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Software - RAW conversion

Supplied software

In addition to the standard file browsing software (FinePix Viewer), Fujifilm a basic but usable raw conversion utility, FinePix Studio, which does a good job of replicating the camera controls on your PC, as well as allowing you to fine tune white balance and contrast (using curves). You don't get any control over noise reduction - for that you'll need to switch to Adobe Camera Raw and an NR program such as NeatImage.

Interestingly the FinePix Studio raw conversion spits out huge 12MP files (in TIFF or JPEG format) - a throwback to the old days when all Super CCD cameras produced images with double the number of pixels on the sensor.

FinePix Studio is a big improvement on the Raw Converter LE supplied with previous models, giving you much of what is great about raw shooting - the ability to set white balance and other parameters after you've taken the shot.

JPEG & RAW Resolution compared

There is a no discernible resolution advantage to shooting raw over JPEG, though the 12 megapixel files are - when downsized back to 6MP in Photoshop, very, very slightly cleaner. Of course the real reason for shooting raw is about control over exposure, white balance and so on.

We also ran the files through Adobe's Camera Raw (ACR) plug-in, which produces very clean results using the default settings (and doesn't by default double the file size). As we've seen before with the F30, ACR doesn't seem to be able to get quite as much resolution out of the files (though the difference isn't great - and less than it appears due to the much lower level of sharpening applied). For the comparison below we resized the TIFF output of FinePix Studio to match the 6MP JPEGs and ACR TIFFs.

Note also that the current version of ACR doesn't recognize files from the S6500fd (only the S6000fd) - the only way to open S6500fd files in ACR is to edit the file header to 'fool' ACR into thinking they're S6000fd files (which we did here).

Adobe Camera Raw
RAW -> TIFF (Default)
ACR 3.6
Raw Converter LE
RAW -> TIFF
Resized (Photoshop Bicubic)
JPEG from camera

Studio shot comparison

The output from FinePix Studio (again downsized here to match the JPEG) is very slightly cleaner than the JPEG, is marginally less saturated and looks very slightly less sharpened. The Adobe Camera Raw (ACR) result is considerably less 'processed' (it's got a lot less noise reduction and a lot less NR), and you can see noise in blue areas, something you need to address using ACR's noise reduction options (or a dedicated NR program). What you do get from ACR is much finer control over the color and contrast of the image, and with some tweaking you can eke more dynamic range and a more pleasing tonal range out of the files.

Apologies for the slightly different framing of the JPEG shot; the raw images were re-taken towards the end of the review.

Studio Scene Comparison, ISO 100, 100% crops
Adobe Camera Raw
RAW -> TIFF (Default)
ACR 3.x Beta
FinePix Studio
RAW -> TIFF
Resized (Photoshop Bicubic)
JPEG from camera

We often use ACR to get a more 'honest' indication of the noisiness of camera sensors - it doesn't have the strong NR routines used in-camera (or in manufacturers own raw converters). Here, with both Luminance and Chroma noise reduction their defaults, you can see just how noisy the output from the chip is, and just how much work Fuji is doing on the files to produce the final image. You'll also preserve more detail (especially low contrast detail) at high ISO settings by using ACR.

It's worth noting that the S6000fd's ISO 1600 and 3200 raw results (processed using FinePix Studio) are noticeably better than the JPEG produced by the camera.

Studio Scene Comparison, ISO 1600, 100% crops
Adobe Camera Raw
RAW -> TIFF (Default)
ACR 3.x Beta
FinePix Studio
RAW -> TIFF
Resized (Photoshop Bicubic)
JPEG from camera
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