Fuji / SilkyPix have just released the latest version of their raw file converter. Unsurprisingly it's not had a good press. However, after using it for a while, I think it's being somewhat unfairly regarded and I think it's actually very good for Fuji X-Trans sensor raw file conversion. A lot of this is down to how people regard raw file conversion and photo editing in general. Some regard it as a science, when in fact it's an art and full of possibilities. There is no right or wrong way to create a file from raw, simply a set of options. In the case of the Fuji X trans sensor and the files it produces there are several requirements for me.

1) Files should be free of colour noise and moire

2) There should be none of the 'smearing' / 'watercolour effect' in particular with green foliage.

3) Files should be capable of being sharpened for print reproduction without adding excessive noise

4) Colours should be acceptable

If used in the right way, this new raw file converter achieves all of those for me. Provided the app. is used in the right way. i.e. To convert raw files. Too many people expect too much from raw file converters. And while Lightroom is cheaper than Photoshop which makes it attractive to many, it is missing many of the options in the more expensive programme that create files beyond the mundane.  So for my Fuji X raw converting, I want a file that achieves 1-4 above as quickly, easily and simply as possible so I can get working on it in Photoshop and (hopefully) turn it into something people might want to pay for. 

I achieve that using Raw File Converter by firstly selecting the 'Super Neutral' option. As I indicated Photoshop does all the levels, colour adjusting, sharpening etc. much better than this app. (and indeed any raw conversion app.) so I see little point in bothering with it. There is a handy control for widening dynamic range, so I apply that plus a small amount of noise cancellation to get rid of any colour noise, CA and moire and that's it. Save it as a tiff and then open it up in Photoshop to let the real work begin.

To me that's the essence of raw conversion software. Use it for what it's good at and let more extensive programmes with better options do the fancy stuff. Conversely, these days, neither Photoshop or Lightroom seem to do a great job with raw conversions of Fuji X Trans sensor files, so again it's the horses for courses principle. Use the software that works best for getting a raw file converted and the software that works best at turning it from a file into a picture. For me Iridient Developer, Photo Ninja and now this new raw file converter are my preferred options for the first part of this process.

However, if you are a Fuji X user then you need to see for yourself. I would however encourage you to at least give the 'Super Neutral' option a try if you have Photoshop. You might be surprised at what you can achieve from a 'flat' raw file. If you don't have Photoshop then I would suggest you give it a try anyway, but it may not be possible to get the best from the files. As ever, as indicated before, this a personal process and should always be so. This process is supposed to creative after all.