Articles, Blog

Best Fuji RAW Converters Tested

November 1, 2019

hello I’m Robin Whalley and today we’re
going to do some pixel peeping I want to return to testing a few rock converters
using a few JIRA file I’ve done this in the past looking at RAW converters and
the performance but I’ve used other converters today I’m going to be using a
few converters that I seem to get quite regular requests for from people who
watch the other video first this Iridient X transformer then we’ve got
affinity photo using the develop persona and also capture one version 12 where
I’m going to be using the free Fuji Express version of the software now the
approach I’m going to take is to develop the same two RAW files in each of the
applications will then put each of the conversions into the same image in
Photoshop as separate layers this means we can turn the layers on and off to
judge the difference between them what a primarily want to judge is the quality
of the detail and sharpness produced in the images I’m actually less bothered
about the exposure and color and less the obvious problems in there what I’m
keen to find out is to check for what I call the wiggly worm pattern and that’s
plagued me in the past when I’ve used Lightroom and you’ll see that very
shortly now because all the converters are different in operation I’ve adjusted
the settings in each to try to achieve an optimal balance of detail sharpness
and image quality what you can’t do is just take the same settings from one and
apply them to another they don’t work optimally when you do that now the two
images I’ve selected for this or ones that I shot in Scotland last week the
first one you see on screen at the moment is a forest scene and the other
is actually a mountain snow seen the forest scene is what I think’s going to
be the most demanding for a couple of reasons firstly I shot it using the Fuji
18 to 135 lens at the wide end of the focal range now this lens isn’t as good
as others at resolving fine detail the wide end the other reason for this
scene being quite demanding is that it features grass moss ferns and pine trees
now these are all subjects that seem to cause a wiggly worm effect especially
when they’re shot using the 18 to 135 lens at the moment I’m in Lightroom and
if we zoom into the foreground detail of this image at 200% magnification you’ll
see that it looks a little false it’s almost as if it’s a cartoon now that’s
the wiggly worm effect where all the edges appear to be quite Wiggly if we
look into the branches of the pine tree you’ll also see it now the other scene
that we’ve got was captured using a Fuji 10 to 24 millimeter lens and this lens
doesn’t seem to suffer as much from a wiggly worm effect as the other and it
seems to be able to resolve much more detail if you look at the foreground
detail that we’ve got here it’s actually looking pretty impressive in Lightroom
but if you move a little bit further out you can see that the detail is less
clear obviously it’s going to be difficult for this lens to resolve fine
detail at this distance but rendering of the image by a Lightroom isn’t helping
here now the first of the raw converters I want to test these the yridians X
transformer and exactly quite different from the rest of the converters I have
the software installed as a plug-in for Lightroom and if I launch the settings
screen you’ll see why I say it’s different what you don’t see in this is any of the
normal adjustment controls you’ll find in of the raw converter because it
doesn’t work that way the software is intended to do a conversion from a raw
file and so what you see is some of these settings here where you talk about
the raw process and the sharpening what the software does is simply convert the
Fuji raw file into the DNG format you’ll see what I mean if I run it against one
of the files all that X Transformer is doing is taking
care of the demosaic of the raw file and turning it into something that then
Lightroom can read and it’s this demos egg that seems to be part of the problem
that causes the wiggly worm effect the other thing X transformer does is apply
the excellent Iridient sharpening after this you’ve got a DNG file in Lightroom
that you can edit using Lightroom adjustments what I’m going to do is copy
the development settings from the version of the raw file I processed
earlier using Lightroom what I don’t need though is the
sharpening and noise reduction because that’s what X transform has already
applied in the conversion so what you see there is a version of
the iridium file with the same development settings as the Lightroom
version except for sharpening and noise reduction and if you compare the two
they look pretty similar now after the last video I did comparing Fuji raw file
conversions quite a few people asked me to check the X transform of performance
and I’m also keen to test it as X transformer is what I currently use for
processing my Fuji raw files the other two raw converters in the test are very
similar to Lightroom in that they offer a range of adjustment tools what I’ve
done is processed the raw files independently concentrating on the
contrast exposure shadows sharpening a noise reduction and I’ve now got the
results from each of the conversions in a photoshop file where each is on a
separate layer so we can make comparisons let’s star by looking at the
Lightroom version zoom to 200% magnification now it still doesn’t look quite right in
the problem areas but it looks slightly better than I was expecting given what I
saw in Lightroom now it’s quite possible that Lightroom preview is causing part
of the problem and once the image is processed into a tiff file
the results are improving if i zoom the image out to 100% it still looks good
but it has a slightly unnatural feel to it let’s now look at the X transformer
conversion at 200% now personally I feel these results are better and have better
detail it just appears more natural let’s have a look at the branches of the
trees now at 300 percent so this is 200 percent with the X transformer and
that’s the Lightroom version now at 200 percent I’ll zoom in again and you can
start to see in the Lightroom version that the fine detail is quite wiggling the X transformer version actually
appears a little bit softer but it’s more natural
there’s Lightroom there’s X transformer softer but more detailed to me the Lightroom version appears to
have overly emphasized the fine details but that’s causing this will naturally
fact let’s now compare the affinity photo version with Lightroom a 200% affinity appears a little less
sharp but more natural in the foreground grasses if we look at the trees it’s
definitely more natural but again is not as sharp what you may also be able to
see when I turn off the affinity layer is that the image is shifting slightly
now it appears that the lens correction module in affinity you stretching the
image out from the center you’ll see what I mean if I position this now on
the center and turn off the affinity layer let’s compare now the affinity version
with X transformer so comparing affinity with ex
transformer ex transformer appears to have slightly more fine detail in as a
little bit sharper but actually is quite marginal let’s now look at capture one compare and capture one to Lightroom the
results pair very good and specially very natural in the grasses it also
appears very natural in the trees as well and there’s plenty of detail in
there now if I compare capture one to ex transformer I think what I’m saying here
is that ex transformer has the edge but it’s only very slight if you look at the
back of the pine-trees capture want appears to have more of a
blockier appearance so that’s ex transformer and just watch
the Pinetree back here and that’s capture one and it just feels a little
bit more blocky and not quite as much fine detail in there let’s now have a
look at the second image that I’ve processed in the same way as the first
no remember this uses a better lens than in the first example the image was
captured on the 10 to 24 fuji lens and i’m shot it at around 12 millimetres
focal length i’ve also used an aperture of f11 so the diffraction won’t be an
issue and it’s also gonna give us enough depth of field to ensure the image is
sharp front to back let’s start by looking at the foreground of the
lightroom version now the results seem quite good but the
fine detail in the grass and Heather hasn’t really separated out very well if
I switch on the yridian text transform the layer you’ll see this immediately so
we now have lots of separation and fine detail in these grasses and Heather’s it’s even more obvious if you look a
little bit further out towards the center of the image and looking at the mountains there
appears to be more and sharper fine details in the ex transformer conversion
so that’s the Lightroom version and that’s the ex transformer let’s compare
the affinity conversion so that’s affinity and that sex
transformer ex transformer appears much sharper in more detail let’s compare it
back to Lightroom so that’s Lightroom and that’s Affinity Lightroom affinity so affinity appears better than Lightroom in these
areas but it doesn’t appear as good as X transformer let’s have a look at the
mid-ground so that’s Lightroom and that’s a fanatic slightly better than
Lightroom but there’s not too much in it compare it now to X transformer an X
transform is better and in the mountains again X transformer appear sharper than
affinity and Lightroom appears slightly sharper than affinity as well in that
area let’s now compare capture 1 so we have Lightroom there and we’ve got the
capture one version and immediately we can see that the capture one version is
much sharper than the other let’s compare it to X transformer and whilst the image detail of capture
one again is just a little bit blockier actually it looks sharper than the ex
transformer version now this might be because having seen the previous result
that I processed I actually pushed the sharpening a little bit more with a
smaller radius using capture one the mid-ground if we look at that will
capture one’s very impressive there and it appears better than the yridians and
on the mountains it’s slightly sharper and a little bit more detailed than the
Iridient although i would say if you watch the rocks here as I turn on
capture one it appears a little bit more contrasting and blocky but if you can
control that you should be getting a really good result comparing it to
Lightroom you can see that capture one’s definitely clearer and sharper in the
mountains so what’s my conclusion well the first thing is I don’t like the RAW
conversion from Lightroom still I’m not overly impressed by the way the
sharpening and noise reduction effects of Fuji files if I look at X transformer
I think it gave excellent performance with both of these images and that’s
even with relatively modest settings that haven’t been fine-tuned for the
image the other thing about X transformer is that it allows me to work
with Lightroom tools which for me is important for reasons I’m not going to
go into in this video because it will take too long affinity well it puts in a
very credible performance it produces very natural results which i think is
absolutely wonderful it wasn’t the sharpest and most detailed
in the image what I am concerned about though is this stretching effect it had
on the image and all the images I converted appeared to have an extra 30
pixels on the width and around 20 pixels on the height and finally we have
capture One 12 which probably surprised me the most when I used it with the better
lens in the first image I thought the conversion was a little block here and
the extra former was better but in the second
image the results are absolutely superb if I wanted to produce a fine art print
from a raw file like this I’d start with capture one raw conversion and I can’t
believe that this software is actually free for Fuji users what you should also
keep in mind from this as though we’ve been pixel peeping at 200% magnification
in the real world all the conversions were amazingly detailed sharp and would
all produce excellent prints what you would probably find though is that some
of the prints just appear that little bit more unnatural and possibly have
qualities that are difficult to put your finger on so at the end of the day
whatever converter you’re going to use for the Fuji rar files these one you
need to feel happy with and that you can produce good results and hoping these
have given you some other ideas of converters that may be worth trying
certainly capture one is brilliant for a rock converter that’s free Iridient X
transformer if you find you need to work in Lightroom that would also give great
results and if you’ve left Adobe products behind completely switch to
affinity then affinity does give really good results as well I hope you’ve
enjoyed this I’m Robin Whalley you’ve been watching Lenscraft I’ll see you
next time for another video


  • Reply R Garlin March 21, 2019 at 3:43 pm

    Great work RW, that's a detailed and convincing comparison. I'm no Fuji user (yet?); ever loyal to Nikon, and I came here simply to widen my knowledge. Which I did, thanks to you.

  • Reply Nick Auskeur March 21, 2019 at 5:31 pm

    Great video! Capture One is the gold standard for Fuji file conversions, but Xtransformer is a inexpensive plugin that allows me to stay in the Lightroom ecosystem and be happy with whats coming out of my XT2. I have both programs but prefer to edit in Lightroom. Thank you for your in-depth analysis!

  • Reply Lew Larson March 21, 2019 at 5:54 pm

    Robin, did you use the new Enhanced Details functipn in LR on this test scenario?

  • Reply Gerner Christensen March 22, 2019 at 4:31 am

    Robin, I think you far from master the Detail Module in LR. Whit that you may achieve anything all the others can do with X-Trans files.

  • Reply GarethBCallan March 22, 2019 at 2:22 pm

    Hi Robin. Thank you for this. Very handy. I'd be interested to hear what you think of Luminar 3 and also the Beta Affinity Photo 1.7 – where the RAW conversion and Fuji demosaic had been re-built (it's on their web site).

  • Reply Gil Shua March 22, 2019 at 7:35 pm

    Hi Robin. thank you so much for testing ! it is so useful…. btw, I came across this video …what's your take on the subject ?

  • Reply Rob Fairhead March 23, 2019 at 10:02 am

    Thanks for this Robin. Having been to the Photography Show last week, I've been wondering whether to try out other RAW converters for my Fuji photos. Your video has come just at the right moment, as I was feeling baffled by the choices and pro and cons of each! I don't think I'm ready to leave Lightroom, for a number of reasons (plugins, workflow, ease of use, etc.). So I'll be interested in your thoughts as to which is your preferred converter for mainaining a Lightroom workflow.
    More generally I'd like to say that your presenting style is fantastic for getting your messages over with clarity and simplicity, without patronising your audience. Keep up the great work!

  • Reply Jerry Dean March 27, 2019 at 8:04 pm

    I recommend checking out Raw Power by Gentleman Coders.

  • Reply Clive Maidment April 7, 2019 at 1:19 am

    Many thanks for highly informative review of the three Raw converters, Robin. I currently use LR and PS for editing images created using an X-T2, but I am occasionally disappointed with the rendering for the reasons you've shared. I'd like to demosiac images in Capture One 12 Express before taking the saved Tiff into LR or PS for "creative" edits. Typically noise reduction and sharpening come towards the end of my workflow, but now wonder if these two steps ought to be performed in C1. What would your advice be on sharpening in C1 over LR or PS? What is your typical workflow? Thanks again.

  • Reply Ridder van Doorne May 15, 2019 at 1:58 pm

    Why didn't you included the SilkyPix Raw Converter for Fujifilm?

  • Reply Matt Siler June 18, 2019 at 7:32 pm

    Does anyone have link to affiliate links or discount codes for Iridient Developer? I am eager to try it…

  • Reply Gino Rigucci July 12, 2019 at 2:28 am

    Hello Robin I definitely enjoyed the explanation and comparisons you have made in the video. After purchasing the Fuji XT3 raw conversion is what I am after now to get the best results out of the files. You have given me a good understanding here. Finally though you Capture one is a full fledged program like photoshop and X-transformer is a plug in for Photoshop if I understood correctly. Thank you for the video.

  • Reply Mindo August 19, 2019 at 9:42 am

    not zoomed in close enough to see any difference. also dragging on for way too long

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