X-Trans and Aperture feedback (and LR5)

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image courtesy: soundimageplus

1) soundimpageplus posted part 1 of his first impressions and comparison pics on his website here. For part 2 click here. Among the others in the first part he says that:

“[…] when I looked at typical ‘problem’ areas for the Fuji files, dense areas of green foliage, it was a different story. The Aperture files, as you can see, are clearly superior and don’t have that unnatural look that the Adobe files have, even with the latest version of ACR. There is none of that ‘smudging’ of detail and the look that some kind of dodgy filter effect has been added. Great you might think, but this does come at a (slight) price. There is definitely some colour noise and moire present in the Aperture files. […]  So overall, I’m VERY impressed with the Aperture renditions and the colour problems I can deal with easily. Finally, this is commonly used raw conversion software (if you use an Apple-Mac that is!) that does justice to the Fuji files and I got some spectacularly good conversions using it.”

2) Also thedigitalstory posted his Aperture vs Lightroom comparison pics here. “In my opinion, both applications do an excellent job of handling .RAF files. And the fact that both Apple and Adobe had the RAW updates so quickly after the release of the new X-Trans cameras (X-20 & X100S), says that both are taking these cameras seriously. Well done.

3) Thomas Fitzgerald also took a closer look at Aperture, and in his second part he could not confirm the the very good impressions he had in his first look. The goodSharper in detail areas. Retains textures and fine detail well in certain circumstances. Sharpens up well with some careful edge sharpening. Good saturation. Ability to switch between Raw and Jpeg very useful.” The bad? “Unacceptable level of chroma noise. Strange mottling in the blue channel, Moire is uncontrolled and uncontrollable. Random scattering of pixels in detail areas.  Initial sharpening can be a little weak, and the raw fine tuning sharpening is not great – you need to know how to use edge sharpening to get the best results.” Check it out here.

4) Jim Gamblin compared different RAW converters: Adobe Camera RAW 7.4, SilkyPix which came with the Camera, Raw Photo Processor 64, Apple’s newest update to Aperture and the SOOC jpeg. “Given I have done nothing other then open the RAW (RAF) file in each of the RAW converters and resize them for this site, my opinion is Apeture does the nicest job.  The color and detail to me seem the best of the lot.  Opinions will vary on this, I am sure .[…]  The SOOC jpeg doesn’t look too bad either.  In fact the Apeture version and SOOC jpeg look very similar to me, so I did double check and they repersented faithfully.” See the comparison pics here.

5) A review of the new features of Lightroom 5 can be read over here at andreinicoara. His favorite feature is the new radial filter. Check this youtube video.

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  • Aperture is clearly superior than any other in my opinion. Since the update, i have been using A3 for processing and the results are simply outstanding.

    You can see here ( http://blog.ikphotography.com/?p=2409 ) ( http://blog.ikphotography.com/?p=2320 ) and here ( http://blog.ikphotography.com/?p=2242 )

    Kelvin

  • GH

    Not sure that I want to trade the smudginess of LR and camera jpegs, which you can’t see in 13×19 prints, for color noise and mottling. Every conversion method of X-Trans seems a tradeoff.

    • klehmann

      +1 to both points!

  • Stephen

    It seems Apple is applying more default sharpening and saturation. You could get the same look with Lightroom by adjusting those parameters. I think Adobe is just taking a more conservative approach and rendering a less saturated and sharpened image. As for Silky Pix; although the user interface and nomenclature is a bit….weird, it produces good files too. My own approach is too mostly shoot jpg’s and convert to tiff. That way I get Fuji color. I save RAW for tricky lighting.

    • GH

      I’ll have to eat crow in regards to my statement above. I decided to buy Aperture today and test it out…and GONE is the weird, plasticky, overly smooth look of the X-trans files compared to LR 4.4 and the jpegs. The color noise is barely noticeable, and I think it’s a worthwhile trade off. I’ve been using LR for a long time, but I kind of like the Aperture workflow, and, after seeing how it handles X-trans, it looks like I’m going to make the switch.

      It seems that all of the converters have issues, but Aperture has the best trade offs that I’ve seen.

      • Trust me as you have seen for yourself, A3 is far better in its default rendering… I have heard a few folks talk about color and noise, first of all the color has nothing to do with how A3 renders X-Trans Raw files, in my opinion it has more to do with the lens used, i have done hundreds of tests. For noise, i just don’t see what they are talking about…

        Recently when doing a write up of some Minolta and Konica lenses for my blog ( http://blog.ikphotography.com ), i noticed when i shot with a Minolta MC 58mm 1.4, the Raw files using that lens came in somewhat bright, flat and lacked contrast at first it threw me for a loop then i realized it has to do with that particular lens as previous lenses had a totally different look, its a bright lens and thats just its character and it shows up in the Raw file. All other lenses so far were totally different each of course slightly different than the other. A few tweaks gets you the look you are after.

        This is a good thing as you get to know the true character of the lens. Best part is that you can create a preset for a specific lens and not have to fidget much with the files.

        I love both applications A3 and LR and will continue to use both. Each has its strengths and weaknesses its a matter of which way to go depending on the shoot.

        • GH

          Well, I use the X100s, so the lens isn’t a variable for me. Aperture does have some color artifacts in problem areas, but I prefer it over the overly smooth, plasticky rendering of LR.

          Color is certainly a variable among raw converters, as you’re relying on the color profile(s) built for each camera.

  • dtb

    Are people scrutinizing the x-trans sensor more than other sensors, or do they really have serious issues? As someone considering buying an x-series camera, these demosaicing issues are a real concern. If there are artifacts and other issues with each converter, then perhaps the image quality is inferior.

    • peter

      X-Trans sensor design is a very recent development if you compare it to bayer sensors and there is a ton of literature and public research on how to demosaic it.

      Initial bayer demosaicing algorithms had all the similar problems and trade-offs but now they’ve got so good it’s hard to tell them apart. I bet it will be the same in a few years for X-Trans.

      Currently you might want to evaluate raw converters (especially Lightroom, Capture One, Aperture and Silkypix) and choose which one you like better.

  • Xavier DE LANGE

    Aperture doesn’t correct lens disto. or vignet. so I’ll stay with JPEG.

    • peter

      Aperture does correct native Fuji lens. Neither 18mm nor kit zoom will be usable without it.

  • I like the fact that my workflow is in tact again. Of the other software I used, Capture One was a quality winner, but usability loser to Aperture. That is probably due to the fact that I’ve been drinking the apple/aperture koolaid for the past 6-7 years. I really don’t get lightroom, nor do I like it’s output.

    To my eyes, Aperture’s output is superior to Lightroom, but inferior to Capture One. Yeah. Silkypix was just too much of a pain. So, in the interests of keeping me sane, and managing workflow, I’m SO HAPPY that Aperture finally supports my camera, after ALMOST A YEAR.

    That’s a nice little rant. :)

    • GH

      I actually think that the usability of LR is great, but Aperture is so much better than LR in converting these X-Trans files that I think I’m switching to Aperture, since it is also quite usable. I also happen to think that Aperture does a better job than C1 with these files, but that’s another story.

    • Tom

      I’m with you; for me Aperture’s library (including referenced) and workflow is better than Lr. More importantly, so is image quality! Much prefer Aperture’s rendering and sharpening, smooth yet detailed over ACR’s clinical look. However, I do tend to use Lr for output sharpening – something I hope that Apple add into their export options.

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