Tuesday, February 26, 2013

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X-Trans Raw Files in Lightroom 4.4 RC

(Above, the left side shows the old conversion and the right side, the new)
Open full image: LR44_train_full.jpg

Yesterday, Adobe posted release candidate updates to Lightroom (4.4 RC) and Camera Raw (7.4 beta) on the Adobe Labs website. One of the key improvements, apart from some solid bug fixes and new camera support, is an update to their Fujifilm X-Trans raw conversion code. In their words: "...a correction to the demosaic algorithms for Fujifilm cameras with the X-Trans sensor." Well, the word "correction" doesn't do justice to all the improvements. Virtually all of the complaints I had about Adobe's X-Trans conversions have been addressed.

I have prepared some side-by-side comparisons of various images (Lightroom screenshots), converted with the previous Adobe X-Trans algorithm in Photoshop CS6 and ACR v7.3 (the left-side 100% crop), and Lightroom 4.4 RC (the right side 100% crop), which uses Adobe's new code. At 100% or 200% pixel-peeping zoom levels, the differences are clearly visible, if you know what to look for. Below each image is a link to open a 3000 pixel version of the full image in a new window, processed and output with the new Lightroom 4.4 release candidate. When you click on the side-by-side comparison screenshots, make sure you zoom to 100% on the window that opens to see the differences more clearly. Or save the shots to your computer and open them up in something other than your browser. The screenshots are from Lightroom sized to a 27" display, so they are 2556x1418 in size.

I have purposefully chosen images that look particularly bad, the worst ones I could find when viewed at 100% zoom, in order to illustrate the sometimes dramatic changes in this new update. In a few instances, the problems were serious enough that you could even see them in substantially downsized versions for the web, for example the "can" (compressed air can) image, the "railing" image and the "grass" image.

Monday, February 11, 2013

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SFU with the Fujifilm XF 14mm f/2.8 R

On a beautiful Sunday yesterday (finally a nice day on a weekend!), I shot some images with the new XF 14mm f/2.8 R at Simon Fraser University. The gallery contains some more comments on this lens as well, but to summarize, I'd say that since it's such a stunningly good ultra-wide-angle lens, it would actually be worth buying an X-E1 body just to be able to use it, even if you don't have a Fuji X system yet! Well, in my humble opinion anyway. Can you tell I like this lens?

Sunday, February 3, 2013

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Fog & Fourteen: Fujifilm XF 14mm f/2.8 R Review

I was at the Port Mann Bridge on a foggy night yesterday and captured some shots with my X-E1, including a bunch with the superb new XF 14mm f/2.8 R wide-angle lens, the latest addition to Fujifilm's excellent X-body lens lineup. This lens has a focal length equivalent to a 21mm on a full-frame camera. Many years ago now, back in 1984 in fact, I was shooting with my brand new Nikon FE2 and I remember being impressed after seeing the full arc of a rainbow in a Nikon brochure, and that was taken with a 20mm lens. If I had to choose any one ultra-wide-angle focal length, it would indeed be right around 20mm mark, so this new lens is exactly what I had been waiting for. Quite simply, the optical quality of this lens is stunning, one of the very best ultra-wide primes I have ever shot with. For a variety of initial images shot with the 14mm, see the following gallery...

Gallery: Fujifilm XF 14mm f/2.8 R - First Tests

The above gallery also has a condensed review of the 14mm lens, but see the rest of this blog entry for further details, clarifications and sample images.