Back to Fuji - First photos X-T4 and 16-55

Started 2 months ago | Photos thread
Michael Berg
Michael Berg Contributing Member • Posts: 864
Re: Fuji jpegs are lovely
1

I'm talking about the power of post processing on an individual raw file and the decisions we make on each file that is optimal for that file. Decisions like how much to lift shadows or take down highlights. What corrections to apply and where. How much vibrance, clarity, saturation or contrast to add and where. One of the biggest of all decisions is temp and tint, and I almost always change it some from what the camera thinks is right. The tone mapping and work on the curve can be fine tuned for the image.

Sure, you have a lot more flexibility in a generic raw converter as far as controls and options go. The thing is, to be brutally honest, I'm not crazy good at adjusting photos. I push the shadows up too far, I pull the highlights, I add a control point to the tone curve in an attempt to achieve some effect. In the end I rarely end up with something as pleasing as the OOC jpegs. I tend to go "blind" while I edit, losing track of what was good about the image in the first place. The camera will typically do a better job in a few milliseconds than I can in a few hours.

One can add or subtract whole stops of exposure at will. The latitude in post with Fuji raf files (especially GFX) is fantastic.

Yes and at this point I think perhaps I should just clarify exactly what Fuji X-Raw studio is because I can't help but get the feeling that you perhaps have some misconceptions about it. if not bear with me anyway, for the sake of others following the discussion.

The software doesn't adjust jpeg files (I think it can, but that's not what I am advocating). It does operate on the original RAW files. It works precisely the same as if you were to make another raw conversion in-camera using the buttons and dials and the menu system. So the lattitude is precisely the same as you get with any other "real" raw converter. You're basically using a kind of remote control interface for the camera. So you can pull or push the exposure, do another conversion with X-Raw and have a new OOC jpeg just as if you had the EV compensation dial set to +1 when you took the photo. And just as if you push the exposure by 1 stop in Lightroom.

The benefit of using XRAW is that if you took a shoot that is perhaps slightly under exposed, you can push the exposure up and get a result which may immediately be very close to something that actually looks rather good. Contrasted to that is getting the original RAF file into lightroom and starting from scratch there, applying base curves, LUTS, working the tone curve for dynamic range etc. What you end up with could very well be a nice looking photo, but it probably wouldn't "look like fuji".

On a side note I've been pondering this from a practical and philosophical point of view for some time, and I had this epiphany that a really big reason for buying camera A rather than camera B is the look and "style" of the images. I know Canon users have a soft spot for the colors of Canon, Nikon users probably feel the same way. And I know that Fuji users generally love the colors they get OOC.

If you're going to pay $1500 for a digital camera, a really big part of what you're paying for is all the science and research that went into the firmware as well as all that brutally fast digital signal processing hardware. All designed precisely for converting sensor data into usable JPEG photos. It seems somewhat odd that many people casually throw all that out the window almost as if they were schooled to think that way. It may have been true a few years ago but it certainly is not a given today.

To each their own of course - this is just my subjective opinion. Some cameras probably do benefit a lot from hand tailored jpeg conversions, I just happen to prefer the way Fuji cameras do it by itself. It was my impression that the OP had the same sentiment, which is why I suggested X-Raw studio as an alternative to conventional raw processing software.

To me, in my experience, there is no substitute for processing your own raw files. To me, it is not even close. The two are not really comparable.

If you believed that I was advocating for simply adjusting jpegs out of camera then I don't blame you for thinking I was off my rocker. Especially if you are working with over- or under exposed shots. But this isn't want X-Raw studio is about, just to clarify.

I would never tell anyone not to shoot OOC jpegs. But I would advice everyone to shoot raw and give PP a try. There are huge benefits to shooting raw. Endless benefits.

Well without stirring up too much I would like to suggest that if you nail the exposure to begin with, there is very little other you actually need to do, unless you do a lot of pixel peeping. There are drawbacks to shooting raw as well. It takes time, it takes space, it takes skill. My family don't want to wait very long for me to deliver on the holiday shots to Mallorca, and using the camera as much as possible is not just a way of "cutting corners", it's also a way to get 500+ perfectly usable results in most cases. Not every single case, but most.

Tony Northrup did a video on this subject some time ago, which stirred some controversy. Here's a link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QczEFjn9P7I

Basically what he's saying is that RAW is for beginners while JPEGs are for more experienced users - not the other way around. He presents the arguments for that in the video.

I'm not for or against doing either, just throwing this out there to show that there are many opinions on this subject.

It is what separates us from the great unwashed masses who are waving their phones around at themselves no matter where you look.

Well I shoot raw on my phone Actually there it does make sense because I'm absolutely not happy with the OOC jpegs from my phone.

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