SHARPENING X-TRANS FILES IN ADOBE LIGHTROOM BY PETE BRIDGWOOD

We posted Mark Soon's great article a couple of weeks back regarding Adobe Lightroom's limitations when dealing with Fujifilms X-trans sensor files. Here Peter Bridgewood runs you through his X-trans imaging process when using Lightroom, enjoy.
image Simon Johnson iPhone 5

image Simon Johnson iPhone 5

Sharpening is one of the most taxing aspects of the digital process and consequently many photographers prefer to stick to safe and secure ways, either using presets, plug-ins, exporting to Photoshop or ultimately using JPEGs straight from camera. The X-Trans sensor produces wonderful JPEGs, and all the usual advice about always shooting in Raw doesn’t necessarily hold true anymore. There are now many professional photographers who happily shoot JPEG using X-Series cameras all the time and have no complaints.

JPEGs are very convenient, but for a landscape photographer like me, interested in the creative process and using post-processing as part of the digital alchemy, Raw files are so much more versatile. Sharpening Raw files from the X-Trans processor can be challenging for those of us who have grown familiar with more traditional Bayer array sensors; they demand a different approach and even experienced photographers will find there is a learning curve.

The sharpening controls in Adobe Lightroom have evolved to a degree of simplicity and perfection that eclipses much of the competition, including Photoshop. There were some initial teething troubles when sharpening X-trans files using earlier iterations of Lightroom; ‘waxing’ is one of the terms used to describe what can happen in images with high detail frequency (for example scenes with lots of fine detailed foliage). However, Adobe and Fujifilm have been working closely together to perfect the algorithms working behind the scenes. At the time of writing, I’m using Lightroom 5.6 to sharpen all my Fuji RAF files and creating exhibition prints up to A1 size without any significant problems.

This guide offers an introduction to perfect sharpening for Fujifilm X-Trans Raw files (.RAF files) in Lightroom 5

The processing of any digital image requires two essential and distinct types of sharpening: output sharpening and capture sharpening. Output sharpening is the final step in preparing an image for printing or display on screen. Because output sharpening always depends on known variables like printer model, paper type, and degree of enlargement, it is best performed automatically. In Lightroom, output sharpening is applied in the print module or for images intended for display on-screen it is applied on export. This guide relates only to sharpening that requires our human judgment, capture sharpening.

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