31
Dec
2012

Comparison between Capture One-Beta / SOOC JPG / Lightroom / Silkypix

Hi

I’m always very happy when people offer their collaboration with this blog. People send me emails to share news, rumors, deals, reviews, considerations… This collaboration is very important for me and I’m grateful for any help I get from you. Really, thank you very much!

This time Toby invested a lot of time to make an extended comparison between  SOOC JPG/Lightroom/C1-beta/Silkypix. He sent me an email with a lot of images and personal considerations. I’m happy to share it with you. Thank you Toby.

He wrote:

“Fujifilm’s X-Trans CMOS image sensor is designed with  an irregular R, G and B pixel pattern to remove the need of an anti-aliasing filter, improve color reproduction and meet or surpass image quality of a full frame sensor.  Other manufactures use a traditional Bayer Array Sensor, regardless of who makes the sensor or the overall size, the R, G and B layout is the same.

A problem arises when a RAW Fuji image file (RAF) from an X-Trans sensor is processed by software designed to develop Bayer Array RAW files.    It is like the two devices are speaking a different language.

Probably the most popular image editing software is Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop.  I’ve used Photoshop since the late 90s and Lightroom since LR1.  In a recent update Adobe’s RAW converter began to be compatible with Fujifilm RAF files.  The only problem is when you start to view the photos closely you notice what I see as an orange peel effect.  It is as if the image was printed on textured canvas.  This visual is easiest seen in some situations more than others, but it is always there.   From the language analogy above, it is like Adobe’s RAF converter is using Google Translate to make sense of the X-Trans array.  Much like Google Translate, the results are understandable but something is not quite right….

You could just deal with it.  Up until now you had two other options though; you could use SOOC JPGs (straight out of camera JPGs) or the included-in-the-box copy of Silkypix  Fujifilm was kind enough to include.  I’ve never come to grips with SOOC JPGs.  I’ve tried, I did a bunch of controlled test shots and took notes of each JPG setting in the camera then analyzed them later to try and find one I liked, I just couldn’t do it.  Some people love SOOC JPGs, others don’t.  The second option, Silkypix, is a good intention with bad execution.  To be frank, it is hard to use and you never get used to it.  I’ve yet to hear or read about anyone that uses it out of choice.

But there is some good news.  Just on the horizon is a new release of Phase One Capture One Pro 7 and it is supposed to have proper support for RAF files.   I’ve been working with a beta of the release and the results speak for themselves.

So enough of that, lets do some testing.  I set up my camera to take a single shot RAW+JPG L/F and ran the RAF image through Lightroom 4.2, Siklypix 3 and Capture One Pro 7 beta and copied the original jpg file from the camera SD over to my work folder.    Each RAF test was imported into the software and exported as a 220 ppi sRGB jpg at the highest quality available.  SOOC JPG settings on the camera were all areas to default with the film type as Standard.

All the files here can be seen as a set on my Flickr page (direct set link:  http://flic.kr/s/aHsjDpaFTK )

Here is one of the original test files from my back patio.  It is a mix of straight lines, dark and light areas and a tree.

Tree House

Here are some crops of JPG, LR, C1 and SP images:

Crops 1

Crops 2

Crops 3

Using LR, you can’t sharpen RAF files much before problems arise:

Converter

On a second image I did the same test but went a bit farther and did my personal choice edits of the image in Lightroom and Capture One just to see the different results.  At this viewing resolution, both files are quite useable.

Lightroom:

Lightroom Plant

Capture One:

C1 Plant

More LR/C1 image test are available here:  http://flickr.com/gp/tdp_photos/Gn53wg/

My two cents:

As I mentioned earlier, I’ve been an Adobe user for quite some time.  It would take a lot for me to change to another piece of software, it would have to blow my socks off.  Capture One does just that…..and it is a beta.  Betas are supposed to be buggy little bits of trouble, this one has been flawless – and the image results from RAF files are fantastic.  Oh did I mention it was FAST?   I’m using it on a 1 year old MacBook Pro laptop and the software is very quick.  I’m a happy camper, with great pleasure I will be buying this software once it comes out for three reasons:  The speed, the tools and the results.

It has been mentioned in various places that posting image results from Capture One beta software goes against the terms of service.   According to item 6 in the beta TOS you agree not to distribute the software or download link, nor discuss any issues that go on during the beta test.  I have no issues with the software at all, nor am I discussing any faults or shortcomings – because I have not experienced any problems at all with the software.

– tdp

My 500px   http://500px.com/xaitian

My Flickr    http://www.flickr.com/photos/tdp_photos/

The debate is open in the comments!
  • http://www.johnnypatience.com Johnny Patience

    Thanks for sharing this.

    The colors in Capture One look to be a little off and seem to have too much saturation – but it’s hard to tell with these images.

    What do you think in that regard vs. LR4 and the JPG?

    • TDP

      In the building shot I just imported/exported the images using whatever the defaults are for the software, so any saturation or color cast differences may be due to software defaults. Color correction or saturation levels are easy enough to edit and both LR and C1 have the ability to edit the default import settings – it can be tuned to personal preference.

      There are two interesting points about C1 and LR for X-Trans files. One is in LR you cannot sharpen the image much before it gets painting-like, but in C1 you can sharpen much more that I ever would and still have a useable result. The other is if you hit all the “auto” options in LR and C1, some files in LR go way off. It is like the software is confused when making evaluations on what auto should do. I do not have the same problem in LR when using my E-M5 or 5D2.

  • Foliage

    It would be nice to see some photos with more foliage. Frankly, I don’t see the resolution everybody is talking about, even in the JPGs smaller details are problematic. Maybe I am too picky, but I don’t feel like I can use this camera for landscape. I really hope the new C1 proves me wrong, because the lenses are top notch. And I love the colors.

    • TDP

      I think the 5D series from Canon are perfect landscape cameras with a host of great lenses available, and Sigma’s DP2M is a compact landscape powerhouse. I think Fujifilm has targeted the X-Pro1 and X-E1 towards general purpose and street photography based off the lenses released thus far. It will be interesting to see how the 14mm and 12-24mm lenses perform on landscapes once they are released.

      I shot some heavy foliage shots this afternoon, the lighting was heavily overcast so ISOs were high and f stops wide – not the best test situation but still. I will post them to my Flickr here shortly.

      • Foliage

        Agreed on the Canons, but I would prefer something more portable. Maybe a NEX-7. But the Fuji 18-55 and 14 would be really enough for most of my purposes.
        Please, share the link when you post your images, if you don’t mind.

  • http://www.sacalobra.com jens g.r. benthien

    You should try RPP (Raw Photo Processor) if you are on a Mac. It supports the Fuji X sensors .

    http://www.raw-photo-processor.com/RPP/Overview.html

    Happy New Year 2013!

    • TDP

      I actually downloaded it for these test but the software wouldn’t work properly for me. I open a RAF file and the software creates a huge, long black box and never displays the image. I tried twice, then re-downloaded the software to no avail.

      • jean pierre

        I have tested RPP and other software which have DCRAW integrated.
        None of these develops the RAF file so well, as now C1 7.0.2 beta.

        It is one joy to work with the beta version. I am a strong user of Capture One per 7.0.1.

        The TIFF-export from C1 beta is great and can be processed further in photo shop CS6 and is really awesome.

        I have done a comparison with JPEG-OOC and the C1 to beta version with the color comparison. Also, I have taken the X-Rite from color map. I have taken the camera setting color mode “Pro Neg”.

        There is no difference in the color reproduction. Attention: If I take, however, “Vivid” or other color modes, it is clear that these color modes do not go over in the RAF file!! Be careful …

        The comparison with Lr 4.3 is also very interesting. C1 beta gives the details much better and the denoising is much more accurate and discreet.

        C1 7.0.2 beta is at the moment the RAW-Converter for the X-Trans sensor Raw data.

        Enjoy it and many thank phase one guys for your work out.

        I hope soonly of the final version 7.0.2

  • quali

    Little unfair comparison for Silkypix – Version 3 :-) Version 5 generates also extremely good results

  • Photograber!

    I also tried the c1 beta, although the images look sharper and the whole process is faster, the famous artifact of X-Trans sensor is still there waiting to show itself after a few changes in parameters.

  • fred

    Hello,

    i’d like to point out that we have to be very careful with those results as it’s still a beta and that a lot of users are new to C1. A different way of tweaking images is necessary to achieve good results.
    What i’ve seen so far it’s that it’s much better (and faster) than LR. It’s also faster than Silkypix and easier to use. Talking about image quality it’s still a bit complicated because it takes time and a lot of different images and time to use a software to its full potential.

    @Jean Pierre :
    if you have a C1 ICC profile for “Pro neg”, i’d love to use it, if you don’t mind sharing it of course. (i know it’s always a bit of work)

    • jean pierre

      Hi Fred
      Oh, If I had done ICC profile “Pro Neg”, I would share it. But I didnot, and I donot think to do one. the default ICC on the beta is good enough for me.
      I will use the C1 for pre-developping and then transfer to CS6 for final working.
      Happy New Year and Cheers

  • TDP

    In reference to what version of Silkypix I used, I simply used the one that came with the X-E1.

    Now my camera serial number is 00157, so maybe later camera bodies had a different version shipped with them.

  • Joe

    Thanks !

    I prefer something else too than what a camera gives me in the form of jpegs (I only use these if time is critical) … so RAW for me …

    What I don’t understand here is why Silkypix results are terrible. I can’t believe it, I get great results from the free Silkypix than Photoshop CS6 or Lightroom. Here, it seems the worst.

    Anyway, waiting to try the Capture One Beta …