REVIEW: dev version of UFRaw 0.20, finally with X-Trans support

Started Aug 31, 2014 | Discussions thread
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REVIEW: dev version of UFRaw 0.20, finally with X-Trans support
Aug 31, 2014

If you've been following the thread, you already know (original post: ; dedicated post on CVS access: ) UFRaw, a RAW editor, was updated some 3-4 days ago.

I've very thoroughly tested it and compared to several other RAW editors with both "old" X-Trans I and "new" X-Trans II editors (the most recent versions of LR, C1, PN and LZ).

Installation tips (Mac (and prolly 10.9!) only!)

First, some words on installation on a Mac. As MacPorts still has the old, non-X-Trans-capable version, you will need to fetch and compile the dev version.The following tips have been tested on three different Macs of mine:

- a 27" iMac running OS X 10.9 and having a screen res of 2560*1440

- a C2D 13" MBP running OS X 10.9 and having a screen res of 1280*800

- a C2D Mac Mini running OS X 10.7.

Basically, I couldn't compile the new version on 10.7 (got two errors in the final step) and, while compilation was successful on the 1280*800 MBP, I couldn't make it run - it just displayed the "Cannot open display" error message. However, on the 10.9 iMac, I had no problems.

The best is to install the MacPorts version first as it installs all dependencies (and forces you to install / activate the Xcode command line tools too.) In the following, I assume you have a runnning MacPorts version (0.19.2) on your Mac.

1, download the tarball file from (just click theDownload GNU tarball link at the bottom). Click to decompress.

2, open Terminal and navigate to the just-created directory (ufraw by default)

3, issue the following commands, in the following order:

autoreconf -fi

4, after installation, ufraw is ready to run from both Finder and the command line.

X-Trans demosaicing quality

In a nutshell: not bad at all - for example, both the commercial LightRoom and the free LightZone have significantly worse per-pixel quality. My only gripe is the demosaicing error in the following 1:1 crop very similar to those of LightZone:

See the white horizontal line on the field? It's perfectly horizontal; however, it's marred by a continuous, repeating pattern. And, again, it's horizontal; that is, the problem isn't caused by plain aliasing or similar. LR, while it has the very annoying ghosting/halo problem, doesn't exhibit problems like these; neither does PN or C1, which both deliver the best IQ for X-Trans RAW's, at least according to my own tests.

Color noise reduction quality

IMHO, UFRaw isn't the app you'll want to use for reducing color noise in shadows. I've made some serious tests with my, in order not to have highlight clipping, seriously underexposed (by just spot exposing for the window; most specifically, the white part of the Finnish flag outside) ISO 200 RAW file available at (full thread: ).

I've found you just can't fully get rid of color noise even at such a low (ISO 200) ISO. The best I could get was as follows (again, compare this result to those of LR / C1 / etc. in the linked thread):

This is the 0 CNR case:

Finally, if you increase the CNR too much, you'll get the following grid (here at CNR level 1000, but, in general, you can easily get it at much lower values too):

And another shot showing these problems kicking it even at NR level 717:

This shot also shows I had applied some (rudimentary) lens correction before making these shots - hence the slight pinchusion distortion.

Automatic DR100/200/400 mode compensation

If you follow the thread at , you may already have read Randy Benter's explanation HERE. Basically, WRT RAW files, DR400 shots are shot with -2EV exp. comp., and DR200 ones with -1EV. Most other RAW developer apps compensate this. Not so with UFRaw, which, while still lists ISO800 for DR400 shots shot at ISO200, properly displays the image using its original (-2EV) exp. comp.; that is, significantly darker:

And this is how the ISO200 image (the one I otherwise used in this review as the source - after applying some +4.5 EV exposure correction) is rendered. Note that it's 2EV brighter than the previous one:

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