Why the x100s files are lacking

Started Mar 29, 2013 | Discussions
samhain
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Why the x100s files are lacking
Mar 29, 2013

I was just reading the comments in Huff's review of the x100s, and one of them stood out to me in a big way. It goes into why the x100s's files seem to be lacking that certain something. I think it's a fantastic post & very informative,  so I thought i'd share it here. Hopefully he see's this and steps in to expand on it.

Mauro B writes:

Now is that informative or what?

Mauro"

Best regards,

Maybe this new x100s will be better, but if it is anything similar from the x-e1 I believe that for the price of less speed the old x100 is still the better bet.

Over the last two years I owned two x100, one “first batch” and the other “late”, an x-pro1 for a very limited time and an x-e1 for 5 months. After having reviewed respective image quality, I concluded that the x100 delivered the best files by far and large.

The software lift performed on native files has in my view another side effect: Lightroom in my experience is not properly able to “reverse engineer” the x-e1 files, in the sense that sliders movements have subtly different effects compared to what I would get with other cameras’ files (I use LR since version 1 with all the cameras I own and owned).

The side effect of the above is the “digital look”, which is the second issue and you mention that as well. The “underexposure + plus curve lifting + nr” performed by the camera at almost any iso level gave my x-e1 pictures an unpleasant digital look which I fully recognise in the x100s samples you posted within your review, with colors often overall “brownish”, not fully realistic and lacking the separation you can find in other camera’s output.

According to the above, when the camera is set to, say, 3200 iso, it captures an underexposed 1470 iso shot which is then given back brightness by the in-camera electronics. So, at 3200 iso the sensor delivers “1470 iso noise” (or close to that, given the “curve lift” performed in-camera) and at 3200 iso the sensor delivers “1870 iso noise”. It is still a very good result in terms of “final shot noise”, but it is also true that almost any modern camera is able to deliver noise free 1470 iso photos. 6400 iso = 1870 iso measured 3200 iso = 1470 iso measured 1600 iso = 987 iso measured

First: noise. It is easy to see that the X100s (or, better, the x-trans 16 mpix sensor) shows little or no noise at 1600 and 3200 iso. But, according to an Italian magazine which put the x-pro 1 to the bench, the nominal vs measured iso values for the x-trans 16 mpix sensor are as follows:

"I would like to add some comments based on having owned two X100 and lately an X-E1, which I sold when I was delivered the M but used alongside the M9 and MM.

Fujifilm FinePix X100 Fujifilm X100S Fujifilm X-E1 Fujifilm X-Pro1
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digby dart
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In reply to samhain, Mar 29, 2013

samhain wrote:

Now is that informative or what?

Not at all.

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Lakeview Man
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Re: Why the x100s files are lacking
In reply to samhain, Mar 29, 2013

Now is that informative or what?

Not really. Well, not informative for me anyway.

See, I love the files my X-pro1 gives me. Both in low and high ISO. So getting the same kind of  images from the X100s is something that makes me want to buy it.

It's a matter of taste then.

Ok, so it's informative after all. Now I want the x100s even more

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Daniel Lauring
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Re: Why the x100s files are lacking
In reply to samhain, Mar 29, 2013

"1600 iso = 987 iso measured

3200 iso = 1470 iso measured

6400 iso = 1870 iso measured"??!?!?!?

I've read anywhere from half a stop to 3/4 of a stop of "cheating" by Fuji on the X-trans sensored cameras.  I would like to better understand how that magazine figured it was over a stop.  They are saying that ISO 6400 is close to 2 stops off!!!

As far as weird effects are concerned.  I saw them occasionally when I had the camera on the default settings.  Since I've switched to -2 NR and turned off auto dynamic range I haven't seen it.  What I have yet to do is selectively turn the "knobs" (NR, dynamic range, sharpness) to create and remove those watercolor effects.

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Velu
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Re: Why the x100s files are lacking
In reply to samhain, Mar 29, 2013

"Only time will tell" ... if you can wait a few months, user reports, comments and pictures will flood the place and last but not least ... Fuji's latest firmware at that time MIGHT have solved things IF there are issues as described ...

Meanwhile let's just hope there's imagewise nothing to fix

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Keit ll
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Re: Why the x100s files are lacking
In reply to Velu, Mar 29, 2013

Isn't this just a myth , the old model is still the best ? It helps to comfort those who bought early & helps to clear out old stocks ? I don't have any Fuji X yet so all this is speculation from an outsider....

Keith C

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samhain
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In reply to digby dart, Mar 29, 2013

samhain wrote:

Now is that informative or what?

Not at all.

Lol I should've known that was coming.

Well, I thought someone sharing test data that provides fuji's true iso's (which vary greatly from fuji's stated iso's), how it effects the files, providing explanations as to exactly why the photos have a certain 'look' that everyone keeps talking about, reasons why Lightroom & other processing programs have had such a hard time with the x-trans sensor files and then giving an opinion on the cameras' files and how they differ from each other having owned the x100, x-pro1 & xe-1- all in one post- well i thought it was pretty informative.
I take it you already knew all that stuff?
I haven't seen any of that info anywhere, just lots of questions & speculations.

I guess we all have different opinions as to what 'information' is. I found it pretty interesting so I thought I'd share it.

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Adrian Tung
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Re: Why the x100s files are lacking
In reply to Daniel Lauring, Mar 29, 2013

Daniel Lauring wrote:

"1600 iso = 987 iso measured

3200 iso = 1470 iso measured

6400 iso = 1870 iso measured"??!?!?!?

I've read anywhere from half a stop to 3/4 of a stop of "cheating" by Fuji on the X-trans sensored cameras.  I would like to better understand how that magazine figured it was over a stop.  They are saying that ISO 6400 is close to 2 stops off!!!

As far as weird effects are concerned.  I saw them occasionally when I had the camera on the default settings.  Since I've switched to -2 NR and turned off auto dynamic range I haven't seen it.  What I have yet to do is selectively turn the "knobs" (NR, dynamic range, sharpness) to create and remove those watercolor effects.

I'm curious where or how they arrived at those figures.

Additionally, on an iso-less sensor (which I believe Fuji's is), it doesn't matter whether the image was taken at higher iso, or slot at lower iso and pushed digitally -- the difference is not significant.

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CraigArnold
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Re: Why the x100s files are lacking
In reply to samhain, Mar 29, 2013

The original X100 has ISO measured at the sensor of 1000 at camera settings of 1600, 3200, 6400. So this is consistent with the engineering approach on the imaging pipeline of even their Bayer cameras.

As DXO explain, it's not "cheating" in any meaningful sense.

Surely the thing to decide is whether the images produced by the whole package of sensor, image processing chip and lens is something you like the look of?

Of course it's interesting HOW they do it, but really it comes down to whether you like the end results or not. We are blessed with plenty of options if the Fuji look is not to your taste.

I may be the world's biggest X100 fan, from day one with the earliest firmware I loved it. Unquestionably the best camera I've ever owned. Simply perfect for me. I am not at all sure I prefer the look of the X-trans, but I applaud Fuji for their willingness to experiment and their courage to innovate.

http://www.dxomark.com/index.php/Publications/DxOMark-Reviews/Fujifilm-X100-DxOMark-Review/The-ISO-Sensitivity-Graph-Explained

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jonnie burtoft
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Re: Why the x100s files are lacking
In reply to samhain, Mar 29, 2013

Thankyou for regurgitating old news.

Enjoy whichever camera you use. Don't forget to take photos.

Steve huff is a legend a photographic god I'm going to sell all of my equipment because he doesn't like it. Cheers Jon

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Felts
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In reply to samhain, Mar 29, 2013

Lightroom has struggled with the x-trans algorithm, nothing else. I find it very hard to believe that at iso 6400 Fuji applies a magical tone curve that lifts the file over 2 stops, and can then still be extensively manipulated in post production. Surely any latitude would be pushed to the max for them to achieve this?

Not every thing written on the Interweb is fact, and some is quite frankly total nonsense. I think this falls into the latter category.

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samhain
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Re: Why the x100s files are lacking
In reply to Keit ll, Mar 29, 2013

Isn't this just a myth , the old model is still the best ? It helps to comfort those who bought early & helps to clear out old stocks ? I don't have any Fuji X yet so all this is speculation from an outsider....

Keith C

It's not a myth, there's certainly something to it. As to the extent, it's hard to say. It varies from person to person.
Just like anything- to some it's a big deal, others not so much.
I think once adobe and other PP/raw programs get an angle on the x-trans sensor and figure out how best to extract the info from it, it'll probably smoke the older x100 sensor. But right now it's somewhat uncharted waters.

The photos from all the fuji cameras look damn good- we're really just splitting hairs. Both the x100 cameras will produce great photos and neither would be a bad purchase.

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dengx
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X100 did exactly the same
In reply to samhain, Mar 29, 2013

X100 did exactly the same and had max ISO=1000.

Regards

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sgoldswo
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Re: ?
In reply to samhain, Mar 29, 2013

samhain wrote:

samhain wrote:

Now is that informative or what?

Not at all.

Lol I should've known that was coming.

Well, I thought someone sharing test data that provides fuji's true iso's (which vary greatly from fuji's stated iso's), how it effects the files, providing explanations as to exactly why the photos have a certain 'look' that everyone keeps talking about, reasons why Lightroom & other processing programs have had such a hard time with the x-trans sensor files and then giving an opinion on the cameras' files and how they differ from each other having owned the x100, x-pro1 & xe-1- all in one post- well i thought it was pretty informative.
I take it you already knew all that stuff?
I haven't seen any of that info anywhere, just lots of questions & speculations.

I guess we all have different opinions as to what 'information' is. I found it pretty interesting so I thought I'd share it.

Funny, doesn't the X100 rely upon curve lifting as well to get to higher ISOs? It would have to give its the same sensor that was in my old A700

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samhain
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Re: Why the x100s files are lacking
In reply to jonnie burtoft, Mar 29, 2013

Thankyou for regurgitating old news.

Enjoy whichever camera you use. Don't forget to take photos.

Steve huff is a legend a photographic god I'm going to sell all of my equipment because he doesn't like it. Cheers Jon

I swear, there's always that guy on dpr that has to put down ken rockwell, thom hogan or Steve huff(even when no one is talking about them);  and then you have that other guy that tells people in a camera forum,(a forum specificly for camera nerds to talk about cameras) to just go take photos.
My friend, you managed to be both those guys in one post. And that is awesome

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PG Thomas
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Re: X100 did exactly the same
In reply to dengx, Mar 29, 2013

ISO 1000... What does it matter?

Using film one bought, Say Tri-x at Iso 400, and then by processing with diferent developers and times resulted in a range of  ISO's 100 to 3200. So long as one exposed for the expected ISO you got the desired result.

Surely this is the same idea? Only now we can change the 'processing' frame by frame.

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dengx
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Re: X100 did exactly the same
In reply to PG Thomas, Mar 29, 2013

PG Thomas wrote:

ISO 1000... What does it matter?

It doesn't matter for me as long as the results are pleasing (and they are):)

Just pointing a flaw in the OP quoted logic implying that X100 was looking "less digital" because X-Trans does high isos in PP because X100 did exactly the same.

Regards

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Photozopia
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Re: ?
In reply to Felts, Mar 29, 2013

Felts wrote:

.... I find it very hard to believe that at iso 6400 Fuji applies a magical tone curve that lifts the file over 2 stops, and can then still be extensively manipulated in post production. Surely any latitude would be pushed to the max for them to achieve this?

What's so hard to believe?

All sensors have a natural base sensitivity (often ISO 100) and inherent maximum exposure 'tolerance' - usually topping out at about ISO 1000.

Images produced both up to, and over, the 'maximum' sensor limit are merely the result of electronic manipulation of that sensitivity range ... the creation of any ISO figure is an electronic process.

Higher range ISO - over natural sensitivity - has always been in the realm of individual manipulation by camera companies 'stretching the tech' as it were, to deliver extreme usable results.

Bench-testing data may not be the same as OEM in-camera results (DXO has admitted as much) and claims that Fuji 'ISO cheat' is no more correct than saying other (un-named) vendors get it right.

The only time ISO is wrong or incorrect (IMO) is when the results from any correct aperture/shutter combination results in under/over exposed images. Anything else is merely electronic engineering (or it's supporters) trying to prove a point.

Perhaps we should simply drop ISO function if it confuses ... why not low/bright light condition buttons (it worked for Kodak Instamatics etc) .... or perhaps fast/slow movement conditions .... or just Auto ISO - which we already have!

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jonnie burtoft
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Re: Why the x100s files are lacking
In reply to samhain, Mar 29, 2013

samhain wrote:

Thankyou for regurgitating old news.

Enjoy whichever camera you use. Don't forget to take photos.

Steve huff is a legend a photographic god I'm going to sell all of my equipment because he doesn't like it. Cheers Jon

I swear, there's always that guy on dpr that has to put down ken rockwell, thom hogan or Steve huff(even when no one is talking about them);  and then you have that other guy that tells people in a camera forum,(a forum specificly for camera nerds to talk about cameras) to just go take photos.
My friend, you managed to be both those guys in one post. And that is awesome

Thankyou, I do try my best

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John Carson
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Re: Why the x100s files are lacking
In reply to Daniel Lauring, Mar 29, 2013

Daniel Lauring wrote:

"1600 iso = 987 iso measured

3200 iso = 1470 iso measured

6400 iso = 1870 iso measured"??!?!?!?

I've read anywhere from half a stop to 3/4 of a stop of "cheating" by Fuji on the X-trans sensored cameras.  I would like to better understand how that magazine figured it was over a stop.  They are saying that ISO 6400 is close to 2 stops off!!!

As far as weird effects are concerned.  I saw them occasionally when I had the camera on the default settings.  Since I've switched to -2 NR and turned off auto dynamic range I haven't seen it.  What I have yet to do is selectively turn the "knobs" (NR, dynamic range, sharpness) to create and remove those watercolor effects.

The brightening effect of higher ISO can be achieved in different ways in-camera. One way is using analogue gain. Another way is to use digital manipulation in the same way as a program like Photoshop does.

It would appear that the writer is not talking about the overall ISO but is instead talking about the portion of it that is the result of analogue gain.

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