Monday, 30 March 2015

RAW Therapee Fuji Trans X file converter

On the Fuji X Forum I read about the various RAW file converters and how they work with the Fuji Trans X colour filter.

One that kept getting mentioned in a positive light was RAW Therapee. This is Open Source and available in Windows, Mac and Linux versions.

I thought it might be worth a go, so I downloaded it and tried it out with an image I took in Whitby recently.

Raw Therapee lets you select either standard Beyer colour filter or Trans X in the Demosaic section, you can then apply sharpening in various degrees like Edge, Micro contrast etc.

I let Raw Thereapee decide all the settings as this was the first time I had used it. I saved it as a 16bit TIFF and then imported into Lr for some adjustment and exported as a jpg for this blog.

Here is the result compared to the usually very good Out of Camera jpg from the Fuji X Pro 1.

Out of Camera X Pro 1 jpg

RAW Therapee Demosaiced TIFF, adjusted in Lr.
To me RAW Therapee has kept more detail in the highlights and it also appears to have applied a lens correction the OOC jpg has some slight barrel distortion. 

This deserves further investigation and experimentation.

Fake Apple watch from China

Not strictly photography related.
I recently read that hours after Apple announced the release date of the Apple Watch last month that the Chinese e-commerce websites were advertising their versions.

I got in touch with my daughter who is currently teaching English in China and asked her to order me one.
It has arrived at her apartment in Chengde, Hunan Province and cost £23.50.

My daughter has checked it out and sent some photos.

This is how it arrived, we half expected it never to turn up.

Box looks a little like an Apple iPhone box and it comes with a USB charging lead. The watch case with crown looks very Apple-like, but the strap is just a watch strap, it doesn't look like the ones I've seen in genuine Apple watch images. That is a sticker on the watch face that is a copy of the Apple Watch screen.

Watch was already charged and quickly set to English as a display language. Of course it doesn't run iOS but a version of Android. Bluetooth is present as well as Pedometer, Phonebook and Dialer Apps. Basically a standard cheap smart Watch in a copy of the Apple watch case.

It can tell the time as well! My daughter reports it connects with her Chinese Android phone and can make and receive calls and trigger the phone to take photos (that is the photo related content!) she is sending it to me with a load of other stuff she is sending back home so I'll update in a month or so when it arrives.

Saturday, 28 March 2015

Canon 100mm USM Macro NSFW

I am really rather impressed with the Canon 100mm f2.8 USM Macro. This lens is very sharp.

As the weather was a bit dull and we had none of the usual time consuming weekend errands to run I thought I'd set up my Canon 5D2 tethered to my MacBook Pro and Apple Thunderbolt display.

I decided to use the 100mm fairly close as this shows off its superb sharpness.

I'd just polished my shoes so that was my first subject.

Loake Badminton, Canon 5D2 and Canon 100mm
f2,8 USM Macro Processed in Ps CC, Analog
EFX Pro 2
Loake Badminton, Canon 5D2 and Canon 100mm
f2,8 USM Macro
Trickers Kendal, Canon 5D2 and Canon 100mm
f2,8 USM Macro

I used a single Canon EXII flash with the gold side of a 5in1 reflector from Ebay.

I then moved onto some lingerie.

Wacoal Underwired,, Canon 5D2 and Canon
100mm f2,8 USM Macro
Processed in Ps CC, Analog EFX Pro 2

Wacoal Underwired, Canon 5D2 and Canon
100mm f2,8 USM Macro
Processed in Ps CC, Silver EFX Pro 2
Wacoal Underwired,, Canon 5D2 and Canon
100mm f2,8 USM Macro Processed in Lr
Wacoal Underwired,, Canon 5D2 and Canon
100mm f2,8 USM Macro
Processed in Ps CC, Analog EFX Pro 2

Sunday, 15 March 2015

Fuji XPro-1 Camera jpgs

I was in York this afternoon and set the X Pro-1 to shoot RAW+jpeg and film simulation Monochrome+Green filter.

This gives you a mono image in the EVF making it very easy to to shoot in B+W. Obviously the RAW file remains in colour.

If any exposure compensation is dialled in then this is reflected in the EVF, all very easy.

These two images are jpgs from the camera with some tweaking and resizing in Ps.

Saturday, 14 March 2015

Fuji Trans-X RAW workflow

I've been reading about the various RAW processing workflows used by Fuji X shooters to get the the best out of the Fuji Tans-x RAW files.

The general opinion is that Lr does not produce the best results. My own, completely un-scientific, experiments suggested that when converting to B+W in Lr adjusting the RGB levels could produce an unpleasant 3D effect on fine foliage, especially when adjusting the Blue channel.

I then tried the Fuji RAW File Converter (FRFC) supplied with the camera, reasoning that if Fuji supply it with the camera it must do a good job.

I loaded a Fuji RAW file (.RAF) in FRFC and followed some basic instructions on B+W conversion, I was pleasantly surprised with the resulting image. I then saved this a TIFF file and further adjusted it in Lr and Silver EFX-Pro.

Basically what I'm doing here is letting the FRFC de-mosaic the RAW file which means that Lr doesn't have to do any maths and so can work on the file in its usual way.

The first image
 was converted to TIFF but left in colour, but then processed to B+W on Lr. I thought Silver EFX-Pro was not required as I had use of the Colour Channels in Lr to darken the sky. 
The second image converted to B+W and saved as a TIFF in FRFC and then further tweaked in Lr and EFX- Pro, 

Friday, 13 March 2015

Light Painting

I thought I might try some light painting, so with a willing model, a dark room and a Maglite torch we had a quick go.

I'm reasonably pleased with the results. 
I used my Fuji X Pro-1 with the XF 18-55mm OIS lens.

With this kind of work its basically guess the exposure.
I put the camera on a tripod, set the ISO to 200, aperture to between f8 and f11, whatever gave me the desired shutter speed of around 20 - 30 seconds when the lights were off. The X Pro-1 has a maximum shutter speed of 30 sec unless you use B, but that requires a cable release and I don't have one.

So, with the room in darkness and the shutter open I traced my model with the Maglite.  This particular Maglite was too powerful and I could not get the beam pin pointed enough to accurately draw over my models curves.

I dropped the RAW files into Lr and Ps and had a play, I used Nik software suite as well.

Apple Thunderbolt Display. Photo and Video editing set up.

This is the new set up for my Video editing and photography.

I bought an Apple Thunderbolt display this week, and I have to say its bloody brilliant!

My MacBook Pro has the, no longer available, Hi-Res screen option and its very good for photo editing and video work, but there is no substitute for size, as they say, and the 27" inches of Thunderbolt goodness is a dream to work with.

The Apple Thunderbolt Display is rather expensive and before buying I read everything I could on alternatives from Dell and Eizo, many of which use the identical,  27 inch, TFT IPS active-matrix LCD panel, and all cost less than the Apple display. 
However, simply plugging in the Thunderbolt connector and the MagSafe power is so quick and easy; when I used an Iiyama 24" PC monitor the DVI cable and Thunderbolt to DVI breakout box as well as the MacBook Pro power supply meant I was trailing cables all over the place.

The Apple Thunderbolt Display also has decent loudspeakers in it. For accurate editing and processing I use a pair of Beyer DT770 headphones but for general editing and playback to clients, the Display speakers are just perfect. 

Taking into account all these factors meant that there was only really one logical choice.

I like glossy screens. There I've said it, I don't like anti-glare matt screens, they reduce the contrast too much. I'm typing this now in normal room lighting and cannot see any reflections on the screen at all.

I adjusted the brightness so it matched my MacBook Pro screen and use the Default Apple colour space which, to me, appeared identical to sRGB. I'm happy to edit on sRGB screens, I shoot in sRGB and almost all my images are viewed on computer monitors and the internet lives in sRGB so why bother with anything else. For fussy printing there is always Apple ColorSync.

I also like the Apple wired USB keyboard, like you used to get with the old iMac. Its really well made, the angle is perfect for typing and its heavy enough so it doesn't slide all over the table. it has two USB sockets on the back as well.

Sunday, 8 March 2015

Fuji RAW File Converter

The Fuji X series cameras use a different kind of filter on the image sensor; instead of the usual Beyer filter they use an original Fuji design which they have named Trans X. This new design was inspired by the random nature of film and was designed to minimise Moire pattening and thus do away with the Anti-Aliasing filter.
Because of this the RAW files require a different kind of processing algorithm. The major software developers were slow to catch on so Fuji supplied their own software in the box with the cameras. 

Fuji RAW File Converter (FRFC) is based on the Silkypix RAW developer.

FRFC is not the most intuitive App I've ever used, in fact its GUI is pretty poor compared to Lr, and the manual reads like a Google translate from the original Japanese, but the results do appear to retain a little more fine detail than those processed in Lr. Its difficult to compare directly as there are no common controls so it might be possible to achieve the same results in either App if you knew the equivalent setting in each.

It looks as if a workflow for Trans X RAW files might be to convert to 16bit TIFF in FRFC then use Lr as normal.

Some images developed in FRFC

Converted to TIFF in FRFC processed in Lr

Processed, resized and converted to jpg in FRFC

Processed, resized and converted to jpg in FRFC

Converted to TIFF in FRFC processed
in Lr with DSLR Guru presets

Saturday, 7 March 2015

Fuji X Pro-1 hyperfocal focussing

When I had my Leica M8 I often used hyperfocal focussing when shooting in the street. Being a 1.3x crop sensor the lens markings on my Elmarit 28mm were of no use as they were intended for 35mm film Circles of Confusion. What I did with the Leica was trial and error until I arrived at a setting that worked.

Now, with the X Pro-1 I could rely on auto-focus but when shooting from the hip you are never quite sure what the camera will choose to focus on so I wanted to try the hyperfocal method.

The Fujinon XF lenses for the X Series camera do not all have distance scales marked on them, and I was using the 18-55mm which is one of the ones that does not. However Fuji have thoughtfully provided a distance scale in the viewfinder and rear screen. Using this scale I was able to set an aperture and focus distance that gave me the required Depth of Field for street shooting.

Fuji X Pro-1 DoF scale on rear screen

As can be seen from the image DoF is set so everything from just under 2m to 3m will be in acceptable focus. 
These images show that it worked well. The 18-55mm was set to 23mm for the same Field of View as that provided by a 34mm lens on 35mm film.

Images are OOC jpeg resized in Lr, the balloon seller has been cropped the poster gazers is the full frame.

Fuji x Pro-1 hyperfocal focussing crop

Fuji x Pro-1 hyperfocal focussing full frame
What has impressed me is the quality of the OOC jpgs, I don't think I could get better developing from RAW.

Fuji X Pro-1 Film type bracketing

One of the features of the X Pro-1 is that it has film type simulation built in. Obviously these are all going to be Fujifilm simulations, so Kodak devotee will be disappointed.

I thought I'd give these a go, so whilst my wife was having her hair cut I went for a stroll around York. I set the film simulation bracketing to Velvia, Astia (soft) and Monochrome (Green filter).

When you shoot in film simulation bracketing you shoot in jpeg only mode with three jpegs being created in the chosen film types. No RAW file is saved.

I shot with -1/3 stop to make sure I got some sky detail.

The images have been resized in Lr the only processing was a click on the Auto button.

Fuji X Pro-1 Astia (soft) simulation.
Fujinon XF 14mm

Fuji X Pro-1 Mono+Gr simulation.
Fujinon XF 14mm

Fuji X Pro-1 Velvia simulation.
Fujinon XF 14mm
I think they look pretty good. I'm familiar with  Velvia and what a green filter does to B+W, but never used Astia.

I had a play with the B+W image in Silver EFX Pro.

OOC Fuji jpg processed in Silver EFX Pro

Sunday, 1 March 2015

York Cemetery Fuji X Pro1 better weather

Got in an hour or so in York Cemetery in better weather. There was some sunshine giving a bit of modelling.

I have fitted a +1 Fuji diopter and this has made such a difference, I don't have to wear my specs when shooting which is far more convenient.

I'm getting used to shooting with the X Pro1and it a real pleasure.

Processed in Lr and Silver ExPro