Setting Our Fuji Cameras for Shooting RAW

Started Jul 16, 2017 | Discussions thread
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Greg7579 Senior Member • Posts: 6,196
Setting Our Fuji Cameras for Shooting RAW

I wanted to start a thread on this because I bet there are Fuji RAW shooters out there that don't know this. This is very important for RAW shooters.

This was not my discovery. It is well documented in the very good Fuji Expert Tips book by Rico Pfirstinger. Nixda and several other of the old technical pro's on this forum have covered this as well.

I started doing it a few months ago and it has really helped me get better exposures because you get a much more accurate depiction of the RAW reality on the histogram and Live View (LCD & ECF).

As most of us know, when shooting RAW the image we see on the LCD and EVF (and the histogram) is generated by the embedded JPEG in the RAW file.  That JPEG file includes all of the in-camera settings that have been set, most of which are not recorded on the actual RAW file.  This is a problem because the histogram and live view will be off and skewed (from what the RAW file really is) one direction or the other as in-camera corrections are made to the JPEG and you view that embedded JPEG.  It can fool you. So, the trick is to get the in-camera-generated JPEG (which is embedded in the RAW file) as close to the actual RAW file information start point as possible.  The best settings for that have been discovered and are well known.  With these settings, the image will look a little flat in the Live View, but we don't care.  We are not interested in the JPEG file.  We just want to not be fooled by it while shooting.

I have always believed in exposing for highlights as much as possible and later bringing the shadows out in post with one of the 5 LightRoom sliders that allow for tone-mapping, which is applying ISO manipulation, or brightening, to the image or parts of the image in post.  This means I sometimes tend to underexpose by almost a stop (in general) while shooting landscapes on hikes in order to preserve highlights and then am able to bring out the shadows or blacks to whatever degree I want later in post.  This retains the highlights better, which is important for landscapes because they usually have several stops of DR.  You can make these judgements while shooting far better if you have a more accurate depiction of the RAW on the histogram.  To do this the camera settings are:

Set DR to 100.  This is in effect DR turned off.  DR applies in-camera lifting of shadows and lessening of the highlights in order to provide more DR in the resulting JPEG.  (Nixda argues that DR settings of 200 or 400 also effects the RAW file, and I believe him because I tried several landscape shots at DR 200 and 400 (shooting RAW) as an experiment and they appeared underexposed at the start-point in LightRoom.  LightRoom apparently honors the DR setting as a start point for the view of the RAW file.  (But I'm not certain on that).  Either way, is easily altered in post anyway.  But I think the in-camera DR setting will effect the RAW file if set to 200 or 400.  Anyway, moving on....

Set Film Sim to PRO NEG. STD. This setting results in JPEGs with less contrast than the other film simulation modes.

Set HL Tone to −2. Reduces the highlight contrast of the JPEG in the live view and in the live histogram.

Set Shadow Tone to −2. Reduces the shadow contrast of the JPEG in both the live view and the live histogram.

These settings provide a live view and live histogram with maximum dynamic range that better matches the actual RAW file, not the imbedded JPEG or OOC JPEG.

As another note, I like to shoot as close to base ISO as I can (200) because it provides a lot of latitude in post.  Remember, setting ISO at 200 and underexposing by two stops and then pushing it back out two stops in post is the same as shooting ISO 800.  In other words, ISO 800 is two stops of brightening applied in camera, which you could just as easily do in post because of the ISOless sensor.  This is hard for people to get their head around.  It confused the Hell out of me for a while because I'm an old film shooter and was thinking of ISO in terms of film, not as in-camera brightening (which is what digital ISO is).  Thanks Nixda!

Try those settings, RAW shooters, and you will have a better histogram to work with while shooting.  You won't be fooled by a stop or two of exposure or into making bad exposure compensation decisions by a histogram that is depicting the embedded JPEG that has had in-camera corrections applied to it.  Remember, we don't care about the embedded JPEG.  It just gives us something to on the LCD or EVF, and we want that to be as close to the RAW as possible -- not some in-camera developed JPEG.

Remember, we are exposing for RAW, not JPEG.

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