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Author Topic: Hasselblad Raw Processing  (Read 2379 times)

Brad P

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Hasselblad Raw Processing
« on: May 15, 2017, 03:13:58 PM »

I recently purchased a Hasselblad X1D and am wondering whether I can squeeze out more IQ using Phocus instead of Lightroom/Camera Raw (hereinafter "LR") for untethered raw conversion.   

Personally, I am proficient with LR, but not yet Phocus.  I don't want to waste much time learning Phocus if LR gives substantially the same (and maybe better) results.   Today, Hasselblad says LR is substantially equivalent to Phocus in the second paragraph of page 6 of its Phocus manual (see http://static.hasselblad.com/2014/12/Phocus_User-Manual_v17.pdf).  I've spent hours reading posts/articles and demoed Phocus a bit.  So far I think LR may be better for me, but there appear to be meaningful pros and cons.  I haven't demoed Phocus enough yet to gain the type of experience with it that I hope readers here can share their thoughts on. 

Below are observations from my reading and experimenting.

1.  Phocus unsurprisingly seems to have better out of the box color.  However, I use ColorChecker Passport (and am considering using ColorChecker Digital SG) to create camera profiles for different lighting conditions and I believe that narrows the gap considerably.  On that score, I have noticed that Phocus will profile ColorChecker Digital SG profiles as part of its workflow, which is a plus for Phocus.   

2.  LR seems much better at darks/lights recovery.  Phocus appears only to have two directly relevant sliders (recovery and shadow fill) and they only move in one direction (to recover darks or blown out highlights, not to push them out).  It appears that with Phocus, one must use the exposure and contrast sliders together with recovery and shadow fill to rather crudely manage the density of highlight and shadow areas.  LR has four apparently much more effective sliders (highlights, shadows, whites, blacks) each moving to expand or contract the aspects they adjust.  When pushed, Phocus also seems to somewhat violently damage the color balance of recovered highlights.  LR does a much better job retaining the balance and can be pushed much further with useful results.  With its tools, LR seems to be much more useful in compressing or decompressing shadows and highlights (and indirectly with exposure and contrast, the whole dynamic range of an image), as well as leaving measurable room at each ends of the histogram for further post processing in Photoshop or elsewhere. 

3. Lens profiles.   I don't yet create my own lens profiles and maybe that is something I should learn. Phocus already has lens profiles for Hasselblad's new XCD lenses, LR doesn't yet, but I am hopeful will soon.  There is some loose commentary I have read stating that Hasselblad/Phocus lens profiles are better than LR's and that they also manage chromatic aberration through their lens profiles.  I can't yet evaluate the truth of that given the profiles for lenses I have are not yet in LR.

4. Moire and chromatic aberration management.  Phocus seems the clear winner for moire reduction with its moire (healing) brush, although that tool also seems to leave behind visible traces of desaturation.  LR has a dedicated chromatic aberration tool where Phocus seems to bake that into the demosaicing/lens correction process.  I can't tell yet who is the winner on chromatic aberration.

5. Demosaicing.  I read some loose commentary that Hasselblad knows their raw files better and cares about them more, so is in a position to develop better demosaicing algarithims. (This of course is the same argument in favor of every camera manufacturer's proprietary raw developer.). I am unable so far to see if this is the case over LR in any meaningful way.

Interested in other's thoughts.  Apologies to readers who believe this should be posted the "Other Raw Converters" forum, but looking at the varied posts there and here, I thought it more appropriate here particularly with all the new X1D discussions.
« Last Edit: May 15, 2017, 03:52:44 PM by Brad P »
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hcubell

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Re: Hasselblad Raw Processing
« Reply #1 on: May 15, 2017, 04:13:20 PM »

I recently purchased a Hasselblad X1D and am wondering whether I can squeeze out more IQ using Phocus instead of Lightroom/Camera Raw (hereinafter "LR") for untethered raw conversion.   

Personally, I am proficient with LR, but not yet Phocus.  I don't want to waste much time learning Phocus if LR gives substantially the same (and maybe better) results.   Today, Hasselblad says LR is substantially equivalent to Phocus in the second paragraph of page 6 of its Phocus manual (see http://static.hasselblad.com/2014/12/Phocus_User-Manual_v17.pdf).  I've spent hours reading posts/articles and demoed Phocus a bit.  So far I think LR may be better for me, but there appear to be meaningful pros and cons.  I haven't demoed Phocus enough yet to gain the type of experience with it that I hope readers here can share their thoughts on. 

Below are observations from my reading and experimenting.

1.  Phocus unsurprisingly seems to have better out of the box color.  However, I use ColorChecker Passport (and am considering using ColorChecker Digital SG) to create camera profiles for different lighting conditions and I believe that narrows the gap considerably.  On that score, I have noticed that Phocus will profile ColorChecker Digital SG profiles as part of its workflow, which is a plus for Phocus.   

2.  LR seems much better at darks/lights recovery.  Phocus appears only to have two directly relevant sliders (recovery and shadow fill) and they only move in one direction (to recover darks or blown out highlights, not to push them out).  It appears that with Phocus, one must use the exposure and contrast sliders together with recovery and shadow fill to rather crudely manage the density of highlight and shadow areas.  LR has four apparently much more effective sliders (highlights, shadows, whites, blacks) each moving to expand or contract the aspects they adjust.  When pushed, Phocus also seems to somewhat violently damage the color balance of recovered highlights.  LR does a much better job retaining the balance and can be pushed much further with useful results.  With its tools, LR seems to be much more useful in compressing or decompressing shadows and highlights (and indirectly with exposure and contrast, the whole dynamic range of an image), as well as leaving measurable room at each ends of the histogram for further post processing in Photoshop or elsewhere. 

3. Lens profiles.   I don't yet create my own lens profiles and maybe that is something I should learn. Phocus already has lens profiles for Hasselblad's new XCD lenses, LR doesn't yet, but I am hopeful will soon.  There is some loose commentary I have read stating that Hasselblad/Phocus lens profiles are better than LR's and that they also manage chromatic aberration through their lens profiles.  I can't yet evaluate the truth of that given the profiles for lenses I have are not yet in LR.

4. Moire and chromatic aberration management.  Phocus seems the clear winner for moire reduction with its moire (healing) brush, although that tool also seems to leave behind visible traces of desaturation.  LR has a dedicated chromatic aberration tool where Phocus seems to bake that into the demosaicing/lens correction process.  I can't tell yet who is the winner on chromatic aberration.

5. Demosaicing.  I read some loose commentary that Hasselblad knows their raw files better and cares about them more, so is in a position to develop better demosaicing algarithims. (This of course is the same argument in favor of every camera manufacturer's proprietary raw developer.). I am unable so far to see if this is the case over LR in any meaningful way.

Interested in other's thoughts.  Apologies to readers who believe this should be posted the "Other Raw Converters" forum, but looking at the varied posts there and here, I thought it more appropriate here particularly with all the new X1D discussions.

There is no easy answer. I often try both for my raw conversions, but I process a relatively small number of images that I want to print. Depending upon what you tend to photograph, one or the other may be preferred. If you shoot under well controlled lighting conditions such as a studio or even outdoors with sophisticated lighting equipment, I would generally opt for Phocus as I often prefer the rendering and I like that the lens profiles are well done and automatically applied. Beautiful color seems easier to achieve out of the box. However, I generally shoot landscapes under natural, often contrasty light. With those images, LR is just so much more effective in handling highlights and shadows for the reasons you described. The Recovery and Shadow Fill tools in Phocus are crude by comparison. I am often amazed at how I can push around a file in LR to achieve a tonal balance that I would struggle like hell to duplicate through exposure blending in an HDR program.
If only Phocus had the tonal balancing capabilities of LR the choice would be easy.
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Brad P

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Re: Hasselblad Raw Processing
« Reply #2 on: May 15, 2017, 04:55:28 PM »

If only Phocus had the tonal balancing capabilities of LR the choice would be easy.

+1 based on what I have seen so far. 
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BobShaw

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Re: Hasselblad Raw Processing
« Reply #3 on: May 15, 2017, 08:01:27 PM »

I recently purchased a Hasselblad X1D and am wondering whether I can squeeze out more IQ using Phocus instead of Lightroom/Camera Raw (hereinafter "LR") for untethered raw conversion.   

1.  Phocus unsurprisingly seems to have better out of the box color.  However, I use ColorChecker Passport (and am considering using ColorChecker Digital SG) to create camera profiles for different lighting conditions and I believe that narrows the gap considerably.  On that score, I have noticed that Phocus will profile ColorChecker Digital SG profiles as part of its workflow, which is a plus for Phocus.

IMO yes. i don't think Lightroom is the best at anything. A sort of Jack of all trades, master of none. If you are shooting raw then you should use Phocus to convert 3FR to FFF anyway.
1. The plus is huge, especially if you do reproduction.
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hubell

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Re: Hasselblad Raw Processing
« Reply #4 on: May 15, 2017, 08:29:10 PM »

+1 based on what I have seen so far.

I am sure that the HB software  engineers working on Phocus are aware of  this. Whether they can convincingly close the gap with LR is unclear, given the huge advantage in resources that Adobe has. I will say that Phase One narrowed the gap with LR beginning with C1 Pro 9.
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BobShaw

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Re: Hasselblad Raw Processing
« Reply #5 on: May 15, 2017, 09:29:59 PM »

I am sure that the HB software  engineers working on Phocus are aware of  this. Whether they can convincingly close the gap with LR is unclear, given the huge advantage in resources that Adobe has. I will say that Phase One narrowed the gap with LR beginning with C1 Pro 9.
I don't HB engineers are doing anything of the sort.
There is a comparison of the 3 on the Peter Coulson site on May 12
https://www.facebook.com/groups/petercoulson.group/
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hubell

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Re: Hasselblad Raw Processing
« Reply #6 on: May 15, 2017, 11:34:35 PM »

I don't HB engineers are doing anything of the sort.
There is a comparison of the 3 on the Peter Coulson site on May 12
https://www.facebook.com/groups/petercoulson.group/

What is it that you seem sure the HB engineers are NOT doing? Trying to figure out how to improve the Recovery and Shadow Fill tools in Phocus?
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ario

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Re: Hasselblad Raw Processing
« Reply #7 on: May 16, 2017, 12:55:00 AM »

If you are shooting raw then you should use Phocus to convert 3FR to FFF anyway.


LR is  perfectly capable to handle 3FR files. There is no need to convert to FFF in Phocus.
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BobShaw

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Re: Hasselblad Raw Processing
« Reply #8 on: May 16, 2017, 02:25:39 AM »

What is it that you seem sure the HB engineers are NOT doing? Trying to figure out how to improve the Recovery and Shadow Fill tools in Phocus?
I mean trying to "close the gap to Lightroom". That would be going backwards. (:-)
You can't compare old Phocus to new Lightroom. New to new or old to old, Phocus has consistently produced better files to me and most Hasselblad shooters I talk to.
Lightroom just tries to do too many things and for mass work that is great.
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hubell

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Re: Hasselblad Raw Processing
« Reply #9 on: May 16, 2017, 08:43:36 AM »

I mean trying to "close the gap to Lightroom". That would be going backwards. (:-)
You can't compare old Phocus to new Lightroom. New to new or old to old, Phocus has consistently produced better files to me and most Hasselblad shooters I talk to.
Lightroom just tries to do too many things and for mass work that is great.

I generally would agree with you, but not when it comes to the Recovery and Shadow Fill tools in Phocus. IMO, they are poorly implemented compared to LR.
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delfalex

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Re: Hasselblad Raw Processing
« Reply #10 on: May 16, 2017, 07:38:24 PM »

Based on my experiences:

Lens  distortion corrections are automatically handled and done very well by Phocus, Lens chromatic aberrations & fringing can be better handled in Adobe's software. With Adobe's software you have to do a lot of the work yourself whereas Phocus does it all for you; whether it's to the quality you require is the  contentious point: with Phocus you have to accept the CAs for what they are (you see them or you don't); with Adobe you have to manually tweak the corrections yourself - if you can bothered / have the time then you'll get the results.

Phocus and Capture One are very successful because they get good results 'Straight Out of the Box'. Adobe's LR is sometimes a bit more of jungle to work through to get good results (am looking forward to using Torger's  DcamProf Gui for profiling DCPs). Different people prioritise different tools/solutions as their needs require.

Myself I would just have wanted all the updates ploughed into an improved Flexcolor (and use PS to do the heavy lifting), but I'm sure that powerful as it is, it doesn't fit the bill for a lot of photographer needs.

Btw for Hasselblad's Repro (Low Gain) mode in LR/ACR, select process 2010 using Standard colour, Curve set to linear and Contrast, Brightness & Black point set to 0.


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BAB

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Re: Hasselblad Raw Processing
« Reply #11 on: May 18, 2017, 10:16:30 AM »




If only Phocus had the tonal balancing capabilities of LR the choice would be easy.



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BAB

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Re: Hasselblad Raw Processing
« Reply #12 on: May 18, 2017, 10:22:23 AM »

 I think you will find as we all have there's not one program to handle all possible files depending on which lens you're shooting with for example wide-angle with a 45 sun flashing in the Lens neither lightroom or phocus will be able to correct the glare that diffuses the contrast from the 28mm. Also  backlit thin branches against day grey-ish or whitish sky will have some magenta shift either program is incapable of correcting that magenta shift on the Thin branches however you can come close.  The best thing about Phocus is the curves tool it works unlike any curves tool I've ever used so smooth Adams graduations you cannot get that out of light room and you can't get that out of Photoshop the main reason for using Phocus just to use that curves dialogue.
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shaun

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Re: Hasselblad Raw Processing
« Reply #13 on: May 18, 2017, 01:21:52 PM »

best thing about Phocus is the curves tool


Interesting been using Phocus for 9 years and the reps always said don't use curves that was a few years back. Must give it a go.

Shaun
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BAB

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Re: Hasselblad Raw Processing
« Reply #14 on: May 18, 2017, 11:10:08 PM »

Take a look at Peter Coulson video for the full explanation and demonstration I sure you will understand and also see for yourself the reasons.
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Brad P

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Re: Hasselblad Raw Processing
« Reply #15 on: May 19, 2017, 03:43:03 AM »

Thank you for all your thoughts.  I have definitely not done enough testing to form an opinion for others, but for my work, having tested different cameras, lenses, and many different versions of Aperture, C1, DXO and several others during years past, I am inclined to remain with LR CC.  Mainly for its consistency and predictability, but also exposure, lens profiles, and custom camera profiling adjustments. Other functions (noise, sharpening, contrast, structure) seem best mostly done in 3rd party programs for the moment.  Demosaicing is most important, and getting all things into good TIFFs.  Sometimes, a Jack of all trades is helpful in that, absent some secret Hassy sauce that I don't see at the moment.
« Last Edit: May 19, 2017, 05:06:25 AM by Brad P »
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ErikKaffehr

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Re: Hasselblad Raw Processing
« Reply #16 on: May 19, 2017, 03:30:28 PM »

Hi Brad,

I would agree in part. Lightroom does a lot of content aware processing. You may like or you may not. I have seen some pretty strong indication that Lightroom actually have a lot of Hassy's secret souce imbedded. It makes a lot of sense. After all, Hasselblad is not selling Phocus, it is just a tool to make best use of the Hasselblad back.

Offering excellent support for Lightroom/ACR, which happen to be the dominant tool in the industry makes a lot of business sense.

Best regards
Erik

Thank you for all your thoughts.  I have definitely not done enough testing to form an opinion for others, but for my work, having tested different cameras, lenses, and many different versions of Aperture, C1, DXO and several others during years past, I am inclined to remain with LR CC.  Mainly for its consistency and predictability, but also exposure, lens profiles, and custom camera profiling adjustments. Other functions (noise, sharpening, contrast, structure) seem best mostly done in 3rd party programs for the moment.  Demosaicing is most important, and getting all things into good TIFFs.  Sometimes, a Jack of all trades is helpful in that, absent some secret Hassy sauce that I don't see at the moment.

BobShaw

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Re: Hasselblad Raw Processing
« Reply #17 on: May 19, 2017, 09:38:08 PM »

I have seen some pretty strong indication that Lightroom actually have a lot of Hassy's secret souce imbedded. It makes a lot of sense. After all, Hasselblad is not selling Phocus, it is just a tool to make best use of the Hasselblad back.
Hasselblad makes a Lightroom plugin that you can download free from the Hasselblad site.
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Brad P

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Re: Hasselblad Raw Processing
« Reply #18 on: May 19, 2017, 10:33:05 PM »

Hasselblad makes a Lightroom plugin that you can download free from the Hasselblad site.

Thanks Bob.  It looks like that plugin is limited in function to activating LR's tether capabilities for H cameras.  Is that the one or is there another you're referring to?
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BobShaw

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Re: Hasselblad Raw Processing
« Reply #19 on: May 20, 2017, 12:21:55 AM »

Thanks Bob.  It looks like that plugin is limited in function to activating LR's tether capabilities for H cameras.  Is that the one or is there another you're referring to?
That's it. i have never used it as I tether to Phocus and don't use Lightroom. I assume by the name Hasselblad tether plugin for Lightroom that is all it does.
I don't know why Lightroom doesn't tether anyway to Lightroom if it reads Hassy files.  It may well do something else and therein is the mystery.
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