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Raw and raw conversion

Supplied software

The Fujifilm FinePix X10 is provided with the 'FinePix CD' software disc which includes:

  • MyFinePix Studio Ver 3.1 - A basic file viewer / manager (Windows only)
      
  • FinePix Viewer Ver 3.6 - A file viewer / manager (for Mac OS X 10.3-10.6)
      
  • RAW File Converter EX - A powerful, fully-featured RAW converter based on SilkyPix

The X10 ships with its own customized, but fully featured version of SilkyPix, called RAW File Converter EX. This is a hugely flexible piece of software that includes a vast range of options and adjustments, and which is capable of producing pretty impressive results. It's not the easiest converter to get to grips with though: its menus give the impression of having been machine-translated, the available options aren't necessarily very logically organized, and the on-screen 'Help', although comprehensive, is about as obtuse as you'll ever find (it tends to repeat what the options are, rather than explain what they mean). But if you're prepared to put in the time and effort to work it out, then the results can be very worthwhile.

Once you've worked your way past the slightly odd terminology (images are called 'scenes', and parameter sets get saved to the 'cloakroom', for example), you'll find a vast range of tools to rival industry leaders such as Capture One or Adobe Camera Raw. This includes features you won't always find in bundled software, such as highlight recovery, lens aberration correction, and perspective correction (here known as 'Digital Shift').

SilkyPix allows you to open a folder of images in thumbnail view, so you can easily find the image you want to work on. Double-clicking on an image (or 'scene') brings it up to full-screen for editing. The feature set on offer is comprehensive, but the lack of any meaningful documentation (and occasionally incomprehensible menu options) mean it can take a while to really feel comfortable and to find your way around.
Most options have plenty of presets to allow you to start getting good results without too much fine tuning. Once you're comfortable with the options, you can save your own favoured settings as additional presets, to speed up your processing. There's a plethora of tool palettes that can be brought up and dismissed by clicking on icons at the bottom left of the window. Advanced functions on offer here include highlight recovery, lens and perspective corrections, and colour fine-tuning.
The level of control can be a little overwhelming - for instance, in addition to the White Balance tools on the left-hand toolbar, there's also a White Balance Adjustment palette. The two don't appear to interact, which can be confusing. And, once you're really familiar with the software there are some very fine-level controls over functions such as noise reduction and sharpening. It's not the most approachable software but it's very powerful once you understand it.

Raw conversion

As is normal in our reviews we like to compare the supplied raw conversion software, any optional manufacturer raw conversion software and some third party raw converter. For the purpose of this test we've picked Adobe Camera Raw alongside the SilkyPix software. Here we compare these two converters to the camera's JPEG engine to see how each of them pulls detail out of the images.

  • JPEG - Large/Fine, Default settings
  • SP - Raw File Converter EX
  • ACR - Adobe Camera raw 7.1

Sharpness and Detail

While there are noticeable differences in contrast and color rendition as well as minor sharpness distinctions between the ACR and SilyPix Raw conversions, it is immediately obvious in the samples below that neither file contains as much detail as the in-camera JPEG. This strongly suggests that the unique EXR sensor data is not being demosaiced for optimal results by either of the raw converters, both of which officially support the X10.

The distinctions between in-camera and third party Raw support are such that in our opinion anyone wishing to take advantage of the X10's Raw file advantages would be best served by using the in-camera raw conversion options rather than external software.

Fortunately, Fujifilm has provided a wide selection of useful and effective options for converting Raw files in-camera. You can choose among film simulation modes, adjust, color intensity, sharpness, noise reduction, white balance (including fine-tuning shifts) and adjust local highlight and shadow contrast.

Raw File Converter EX (SilkyPix) Raw ->JPEG (Default settings)
ISO 100 studio scene 100% crop
Adobe ACR 7.1 Raw ->JPEG (Default settings)
ISO 100 studio scene 100% crop
In-camera JPEG, Fine quality (Default settings)
ISO 100 studio scene 100% crop

Resolution

In the 100% crops from our resolution chart below, the difference in output between in-camera and external raw conversions is even more striking. You're simply not able to achieve resolution you'd reasonably expect from Raw output of a 12MP sensor with either ACR or SilkPix. Both raw converters were used at their default settings to produce the images you see here. And while we're tempted to give a slight edge (no pun intended) to ACR over SilkPix neither conversions are ideal.

In-camera JPEG Raw File Converter EX (SilkyPix) Raw
 
ACR 7.1 Raw  

In-camera Raw conversion

As we've established, converting the X10's raw files using computer software is quite a hassle, and doesn't necessarily result in markedly better image quality than is offered by the camera's JPEG engine. Fortunately though, like the X100 and X-Pro1, the X10 offers an excellent in-camera Raw conversion feature.

Although you don't get as much control over noise reduction and sharpening as you'll get in Silkypix and Adobe Camera Raw, the X10's in-camera conversion feature allows you to quickly change color modes, white balance, and even adjust highlight and shadow tone.

In playback mode, navigate to the image you want to adjust, and press the 'RAW' button to activate the in-camera conversion dialog.

Before in-camera Raw adjustment After
This shot was accidentally taken with white balance set to tungsten - a poor choice, to say the least, for such a sunny day... using the X10's in-camera raw conversion feature, we quickly corrected the white balance by setting it to 'Auto' and created a new JPEG file which looks much more natural.
There's nothing technically wrong with this image but it's pretty dull. We converted it to monochrome and increased highlight and shadow contrast using the in-camera raw conversion feature, then cropped the resulting JPEG, also in-camera, for a tighter composition.

Raw files for download

Don't just take our word for it - take a look at the X10's raw files for yourself, and process them yourself. Here, we provide you with a selection of raw files of 'real world' scenes, and provide the associated in-camera JPEGs for comparison. if you want to take a closer look at the X10's studio scene shots, you can download original raw files from our Image Quality Compared (raw) page.
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Comments

Total comments: 2
Mikegwoollard
By Mikegwoollard (3 weeks ago)

Update on faulty optical viewfinder: Fuji repaired camera for £110 with full service and 1 year guarantee extension. I like the camera so had it repaired but in future I will be buying Canon products as this viewfinder should never have failed in the first place given the gentle use this camera had.

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Mikegwoollard
By Mikegwoollard (1 month ago)

Nice camera living up to dpreviews comments BUT optical view finder stopped functioning correctly in the first 9 months of use only in focus at full zoom. This despite it being looked after like cut glassware. I have sent to Fuju for repair estimate after guarantee ran out. No doubt a hefty repair estimate will result. We will see.

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Total comments: 2