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Like most new users of the X Pro2, I was initially smitten with its new ACROS film simulation.  I was quite disappointed, however, in the fact that use of this sim was limited to a lossy file format (jpg).  It's been many years since I've shot in any format except RAW, and subsequently use only lossless and uncompressed PSD or TIF for post-processing and printing.

 

I had read somewhere that PS software conversion of original RAW files to the ACROS sim would not equal the in-camera sim.  So, I initially set out to see for myself by simply setting my camera to save both a RAW file, and a simultaneous jpg file set to ACROS, but with no other file mods.  Lo and behold, the PS-CC RAW file conversion to ACROS using the Camera Calibration and Profile modes of PS Camera RAW was absolutely identical in shading throughout the tonal gamut.  The only difference I noticed when comparing the original ACROS jpg with the RAW to ACROS conversion was an extremely slight variation in the grain simulation, and that was viewing the image at 200% or greater.  A little minor tweaking with the PS RAW grain effects totally cured, and in my opinion, slightly improved a film grain appearance.

 

OK, so that's the good news.  But what if you want to use other simulation effects applied to the in-camera ACROS simulation, as I normally do?  My typical in-camera monochrome settings include ACROS, or ACROS-R (red filter), a +2 highlight and +3 shadow setting, along with a weak grain setting.  Again, I set my X Pro2 to capture both a RAW, and a jpg image with all the aforementioned, in-camera mods.  Now things got a little dicey.  With both images open in PS Camera RAW, I first applied the ACROS Profile included in Camera RAW to my RAW image, then began the slow and tedious process of adjusting my RAW image to exactly match the tonal variations and grain simulation contained in my hybridized, ACROS jpg.  Using four different test exposures ( 8 images), it took me a little over an hour and half before I was satisfied that I had created a virtually identical "handmade" RAW clone of the original ACROS jpg.  I then saved all the settings to a customized preset button for future application to my RAW files.  Naturally, however, any additional variations to the in-camera settings would require additional matching efforts with the RAW files, but those could be assigned their own presets for future use, as well.

 

I still have unanswered questions.  How will my presets fare with images captured under vastly different lighting conditions and ISOs?  How will the actual printed enlargements compare?  Nonetheless, and with some effort, I am able to convert my RAW images to the ACROS film simulation and ultimately save them in a lossless file format.

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I would be interested to hear if you print your now identical jpeg from the camera and your processed raw files at a good size, say 13x19, if you see a difference.  For me, the print is the final goal and if there is no discernible difference between the two file formats, it begs the question "why are you not just shooting and printing jpeg"?

 

I ususally shoot raw & jpeg and occasionally use the jpeg to post to Smugmug but always the raw file if I'm making a print.  Of course, I'm not trying to match a film simulation, I'm trying, usually in Silver Efex Pro 2, to just make a good print. I haven't really used the Acros simulation yet but if I like it sufficiently, then if the jpeg with in camera tweaks if all I need, then so much the better.

 

In any event, please let us know if the prints match. 

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It's not the lossy compression generally. It's what it actually means. You lose a lot of leverage for adjustments, being that local or global exposure correction or even color recovery. Acros isn't a problem for color, but the color simulations are of course.

 

Lossy compression does by definition drop information along the way. When you end up with a photo that has great composition and content, but was baked fully into a JPEG only you might regret not having a raw at hand that you can use to work on the things that weren't setup great when you took the shot.

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Just an update.  Like DIS Ottawa, I also typically use Sliver Efex Pro 2 for mono conversions, so I've run a number of comparisons between the in-camera ACROS setting on the X Pro2 (no other mods) against an identical RAW image, opened in SEP2, and then applying the Fuji Neopan ACROS simulation included with that software package.  Sorry to say that tonal gradations in that comparison aren't even close, with the in-camera sim significantly superior.

 

I am traveling with my new camera, but will perform a print comparison when I return home, and will post the result.

 

Regarding the post about using jpg files, the flexibilities and advantages afforded by lossless file formats over compressed lossy files are well-known and too numerous to argue.  Certainly, JPGs are adequate for many, but I prefer the flexibility afforded by maintaining every bit of the original capture.

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Regarding the post about using jpg files, the flexibilities and advantages afforded by lossless file formats over compressed lossy files are well-known and too numerous to argue.  Certainly, JPGs are adequate for many, but I prefer the flexibility afforded by maintaining every bit of the original capture.

It would be great if there was an option to have a sidecar file saved together with the RAW image, which would make it easy to replicate exactly the film simulation used in the .jpg output. But I wonder if that would be at all possible, without mentioning the reluctance of Fuji in giving out so easily the recipe to their successful film simulations.

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Regarding the post about using jpg files, the flexibilities and advantages afforded by lossless file formats over compressed lossy files are well-known and too numerous to argue.  Certainly, JPGs are adequate for many, but I prefer the flexibility afforded by maintaining every bit of the original capture.

 

But when you're instead just wasting time to recreate the effect that's already there, it invalidates the argument. The whole point of film simulations is to lock down those flexibilities that we enjoy today to a specific set of values that people shooting film had imposed on them in the past, for a specific look. If you need to post process the picture before applying the film simulation then you've completely missed the point IMO, and you're at best shooting 'fakros'.

Edited by frod
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I find the idea that a fine jpg is undesirable due to lossy compression frankly ludicrous. Please let's not fall into the audiophile nonsense trap.

 

 

Besides, as long as you use the properly calibrated USB cable to transfer your images, the JPEG's will be fine. ;)

 

Anyways- as long as you are happy with the ACROS output, then shooting RAW + JPEG will give you the best of both worlds. A great JPEG right out of camera without needing to do a lot of PP, plus a RAW for peace of mind.

 

The only reason for going through all the trouble of trying to match up the RAW to the ACROS, is if you are dissatisfied with the ACROS file for whatever reason. Otherwise, stash the RAW's and I'm sure someone on the internet will create a nice set of presets to download later.

Edited by madmaxmedia
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I find the idea that a fine jpg is undesirable due to lossy compression frankly ludicrous. Please let's not fall into the audiophile nonsense trap.

I don't know why you find it ludicrous but I certainly don't.

 

 

Even the best jpg with the least compression still has only 8 bit color where the RAW file has 14 bit color. That is reduction of a factor of 64 per color or a factor of 262144 for the complete color map.

 

 

So per R,G,B color you only use 1/64th of what the camera captures and throw away the rest, being 98%.

 

 

To me jpg is extremely lossy, maybe nice for pictures from your phone but not for serious camera work.

 

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I find the idea that a fine jpg is undesirable due to lossy compression frankly ludicrous. Please let's not fall into the audiophile nonsense trap.

 

On the basis of what knowledge do you make this finding? Because frankly, I think you're incompetent and don't understand what a RAW is or what is used for. That audio nuts have all sorts of weird beliefs is irrelevant. You could argue that because audio nuts believe stupid things about magic cables that a high bandwidth fibre optic cable doesn't have a higher bandwidth than twisted pair, yes. But it would be a stupid argument and is provably untrue. It isn't really an argument at all; it's a silly appeal to a perceived similarity.

 

The point is - and I speak as someone with a physics degree, including courses on optics and communications theory, and as a programmer who has written compression algorithms - that a jpg's compression is based on a guess as to what shooting conditions were and what you want to do with the image. If such guesses were reliable, then cameras wouldn't need spot meters or moveable focus points or focus lock. By preserving more information a camera gives you much more latitude in post.

 

Now, you may not use this latitude - that's fine; not everyone is ambitious, not everyone is able to learn more than basic post processing techniques. But you are not everyone and making posts as if you are and everyone's needs should be the same as your is silly. More ambitious and demanding people will dodge and burn and use other tricks to maximize detail in shadows and highlights and they need exactly the information that a jpg is throwing away.

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Guest thiswayup

 

I don't know why you find it ludicrous but I certainly don't.

 

 

Even the best jpg with the least compression still has only 8 bit color where the RAW file has 14 bit color. That is reduction of a factor of 64 per color or a factor of 262144 for the complete color map.

 

 

So per R,G,B color you only use 1/64th of what the camera captures and throw away the rest, being 98%.

 

 

To me jpg is extremely lossy, maybe nice for pictures from your phone but not for serious camera work.

 

 

A jpg is fine for many forms of "serious" work, eg I wouldn't be alarmed to hear that a wedding photographer used it. But it fails under specific conditions - eg if you want to take images of scenes with a high dynamic range at maximum quality and are willing to spend a serious amount of time in post processing.

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But when you're instead just wasting time to recreate the effect that's already there, it invalidates the argument. The whole point of film simulations is to lock down those flexibilities that we enjoy today to a specific set of values that people shooting film had imposed on them in the past, for a specific look. If you need to post process the picture before applying the film simulation then you've completely missed the point IMO, and you're at best shooting 'fakros'.

 

This is possibly the most ignorant post I have ever read. Acros is a bloody print film.  Serious photographers puts fantastic amount of work in post processing black and white, starting with personal hacks for developing the negatives, then choosing preferred printing papers, contrast grade of paper, dodging and burning the print during development, then more customization of the chemistry for development and fixing of the print! And of course you'd the film you used and your exposure settings would be deliberate choices to customize your image, *and* you'd use filters - or make a considered choice not to. Serious black and white film shooting was intensely customized and oriented towards extensive post processing.

 

You obviously don't know how to print black and white film, so why are you wasting your and other people's time making "arguments" based on a knowledge you don't have? Bizarre. 

Edited by thiswayup
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This is possibly the most ignorant post I have ever read. Acros is a bloody print film.  Serious photographers puts fantastic amount of work in post processing black and white, starting with personal hacks for developing the negatives, then choosing preferred printing papers, contrast grade of paper, dodging and burning the print during development, then more customization of the chemistry for development and fixing of the print! And of course you'd the film you used and your exposure settings would be deliberate choices to customize your image, *and* you'd use filters - or make a considered choice not to. Serious black and white film shooting was intensely customized and oriented towards extensive post processing.

 

You obviously don't know how to print black and white film, so why are you wasting your and other people's time making "arguments" based on a knowledge you don't have? Bizarre. 

 

..I forgot to mention that photographer often retouched prints - or even negatives - by hand too. When you see a classic Hurrel Hollywood portrait it will usually have been shot on an A6 or A5 sized piece of glasses which then received hours of touch-ing up before being being printed. Short of photoshops liquify function, I can't think of anything significant that photoshop does today that didn't have a b&w film equivalent.

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I find the idea that a fine jpg is undesirable due to lossy compression frankly ludicrous. Please let's not fall into the audiophile nonsense trap.

 

 

So, you never deal with large dynamic range subject or do any post-processing? That is a novel approach. 

 

I'm trying to come up with a way to respond to your, uh, ludicrous statement nicely. This is the best I can come up with...

Edited by gdanmitchell
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  • 1 month later...

I shoot raw&jpg because it then gives me the best of both worlds. I have the negative (raw) and the print (jpg) at the same time. For smallish prints and putting on the web the jpg is fine and the jpg's from the X pro2 are a fairly big file so will take adjustments a lot better. For large prints, heavy crops, big dynamic range I use the raw as this gives the greatest flexibility. The X pro2 generates excellent jpg's and I tend to use those the most often but as like in the old film days it's always best to keep the negatives. The other advantage with shooting both is that I can make another jpg in camera with whatever film setting that I want and with settings to correct exposure or dynamic range, I often take a shot in Acros and then do a camera raw conversion in colour as well and end up with a negative (raw) a monochrome (jpg) and a colour (jpg). The flexibility is excellent and I always then have the negative (raw) to do what I want with in software.

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Coming from Canon, I've spent the last decade shooting exclusively raw, because 'as any fool knows', it's *better* than jpeg.

 

I've spent the last decade sitting at my computer tweaking and poking the files to get them to something I'm happy with and then printing or exporting the files for display.

 

For the first 5 years, I loved working this way, it opened up new avenues, I could explore, it was fun, but for me, over the past 5 years, it's become a chore, a task, it's not fun anymore and I've noticed a significant drop in my social photography.

 

I've had an X100 on the side for ages, but because 'raw is better', despite shooting in raw + jpeg, I only imported the raw files to Lightroom and my heart would sink when I would see something I was happy with (the jpeg preview) disappear to be replaced by the 'adobe standard' raw - knowing that signaled the start of another set of slider bashing to get it back to something I liked, but you know. it had to be done because 'raw is better'.

 

Finally, with the XPro2, I've decided to reverse my workflow. I'll still shoot raw + jpeg, but I'll import the jpeg only into Lightroom. If (and it has not happened yet), I have a shot I need to push to the limits, I can go find the raw on the card and import it, if not, I'll delete them.

 

For me this means I'm 90% of my time on the camera and perhaps 10% on the computer, perhaps even less. It would have been pretty much the opposite when I started out in digital, but do you know what, neither approach is correct or incorrect, it's just a matter of what works for you, but I'm sure there are a lot of people who shoot raw, not because it works for them, but because it is what is 'expected'.

 

Back in the context of this thread, I'd say if you like the ACROS from the camera, use it. You can develop in camera from your raws and tweak the settings as needed - kind of like a mini version of Lightroom in the camera, with the Fuji magic built in. To my addled mind, the goal of photography is the visual impact of the product, not having a technically lossless version of it. 

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Using ACROS along with Grain Effect doesn't make sense to me, as this combines and overlays two different grain effects. Fugly! Either use the grain effect with the other film simulations, or use ACROS with its built-in, ISO-dependent, noise-shaping grain effect.

 

In any case, when one is happy with in-camera JPEG settings, there's no need for a 16 bit lossless output, the JPEG output of the X-Pro2 is fully sufficient (and the JPEG files are pretty large with little compression, too). After all, you won't make big changes to the JPEG, because if you did, why bother with the specific look of the built-in RAW converter in the first place? Simply develop the RAW in Lightroom and make those big adjustments there. Lightroom's film simulations are close enough, and you want to make big changes to their default grading, anyway.

 

As for ACROS grain in Lightroom: It's impossible, because LR doesn't do any noise-shaping. It simply adds artificial grain to the existing noise. And it does so in a way that requires a manual tone curve adjustment in order to get LR's artificial grain into blown (100% lightness) highlight areas. So that's a little bit of extra work, and the results will always look different in high-ISO situations.

Edited by flysurfer
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imho - some of the posts here within this thread are on a very theoretical level - but have nothing to do with final resulting images.

 

Since i'm at least middle-aged - i know b&w film processing. I haven't done it very long, but i would say i know its limitations and how far you can go (and what's not possible).

 

I digged into digital imaging with the original X100 (btw. that was when i became "passionate" about fotografy). 

My first ~1000 pics i was accidentally trashing RAW, only keeping JPGs. After that, i always kept both JPG & RAW (if the pics "deserved" it).

As a X-Pro1 early adopter and former Aperture user, i could process only JPGs for quite a log time (at least it felt like).

Nowadays i use Lightroom and have a pretty good idea about the limitations of RAW processing (and i have an X-Pro2).

 

So far about the intro :-)

 

My point is: If you're not failing in the exposure - even a JPG already provides very useful reserves.

Sure: There are cases were you missed proper exposure and want to rescue - and with Lightroom on a RAW you can rescue A LOT.

And there are light situations which are so dynamic that your tempted to screw extensively. However - 8 of 10 guys usually fail and end up with something that looks so artifical which lets me suddenly think about the self-help group for pseudo-HDR-freaks. (scnr)

 

I love the Acros film simulation! For me it is a clear  unique selling proposition (UPS) - actually this is generally true for Fujifilms JPG engine.

Acros doesn't fit always perfectly for what i want - but it *is* really easy to add some "extra bits" (for instance with RNI presets).

Just to make sure: i also use different approaches - besides Acros - i'm open to use many different tools.

But: If i like the result of the Acros JPG engine - why should i try to reproduce the same with a RAW? What's the point? Would it make me feel better to know that i would have much more "buffer" with a RAW development? The answer is: No, not at all.

One of *the* awesome things about the Acros film simulation is the ISO dependent grain - and the grain looks really nice (no comparison to any other "digital grain" i have seen before ... if we want to pixel-peep). I haven't printed Acros simulations based pics yet, but i will do it soon, and what i've heard and read about yet is very promising.

 

My recommendation to the thread opener: Just enjoy the Acros results, combine it with appropriate DR usage, forget about what you've done with RAWs, try out what's possible with the JPG.

For me, Acros especially shines on high ISO on nightly shots on the street!

 

To the physicist and math genius (which has turned into a guest): Rather go taking pictures and use less time on the software - and do not mix up processing tools knowledge with fotografic skills.

 

 

 

 

 

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I think the original poster did not want to discuss if jpegs are good enough or not. I think he would like to have a 16 bit Tiff file with Arcos simultation over the full range which allows him to push or pull by one or two stops in post processing and still preserving the Arcos look without the fear to get bending artefacts.

 

Experts could now start a discussion if over or underexposing by one or two stops in post processing should not change the look at all or should give the look of a negative that was treated similar in the darkroom. But this is another discussuon.

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Sure. I understood the question of the thread opener :-)

 

But it should be allowed to generally talk about the "why you need the RAW" - especially in the case where you want to achieve the same result as a film simulation JPG with a RAW - but where it seems hard or not yet possible yet.

 

But, yes. We also could discuss why it is not possible to create a RAW by JPG. 

Very reasonable. Sorry for disturbing this constructive discussion.
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  • 3 weeks later...

I have not stopped shooting Acros sice I got it :). Shooting RAW + JPEG.

 

A few thoughts for those who prefer RAW:

 

Try Capture One. It does a much better job with Fuji files than Adobe. The difference is noticeable even on screen without zooming in. Download the free trial and see for yourself.

 

TKactions plugin for Photoshop is very handy for the efficient use of luminosity masks to adjust images. You can do all the adjustments by hand (and information on the website explains how), but it's tedious. With the panel, which is useful in many ways, you can very efficiently try things out. I only wish it supported LAB. There is an add-on, which I haven't used yet (waiting on the upgrade offer), which looks very promising. The videos offered for sale which explain Luminosity masks were helpful.

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