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Author Topic: Hasselblad Flextight .FFF file format converter?  (Read 2372 times)

hacimd

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Hasselblad Flextight .FFF file format converter?
« on: April 19, 2022, 12:27:43 pm »

Hello,
I'm wondering if anyone is aware of a raw converter for .FFF files that are created using the hasselblad flextight scanner. Since flexcolor software has not been updated in many years, we are running the program on an older version of OS - Mojave 10.14.6
If anyone knows of a raw converter that works with FFF files, I would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you!
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digitaldog

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Re: Hasselblad Flextight .FFF file format converter?
« Reply #1 on: April 19, 2022, 01:05:59 pm »

FFF is based on TIFF but since it's not a 'true' TIFF, TIFF readers (and PS) can't deal with it. Convert to TIFF from FlexColor and avoid FFF (it really doesn't bring much to the party and no, it's not really a 'raw').
If you're still running the old software, just save off the highest resolution, 16-bit, widest gamut (or the scanner profile). If memory serves me (it's been a decade or so), you can batch convert in FlexColor
Stick with openly documented file formats; TIFF.
The alternative is using a really old currently installed version of Photoshop (activation severs are DOA so it has to be an existing install) with the old plug-in.
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hacimd

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Re: Hasselblad Flextight .FFF file format converter?
« Reply #2 on: April 19, 2022, 03:45:30 pm »

Copy that. Appreciate the advice
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TechTalk

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Re: Hasselblad Flextight .FFF file format converter?
« Reply #3 on: April 19, 2022, 04:46:40 pm »

The FFF files from an Imacon/Hasselblad scanner use TIFF format with proprietary tags. Like you, I've kept one older computer system around for use with some 32-bit programs like Flexcolor. One nice thing about 3F format is the history file stored inside each image which allows going back to the original raw scan and exporting images with a specific set of image adjustments you've saved previously. Plus, although the adjustment options are pretty rudimentary, the resulting files are excellent.

Because it uses a TIFF format, you can simply rename a file from .fff to .tif and open it in Photoshop. You might want try this with a copy of a 3F file. Here's a link with more details...

https://www.davidebarranca.com/2019-12-07/hasselblad-flextight-flexcolor-3f

You might also want to try using the 3F Plug-In for Photoshop to work directly with .fff files in Photoshop. More on that can be found here...

https://www.davidebarranca.com/how-to-open-and-retouch-hasselblad-3f-scanner-files-in-photoshop

There is also the program Negative Lab Pro which lets you use 3F raw files renamed to TIFF inside Lightroom...

https://forums.negativelabpro.com/how-to-use-flextight-scans-with-negative-lab-pro

Other resources which may be of interest to you...

https://www.knowhowtransfer.com/3F-System-FAQ.pdf

https://www.knowhowtransfer.com/photoshop-professional-plugins/hasselblad-3f-raw

https://www.knowhowtransfer.com/how-to/3f-revolutionary-pro-scanning-system-by-hasselblad

https://www.facebook.com/groups/Imacon.Hasselblad.Flextight

https://hasselbladrepair.com/service-2/scanner
« Last Edit: April 19, 2022, 05:19:14 pm by TechTalk »
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digitaldog

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Re: Hasselblad Flextight .FFF file format converter?
« Reply #4 on: April 19, 2022, 05:46:28 pm »

Because it uses a TIFF format, you can simply rename a file from .fff to .tif and open it in Photoshop. You might want try this with a copy of a 3F file.
Cool, tried it and indeed, it opens on this end in Photoshop on Mac. Untagged but not unexpected.
Using something like A Better Finder Rename, one could batch change all the extensions to .tif, maybe something else but yeah, I just tried this on a .fff and it opened in a modern version of Photoshop.
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pflower

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Re: Hasselblad Flextight .FFF file format converter?
« Reply #5 on: April 21, 2022, 01:32:09 pm »

Are Flextight .fff files different from other .fff files?  I ask because every version of Lightroom I have used will happily open and adjust .fff files from the Hasselblad cameras I have or had - namely the H3D, CFV50 and X1D.  They also open in Photoshop (albeit they go through ACR first).  Mind you these were created in Phocus from 3FR files, so possibly some difference there.
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digitaldog

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Re: Hasselblad Flextight .FFF file format converter?
« Reply #6 on: April 21, 2022, 01:54:39 pm »

Are Flextight .fff files different from other .fff files?  I ask because every version of Lightroom I have used will happily open and adjust .fff files from the Hasselblad cameras I have or had - namely the H3D, CFV50 and X1D.  They also open in Photoshop (albeit they go through ACR first).  Mind you these were created in Phocus from 3FR files, so possibly some difference there.
Lightroom Classic cannot import the .FFF I tested earlier from a scanner. It does and can if I alter the extension to .tif.
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TechTalk

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Re: Hasselblad Flextight .FFF file format converter?
« Reply #7 on: April 21, 2022, 03:05:00 pm »

Are Flextight .fff files different from other .fff files?

Yes. There are .fff (3F or FFF) files from scanners, from single-shot camera images, and multi-shot camera images. They each require different handling by whatever software program you're using. The file extension is the same, the container is similar, the data inside is different.
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pflower

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Re: Hasselblad Flextight .FFF file format converter?
« Reply #8 on: April 21, 2022, 06:11:34 pm »

Interesting thread.  Sadly I don't have a Hasselblad scanner ( I would like one). So from what I deduce from this thread is that not all .fff files are created equally.  .fff files converted via Phocus from 3FR are clearly not the same thing as .fff files created initially by the scanners.

 Changing the subject slightly, I have never understood the relationship between 3FR files and the .fff files  which are generated by Phocus.  The old explanation was that 3FR files were somehow compressed and then converting them  via Phocus to .fff would uncompress them.  With my H3D the .fff files generated through Phocus from 3FR files are significantly larger than the 3FR files from which they were derived.  Now the .fff files generated from 3FR files from my X1D are significantly smaller than the 3FR files.

I first noticed this when trying out the H6D when it was first introduced and asked a Hasselblad rep about this and was told that this was simply because compression on 3FR files had not yet been implemented.  If that is true then it still hasn't been implemented.

This is purely academic curiosity.  Frankly I don't see that any of this really makes much practical difference.  I cannot tell any significant difference between .fff files and 3FR files when imported into Lightroom or Photoshop.  Equally there are many who swear that .fff files processed and exported at TIFs from Phocus show much better colour than 3FRs or .fffs processed in Lightroom. Years ago, when Lightroom first started to support 3FR/.fff files I could see that in certain circumstances - particularly saturated reds Phocus did give a better result.  Not so now, but  it could be simply that my eyes are not good enough to discern a subtle difference - I can believe that.



Lightroom Classic cannot import the .FFF I tested earlier from a scanner. It does and can if I alter the extension to .tif.
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BobShaw

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Re: Hasselblad Flextight .FFF file format converter?
« Reply #9 on: April 21, 2022, 07:15:40 pm »

Interesting thread.  Sadly I don't have a Hasselblad scanner ( I would like one). So from what I deduce from this thread is that not all .fff files are created equally.  .fff files converted via Phocus from 3FR are clearly not the same thing as .fff files created initially by the scanners.

>Straight out of the Phocus User Guide and any Update ReadMe -
• Scanner 3F files are not supported.
• 3F files generated by Phocus are not backward compatible with FlexColor.

 Changing the subject slightly, I have never understood the relationship between 3FR files and the .fff files  which are generated by Phocus.  The old explanation was that 3FR files were somehow compressed and then converting them  via Phocus to .fff would uncompress them.  With my H3D the .fff files generated through Phocus from 3FR files are significantly larger than the 3FR files from which they were derived.  Now the .fff files generated from 3FR files from my X1D are significantly smaller than the 3FR files.

> The X1D 3FR files are not compressed. I suspect it is to save processor time. H3D certainly was compressed.

I first noticed this when trying out the H6D when it was first introduced and asked a Hasselblad rep about this and was told that this was simply because compression on 3FR files had not yet been implemented.  If that is true then it still hasn't been implemented.

> Don't know but probably the same reason as X1D to reduce processor load.

This is purely academic curiosity.  Frankly I don't see that any of this really makes much practical difference.  I cannot tell any significant difference between .fff files and 3FR files when imported into Lightroom or Photoshop.  Equally there are many who swear that .fff files processed and exported at TIFs from Phocus show much better colour than 3FRs or .fffs processed in Lightroom. Years ago, when Lightroom first started to support 3FR/.fff files I could see that in certain circumstances - particularly saturated reds Phocus did give a better result.  Not so now, but  it could be simply that my eyes are not good enough to discern a subtle difference - I can believe that.

> There is a lot of proprietary stuff that happens in the 3FR > FFF > TIFF or JPG conversion in Phocus like the HNCS colour. See pic. By all accounts Phocus is better.
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TechTalk

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Re: Hasselblad Flextight .FFF file format converter?
« Reply #10 on: April 21, 2022, 09:00:55 pm »

Interesting thread.  Sadly I don't have a Hasselblad scanner ( I would like one). So from what I deduce from this thread is that not all .fff files are created equally.  .fff files converted via Phocus from 3FR are clearly not the same thing as .fff files created initially by the scanners.

 Changing the subject slightly, I have never understood the relationship between 3FR files and the .fff files  which are generated by Phocus...

• .3FR files are what always get written to CompactFlash (CF) cards. They were written with lossless compression in the past, but have not used compression for some time. I don't know why that changed. When these are processed with Phocus, they are first imported and converted to FFF (.fff) files. FFF files all use lossless compression. Other programs like Lightroom work directly with 3FR files, but Phocus always converts them first into FFF files.

• Phocus only uses FFF files because it maintains a complete detailed history of every saved adjustment made to any Hasselblad camera image. The adjustment history is contained inside each FFF file. The Phocus history browser is a versatile tool with a variety of functionality worth exploring. It's unfortunately often overlooked and some users may not even know that it's there. The adjustment history file always stays inside an FFF image and there are no separate sidecar files as with other raw formats. This is not possible with 3FR files which are read-only files, like other raw formats.

• If you shoot tethered, FFF files are always generated. Again, FFF files always use lossless compression. Multi-shot is always tethered and therefore are FFF files. Multi-shot files are supported by few (if any) programs other than Phocus.

• Scanner files are also always tethered with the option of being saved as FFF files with lossless compression and a history file. This is the original FFF (3F) file, before Imacon acquired a digital back product line. These FFF files contain raw scanner data along with a thumbnail image and proprietary data tags which can be read, to the best of my knowledge, only in Flexcolor software. They don't open in Phocus. As they use TIFF format as a container for the data, you can change the file name and use them as a TIFF.
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TechTalk

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Re: Hasselblad Flextight .FFF file format converter?
« Reply #11 on: April 21, 2022, 11:40:53 pm »

Frankly I don't see that any of this really makes much practical difference.  I cannot tell any significant difference between .fff files and 3FR files when imported into Lightroom or Photoshop.

Hasselblad software engineers have worked closely with their counterparts at Adobe to maintain as much color consistency as possible between Phocus and Adobe image rendering. Hasselblad wanted users to have the option of continuing to use the Adobe software and workflow with which they were familiar. The results are not identical to Phocus, but very close. Their collaboration has been effective in producing a fairly consistent end result for the user with whichever software they choose for editing.

The engine that performs the work under the hood of Phocus is a bit unusual according to Anders Torger who created Lumariver Profile Designer camera/scanner profiling software. He's peeked under the hood and described it in a post that he wrote at LuLa some years ago. The color processing methodology in Phocus combined with the extraordinary amount of sensor calibration data measured and stored in the firmware of each camera produced are two of the major components in Hasselblad's color solution.
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TechTalk

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Re: Hasselblad Flextight .FFF file format converter?
« Reply #12 on: April 28, 2022, 12:27:50 am »

If anyone knows of a raw converter that works with FFF files, I would be greatly appreciated.

Iridient Developer lists Hasselblad scanner FFF files as supported. They offer a free demo version.

https://www.iridientdigital.com/products

https://www.iridientdigital.com/products/rawdeveloper_cameras
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digitaldog

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Re: Hasselblad Flextight .FFF file format converter?
« Reply #13 on: April 28, 2022, 09:16:01 am »

Iridient Developer is a very, very good raw converter.
I've been a big fan of Iridient Develop this long (2006):
http://digitaldog.net/files/IridientDeveloper.pdf
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StuartR

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Re: Hasselblad Flextight .FFF file format converter?
« Reply #14 on: June 17, 2022, 10:02:11 pm »

Does anyone know if there is a legal reason that Photoshop would not open the files as 3Fs? Hasselblad has really screwed the photo community by both failing to update FlexColor (seemingly the entire time they owned it), and also preventing the open source scanner software community from offering a solution to existing Hassleblad scanners. It seems like, if nothing else, it would be a huge benefit if Lightroom could work on 3F files as raws, or at least at tiffs that contain the adjustments from the scan software. I think there are a large number of photographers and institutions that have an archive of 3F files with adjustments, and they are all more or less at the mercy of older computers that support 32 bit software. Thankfully, it is not completely existential, because as pointed out above, they can be renamed and opened as tiffs, but unfortunately that leaves then without color profiles or adjustments.
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digitaldog

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Re: Hasselblad Flextight .FFF file format converter?
« Reply #15 on: June 17, 2022, 10:23:45 pm »

Ah, the “joy” of proprietary file formats.
It's why yes to TIFF, DNG, JPEG.
NO to PSD, CR2 etc.
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TechTalk

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Re: Hasselblad Flextight .FFF file format converter?
« Reply #16 on: June 18, 2022, 02:35:17 pm »

Hasselblad has really screwed the photo community by both failing to update FlexColor (seemingly the entire time they owned it), and also preventing the open source scanner software community from offering a solution to existing Hasselblad scanners.

Hasselblad and Imacon merged in 2004 and FlexColor was updated many times between 2004 and 2011. The last version included "an updated Imacon 3F Photoshop plugin (V 1.4) which adds compatibility with CS5 in 64-bit mode". It certainly appears that they were willing to provide a means for third party software to open 3F files.

You're asserting that Hasselblad is "preventing the open source scanner software community from offering a solution to existing Hasselblad scanners." Before stating this on a public forum as a fact, have you emailed Hasselblad support to ask them if this was true and if so, what was their reply?
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TechTalk

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Re: Hasselblad Flextight .FFF file format converter?
« Reply #17 on: June 18, 2022, 06:43:49 pm »

I think there are a large number of photographers and institutions that have an archive of 3F files with adjustments, and they are all more or less at the mercy of older computers that support 32 bit software.

No. They aren't actually.

Thankfully, it is not completely existential, because as pointed out above, they can be renamed and opened as tiffs, but unfortunately that leaves then without color profiles or adjustments.

No. Look directly above your post...

Iridient Developer lists Hasselblad scanner FFF files as supported. They offer a free demo version.

https://www.iridientdigital.com/products

https://www.iridientdigital.com/products/rawdeveloper_cameras

Iridient Developer is a very, very good raw converter.
I've been a big fan of Iridient Develop this long (2006):
http://digitaldog.net/files/IridientDeveloper.pdf
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richardman42

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Re: Hasselblad Flextight .FFF file format converter?
« Reply #18 on: June 22, 2022, 04:10:04 am »

I have been using this workflow for the last 3-4 years, since I purchased a Flextight 848. It may not be the optimal solutions, but it works well for me.

  • I scan using Flexcolor 4.8.9.1 on Windows 10 (the key is to use a Firewire card with the original TI chip) in 3FR mode
  • rename the extension from .fff to .tif (I actually have a batch script, but whatever)
  • (auto-) import to LR Classics (also works with LR 6.x)
  • Convert using Negative Lab Pro

This is my workflow for C-41 and B&W. Works great for me. YMMV
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TechTalk

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Re: Hasselblad Flextight .FFF file format converter?
« Reply #19 on: June 25, 2022, 05:29:17 pm »

I have been using this workflow for the last 3-4 years, since I purchased a Flextight 848. It may not be the optimal solutions, but it works well for me.

  • I scan using Flexcolor 4.8.9.1 on Windows 10 (the key is to use a Firewire card with the original TI chip) in 3FR mode
  • rename the extension from .fff to .tif (I actually have a batch script, but whatever)
  • (auto-) import to LR Classics (also works with LR 6.x)
  • Convert using Negative Lab Pro

This is my workflow for C-41 and B&W. Works great for me. YMMV

Thank you for sharing your workflow.

There is also the program Negative Lab Pro which lets you use 3F raw files renamed to TIFF inside Lightroom...

https://forums.negativelabpro.com/how-to-use-flextight-scans-with-negative-lab-pro
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