanding of the EXR is that it serves the same function as a CPU in a desk or laptop computer, and that it has a defined instruction set that it uses. There is absolutely nothing there that causes the chip to create a problem when it creates an image file from the RAW data.

The issue, as it is, stems from the algorithms Fuji's software engineers created to handle noise reduction procedures. In effect, they taught the camera how to create nice looking pictures based on the data supplied by the sensor. The noise reduction algorithms, and the resulting noise reduction procedures the EXR Processors perform are an integral part of the wonderful JPEG's most people praise Fuji for achieving.

There are people who claim they want a software switch as a Menu item that can be used to turn off the noise reduction at high ISO values. This is a simplistic approach, and shows only that they who clamor for such either don't know what they're talking about, or they haven't thought the issue through clearly.

The primary issue associated with using digital sensors to create pleasing images at high ISO's is that these settings result in a higher amount of displeasing digital noise being deposited in the image. The solution is to apply noise reduction. Turning off the noise reduction at high ISO levels will do one thing: it will disable the camera from creating pleasing images at high ISO values.

The next time you come across such a comment by someone, ask them what will happen if that's done. When they reply it will make the skin tones appear to be more life-like, ask them how that will happen? Ask them what the noise looks like that the noise reduction procedures currently remove?

In your response to me you wrote:

"The problem seems to be that the X-E2 renders skin in a less pleasing way [ than the X-E1 ] at very high ISO settings."

And later on you wrote:

"... but I cannot see a lot of difference between the two."

This only indicates to me that a point I made in my previous post is valid. It seems to me it is the "Most people" and the "Some people" that are the bigger problem here.

When I related the information I received from quite a few people who use the Fuji cameras professionally who stated the same problem exists in the X-E1's and X-Pro1's they are using to day, you responded "Most people believe this is not the case ..."

This was no idle statement on my part. It came from numerous people I trust, who have no reason to bother themselves with lying to me. To the contrary, they went out of their way to relate their personal experience with the cameras they use. And in open threads where I discussed this issue, I received not one response that contradicted what the other respondents said. As for those who deny the reality of the people I trust, I can only say look where the reality of george w. bush and dick cheney have gotten us.

Here at DPReview, there are quite a few people who seem to enjoy reviving this "complaint" about how poorly the Fuji cameras operate. People are quick to jump on the "tear it down" bandwagon as it rolls down the street. You're welcome to do as you please, but I choose not to do so.

If people want to push the limits of their equipment beyond what it is capable of doing, they are responsible for the results they achieve. If the reasonable limit is to not shoot portraits at ISO 1600 or above, then maybe that's what people should do. If your pictures turn out so poorly in dimly lit pubs, and you refuse to print from RAW files which is a reasonable option that avoids the problem, then that's on you.

I might just as well sit here and complain that people who like to drive their Ferraris at 120 miles per hour and ram them into bridge abutments are getting killed. Certainly Ferraris are capable of being driven at that speed, so why shouldn't their owners be able to drive them into bridge abutments two or three times a week if they choose to do so?

If people want or need to take portraits at 6400 or 12800 ISO, then it's their responsibility to supply themselves with the equipment they need to do so. If Fuji cameras can't do that to their satisfaction, they should go buy Brand Y that does.

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