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Author Topic: Sharpening FujiFilm X-Trans Files in Lightroom  (Read 46601 times)

Manoli

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« Last Edit: December 13, 2014, 04:17:50 am by Manoli »
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armand

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Re: Sharpening FujiFilm X-Trans Files in Lightroom
« Reply #21 on: December 13, 2014, 09:40:55 am »

Iridient Developer 3.0 Beta 4 - The 'Real Deal' For Fuji X

Those colors are way more saturated than the Fuji ooc jpeg. And there is some red-orange weird stuff going on (look at the oranges for example).

Manoli

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Re: Sharpening FujiFilm X-Trans Files in Lightroom
« Reply #23 on: December 13, 2014, 10:21:18 am »

Those colors are way more saturated than the Fuji ooc jpeg. And there is some red-orange weird stuff going on (look at the oranges for example).

I'd be wary of making any judgement about colour from this site's on-line jpegs. I'm not sure if its a browser issue or his method of exporting images to web (profile issue) but a ton of his work appears 'bizarre' and not just these Fuji files ( note: there was a thread on this recently on LuLa involving Hans Kruse and some others IIRC).

I've been using ID since version 2, haven't downloaded 3beta yet, and it's long been my only converter for x-trans files, only now challenged by the much improved CaptureOne v8. Colour rendition has never been an issue, though I use both Fuji and some custom profiles.

As far as sharpening goes, the jpegs speak for themselves. From what I see, using ID is close to a no-brainer - if for nothing else other than just sharpening !  I'm assuming the colour differences are an aberration - the only way to know is to run your own comparative tests on your own setup before forming a definitive opinion.

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soboyle

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Re: Sharpening FujiFilm X-Trans Files in Lightroom
« Reply #24 on: January 08, 2015, 02:50:19 pm »

interested if Lemondixon had any more comments on the processing of X Trans files.
It sounds like you were getting good result, did you find the holy grail settings in lightroom?

Lemondixon

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Re: Sharpening FujiFilm X-Trans Files in Lightroom
« Reply #25 on: March 01, 2015, 03:09:31 pm »

Many apologies for not responding sooner - Life's just been too hectic to make time to do this, and I want to do this properly as I think I will have something really useful to share with you all. Not there just yet though, but have promised myself will do this for you in next couple of weeks.
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Paul2660

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Re: Sharpening FujiFilm X-Trans Files in Lightroom
« Reply #26 on: March 02, 2015, 07:33:17 pm »

I just took a look at the latest version of Iridient and boy they have come a long way, and in the positive.

I of course wish they had a windows version, but they really can pull out the details from the Fuji xTrans files.

With their latest version there are a lot more features to help on shadow/highlight corrections, but still no dedicated color controls.  Maybe in the future.

Paul
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Chris Kern

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Re: Sharpening FujiFilm X-Trans Files in Lightroom
« Reply #27 on: March 02, 2015, 07:52:26 pm »

I just took a look at the latest version of Iridient and boy they have come a long way, and in the positive.

I've also been playing around with Iridient v.3.  But I'm not persuaded its conversion of X-Trans files, even with the new demosaicing options, is that significantly better than in earlier revs.  It's certainly acceptable, but I still am able to achieve equivalent results with Lightroom 5.

I'm waiting now to see what if anything new LR 6 has to offer Fujifilm shooters.

Paul2660

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Re: Sharpening FujiFilm X-Trans Files in Lightroom
« Reply #28 on: March 04, 2015, 09:22:25 am »

I've also been playing around with Iridient v.3.  But I'm not persuaded its conversion of X-Trans files, even with the new demosaicing options, is that significantly better than in earlier revs.  It's certainly acceptable, but I still am able to achieve equivalent results with Lightroom 5.

I'm waiting now to see what if anything new LR 6 has to offer Fujifilm shooters.

HI Chris:

I agree that LR can at times to a great job, but there are times where it just seems to really damage the files. 

Landscape shooting where I have faint tree branches against a blue sky, LR tends to add a reddish hue in these parts and if you attempt to sharpen the image at all, haloing seems to come into play.  I also see this same issue with green leaves against  blue sky, sky being polarized or not problem is the same.  I have tried various settings including taking the detail slider up 100% which supposedly brings on deconvolution sharpening, and that helps on certain file. 

I have not had any real success with exporting to PhotoNinja for the raw conversion and then working on the tif in LR.  PhotoNinja does seem to put in a lot of false details, something I had read elsewhere and on this site, but never really paid attention to. 

C1, which I love as a tool, for Phase One and Nikon D800e and D810 files, just can't begin to get the finer details, however it does a great job on colors so I use it when I can.

Iridient pulls out extremely fine details which is what I am looking for and does it without a lot of false detail.  Their weakness is a tool set, but with each new version it's getting better.  With 3 there is a lot of great new control for shadows and highlights, albeit 100% image wide, as there is no brush/masking style.  But if he would just add a color editor it would be a great starting place. 

Paul
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Hans Kruse

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Re: Sharpening FujiFilm X-Trans Files in Lightroom
« Reply #29 on: March 04, 2015, 11:09:13 am »

I've not seen this, myself, although my experience has been that raw files produced by the X-Trans cameras neither require nor can tolerate much sharpening beyond the amount I automatically apply during import (i.e., the sharpening-amount slider set to 25 and the sharpening-detail slider to 100).  The files from cameras with Bayer-pattern sensors seem to be more accepting of aggressive sharpening.  On the other hand, I've been very favorably impressed with the focus accuracy of the two Fujifilm cameras I have used—the X-E2 and the X-T1—as well as the quality of the Fuji lenses.  So I don't often feel the need to sharpen the Fujifilm images aggressively.

What version of Lightroom are you using?  From what I've read, here and elsewhere, Fuji reps have been helping Adobe refine the X-Trans demosaicing algorithms in LR and Camera Raw.  If you're not using the latest rev of Lightroom, perhaps that's the reason for the artifacts you're seeing.

I've attached three test shots I made this afternoon to illustrate the results I get from my default import capture sharpening:

(1) the approximate coverage of the full frame in the following two examples;
(2) a full-resolution crop from an X-T1 with the Fuji 10-24mm zoom at 10mm;
(3) a full-resolution crop from a Nikon D800E with the Nikon 18-35mm zoom at 18mm.

I applied the Lightroom lens-correction module to the D800E image; it's my understanding that LR automagically performs lens corrections on files made with all Fuji lenses based on manufacturer's makernotes included in the metadata.  The D800E image also had the sharpening-amount slider set at 25, but the sharpening detail value was 25.  Both crops represent my typical starting point for post-processing images made with the respective cameras.  (Obviously, the dimensions of the D800E sample are larger because of the higher resolution of the sensor.)  Both look equally clean to my eye.

I have used the following sharpening parameters to my Nikon D800E, D810 and also Canon 1Ds III and 5D III and it works very well I think and brings out visible more detail than closer to default. They are amount=50, radius=0.8, detail=70 and masking 30. This is for apertures up to f/11. For f/16 and beyond I use detail=100 and the other parameters the same.

I have downloaded a number of Fuji X-T1RAW files and the same parameters worked well. Here is one example that included the sky and where I had brought exposure down by -1 and highlights to -100 and it looks good to me in 1:1. 2nd attachment full picture and 3rd with no adjustment except sharpening.

Lemondixon

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Re: Sharpening FujiFilm X-Trans Files in Lightroom
« Reply #30 on: March 11, 2015, 01:24:02 pm »

interested if Lemondixon had any more comments on the processing of X Trans files.
It sounds like you were getting good result, did you find the holy grail settings in lightroom?

Apologies for the delay, but (as you will see) this is not a quick or easy explanation to give, nor something you're likely to easily accept (at least until you've done the Pepsi-challenge on some of your own images and seen the difference).

Basically, there IS a Holy-grail of extracting detail from all your images (not only the Fuji X files) and, in part, this comes down to better sharpening technique and tools (as well as other techniques), however what I have learnt is that (as much as I would like it to be so) you ain't gonna get this from ANY of the RAW converters out there at the moment (though there ARE differences between them, even WITH these other techniques I will point out for you).

I guess, right now (like I did) you're groaning as this isn't what you want to hear and at the thought of having to buy more software, or not being able to do everything all in the one place. Let me make it clear - I LOVE Lightroom, and so wished this wasn't the case, but don't fret; It's not all bad news. Let me first set out some important points (before you shoot me down or dismiss this all):

1. You can STILL use LR (or your preferred RAW converter) and have a slick workflow that won't be time consuming;
2. You're likely to already have all the software you’ll need, assuming you have any version of Photoshop from CS1 or upwards (it may still work on older versions, but I'm not 100% sure);
3. You can download all the comparison images here: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/175lh66sfkeplvx/AABhdyUZejJO0pUY3aBHn9DGa?dl=0
4. Yes, I KNOW the foreground in the image I used is out of focus (so please don't criticise), nor is it an aesthetically pleasing image - However, it was used purely as it demonstrates the cursed LR "painterly" effect with large groups of trees / foliage / repeating detail;
5.  I have tried these same techniques on lots of other images and the results were the same, including improvements in skin tones/details in portraits and landscape shots with fine detail in gravel etc in the foreground;
6. You also MUST, MUST, MUST remember that images can only truly be compared in the context in which they are finally intended for (print, web etc) and that, if some images seem over sharpened when zoomed in to 200-300% this is NOT how they look printed at 240-300dpi from normal viewing distances (they look fantastic), but more importantly they still do NOT contain any extra visible noise or generated artefacts if you use the best techniques (i.e. not a RAW converter);
7. The author of these techniques (Guy Gowan - see his website www.guygowan.com) has persuaded me to abandon the whole input and output sharpening route - Just do it once, but do it really well;
8. No, I'm not doing this as publicity for GG, nor am I paid or induced to promote his stuff - I simply became a member of his site last November (2014) and it has COMPLETELY changed my attitude to what is achievable with sharpening, contrast, colour correction etc. In fact, it was only as a result of searching for clues on how to extract the best detail from Fuji X files that I came across his site;
9. Finally, remember that you WON'T NEED to do these techniques on EVERY image - just the ones that are your final, best picks for display etc - So you can still make brilliant use of LR (or whatever) for managing your library, editing a shoot, output to print (or other media), and even some final tweaks to the image (if you really want/need to). The workflow using LR and GG's techniques if particularly slick I must say.

Let me first explain what can be seen on the various images in the above link - Aside from the full, original RAW / .RAF file for the image used, in the subfolder there are Jpegs made carefully (with like for like settings where possible) for direct comparison:

a) Original Out of Camera Fuji X-E2 produced Jpeg (+1 Sharpening, -1 Highlights/Shaddows)
b) The RAF Raw file processed with LR Default settings (sharpening / noise reduction etc), then converted to Jpeg.
c) The same file converted to DNG in LR , same settings (to check no difference to (b) above
d) The DNG file at my optimum LR settings (as per previous posts) and the RAF file with same settings (again for comparison of DNG conversion process effects, if any), then to Jpeg.
e) The RAF file output (with LR settings for sharpening and noise etc at ZERO) sent to Photoshop from LR, and then “processed” using Guy Gowan’s techniques, then converted to Jpeg
f) The RAF file output as above to PS but from Iridient Developer (ZERO sharpening etc), “processed” GG style as above, then to Jpeg
g) RAF file processed in ID only, but at optimum settings (per previous posts), output to Jpeg from there
h) RAF file output same as (e) but from Capture One to PS, “processed” GG style as above, then output to Jpeg; and (finally!)
i) RAF file processed in Capture only but at optimum settings (per previous posts), output to Jpeg from there

Given the length of this post already (and the limits of your patience), I won’t go into great detail on how GG’s processing works (though I will in another post if requested) but the basics are:

You can push files far, far further in terms of sharpening, contrast and dynamic range expansion without ANY banding, halos or introducing artefacts IF you use properly constructed masks (appropriate to the subject matter - e.g. protecting skin tones). You can get true HDR without it looking like some weird caricature of reality, as in Sin City movie posters! Buy hey, if that’s your thing then no problem. His objective is to give you what your camera is capable of producing, instead of the heavily compressed narrow dynamic range all manufacturers assume we want as “consumers”.

These masks (unfortunately) cannot be created in ANY RAW converter, and are based on knowledge of colour theory and many traditional techniques used in film darkrooms (which I used to do, and can easily relate to) and lithographic printing. Their beauty is that they are calculated or generated automatically, not by manually drawing selections, and so there are no harsh transitions. They can also be cleverly targeted to focus the processing effects in specific areas only and restrict/prevent other areas being influenced (such as shadows, highlights, skin tones, skies, etc). The learning curve can be pretty steep at first, but it is well worth the time invested.

Better still, these “processing” techniques can be applied in an automated batch method and still give consistent results without having to manually adjust sliders (“wanging” as GG calls it!) for every individual image. This will save you hours, and hours of time, leaving you free to concentrate on final re-touching and adjustments which you will find much more satisfying.

In terms of detail and producing realistic looking shape, contrast and texture in your images, these techniques far, far exceed what any of the RAW converters can achieve in terms of highlight and shadow recovery - a big claim I know, but I have seen it proven and done the same comparisons myself. You can also put on more contrast than you ever thought imaginable (without colour shifts) and an incredible amount of sharpening (his standard is 500%). In retrospect, the example image I have used maybe isn't the best but I'll happily demonstrate this on an image of your choosing.

GG does produce the “Process Action” that does all of the above and allows you to modify the results both image by image, as well as setting up batch processing tailored to suit a particular set of images and your own tastes. This is updated regularly (weekly/monthly) with ongoing improvements. However, if you’re just after a ‘quick fix’ solution without truly understanding the mechanics of what is going on, this may not be for you and you won’t get the best out of it. GG does not sell these Actions as a ‘product’ - he only teaches the techniques to members, who pay an annual subscription, so that they can also do this for themselves as well as make the best use of the Actions he creates and gives out to members (without charge).

If you’re a member over at Fuji-X Forums, he does a 25% subscription discount. Personally, having paid for lots of professional tuition, what I paid was less than most half day courses and about 500 times more informative and useful. I’d got my money’s worth by end of week one. Be warned however, Guy’s style is sometimes a little abrasive and he’s not everyone’s ‘cup of tea’. If you get passed that, you won’t care at all even though he does have great contempt for a lot of what software producers have sold to us as being the only or best way to do things since the digital age took over!

Anyhow, this is not meant to be a GG promo. Look at the images (even if it’s not the best example I could have used). As you will see, ALL of the ones run through his “processing” method are massively more detailed and sharper (and I could have got a lot more out of the shadow detail if needed). All the Jpegs from the camera and other 3 RAW converters (even at optimum settings) look like they’ve had a diffusion / blur filter on by comparison. What you will note is that there is still some difference between each of the RAW converters’ images even after GG processing, so clearly there are differences still in the demosaicing algorithms and you may argue that ID is still best? At the end of the day, there are limits on my needs and, all in all, I am content with the LR results once all sharpening and noise reduction has been switched off and then processed properly using GG’s Action.

Finally, if you would like, I would be happy to produce and publish versions of any of your own images for comparison if you contact me and supply the RAW file. Sorry for such a long post, but hopefully you will find it useful.
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phl0wtography

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Re: Sharpening FujiFilm X-Trans Files in Lightroom
« Reply #31 on: March 11, 2015, 03:36:29 pm »

Quote
Finally, if you would like, I would be happy to produce and publish versions of any of your own images for comparison if you contact me and supply the RAW file. Sorry for such a long post, but hopefully you will find it useful.
So, basically, what all that wall of text of yours says is, you have to pay that GG guy to share his magic workflow with you? Sorry, not interesting in esoteric elitism.
You keep writing about his "processing techniques" ("wanging", and whatnot), but fail to explain what these are. Are shameful promotions like this even allowed on the LL boards?
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Lemondixon

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Re: Sharpening FujiFilm X-Trans Files in Lightroom
« Reply #32 on: March 11, 2015, 05:22:17 pm »

Hang on a minute phl0wtography. Please don't take that tone. Try to be civil and polite. It is really not appropriate or helpful.

If you care to read the whole thread, you will see that I was involved in this discussion before I'd ever heard of Guy Gowan and secondly, after some productive dialogue with other members about their findings I was actually asked to share what I later discovered by several members of this thread. It was a real struggle to eventually find the time, but after spending a lot of time putting together what I had been asked for (and I even apologised for the length) I really don't appreciate it being described as a "wall" or "esoteric elitism", nor is it a "shameful promotion".

I made it perfectly clear that I would elaborate on the details if requested, and even offered to show the results on other peoples images. If I did explain the details in that posting it would be even longer! But hey, if you're "not interested" then why even attempt to read what others have taken considerable time to share or add your unhelpful comments. Either go do your homework, actually read and take on board these details and make informed comment, or keep those sorts of negative remarks to yourself. People come to forums like this to learn and share information and are only put off doing so by rude and inappropriate comments like yours.
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michael

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Re: Sharpening FujiFilm X-Trans Files in Lightroom
« Reply #33 on: March 11, 2015, 05:43:14 pm »

So, basically, what all that wall of text of yours says is, you have to pay that GG guy to share his magic workflow with you? Sorry, not interesting in esoteric elitism.
You keep writing about his "processing techniques" ("wanging", and whatnot), but fail to explain what these are. Are shameful promotions like this even allowed on the LL boards?

This is an uncalled for response.

Imaging processing can be simple or complex. Different strokes..., etc.

It isn't necessary though to be rude when someone has spent a lot of time explaining one of the possible approaches. If it isn't to your taste, fine. But unnecessary rudeness isn't.

Michael
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AFairley

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Re: Sharpening FujiFilm X-Trans Files in Lightroom
« Reply #34 on: March 11, 2015, 08:37:20 pm »

Although I am not going to spend the coin to get GG's elixir, I for one welcome all discussions about how to improve output from the X cameras, and therefore give my thanks to Lemondixon. 

Truth be told I hope that LR 6 has some special sauce for X-Trans files since I have gotten lazier and lazier about taking images into other programs as LR has improved....
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David Sutton

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Re: Sharpening FujiFilm X-Trans Files in Lightroom
« Reply #35 on: March 11, 2015, 09:56:41 pm »

Thank you Lemondixon for taking the time for a detailed reply.
As I understand it you are processing the RAF file in the converter of your choice to minimise artefacts and maximise highlight detail. Then sending the tiff to Photoshop and the Gowan actions to recover shadows, improve highlight detail and restore sharpness.
I had a look at one of his presentations. I think he's an annoying man and goes on a bit but I also think he's correct on a number of fronts, particularly that process version 2012 in LR can compress highlight detail. As a result for images where highlight detail is critical I use the exposure slider in process version 2010 to retain highlight detail and use an existing toolset in Photoshop to recover shadows and sharpen (namely LightMachine for shadow recovery and Topaz Detail for, well, detail).
So I wasn't convinced enough to sign up, but it's good to be reminded that there is more than one way to skin a Felis catus
David
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Bart_van_der_Wolf

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Re: Sharpening FujiFilm X-Trans Files in Lightroom
« Reply #36 on: March 12, 2015, 06:31:40 am »

Thank you Lemondixon for taking the time for a detailed reply.
As I understand it you are processing the RAF file in the converter of your choice to minimise artefacts and maximise highlight detail. Then sending the tiff to Photoshop and the Gowan actions to recover shadows, improve highlight detail and restore sharpness.
I had a look at one of his presentations. I think he's an annoying man and goes on a bit but I also think he's correct on a number of fronts, particularly that process version 2012 in LR can compress highlight detail.

I agree, and on that aspect Guy Gowan is correct, but then many others have commented on that Process 2012 behavior/trade-off, and learned how to correct it if the scene requires that. Reducing the Highlight slider control (even to -100) solves a lot of that loss of highlight detail from compression and highlight recovery.

But apart from his annoying attitude (in an attempt to portrait himself as superior), he is also very much stuck in his old concepts of sharpening, dating back to his pre-press days where film scans were used as source material to produce screening rasters. All that edge preservation masking stuff is mostly needed when using old technology, like USM related sharpening and blurring.

Welcome to the 21 century, where we now can use digitally captured images, very effective noise reduction (even to the point where we need to reintroduce some noise), and use halo free spatial frequency based tools, such as Topaz Clarity for contrast adjustments, and Topaz Detail for detail enhancement, both with built-in edge-aware masking if needed, and color technology that prevents saturation issues when changing brightness and contrast.

Cheers,
Bart
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== If you do what you did, you'll get what you got. ==

Lemondixon

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Re: Sharpening FujiFilm X-Trans Files in Lightroom
« Reply #37 on: March 12, 2015, 10:18:09 am »

Thank you all for the reassurance I hadn't completely wasted my time supplying such a lengthy post.

Yes, I agree about how Guy comes across - which is such a shame, as it puts so many people off what is otherwise a really valuable source of information. I deliberated for quite a while before stumping up the cash to join (because of similar comments on Fuji X Forums) but I'm glad I did. I don't have to like someone to find their ideas valuable. Fortunately, I've always been the sort who needs to understand the how and the why of everything, so getting a much deeper insight into how contrast, sharpening and range expansion can be done (without just trusting someone else's algorithm) was really, really useful for me, and many of the same masking principles will improve a lot of other stuff that I found unsatisfactory before. There is no secret "elixir" however - everything is explained in great detail, it's unfortunate he refuses to share any of what is going on under the hood in any of his free to view videos, like the 'Focus' episodes he has on his website. To be honest, this only made me sceptical about what he really had to offer when I first looked at them and reluctant to commit to joining in case it was just hot air! However I don't object to paying for useful professional training - That's what he makes his living at and I wouldn't have found it otherwise.

David Sutton: That's kind of right - It involves no real processing of any sort in your RAW converter of choice, just conversion to TIFF or PSD in the right colour space with sharpening, noise reduction etc turned off and, where you have highlight clipping (first removing auto-recovery in LR by switching back to process version 2010) these are recovered by reducing exposure only.

The PS Action set then brings back shadow detail (amazingly well, and with much better shape and detail than using any RAW converter) and expands the dynamic range, de-moire, cleans and boosts the colour channels (giving even more detail), reintroduces and boosts contrast to levels you never thought possible, and finally sharpening. All of this can be automated to give you a fantastic starting point on all your chosen images without having to do them each by eye.

It is also really interesting for those who either shoot for the highlights or shadows. His method actively encourages over exposing your images (depending on the camera) by around 2 stops, before bringing back highlights with exposure in your RAW converter. This way, whilst the shadows become really dark before using the process action, because they were correctly exposed (or nearly) at the point of capture, the image imported to PS has the much less or no noise in the shadow regions before you process the image and bring back those areas. The result is what we all want - perfectly exposed, detailed highlight and shadow regions with little or no noise (and without having to splice multiple exposures or versions of the same image).

Don't get me wrong - I wish I could do this all in LR, but once you have export presets set up in LR using PS droplets you can send off images to PS and have them automatically imported back into LR (either as flattened files, or as PSD's with all the layers so they can be re-tweaked later if required). This makes for a really slick workflow.

It would be interesting to do some comparisons (if any of you would like to) between ID, LR, Topaz and Lightmachine etc to see just how much each of these can squeeze out of an image without introducing halos, noise or other artefacts. Anyone up for that?
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armand

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Re: Sharpening FujiFilm X-Trans Files in Lightroom
« Reply #38 on: March 12, 2015, 11:12:07 am »

By using the 2010 process you would lose the film simulations, right?
For me colors are as important as the sharpness and I love not having to work much or at all on the Fuji files color vs the Nikon thanks to those simulations.
That's why I keep using the LR vs others.

armand

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Re: Sharpening FujiFilm X-Trans Files in Lightroom
« Reply #39 on: March 12, 2015, 11:53:44 am »

Never mind, I see you can keep the color profile even with the old process.
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