Fuji X cameras and raw processing with Photo Ninja

All above - various Fuji X cameras from raw processed via Photo Ninja.

It may surprise people to know that after all my rave postings about Photo Ninja I only actually bought a license for it a couple of days ago. I used my two-week trial to process lots of images and then moved on to something else. I even started using Photoshop again, which while not as good, has the virtue of being quick, easy and fits in very nicely to my workflow. However a few things made me finally pay up and get myself a copy of the software so that I could use it again.

I'm in a period of heavy editing, captioning, keywording and uploading. All the pictures above are part of that. Recently I've moved onto some Fuji X pictures with lots of green foliage in them from the summer and the Photoshop renditions were unsatisfactory. The notorious 'smudging' and 'smearing' of greens known as the watercolour effect. It really isn't very pleasant. In addition to this I firstly came up with a decent conversion preset for m4/3 and I was beginning to think about selling my Fuji's, which I really don't want to do since they handle beautifully and I love using them more than any other cameras I've ever owned. Certainly, using Photoshop to convert the Fuji X files was making me think that the cameras didn't really cut it in terms of the image quality the Sony FE's have conditioned me to expect.

However, the purchase of Photo Ninja has solved all of my problems and doubts. The first thing I did was come up with a batch conversion method that cut out the work / time I'd been putting in before. I'm using the camera default settings in PN, converting the .RAF files to tiffs when I'm eating or otherwise away from the computer and then I can work on those in Photoshop. Nothing fancy and I'm using very little in PN apart from the wonderful demosiacing process. And the files are lovely. Really good with a great 'old-school' look. They remind me of my Leica CCD sensor files and even though they have a bit more grain than I'm used to these days, they still look good. This grain (luminance noise) isn't like film grain, it's actually better than than and much nicer than the usual digital version. The images have a great colour depth, good contrast and are sharp and well-defined unlike the mush that comes out of Photoshop sometimes.

And because PN 'lets more through' than PS there's a bit more CA and fringing, no distortion correction and some vignetting. In fact I don't mind that at all as it's a much less 'sanitised' look than digital often produces. I'm also not bothering with that HDR look I've been using for a while. Again, I'm responding to the more 'rough and ready' 'real photography' and film scan appearance that I actually like more than the clinical, clean and fault free but soulless renditions that often seem to be part and parcel of digital photography these days. Don't get me wrong this is a million miles from the smudged, noisy, detail-free output from phones, tablets and the like. These files I'm producing are still beautifully sharp and capable of upsizing, but aren't quite as pristine as I'm used to.

It does mean that I'm almost decided as to what to proceed with, since I have to make a decision before the end of March when my tax year ends. Without having finally decided, it's very much looking like the Sony A7r (with or without the A7) and some Fuji's. How many I can't say, but that X-T1 looks very tempting so some will have to go. So thanks to the people at Photo Ninja, Fuji X rules OK! Again. 

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N.B. to see more on the cameras and lenses featured in this post click on the relevant labels (tags and keywords) at the bottom of this post.


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