or quite a while now, I have noticed smudgy details from my Fujifilm X100s and X-T1 when processing RAW files Lightroom. And all this time, I had thought that this was just the way Fuji RAF files were supposed to look. I also thought that since the Fujifilm cameras were fitted with APS-C sized sensors, that it was to be expected that the fine details weren't going to be all that perceivable when compared to full frame sensors (like my Nikon D600). This was especially apparent with hairs and grassy fields - details like that always looked smudged.
My processed portrait photography images always had a "painterly" look, but little did I know that it was Adobe Lightroom destroying the micro details. I have posted some examples of this happening below, but before that, a little background about the sensor.
THE FUJI X-TRANS SENSOR
The way the Fujifilm cameras render images on their sensors is different from the conventional Bayer sensors used in Nikon, Canon and Olympus etc. The Fuji's use an X-tran sensor has the ability to greatly reduce moire patterns with its irregular layout.
Also with the X100s and the X-T1 and XE-2's, they didn't put in an anti-aliasing filter and this results in sharper micro details (much like how the Nikon 800e works).
LIGHTROOM 5.4 & THE X-TRANS
So the question is, if there isn't an antialiasing filter, where did all of those details go? And why do the Jpg's that come straight out of camera, look so much more detailed than the processed RAW?
Apparently Adobe have been working with Fujifilm to improve the way Lightroom and Adobe Camera Raw handles X-Trans RAF/RAW files - that's what I've read. They were supposed to have done so in LR version 5.4 but I didn't really notice any improvements. The images still lack that crispy sharpness.
ENTER IRIDIENT DEVELOPER
This little known piece of software has made me a happy camper with my new X-T1. I couldn't believe the difference Iridient Developer (odd name) made to my photos and to all the beautiful tiny details.
Seeing the results has really encouraged me to use mirrorless cameras a whole lot more and also highlighted the RAW processing issues present in Adobe Lightroom. What I don't understand is how Adobe has failed to get this perfect (being as big as they are), and a smaller software developer like this has managed to nail it - perfectly.
The detail differences I'm seeing with my LR edits and Iridient Developer are massive, and in most cases, I don't even need to be at 1:1 view. They're that evident.
For the first time, I'm truly seeing the beauty of the X-Trans sensor. The details and image quality are visually comparable to that of my Nikon D600, if not sharper even. Crazy statement I know, but it's true. You'd have to see it to believe it. Note that I'm only speaking of micro details here, I haven't needed to push dynamic range too far and this post is not really about that.