Fuji Fujifilm XF 23mm f/1.4 R Lens compared to Leica T 23mm F2 Summicron Asph. Lens - more on raw processing.

You may be expecting some detailed comparison about how one of these lenses is better than the other and some 100% blowups, but this is a follow-up to yesterdays article - http://www.soundimageplus.com/soundimageplus/2015/2/19/just-what-is-the-problem-with-adobe-camera-raw 

I've written before about how the Leica comes out best when processed via Adobe Camera raw, but run the files through Iridient Developer and it's an entirely different story. Apart from the colour difference that you see above, there is hardly any difference between the Fuji 23mm at f/2 on an X-T1 body and the Leica 23mm at f/2 on a Leica T (Typ 701) body. 

When you think about it this appears to be a good thing for Fuji. But in fact it's quite the reverse. The vast majority of people who buy Fuji cameras DON'T use Iridient Developer. They either stick with the OOC jpgs. or if they shoot raw files they use Lightroom or Photoshop mostly. And in both of these cases the Leica combination looks to have the better output from the sensor and the sharper lens. But identical processing in Iridient Developer reveals that is not the case. (N.B. I know I write a lot about IR and it's a Mac only software. But PC users have Photo Ninja, which I can confirm gives similar results to IR and Raw Therapee, which I've only tried briefly and cannot confirm for sure, but I suspect will give the same kind of results.)

So why this disparity? Well it seems to be because of what Fuji / Abobe (choose whichever you like least) choose to do with the files. In particular these embedded and accursed lens / camera profiles, which have moved on it seems, from correcting lens problems to applying the noise reduction that Fuji / Adobe think we should have. And it takes independently minded software, usually based in some way shape or form on dcraw to bypass / ignore / reject these, which neither Lightroom or Photoshop allow us to do. Yes, this can often result in more noise, more moire, more distortion and more vignetting. But all of that is neither that bad and is easily fixable. In fact I have one-button presets set up for all my combinations that removes all of this WITHOUT (big bold capital letters!!) softening the files. 

One of the reasons I write about this constantly is to make people aware that there IS an alternative (and a pretty good one at that) to the 'tyranny' of Adobe and the camera manufacturers software. I am still at a loss as to why they seem to be constantly prioritising noise reduction over all else, but it seems they do. Thinking about it yesterday the only thing I could come up with was that the idea is most pictures these days will be published on the internet and at those small sizes ultimate sharpness isn't particularly an issue. Plus the fact that many (most?) of us look at our pictures on some kind of screen rather than on paper, means that we notice noise more. But in the end who knows.

But for me this is short term thinking. In the not very distant future we will be getting bigger, higher resolution screens to view our images on. And some smartphone users are going to have a bit of a shock, to say the least. And this is where those extra pixels, pixel sharpness and non-destructive processing will really count. 

Anyway back to my comparison. Fuji fans will be pleased that I'm saying nice things about Fuji gear for a change. But then why that has to be so difficult and achieved only with third party software that the majority of photographers can't use or don't even know about is beyond me.