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Thursday, June 20, 2019

So, what's up with Phase One, Media Pro and Capture One ?

Phase One's Media pro was one of those great DAM softwares that showed up some years ago.

It was reasonably affordable for 139 Euro when I purchased my lifetime license in 2012 and upgraded it in 2017 for 39 Euro. Not cheap, but fair for a quality piece of software that I still think it's maybe one of the best multiplatform (read Windows and Mac) DAM software around.

The problem is that Phase One decided to discontinue it in 2018 and they're trying to push the former MP users into Capture One, and offering absolutely no discount for the migration. It was certainly a calculated move.

They are raising the prices to induce people to choose the subscription model.

Note that the Capture One perpetual license costs a lot of money, about 300 USD and the monthly subscription will be a money sink in the long run for 20 USD / month.

Just make some calculations: it will cost you 240 USD / year IF you choose the yearly plan, and 24 USD / month for the monthly plan. This is a total steal in my opinion.

And I'm talking about the BASIC Capture One. The full version is listed for 693 USD !!! With the "discount" the price drops to "mere" 417 USD !

Really?

To keep things short, if you need a powerful DAM, give a try to Digikam

Digikam is a bit different but powerful, fast, FREE and runs on Mac, Windows, and Linux.

Update:

After my catalog passed 1GB in size and 100k images, MP became slower and slower to the point it was awful to use. The lag was so high that I decided to stop using it.

It's amazing of how fast Aperture is with the same catalog.

I'm testing Photo Supreme as an MP substitute and it looks promising.











Sunday, May 26, 2019

Apple Aperture is Not Dead (for now)

Last Update: May 25th, 2019

Before anything, let me state that I'm not a nostalgic guy when I talk about software, on the contrary, I'm a very practical guy, but I know when I have a good software in hands.

All Apple users may know by this time that Apple stopped to maintain its image editor and DAM software known as Aperture. Pure and simple, Apple decided that Aperture has reached the end-of-life cycle.

It's still working on MacOSX 10.14 Mojave and but it will NOT work on 10.15 (more information here.)


The bad thing is that Apple removed it from Application Store, but if you purchased it before, you'll be able to download it again. My advice is to make a backup copy of the application itself and keep it in a safe place while you can.

There are many rumors behind this decision, from a supposed deal with Adobe to more simple things like cutting costs. Personally, I don't believe the last option, but who knows? But at this time their reasons don't really matter.

The problem is that there are no solutions at the present time to take Aperture's place with honor.

Most of the present day's DAM software are cloud-based, or subscription-based, or very expensive or just don't have the same features.

Let's see the main ones:

- Apple Photos is a bad joke. Period.

- Corel Aftershot Pro is lost in time and space.

- Phase One Media Pro can't handle very large libraries and was discontinued.

- Phase One Capture One is nice BUT... Extremely expensive for what it is. Has the same problem with large libraries.

- ON1 and Luminar aren't really DAM softwares, they're nice editors with some basic DAM functions.

- SAAS, Media Valet and other ones are cloud-based.

- Digikam and Darktable are promising but some basic features aren't still ready.

- Adobe Bridge works, but not even close to Aperture. And has to do with Adobe Creative Cloud.

Back to Aperture

The fact is that Aperture still rocks. And rocks well.

So, what's so great with it?

First of all, it's rock stable with Everything as tested to exhaustion. I can't remember about a single bug in it.

It's still probably the best DAM software for Mac. It can handle extremely large libraries and every possible feature you can imagine for image management, like projects, catalogs, albums, tags, ratings, keywords and more.

Its search engine is still unsurpassed even by modern programs like Phase One Media Pro, Photo Mechanic and any other ones I tested.

It's very fast and runs very well on any Mac, even on old ones.

Aperture has a very powerful backup system (the vaults) that can be done wherever you want, from a local folder to a network file server.

It has a very nice image editor that does everything for image adjustment and retouching. You can even call an external editor of your choice if necessary.

I tested it with libraries having more than 80K images without any problem. It's possible to use more than one library and to move images between them.

It's possible to consolidate all images inside the library itself or let them outside, just referencing them to the internal database.

Raw Engine

The raw engine is part of the operational system and it's updated according to Apple's policy to the OS you have installed. It includes literally hundreds of camera models and the updates come as an OS update.


The later versions of the RAW engine can handle fairly well the Fuji X-Trans raw files. Much better than Adobe Camera Raw. 

But there is a serious quirk here. Some of the cameras supported by the High Sierra raw engine aren't supported by Aperture. Surely Apple did this on purpose to force people to use Apple Photos.

Plug-ins

There are many interesting plug-ins compatible with Aperture. My favorites are:

The OLD Nik Collection:

Analog Efex Pro: Simulates film/vintage look
Color Efex Pro: Effects, retouching and correction tools
Silver Efex Pro: Simulates Black and White film
HDR Efex: Self-explanatory
DFine: Noise reduction tool
Viveza: Simple sharpening tool
Sharpener Pro: A more complete sharpening tool 

Note: Until mid-2018 the Nik Collection was owned by Google and available as freeware, but DxO acquired it and now it's paid (and expensive) and I'm not sure if the new version is still compatible with Aperture. If you have the old free version, keep it safe !

There are other cool plugins that deserve a look:

DxO Film Pack: Professional film look simulation
DxO View Point: Professional geometrical corrections

Noiseware Professional had an Aperture plug-in in the past, but it was discontinued. It was a wonderful professional noise reduction tool. If you have it, grab with both hands!

But honestly, read the manual. There are so many features that you can overlook. I know that reading manuals suck, but at least try.


There are other quite neat features like a fantastic degree of integration with Apple Automator and Applescript if you're a power user.

Apple's new path


I decided to test Mojave on my MacBook Pro and honestly I wasn't impressed. It's slower, has strange bugs with external USB hard drives and don't has anything else I consider a really useful new feature to justify the tedious upgrade process for all my other computers. Worse, I would have to pay for upgrades of lots of other software like Parallels Desktop, DxO, Silkypix Pro, and others.


My iMac and MacMinis will continue to run High Sierra until I can't work with it anymore.

Actually, with the advent of Affinity for Windows and all the important photography software being ported to Windows and the fact Apple is again making Mac user's life miserable again due to soldered memory and SSDs, making Macs not user upgradable or serviceable, I see no point to having a post-2018 Mac. I don't like Microsoft Windows, but I like even less the new approach from Apple.

Macs are becoming just too expensive, not upgradable, and a potential headache along time. That's why the Hackintosh community is growing so fast. Steve Jobs is probably rolling in his tomb.

Apple Photos, by the way, sucks!

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Minolta Hi-Matic 7s II

The Minolta Hi-Matic 7s II is a cool little camera with the main feature being the excellent 40mm F1.7 Rokkor. This lens is very sharp and the color rendering is fantastic and deserves to be in the hall of fame of compact camera's lenses.

Minolta Hi Matic 7S II

So, besides the lens, what's good in this camera ? First, it has a shutter priority mode and a mechanical shutter from 1/8s to 1/500s. A mechanical shutter is important because the camera can work without batteries, you just need an external light meter, an exposure table or just use the sunny 16 rule.

The aperture is set automatically by the built-in light meter when you set it to auto mode, from F1.7 to F16 what gives the camera a reasonably wide exposure range.

If you want it's possible to set the aperture manually, but the light meter will be turned off when you do this. This means that if you want to shoot manually you will not have a working light meter. Just to be clear.

The camera is well built, small, sturdy and not heavy.

But there are some design flaws. First the horrible viewfinder. It's small and dim with a bluish tint. There's an aperture scale on the right side visible on it and the calculated aperture is shown there when using the auto mode.

Second, the rangefinder. Not very precise for close range and the patch contrast is poor and hard to see in dimmer light.

It takes 49mm standard filters, what's good, instead of strange diameters like 43.5mm used on the Olympus 35RC

ISO selectable from 25 to 800.

A great camera and not expensive, but it can't compete with the wonderful Olympus 35 RD that has a much better viewfinder, a similar lens and goes down to 1/2s shutter speed.

Friday, May 10, 2019

Remember Fuji X20 and X30 ? How Good are Them Really ?

Recently I was taking a look at the Fujifilm X20 and X30 reviews when they were launched and I was pretty surprised with some conclusions from two very well-known review websites.

Both (I can't mention names here) stated that the images were not very sharp and both cameras were not well suited for low light photography.

Having both cameras and knowing how to process the raw files properly, I'm sorry to say that both websites were terribly wrong. The problem with most of the reviews about X-Trans based cameras is that those websites almost always use Adobe Lightroom to do the conversion and adjust, but LR is probably the worst program to do this.

Just take a look below. All done with the X30.
The full-size files can be seen here.


Fuji X30


Fuji X30 in dull light


Fuji X30 details and fringing


Fuji X30: no details, right? Are you kidding me?

No details? Really ???

Fuji X30 Low Light

X20/X30 useless in low light? Not quite !

Fuji X30 at Night


Sharpness and Colors - Fuji X30

I'm not a brand fanboy but there are some things that annoy me a lot like some famous review websites doing their "in-depth analysis" using techniques far from adequate.

Do yourself a favor. If you have a Fuji X-Series camera please use a serious program to do the raw conversion and treatment. In these examples, I used Raw Therapee. Capture One for Fuji and Luminar are two solid options. Avoid Lightroom.

Remember that every time someone does a raw conversion, the result will depend heavily on the software and the user's knowledge. Don't be fooled.

The now discontinued X-Series compacts X10, X20 and X30 are top notch cameras with plenty of controls, raw mode, exquisite finish and a stunning lens.

If you learn their strong and weak points you won't be disappointed, just keep in mind about the small sensor and don't push the ISO too high. Those little gems are capable of stunning results.

They beat the Panasonic LX3 and LX5 and a hard match for the LX7 (I prefer the X20). They also beat by a large margin the Olympus XZ-1 and probably all other compacts with a 2/3" size sensor and even the Pentax Q (both 1/2.3" and 1/1.7" sensors models).

Sensor sizes:

2/3" (8.8 x 6.6 mm)
1/2.3" (6.17 x 4.55 mm)
1/1.7" (7.44 x 5.58 mm)








Sunday, March 24, 2019

PictureWindow Pro 8 Beta released

Today Digital Light and Color released the first beta version of their PictureWindow Pro 8.

Don't be fooled: It's a professional grade photo editor and it's extremely powerful.

Windows 64-bit only

It's free for commercial and personal use.

More information on DL-C website

Saturday, March 9, 2019

Panasonic G2, a camera ahead of its time

There are some few digital cameras that deserve a place in history, and in my opinion, the Panasonic G2 is one of these.

The G2 is the second model from the G series from Panasonic. It has the same roots as the GF1, the first micro four-thirds camera from Panasonic with exactly the same specifications.

The GF1 was a great camera with a legion of fans still today in 2019. It's small, versatile and has a good layout with a decent set of controls and multi-purpose flash shoe.

Panasonic GF1 with standard zoom and optional EVF

The GF1 with the EVF attached
The good thing about the GF1 was the small size, good lenses and excellent image quality. But it had a caveat, the rear LCD screen, not so great under a bright sky and Panasonic knew this and to make things easier, providing the external DMW-LVF1 EVF as an option. 

This EVF was usable but not great, and it was very expensive for such a low-resolution device (202K dots). It was intended to make framing a better experience but unusable for check focus when in manual focus mode. No Panasonic cameras at that time had focus peaking, just a quirky magnifier feature, not very effective.

The use of this EVF with the GF1 makes the use of an external flash unit impossible. This same EVF was also compatible with the compact camera LX3.

Then, Panasonic decided to strip out the GF1, removing the top mode set dial and adding a touch-sensitive rear LCD on the GF2. To make things even worse, the next GF3 got its multi-purpose hot shoe stripped out.

I got my G2 after I lost my GF1 kit. Just the batteries and the charger remained. The good thing is that the batteries are the same on both cameras. 

The G2 main obvious difference compared to the GF1 is obviously the built-in EVF with a much higher resolution than the accessory LVF1, with a very decent 1.44M dots. The difference in image quality between both EVFs is huge. Even by today's standard, it's still not bad and way better than any of the built-in EVFs of Nikon or Canon bridge cameras.

The G2 sensor is the same as the GF1, a 12.1 MP 4/3 Live MOS.

Panasonic G2


What I like on the G2:

  • Superb ergonomics with a very confortable grip for a such small camera.
  • Lots of direct settings by control dials on the top plate
  • Decent EVF
  • Very well implemented touch interface, but it uses a resistive technology touch screen, so the usability is not great. Mine is still working perfectly in 2019!
  • It uses the same battery of the GF1
  • Flipping LCD screen
  • Direct access to drive mode (single, multiple, timer and bracketing) by a lever next to the mode dial.
  • Direct access to all focus settings by a dedicated dial and lever at the left side.
  • Decent pop-up flash AND a flash hot shoe.
  • Precise and fast AF.
  • Excellent metering system.


Panasonic G2 flip LCD



Panasonic G2 main mode dial

Limitations:

  • No focus peaking
  • No in-camera image stabilization
  • Video capture limited to HD (720)
  • Need an external microphone to capture stereo audio
  • Some noise at ISO 400, but usable at 800. Forget above.

Final Words:

Still good as a spare camera or when by some reason you don't want to risk a more expensive camera. Great little camera for hiking and very inexpensive in the used market. 

To my taste, the best value for money from all the GF/G Panasonic system until the G7 arrival. Don't try to compare it with the GX and GH series, they are very different and much more advanced.

There are plenty of information about this camera around if you want to do dig more.

Friday, February 22, 2019

Old Yashica Electro 35 retrofit project, back from ashes.

This week I was checking some old backups and I found a project I did some years ago.
At some point, I got a defective Yashica Electro 35 GT and decided to try to bring it back to life but not by repairing the original electronics but making an extensive retrofit on it by scrapping out everything and making a microcontroller based new one.

The original project was based on a Parallax BS1-IC "Basic Stamp" microcontroller, obsolete today.

Unfortunately, I wasn't able to recover all the information but someone may find the information useful for a similar project.

Friday, February 15, 2019

Minox 35 GL

Minox is well known for their subminiature cameras, like the Minox B, the "spy camera" which used an 8mm film with an 8.5 x 11 mm frame.

But they also made some 35mm cameras, some of them very compact. I'll make some brief comments about the Minox 35 GL. This family has something like 24 models. The model family was made from 1974 until 2004. The 35GL was made from 1979 until 1981.
Minox 35GL

It's extremely compact for a 35mm film camera. The main feature is the folding lens, a very competent 35mm F2.8 Color Minotar (4-element, Tessar like). This lens can deliver stunning image quality if properly used and focused.

The focus is done manually by a scale. There is no rangefinder or any other focus aid system and this is very critical for close range, large aperture photos.


Minox 35GL Minotar

It works only on aperture priority mode. You set the aperture and the camera will calculate the proper shutter speed.

The aperture range is from f2.8 to f16 and the shutter speeds vary from 1/500s up to 15 seconds, depending on the film sensibility. The iris is made from two diamond-shaped blades, so don't expect a wonderful, silky bokeh.

The light meter is very precise and adequate for positive film. There is a backlight compensation switch at the camera top. The compensation value is +1 stop (2X). At the top there's also a battery test button.

The viewfinder is simple. It's an Albada type and has a needle showing roughly the shutter speed with marks on 1/30, 1/125 and 1/500, all the values in between those ones are impossible to be evaluated properly.
Minox 35GL with retracted lens

Although the image quality and metering are excellent, this is a fragile camera in all ways.

The camera back is made of thin plastic and prone to cracks. The wiring is not the best and shutter related problems are frequent. To be honest, it's not the most reliable camera, it's horrendous. There are so many weak and bad contact points between the lens assembly and the light meter that makes this camera a nightmare.


Minox 35 back
Minox 35 bottom showing ISO setting dial
The original battery was the PX27 (mercury, 5.6 volts) but it's possible to use modern alkaline ones without trouble. I use four LR44 and it works well but you NEED to wrap the four cells together with tape, otherwise, they may short circuit with the metal battery compartment.

It's natural to compare it with the Olympus XA range. The Minox 35 is on par with them in image quality but the Olys are better made in my opinion. 

The XA has a usable rangefinder and a better viewfinder. The XA2 is zone-focus and has no shutter speed indication on the viewfinder neither aperture control, just full automatic exposure, but it's much more rapid and ready to use, compared to the Minox.

The Minox 35 is also compared to the Rollei 35 (Tessar). The Minox usability is better due to the fact it has an extremely good built-in light meter and aperture priority exposure mode. 

The Rollei has a dreadful light meter at the camera top and manual exposure. Another important thing is the fact the Rollei is an all-mechanical device and the Minox an electronic one.

Both Olympus 35RC and Rollei 35 are FAR more reliable than any Minox 35.

The good:


  • Compact
  • Nice looking
  • Good optics
  • Good light meter
  • Very well projected electronic circuit but...


The bad:


  • Scale focus
  • Uses PX27 battery, can be modified to take one 4LR44 alkaline battery


The ugly:


  • Unreliable shutter
  • Horrendous electric connections


Final note:

Avoid, unless you pay less than $20 for it and like to play lottery. If working, it's a very nice camera.


You can download the manual from Butkus 

Below, some photos of what I was talking about. This camera had no evidence of a past battery leak, but have in mind that a leaked electrolyte can migrate by capilarity trough the wiring and then reach a completely different place and continue to corrode from there. Corrosion is an electrochemical process and can do very strange things.

Minox 35 GL contacts below the viewfinder, a great source of problems !
A better view... Note the corrosion and oxidation on the circuit
Contacts at the top of the lens / shutter assembly
More problems !
And even more problems ...















Monday, January 14, 2019

Fujifilm X-TRANS RAW Converters and annoyances

This is NOT a review, just some short comments about the most important programs that can handle X-Trans raw files.


Updated on April 22th, 2019


INTRODUCTION



X-Trans raw files are a pain to process. Really.

The complicated nature of its non-standard demosaic algorithm is a real nightmare for both users and developers. 

From the user side, there are just a few programs that are able to extract the full potential of this new class of color matrix, and all of them, besides the awfully complicated RawTherapee and Fuji's OEM version of Silkypix are paid and usually expensive.

Things aren't different from the developer's point of view. There is almost no technical information about the mathematical methods for the decoding process, and many of the amazing sharpen and noise reduction algorithms used by well-known programs just can't cope with nothing else than the traditional Bayer pattern. That's why, for example, DxO just gave up on any non-Bayer sensors.

These are my own opinions based on my experience and needs. Of course, opinions can vary from people to people.

The most practical options on the market due this day are:

IRIDIENT DEVELOPER


It's a very powerful software and probably the best one in terms of extracting the highest detail from the raw files.  Kudos to the author for the excellent job done.

The Iridient Reveal sharpening algorithm is amazing but you need to learn how to use it by experimentation, otherwise, it will look oversharpened very easily and also with strange artifacts.

Same for the noise reduction. The trick is to balance sharpening and noise reduction.

Highlight and shadow recovery are also very powerful. 

It has all the basic stuff you may need from a raw converter. When correctly used, it's capable of amazing results.

Pros:
  • Fair price
  • Excellent output
  • Excellent customer service
Cons:
  • Horrible interface
  • Bad usability
  • Rather slow
  • Mac Only

FUJIFILM RAW FILE CONVERTER EX 2.0 (OEM SILKYPIX)


Not recommended. It's slow like continental drift and there are better free options. Forget about it and skip to version 3.0.


FUJIFILM RAW FILE CONVERTER EX 3.0 (OEM SILKYPIX)

Fuji released the new Fujifilm Raw File Converter EX 3.0 based on Silkypix 8 and it can be downloaded here

This new version is far more capable than the previous one and it's a very powerful option.

SILKYPIX 8 and 9


Silkypix 8 Pro is a solid program. It's a very complete digital laboratory with tons of features. It's my personal pick besides all annoyances.

Do yourself a favor and READ the manual. Lots of important features and controls aren't obvious in the interface.

Pros:
  • Extremely good sharpening and noise algorithms
  • Extremely accurate Fuji film profiles
  • Excellent for large batch processing
  • Can be easily upgraded for a fair cost
  • Mac and Windows
Cons:
  • Pricey, about USD 250 for the full retail version
  • Bizarre menu translations. Some are very confusing.
  • Not so good customer support
  • Slowwwwwwww

Bottom line:

They offer upgrades for several OEM and previous versions for a reasonable price, from $250 to $100 in some cases and worths a look.

For example, if you have a Panasonic camera, it probably came with a stripped down OEM version and it's possible to upgrade by something like 50% less than the full retail price.

It worths checking the Fujifilm Raw Converter EX 3.0 , it's not the latest Silkypix but very usable for Fuji Users.

RawTherapee


It's free, fast, well documented BUT it's by far the most complicated image processing program I've ever used in my life.

The sharpening and noise reduction functions are overwhelming and extremely comprehensive. Curves, color and histogram operations unfold on many, many variations and options enough to make you scream when you see them for the first time.

The results can be awesome if you don't go nuts using it.

IF you want to try it, my suggestion is to forget about all other image processing software during this period and dedicate yourself to really try to learn it. It will take time to learn it properly.

Pros: 
  • Can deliver stunning results. 
  • Sharpening functions are fantastic
  • The most sophisticated denoise tools set
  • Stunning set of features
  • There are really good HaldCLUT film simulation profiles for it.
  • Mac, Windows and Linux
  • It's freeware
Cons:
  • Extremely complex with a very steep learning curve
  • You need to be cross between a Zen monk and an Image Scientist to master it. Not kidding. 

CAPTURE ONE FOR FUJI (Express)

In October 2018, Phase One released two cheaper versions of their Capture One, specific for Fuji owners. There are two versions, a free "Express" and a paid "Pro". 

Both have the same raw engine but the Pro version has more features, like layers, retouching tools and tethering. If you don't need these features and use another program like Affinity Photo or something else, do yourself a favor and stick with the Express version. 

Don't forget to install the ICC profiles for the film simulation modes.

The results are pretty nice and fast.

Pros
  • Excellent x-trans raw conversion
  • Fast
  • Free
  • Mac and Windows
Cons
  • Forces to import images to its library. Annoying.
  • Free version works just in catalog mode, not in sessions
  • No after/before image comparison can be easily done. You have to make a "version" manually and then compare with whatever you want. This is ridiculous.
There is a "professional" version of C1 for Fuji, perpetual or by subscription, both are way too expensive. If you want to spend money, go for Silkypix. 

Update:

I gave up on it. I don't like the way its catalog mode work.

BE CAREFUL when deleting images from the catalog. Depending on the situation it will delete the files on disk !

It's a pain to completely uninstall it. I recommend using some sort of uninstall program like Revo (Windows) or AppCleaner (Mac) 


AFFINITY PHOTO


This was a surprise. Its raw engine is still under development but I got some interesting results from it with x-trans files. I have to do some more experiments before giving it an honest rating.

A very solid alternative to Lightroom.

Pros
  • It's FAST and good.
  • Compatible with Nik collection, DxO Film Pack and Noiseware Professional plugins for Photoshop.
  • Excellent value
  • Extremely powerful
  • Mac and Windows
Cons:
  • No film profiles
  • No image browser/navigator 

Apple Aperture

If you're an Apple user and still have Aperture installed and updated, incredibly, it is capable of very good results, pairing even with Iridient. Images tend to have less noise. You need to add the raw fine tuning control.

The raw engine is OS dependent so it will support all cameras supported by Apple Raw Engine. The updates are OS updates, not Aperture's.

For film simulation, I use DxO Film pack Aperture plugin. The response is a bit different than Silkypix's but I'm very pleased with it.

 


Pros

  • Very nice final look with good colors and well-controlled sharpness.
  • Compatible with Nik collection, DxO Film Pack and Noiseware Professional plugins for Aperture
  • Fast
  • Excellent image browser/navigator
  • Excellent DAM
Cons
  • End of life product. No more updates.
  • Mac only
  • May stop working someday due to OS version incompatibility
  • No Fuji film profiles

If you're a Mac user, my advice is to keep it while you can and avoid updating the OS every time Apple tells you to do. I have a spare bootable OSX High Sierra and Aperture on an external hard disk just in case.

Still working in OSX Mojave.


RAW Power (Personal Pick)


If you have a Mac and like simple programs, RAW Power, from the former Aperture developer (the person himself) does a very decent job. It's essentially a nice front end to the internal operating system raw engine from Apple. 

If you're a Mac user and don't have Aperture, I would recommend RAW Power as an extension to Apple Photos or as a stand-alone program

Needs to evolve but it's cheap and honest and can be used as a Photos extension.

Pros:
  • Good X-Trans conversion
  • Reasonably fast
  • Excellent support
Cons:
  • Mac only
Bottom line: It's still evolving, but I have the impression that it will surprise everyone.

Luminar 2018


Also, a decent raw converter that can deal well with the tricky X-Trans files.
Still evolving.

Pros:
  • Excellent value
  • Version 3 now has a file browser/navigator
  • Reasonably fast
  • Lots of features
  • Good customer support
  • Mac and Windows
  • Support for Fuji film simulation by using 3rd party 3DLUTs
  • It's fast
Cons:
  • Too many presets, some redundant filters, but the beginners will love them
  • A bit clumsy sometimes, specially the catalog.
  • The image file navigator doesn't show the file names !!! What ???

ON1


It's a good surprise for handling X-Trans files and has a decent file browser and friendly to sequential processing. Worths looking. I need to do some more tests, so, for now I won't comment about it, but I liked what I saw.

Pros
  • Fast
  • Good interface
  • Mac and Windows

CAPTURE ONE and LIGHTROOM


Capture one is a solid option, but a bit pointless for a X-Trans camera. It handles X-Trans files reasonably well, but there are better options for less than the $300 they ask for it.

The only reason I can imagine to buy C1 it is IF you're a very heavy C1 Media Pro user AND also use a Canon or Nikon camera in tethering mode otherwise is a complete waste of money. I've tried it by 60 days in early 2018 and I was not convinced.

Lightroom is almost a religion, and forgive me fanboys, its X-Trans support still sucks in plain 2019 and I would never, ever use a subscription-based software. It will be a money sink in the long run, just do your calculations and check for yourself. It's evolving but there are better options.

I don't like the subscription model trap that Phase One and Adobe adopted. It's a money sink and if you decide to bail out, you'll be screwed.



Final Words


In the end, after some years using the X Series, the X-Trans matrix doesn't appear to make any huge improvement over a Bayer (without the AA filter) besides maybe some higher detail on high-frequency zones. But the Fuji's package is very powerful considering the price and final result. Still a solid option.

Fuji always liked to try some different approaches on sensor design, like the Super CCD and its numerous incarnations and I respect this. At least, like Sigma with the Foveon, they at least try.






Saturday, December 1, 2018

Raw Power 2.0 !

Gentlemen Coders just released Raw Power 2.0 !

If you're a Mac User and need an inexpensive and still powerful raw converter, please check it. It's available from Apple's APP Store.

Update:

Working very well on High Sierra and Mojave. It's fast and the new file navigator adds much more usability.

Some new controls added and more to come.