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James Thurley

Comparison of X-Transformer and Lightroom Enhance Details

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I pre-ordered my first Fuji camera (X-T30!) last week, and so I wanted to investigate the X-Trans/Lightroom issues for myself to work out what my workflow would look like, given I don't particularly want to switch away from Lightroom. I posted what I found in this article here. In summary I found that X-Transformer and Enhance Details produced very similar results, both of which were better than the default Lightroom rendering. I'd be interested to know what others have found in real-world use.

I feel like using X-Transformer would ultimately be more convenient than Enhance Details as it is faster and I can just batch convert the RAF files to DNG straight off the camera, and from there my workflow doesn't change: I can import the DNG files into Lightroom and continue as normal, and probably delete the RAFs. Do others do this?

I notice that Thomas Fitzgerald thought Enhance Details was an decent improvement over X-Transformer, and his picture of the wall is quite convincing, but I didn't manage to replicate that kind of difference in the pictures I chose. Has anyone got any sample RAF files where Enhance Details is significantly better so I could try for myself?

Edited by James Thurley
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I own the XT-2 & 3 and have also tested with my own files.  I took 3 RAW images and converted them with IRXT, Enhanced DNG, CR DNG, and Tiff using CR.  Then compared all the files in Lightroom.  At normal viewing and even at 100% you will not see much difference.  Most people had to zoom to 300 & 400% to see the difference.  However I have been using Fuji and LR for a long time, the issue asserts itself with Clarity and sharpening. 

So to view the issues at their worst I increased Clarity, Luminance, and Detail to 100%.  The RAW and CR DNG files looked like a horror movie with alien worms about to jump out (at normal viewing on a small monitor.  The IRXT & Enhanced DNG were very close to equal, with maybe an EXTREMELY small benefit  going to the Enhanced.  The CR Tiff showed the best appearance.  These results were at all zoom levels - the worms were just not there on any of the three.

I started to export to Tiff just recently as I was experimenting with alternative software and not all are compatible with XT-3 files or even DNG.  I found exporting to Tiff gave me the freedom to use any software I wish and the worm effect no longer occurred.  The disadvantage is the larger file size of course.  My new workflow is:

  1. Use Bridge "Review Mode" to sort out which images I want to process
  2. Open them in Camera Raw and Export to new location as Tiff (Full size, 16bit, Profoto RGB)
  3. Process "Global" adjustments using Luminar 3 (My preferred processing software)
  4. After global adjustments - export as Tiff to my "Gallery" folder
  5. Import the "Gallery" into Lightroom for the excellent DAM provided and round trip to Photoshop if any local adjustments may be needed.
  6. Export from Lightroom for final destination in format as required (Internet, Printing, Web, etc.)

 

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23 hours ago, James Thurley said:

feel like using X-Transformer would ultimately be more convenient than Enhance Details as it is faster and I can just batch convert the RAF files to DNG straight off the camera, and from there my workflow doesn't change: I can import the DNG files into Lightroom and continue as normal, and probably delete the RAFs. Do others do this?

 

I'd be interested to hear your thoughts after you have used your new camera with this workflow (IT+LR) vs just using LR. Fuji introduced X-Raw recently, there is also Capture one's free version for Fuji to consider. I'm still looking for the process that'll give me what I'm looking for. Best of luck with your new camera.

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I'll update here once I've got the camera in a few weeks. I've got photos going back to 2004 in Lightroom catalogs, so I'm unlikely to switch software unless the post-processing tools are significantly better, or I really can't get the RAF files into Lightroom in a way I like. Having said that, X-Raw Studio looks like a very interesting concept.

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