Finally settled on a RAW workflow/tool

Started Feb 9, 2013 | Discussions
57even
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Finally settled on a RAW workflow/tool
Feb 9, 2013

After evaluating Silkypix Pro5 and Capture 1 Pro7 for three weeks, I finally decided on Silkypix for three reasons....

1. It actually has more accurate colour, better resolution and less colour bleed.

2. It does not have "yetanotherimagecatalogue" which you get with C1 pro (I prefer to use LR since I have 70k catalogued images already loaded). It is also a pain to use if you do all your fine retouching in Photoshop after conversion (which I do). C1 more or less insists on doing it all.

3. As I already had an older version I got an upgrade from mysys.nl for €70. If you have Fuji Raw Processor you can also get a discount, though not as much.

SP Pro5 is more powerful, and does a better job than the Fuji free version, though the main difference is the default colour map and HDR/Dodging tool. I have also built a number of default tastes which I use for sharpening, colour rendition and contrast.

I have not even tried integrating SP5 into my LR workflow, because I realised it's a lot easier to review the shots in SP before loading them into the LR catalogue. I just open up each new folder copied from the SD card directly in SP5 and produce a fairly some basic 16bit TIFF conversions with as much DR as I can, from the choice shots. I then import the whole folder into LR, but only move the TIFFs to the "collection" space where I do the editing from.

LR does a great job on the resulting TIFFs, and I have the option to open them directly in PS before or after the LR adjustments.

I can also use the same workflow with Capture NX2, which does a better job than LR with my D600 RAW files as well.

Much as I liked C1 pro, I just found it tried to be too many things and was not easy to use as a stand-alone RAW converter, something that SP5 is fine for.

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wandiba
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Re: Finally settled on a RAW workflow/tool
In reply to 57even, Feb 9, 2013

57even wrote:

After evaluating Silkypix Pro5 and Capture 1 Pro7 for three weeks, I finally decided on Silkypix for three reasons....

1. It actually has more accurate colour, better resolution and less colour bleed.

2. It does not have "yetanotherimagecatalogue" which you get with C1 pro (I prefer to use LR since I have 70k catalogued images already loaded). It is also a pain to use if you do all your fine retouching in Photoshop after conversion (which I do). C1 more or less insists on doing it all.

3. As I already had an older version I got an upgrade from mysys.nl for €70. If you have Fuji Raw Processor you can also get a discount, though not as much.

SP Pro5 is more powerful, and does a better job than the Fuji free version, though the main difference is the default colour map and HDR/Dodging tool. I have also built a number of default tastes which I use for sharpening, colour rendition and contrast.

I have not even tried integrating SP5 into my LR workflow, because I realised it's a lot easier to review the shots in SP before loading them into the LR catalogue. I just open up each new folder copied from the SD card directly in SP5 and produce a fairly some basic 16bit TIFF conversions with as much DR as I can, from the choice shots. I then import the whole folder into LR, but only move the TIFFs to the "collection" space where I do the editing from.

LR does a great job on the resulting TIFFs, and I have the option to open them directly in PS before or after the LR adjustments.

I can also use the same workflow with Capture NX2, which does a better job than LR with my D600 RAW files as well.

Much as I liked C1 pro, I just found it tried to be too many things and was not easy to use as a stand-alone RAW converter, something that SP5 is fine for.

I have them all...And I find Fuji's RFC to give the best output of them all....It is slower than DSP5 no doubt but apart from that everything else is far better with RFC than DSP5. I have used C1 for years but find previous C1 ,V2/3/4 to have had better rendering than their lattest effort. I only use C1 when I need to recover highlights for which Silkypix is rather useless.

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Imagefoundry
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Re: Finally settled on a RAW workflow/tool
In reply to 57even, Feb 10, 2013

How do you find color output of SilkyPix 5 Pro compared to RFC?

One specific issue I have with RFC is the color is generally wrong - reds are too orange, greens too yellow and blues too cyan. It's almost like entire hue wheel is off about 15 degrees.

Is Pro version any better, out of the box?

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57even
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Re: Finally settled on a RAW workflow/tool
In reply to Imagefoundry, Feb 10, 2013

Imagefoundry wrote:

How do you find color output of SilkyPix 5 Pro compared to RFC?

One specific issue I have with RFC is the color is generally wrong - reds are too orange, greens too yellow and blues too cyan. It's almost like entire hue wheel is off about 15 degrees.

Is Pro version any better, out of the box?

Not quite, I find the camera settings though reported the same as the Fuji converter tend to be too green for daylight and require a slight adjustment. When adjusted I can generally get them better than the Fuji version (more natural and less anaemic).

With C1 the colour was nice, but way to saturated by default and not quite accurate.

Not sure why the installed version of SP5 seems to have this WB issue, but the end result is still better.

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Trevor G
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Re: Finally settled on a RAW workflow/tool
In reply to 57even, Feb 10, 2013

57even wrote:

After evaluating Silkypix Pro5 and Capture 1 Pro7 for three weeks, I finally decided on Silkypix for three reasons....

Thanks for flying the flag, especially since your choice is so unpopular in here.

SP Pro5 is more powerful, and does a better job than the Fuji free version, though the main difference is the default colour map and HDR/Dodging tool. I have also built a number of default tastes which I use for sharpening, colour rendition and contrast.

SP5's highlight treatment is quite different also, once you get crushed and clipped highlights.

It will pull out at least another 0.5EV of highlight detail that RFC doesn't.

All the best with Silkyix and thanks again for going on record.

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Trevor G
Silkypix tutorials at: http://photo.computerwyse.com

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jpartlo
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Re: Finally settled on a RAW workflow/tool
In reply to 57even, Feb 10, 2013

Yes I'm with you on this.  Dismayed at the lack of interest!

Regards

jim partlo

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Trevor G
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Re: Finally settled on a RAW workflow/tool
In reply to Imagefoundry, Feb 10, 2013

Imagefoundry wrote:

One specific issue I have with RFC is the color is generally wrong - reds are too orange, greens too yellow and blues too cyan. It's almost like entire hue wheel is off about 15 degrees.

Is Pro version any better, out of the box?

DSP5 is different, but both need "adjustment" if you are trying to match your output to the OOC JPEG.

The technique is the same for both - start with the Taste tool at the top, then work your way down to the Colour presets until you get the output that is closest.

I never have to touch the colour wheel, and I just don't bother with curves.  Give me a slider any day!

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Trevor G
Silkypix tutorials at: http://photo.computerwyse.com

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baobob
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Re: Finally settled on a RAW workflow/tool
In reply to 57even, Feb 10, 2013

I do the same with thefile raw converter provided with the camera and I'm rather pleased with this WF

What significant improvements did you find with the SP5 version?

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57even
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Re: Finally settled on a RAW workflow/tool
In reply to baobob, Feb 10, 2013

baobob wrote:

I do the same with thefile raw converter provided with the camera and I'm rather pleased with this WF

What significant improvements did you find with the SP5 version?

-- hide signature --

Good judgment comes from experience
Experience comes from bad judgment

The main thing I guess was that I can use it to process other camera RAWs (I have a Nikon as well, and may well buy other brands as well as Fuji).

V5 seems to have improved slightly on the sharpening and NR algorithms and generally tidied up all round.

I you are getting good results with the Fuji version carry on. You won't see a massive improvement, it's more a few tweaks here and there.

The main thing is the difference between "Natural" and "Faithful" colour presets - "Natural" make a much better start point for most things.

Please note though, I still use LR for overall tonal adjustment and PS for final editing, masking/layer work, local contrast and texture adjustment and final sharpening. SP5 gets me a good TIFF file with as much DR as possible, so I normally go...

Camera card into computer, copy pics into windows folder with camera/place/time-date

SP5 => Open folder and make "Near linear" 16bit Tiff with best overall colour and DR I can get. Minimum sharpening and careful NR treatment.

LR => Import all folders, add TIFFs to appropriate collection. Make global tone adjustments (LR is great for this) then open file in PS5 for final local editing (if required) and printing. If I need to revisit the original RAW conversion, I just go to explorer view and open the file in SP again and adjust the conversion.

It sounds convoluted, but none of the individual tools are ideal for everything and I like having all the options!! C1 is a fine tool, but really hard to use as a stand-alone RAW tool.

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57even
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Re: Finally settled on a RAW workflow/tool
In reply to Trevor G, Feb 10, 2013

Trevor G wrote:

Imagefoundry wrote:

One specific issue I have with RFC is the color is generally wrong - reds are too orange, greens too yellow and blues too cyan. It's almost like entire hue wheel is off about 15 degrees.

Is Pro version any better, out of the box?

DSP5 is different, but both need "adjustment" if you are trying to match your output to the OOC JPEG.

The technique is the same for both - start with the Taste tool at the top, then work your way down to the Colour presets until you get the output that is closest.

I never have to touch the colour wheel, and I just don't bother with curves. Give me a slider any day!

-- hide signature --

Cheers
Trevor G
Silkypix tutorials at: http://photo.computerwyse.com

Hi Trevor,

I generally find a +4 magenta colour deflection adjustment from the standard WB is all that's needed, though I am surprised SP gets this wrong (late evening shots are very green). I also generally convert the colour preference to Natural Film P.

End result is close to perfect, but whats with the default?

I really don't find SP that hard to use, it's just very very precise - very Japanese. You need to make very subtle adjustments. LR allows you to take massive liberties which gets you into all sorts of trouble, and C1 is frankly a little garish.

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Toccata47
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Re: Finally settled on a RAW workflow/tool
In reply to 57even, Feb 10, 2013

I agree that if results are what count silkypix is a fine choice. Getting there isn't a cushy experience, as it is with lightroom for examples, but the resultant files are better quicker on a case by case basis. Haven't tried batch processing with sp.

I also agree that Capture One can be a pain. I always get the feeling that it wants you to bend to it's way of working, rather than the other way round, which I suppose could be said for sp too, but with sp I mind it less because it seems so spartan.

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Bernie Ess
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My experiences so far
In reply to 57even, Feb 10, 2013

I initially hated Fujis version of Silky, tried out the C1 demo for 60 days, also have LR4 and RPP for the mac.

After a while I see thing the following way:

  1. In many cases the JPEGs are near perfect, of course L size and FINE resolution.
  2. Silky can come close, butonly after tweaking the files: In system standard settings the files are too bright and highlights clip constantly. My preset has contrast set to low (slider to 1.20 or so) and exposure to minus half a stop, gamma raised accordingly. With the different colour options one can come reasonably close to the internal JPEGs of the camera, with slightly better detail.
    Reidreviews(paid review site) has published a long article comparing the X-trans options and converters in detail, including a coparision of RAW file converter EX with Silkypix V5 in detail (summary being that apart from a higher saturation and punch both are the same more or less).
  3. C1 as I remember (demo has expired now) is punchy as usual, but a bit over the top. It also applies some kind of local contrast enhancement, or a higher default sharpening. I prefer a more natural conversion and a smoother look. The final question is is C1 worth 230 Euro? For now my answer is NO.
  4. RPP: It is generally very good and for various cameras (like Canon 5d) it produces the most naturally looking files with analmost analogue feel to them. For the Fuji X series it produces a bit rough files due to the zipper artefacts it introduces. Ok, but not ideal.
  5. Lightroom is ok, but the chroma blurring watercolour effect is not a quality option. I hope they optimize it in a later version....

Sumary: For now, I will shoot RAW + JPEGs, go for the JPEGs as far as they are not overexposed or far off in terms of WB, and use Silkypix Fuji version for the rest. Postprocessing of the Tiffs is always done in Lightroom

Cheers

Bernie

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57even
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Re: My experiences so far
In reply to Bernie Ess, Feb 10, 2013

Bernie Ess wrote:

I initially hated Fujis version of Silky, tried out the C1 demo for 60 days, also have LR4 and RPP for the mac.

After a while I see thing the following way:

  1. In many cases the JPEGs are near perfect, of course L size and FINE resolution.
  2. Silky can come close, butonly after tweaking the files: In system standard settings the files are too bright and highlights clip constantly. My preset has contrast set to low (slider to 1.20 or so) and exposure to minus half a stop, gamma raised accordingly. With the different colour options one can come reasonably close to the internal JPEGs of the camera, with slightly better detail.
    Reidreviews(paid review site) has published a long article comparing the X-trans options and converters in detail, including a coparision of RAW file converter EX with Silkypix V5 in detail (summary being that apart from a higher saturation and punch both are the same more or less)
  3. C1 as I remember (demo has expired now) is punchy as usual, but a bit over the top. It also applies some kind of local contrast enhancement, or a higher default sharpening. I prefer a more natural conversion and a smoother look. The final question is is C1 worth 230 Euro? For now my answer is NO.
  4. RPP: It is generally very good and for various cameras (like Canon 5d) it produces the most naturally looking files with analmost analogue feel to them. For the Fuji X series it produces a bit rough files due to the zipper artefacts it introduces. Ok, but not ideal.
  5. Lightroom is ok, but the chroma blurring watercolour effect is not a quality option. I hope they optimize it in a later version....

Sumary: For now, I will shoot RAW + JPEGs, go for the JPEGs as far as they are not overexposed or far off in terms of WB, and use Silkypix Fuji version for the rest. Postprocessing of the Tiffs is always done in Lightroom

Cheers

Bernie

I agree there is not much of a difference between SP5 and FRC but the former is a little slicker and more refined and produces a better quality TIFF with a little less effort IMO. I find it does a better job with clipped highlights, but I may be imagining it.

It's mainly the improved selection of colour/film presets which have a much nicer, warmer and more rounded feel to them. However you do have to cope with the initial (and incomprehensible) colour drift.

LR works great once you import the TIFF provided you captured as much of the tonal info as possible in the TIFF and got the colour right. Its still the best solution for global tone curve adjustment as long as you don't go over the top with it.

No substitute for Photoshop for serious local editing though. However, starting with the TIFF, there is very little need to keep buying upgrades every time you buy a new camera. Functional differences between versions of PS have become next to meaningless so I will be using CS5 for a very long time yet.

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57even
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Re: Finally settled on a RAW workflow/tool
In reply to Toccata47, Feb 10, 2013

Toccata47 wrote:

I agree that if results are what count silkypix is a fine choice. Getting there isn't a cushy experience, as it is with lightroom for examples, but the resultant files are better quicker on a case by case basis. Haven't tried batch processing with sp.

Not cushy, but actually not that hard when you get around the rather odd terminology. Most of the controls are comparable between SP, LR and C1, but SP has some tools that make very subtle adjustments and take some practice to understand and appreciate.

I also agree that Capture One can be a pain. I always get the feeling that it wants you to bend to it's way of working, rather than the other way round, which I suppose could be said for sp too, but with sp I mind it less because it seems so spartan.

If C1 allowed you to open a single RAW file from a function call (from Bridge for instance) or simply work from explorer without the catalogue function it would be a lot easier to live with.

No real pro will give up on Photoshop for final retouching, so making it so difficult to integrate is a real killer.

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itmelo
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Re: Finally settled on a RAW workflow/tool
In reply to 57even, Feb 10, 2013

57even wrote:

baobob wrote:

I do the same with thefile raw converter provided with the camera and I'm rather pleased with this WF

What significant improvements did you find with the SP5 version?

-- hide signature --

Good judgment comes from experience
Experience comes from bad judgment

The main thing I guess was that I can use it to process other camera RAWs (I have a Nikon as well, and may well buy other brands as well as Fuji).

V5 seems to have improved slightly on the sharpening and NR algorithms and generally tidied up all round.

I you are getting good results with the Fuji version carry on. You won't see a massive improvement, it's more a few tweaks here and there.

The main thing is the difference between "Natural" and "Faithful" colour presets - "Natural" make a much better start point for most things.

Please note though, I still use LR for overall tonal adjustment and PS for final editing, masking/layer work, local contrast and texture adjustment and final sharpening. SP5 gets me a good TIFF file with as much DR as possible, so I normally go...

Camera card into computer, copy pics into windows folder with camera/place/time-date

SP5 => Open folder and make "Near linear" 16bit Tiff with best overall colour and DR I can get. Minimum sharpening and careful NR treatment.

LR => Import all folders, add TIFFs to appropriate collection. Make global tone adjustments (LR is great for this) then open file in PS5 for final local editing (if required) and printing. If I need to revisit the original RAW conversion, I just go to explorer view and open the file in SP again and adjust the conversion.

It sounds convoluted, but none of the individual tools are ideal for everything and I like having all the options!! C1 is a fine tool, but really hard to use as a stand-alone RAW tool.

Much similar logic and workflow for me! I really liked C1 but since I already have LR and Aperture it didn't make much sense for me to invest in C1 just as of yet. I could have stayed just with the free RFCEX and that's a pretty good option as well if only people put their biases aside and put in a little bit of effort to understand the Silkypix software. However, I found that Silkypix 5 provided a few more features, and with the discount already mentioned somewhere in this forum, made it worthwhile to upgrade for me.

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baobob
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Re: Finally settled on a RAW workflow/tool
In reply to 57even, Feb 10, 2013

Thx for all this precise and valuable info

I'll stay on the software provided

I also use sometimes Helicon filter 5 which gives more details and even less bleeding but add some minutes artifacts in the high contarst zones so not a perfect tool as well for all types of shots

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Trevor G
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Re: Finally settled on a RAW workflow/tool
In reply to 57even, Feb 10, 2013

57even wrote:

Hi Trevor,

I generally find a +4 magenta colour deflection adjustment from the standard WB is all that's needed, though I am surprised SP gets this wrong (late evening shots are very green). I also generally convert the colour preference to Natural Film P.

End result is close to perfect, but whats with the default?

Thanks, that's interesting.  I'll try it.

Maybe they are all using the same monitors at ISL, which have not been colour calibrated?

Or their calibration is set to something just a little "off"?

Whatever it is, I'm sure they really could do more to get a more accurate default image look.

I really don't find SP that hard to use, it's just very very precise - very Japanese.

Once again, thanks for coming out and stating that.

I'm sure more people would try it and be surprised, if it wasn't so socially unacceptable here and elswhere.  .;-)

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Trevor G
Silkypix tutorials at: http://photo.computerwyse.com

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Trevor G
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Re: My experiences so far
In reply to Bernie Ess, Feb 10, 2013

Bernie Ess wrote:

  1. Reidreviews(paid review site) has published a long article comparing the X-trans options and converters in detail, including a coparision of RAW file converter EX with Silkypix V5 in detail (summary being that apart from a higher saturation and punch both are the same more or less).

Not true, not even more or less.  Mind you, I have thought the same, too, at times.

DSP5 has much better highlight handling - I'll show in another post.

The sharpening is also better by default, and possibly at extremes. Noise is also supposed to be better.

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Trevor G
Silkypix tutorials at: http://photo.computerwyse.com

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David Hardaway
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Re: Finally settled on a RAW workflow/tool
In reply to 57even, Feb 11, 2013
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57even
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Re: Finally settled on a RAW workflow/tool
In reply to Trevor G, Feb 11, 2013

Trevor G wrote:

57even wrote:

Hi Trevor,

I generally find a +4 magenta colour deflection adjustment from the standard WB is all that's needed, though I am surprised SP gets this wrong (late evening shots are very green). I also generally convert the colour preference to Natural Film P.

End result is close to perfect, but whats with the default?

Thanks, that's interesting. I'll try it.

Maybe they are all using the same monitors at ISL, which have not been colour calibrated?

Or their calibration is set to something just a little "off"?

Whatever it is, I'm sure they really could do more to get a more accurate default image look.

It's probably something they tweak specially for Fuji Xtrans in the Fuji version, because D600 conversions are perfect. I wonder if the relative pixel density throws out the standard offset they use for colour temp (their auto mode is also out).

I really don't find SP that hard to use, it's just very very precise - very Japanese.

Once again, thanks for coming out and stating that.

I'm sure more people would try it and be surprised, if it wasn't so socially unacceptable here and elswhere. .;-)

Yeah, I learned Silky when I got my Pentax K10 because it was notably superior to ACR as it was then. Once you take the time its not that hard, and it can produce some very nice output with a light touch on the controls.

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