Fuji X Trans Sensor and Adobe Camera Raw - The real deal at last?

The latest version of Adobe Camera Raw, 9.1 has this from Adobe:-

'Reduced “color blur” artifacts when processing Fujifilm X-Trans raw images. In collaboration with Fujifilm, we are still investigating methods to improve fine detail rendering and overall edge definition.'

Now as Fuji X users we might be entitled to ask 'WHY HAS THIS TAKEN SO LONG!!!!!!!

First things first. There IS an improvement. It's not 100% perfect but it is better.

Above is an image I took almost a year ago on an X100s and is the type of image that from raw Adobe conversion 'smeared' or 'colour blurred' the files and is known as the 'watercolour effect.' As you can see the ACR image is now refreshingly free of that and I was actually able to get a better result than with Iridient Developer, which has been my preferred option for my Fuji X files. All the more impressive since the ACR version has no sharpening whatsoever applied. I've tried lots of other images and they are all improved over previous ACR versions. In fact many of them look really good. There is some increase in luminance noise for the way I like to process, but it's a lot easier to add print reproduction level sharpening now.

So this is good news for Fuji X owners who shoot raw, but it's three and a half years since the first X-Trans sensor camera was introduced (The X-Pro 1) and it's only now that we get a decent result from Adobe Camera Raw. Which doesn't reflect well on either Fuji and Adobe. And if they are now collaborating, what were they doing before?

The finger can be pointed at both companies, but ultimately it's Fuji's responsibility to make sure that Adobe with it's market leading raw conversion software offers the same level of quality for their cameras as everybody else. Adobe gain nothing from offering poor quality for one particular brand, in fact it's led to many of us buying alternative software and criticising Adobe, which is not something they would be happy with. And since it's been abundantly clear for some time that Fuji X files CAN be processed to their potential in other software such as Iridient Developer and Photo Ninja, this Adobe / Fuji (non) collaboration has been pretty frustrating and has reflected poorly on them. More to the point, Fuji have suffered more than Adobe because of this. I've not been alone in constantly complaining about this poor raw processing in ACR and the internet is full of people saying quite clearly that one of the reasons they haven't bought into the Fuji system is because of this. So, how many more cameras would Fuji have sold if this had been fixed earlier?

Personally I've been a long-term Fuji X user, but earlier this year I lost my patience and have sold all my Fuji gear. I currently have 1000's of unedited Fuji files. I haven't got round to processing them because of the extra time it requires to work with Iridient Developer and / or Photo Ninja, which is around twice as long as with my other cameras. The good news is that I can now get these finished and uploaded for sale, but Fuji may well have lost a customer because of their tardiness to get this sorted, as I'm unlikely to buy heavily into the system again, at least in the near future. 

So yes it is the 'real deal' at last, but why we have had to wait over three years for this who knows. At least it shows that there is a point to keeping the pressure up on companies who don't deliver and while some fanboys seem willing to accept anything their chosen brand gives them, the rest of us are a little more discerning in our choices and have voted with our wallets. Something you'd have thought Fuji might have taken into consideration. However, they finally seem to have got the message and hopefully they can build on this. I've always liked Fuji cameras and particularly the lenses and now I can finally see what they are capable using my preferred and workflow friendly software. About time too.