Sure, I found out that through my experience, Lightroom is one of the worst Fuji RAF RAW processors. I’ve been messing around my new shoots and decided to use Photoshop for most of my processing. I used to do a majority of my processing in the RAW converter itself (Capture One or Lightroom). Now, I just tweak the exposure a bit and just pass it off to Photoshop.
How do I like that method? I think I like it. This frees me up to use Iridient or Photo Ninja as my RAW converter, Capture One or Lightroom as an expensive photo catalogue, and Photoshop as my post-processor. It doesn’t kill my workflow much either. I’m fast in Photoshop. To copy the settings, I drag the layers I created to the other pictures, and it’s copied over.
So, here are some images I’ve created using Capture One to tweak and convert the RAWs and Photoshop to do the rest of the post-processing.
I had a recent photo shoot. I decided to use Capture One to process it. When I was testing out various RAW converters for my Fuji cameras, I mentioned I loved Capture One’s skin tones. Funnily, for my first Capture One session, I decided to do the set in black and white.
I love black and white photos but have rarely processed my portraiture in black and white. So for this shoot, I put my camera in black and white mode and decided my set should be in black and white. Of course, the RAW would come out in color, but at least in my camera, I would know what the black and white photos will look like.
The models were Haley J, Kimberly P, and Madison L.
I think they look underexposed. But I wanted to give it a darker feel. If I were to do these again, I would try upping the exposure or brightness setting in Capture One and seeing how it would turn out.
Also, I could’ve used the levels slider in Capture One to make the blacks darker. I don’t know why I didn’t think of that. I’m used to Lightroom’s black slider.
How Did I Process These?
If you’re interested in how I processed these, I used a “complicated” method: I just put the saturation slider to 0. Yeah, it’s probably not the best way to do it, but I have seen professionals who I respect use that method.
I guess I have more control if I used the black and white setting such as filtering certain colors. But this is my lazy, quick, and easy method. Also, I can put a slight blue tint to the shadows when I have the saturation at 0. I don’t know if I can do that if I use the black and white setting in Capture One.
If Lightroom does come out with the film simulations for the Fuji cameras, hopefully, I can just use that. I love how Fuji’s black and white film simulation looks.
According to Fuji Rumors, Adobe is planning to have better X-Trans support. It looks like it might be the next minor release of 5. Not only that, it will have the Film simulation modes.
Wow, that is a game changer. I love Astia for portraiture. It was one of the things I missed when switching from JPEG to RAW shooting.
I was getting used to Capture One too. I was ready to commit 100% to Capture One. Now Fuji Rumors drops this news to us. This will make my decision harder on which software to use. I would need to see how well Adobe handles the X-Trans of course. Hopefully, Adobe will release it before my 60 day trial of Capture One is up.
I was impressed by Capture One’s rendering of Fuji’s RAW files in my previous post. Since I had 60 days to try it out, I decided to put it through the paces with my recent shoot.
Obviously, since this is my first time with Capture One, there will be a lot of growing pains. There will be some getting used to with UI and its quirks. Maybe after my 60 day trial runs out, I’ll do my final thoughts on Capture One and see if I want to buy it.
Session vs Catalogue
Capture One has both sessions and catalogues. Lightroom only has a catalogue. If I’m understanding them correctly, sessions are contained in its own box. So you can move sessions around from computer to computer if you wish. So each shoot can be a session where you can edit in different computers if you wish. Catalogue will just keep your entire photos in one place. I do like the session concept.
As expected, my workflow was slower in Capture One. My Lightroom workflow was so fast. And that’s just me being unfamiliar with Capture One.
One of my main gripes was the Photoshop workflow. Lightroom and Photoshop were best buddies, since Adobe created both. But It’s not in Capture One.
I had export my files as PSD (or TIFF) and then open them up in Photoshop. After I make my edits in Photoshop, the PSDs don’t show up in Capture One! Is it suppose to? So it’s not part of my session. I had to create a batch action in Photoshop to get my photos processed to JPEG to publish. I need to figure this out.
My Favorite Feature Not on Lightroom
It’s the keystone feature. Man this is the best feature ever. Lightroom should add this in instead of trying to do it automatically. This makes straightening images better.
Other Quirks I noticed
I can’t pull up the darkest shadows in the curves function. That is weird. I had to use levels to do it. Maybe that’s the intended use.
I also miss my black slider and the white slider in Lightroom.
I’m not sure what the brightness slider does. I guess it’s decoupled with Exposure somehow.
I wish I can read tutorials about Capture One instead of watching videos. I know watching someone do it can be more helpful, but sometimes I don’t want to watch a video to learn how to do something.
It’s weird. But it’s only because I’m not used to it. I think after 60 days, I should have a better idea and can make an informed decision.
We know that everyone complains about how Adobe handles Fuji RAF files. There has been alternatives such as PhotoNinja, Iridient, and Capture One. So I decided to try them and see how they handle RAF files for portraiture. Why portraiture? Because that’s the style of photography I do. I want the best RAW processor to get the best out of the X-Trans sensor.
This isn’t just a pixel peeping exercise. Sure, certain software can bring out details better. They also render colors differently. So you have to figure out what gives you the best possible look that you’re going for.
Sample Images 1
The samples are straight out of the camera with no adjustments. These are at its default settings. Sure, maybe if we fiddle with stuff, we can get almost identical outputs. But I want to see what gives me the best starting point.
Since my trial license for PhotoNinja expired, I had to take a screen shot. So keep that in mind.
The following images are shot at f/4.0, 1/125 sec, at 200 ISO with my Fuji X-E1.
Right away, you can tell these are different. They all have different tones to the image.
Let’s See These at 100%
These are screen grabs from each software. You can click on them to get a bigger size. For PhotoNinja, I had to take a screen shot again. Hopefully, you can still tell the difference.
It looks like Iridient captures the details better. The other three are about the same at its default settings. I can’t get over PhotoNinja’s weird colors though.
The settings for these are f/4.0, 1/250 sec at 800 ISO using my Fuji X100s. This is lit using a flash. Once again, these are straight out of the camera using the software’s default settings.
Once again, you can click on them to get a better view.
Wow, for these images, Iridient looks the worst. It looks weird. Is it the noise reduction that Iridient tried to give? I like Capture One’s output the best. It looks the most natural.
PhotoNinja’s version looks pretty good too. But I still can’t get over that weird tint the image has.
What Is My Favorite?
Capture One wins. The skin tone looks better compared to the other software. Detail wise, Iridient seem to pull more out. But Capture One does a great job.
I like the look of Lightroom as well. But I think that’s because I’m so used to seeing Lightroom’s renderings. It looks “normal” to me.
PhotoNinja’s output looks okay. The screen-grabs are accurate. There is no funny business going on. I just don’t like the weird tint in the images, especially in the first image.
Iridient is funny. For the first set of images, Irident seems to have the best output. For the second set, it gave the worst output. I’m thinking it’s the noise reduction since the second image is at ISO 800. I can’t believe it makes that much difference. Or maybe Iridient can’t handle the X-Trans II sensor of the X100s.
In the end, Capture One is my choice. It’s better than Lightroom for sure. Too bad it’s so expensive though.
It’s all personal preference. For Web viewing, all four softwares can give you a decent image. You need to do your own investigation on which look you like better.
What do you guys think? Which software gives the best look for your Fuji cameras?