Software (contd.) - Hyper-Utility2

RAW conversion

If you double-click on a thumbnail in browse mode Hyper-Utility2 will launch the application associated with that file type (.JPG / .RAF etc.), in my case that was ACDSee or Adobe Photoshop. It's a pity you can't change this as most of the time what I really wanted to do was perform RAW conversion on .RAF files using Hyper-Utility2. Instead you must select one or more RAF file and then click on the tiny RAF icon at the bottom right of the window. This will then display the RAW FILE CONVERTER pane on the right side of the window along with your selected RAW files (which can be processed one by one or in batch).

In the example below we have already applied a couple of adjustments; tone and white balance.

RAW adjustments are provided vertically in the RAW FILE CONVERTER pane (you may have to scroll the pane to access all), a full description of all available adjustments are shown below:

Tone curve - provides selection of one of the three in-camera tone settings or a manual tone curve of your own 'design'. White balance - select one of the numerous WB presets, or use a gray picker to select a gray area of the image, or select a Kelvin temperature (2500 - 9500 K). All with fine tuning.
Sensitization - known as 'digital exposure compensation' in other RAW converters, allows you to apply exposure adjustment to the RAW data before it is converted. The range for this is -1.0 EV to +3.0 EV (not all shown in this clip) in rather odd 1/6 EV steps. Color - select one of the four in-camera color modes including Black & White.
Sharpness - select one of the three in-camera sharpness settings (it would have been perhaps nice to add some 'in between' settings here). Dynamic range - select the dynamic range 'mix' between S- and R-Pixels, the range for this setting is 100% to 400% (20 steps).
Output - at the top of the RAW conversion pane you can select the output type including Color space / Film simulation (sRGB, Adobe RGB, sRGB / Pro Negative, sRGB / Fujichrome) as well as format (TIFF, JPEG). Execute - finally at the bottom of the RAW conversion pane you can undo settings, restore back to camera settings, load / save settings and execute the conversion (for this image or all images).

The final area of interest for those performing RAW conversion will the the RAW converter preferences dialog (shown below). It allows you to select trimming / resizing options but more importantly the type of conversion carried out on the image. The notes below the 'Image Conversion' options hint that 'Super High Quality Image Conversion' also includes additional noise reduction. Additionally you can also select 'High Speed' or 'High Quality' Image Resizing, using the later setting does appear to deliver slightly 'crisper' 6 MP images.

Conversion of a single typical ISO 100 image to a 6 MP TIFF (8-bit) took 15.6 seconds in 'High Speed Conversion' mode, 18.9 seconds in 'High Quality Image Conversion' mode and 23.7 seconds in 'Super High Quality Image Conversion' mode (50% longer than 'High Speed Conversion').

Camera control and remote capture ('tethered storage')

Another feature of Hyper-Utility2 is remote capture, the camera must be connected to the computer via Firewire (IEEE 1394) and have the '1394 mode' option set to 'Remote control'. Note that although camera settings are displayed in the 'FinePixS3Pro' pane on the right side (see image below) they can only be changed on the camera. The output folder and file naming convention can be set from the preferences dialog. You can't trigger the shutter release from the computer, you still have to press the shutter release button, hence this 'remote capture' mode is really more of a tethered storage option. *

* UPDATE: Shortly after I wrote this page Fujifilm updated Hyper-Utility2 and it can now apparently trigger the shutter release remotely.