Fuji and Adobe FINALLY sort out raw processing Photoshop + Firmware updates. (Updated)

FUJI are on a bit of a roll this weekend. The X-T1 is becoming available worldwide, there are lots of camera and lens firmware updates and there is a new Adobe beta version of Adobe Camera Raw with built-in lens profiles, the ability to apply the film presets - Velva, Astia etc. to raw files plus, finally, what appears to be a much improved demosiacing algorithm that eliminates the smearing / watercolour problem with foliage in particular and in fact produces extremely nice raw conversions within Photoshop without the need for additional software. 

It's taken close to 2 years for Adobe and Fuji between them to get this ACR processing right and while it is very welcome, it does beg the question - WHY ON EARTH DID IT TAKE THIS LONG ?!?!?!?

Perhaps the best way I can illustrate this improvement is by showing how a file processed in this new Photoshop ACR version compares with Photo Ninja, until now the best of the Fuji X raw conversion options.

It is now possible, as I have shown in this case, to add some sharpening to these ACR images without destroying the fine detail. In fact with just default sharpening I can get a slightly better result in terms of detail and sharpness with Photoshop. So from being pretty much the worst software in which to process .RAF files from the X-Trans sensor, it now in effect becomes the best, because this improvement doesn't see a trade-off between sharpness and low noise / smooth block colours. Photo Ninja conversions can in fact be quite noisy, but this new ACR with it's built in lens profiles and colour noise and CA removal tools now produces images that are pretty much the best of both worlds. Smooth and clean but with the capacity to sharpen to taste with excellent separation of detail. A by product of this is that the files upsize better too. Very handy for my picture library work.

This of course speeds up my workflow dramatically and turns my Fuji X files from 'difficult' to work with into easy to work with. Now as far as I'm aware this is a Photoshop Camera Raw update only and Lightroom doesn't have any of this at the moment, though I'm sure that's coming. I would also point out that this update is for Photoshop CS6 as well as CC, which is again good, since after the hacking debacle I've cancelled my subscription to Adobe Creative Cloud and gone back to CS6, which I'm planning to use until I have to change. In the publicity I've seen there is no mention of this improvement in fine detail and I doubt Adobe want to publicise it because it demonstrates that there was something wrong with what they came up with before. From my work with my files in this new version it strikes me that Adobe have pretty much started from scratch again with the Fuji files and have at last taken the criticisms of what they came up with on board. How much input Fuji have contributed will of course probably remain unknown. Maybe that petition I signed a while ago had some impact!!

I will be returning to this, particularly as my Fuji X-T1 is due to arrive later today. I must say in the light of the above I'm looking forward to it's arrival a lot more now.


There has been some 'discussion' as to whether there is in fact any difference between this update and the previous versions of ACR. This could be because:-
1) Those herbal cigarettes had something 'extra' added.
2) I've been ingesting the same chemicals that caused Dpreview to see those jpg. artefacts in Sony A7 jpgs.
3) I'm lying and in the pay of Adobe.
4) All those who can't see any difference are lying and in the pay of Apple and the companies who produce Photo Ninja, Capture One and Iridient Developer.
5) Adobe have included a subliminal message in the conversions that convinces me I see something when I don't or should that be I see nothing when I should see something.
6) It's all a conspirancy. 
7) I'm pickier than most.
8) I wrote it just to get more traffic to my site.
9) I've just bought a pile of Fuji shares.
10) I wrote it to wind people up. (and get more traffic to my site and increase the value of my Fuji shares)
11) I need some new glasses.
12) Other people need some new glasses.

Now it may well be all or none of those. However one thing is for sure. When I processed my Fuji files using the latest ACR I saw no, none, not any, not even a little bit of smearing or the 'watercolour effect' for the first time ever. 

The answer of course is, if you own and use the current versions of Photoshop, download it try it out and come to your own conclusion. I'm happy with what I see (those little fairies on the ceiling are pretty!!) and I'm happy that there has been some alteration of the Fuji X processing. In fact I suspect that this happens with every update, that things get tweaked to a greater or lesser extent. 

It is now possible for me to get Fuji X raw conversions that are free of the problems I once encountered. If that is because of how I process raw files (sharpening, colour noise reduction all turned off in ACR) then so be it. Raw file processing is such a personal thing anyway and we all do it differently. I'm happy with what I wrote earlier today and see no reason to change it or qualify it. 

Plus my Fuji X-T1 arrived earlier and I'm much more interested in that.

For my further thoughts on this see later post at:-

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