9 Replies Latest reply on Apr 22, 2007 11:40 AM by (mark_musto)

    Workflow for Fuji S5 (or S3)

      So after more than a year of researching and waiting to have the time, I was all set to purchase a Nikon D200 when I became convinced to buy a Fuji S5 instead (and I will once I can find one in stock). For the Nikon, I had planned the following workflow: RAW in Capture NX to create a TIFF followed by Photoshop (Elements or CS3); my reasoning, from what I read, was that Nikon users preferred the NEF conversion of NX to that of Camera Raw and liked that NX defaulted to the camera settings. But I'm at a loss as to what to do with the Fuji. (I know that there is no substitute for expermimentation, but there are so many options, I'd like to experiment in the right direction.)

      As I understand it, everyone hates the Fuji RAW conversion software. (Found one posting here to that effect.) Apparently, it doesn't even make full use of the twin-pixels that are a chief advantage of the Fuji camera. Perhaps the new version of the software, coupled with the S5, will be better. (Anyone try it yet?) But I'm not counting on it and, anyway, would be pleased to learn only Photoshop (or only Lightroom and Photoshop) rather than proprietary software and Adobe software, both. My question, though, is whether it makes sense to convert with Camera RAW (or Lightroom) and whether, if I do, I'll lose the Fuji camera settings. Particularly as a newcomer to RAW processing, it would be a time saver if the conversion started with the camera's own settings particularly because, from what I've read, the JPEGs out of the Fuji S5 (like the S3 and D200) are great. (I know that I could shoot RAW and JPEG and then match the JPEG in Camera Raw or Lightroom until I get a feel for how to adjust the RAW, but still I'd like to start with the camera setings.) Any advice will be welcome (and yes I know that Camera Raw doesn't support the S5 yet, formally, but it will and I imagine that people's experience with the S3 will be useful).

      Thanks in advance.
        • 1. Re: Workflow for Fuji S5 (or S3)
          JimHess-8IPblY Level 3
          I'm not sure what cameras settings you are expecting to start with. One of the unique things about shooting in RAW is that the normal JPEG cameras settings like sharpness, contrast, color level, etc., are completely ignored, at least by Photoshop and Lightroom. The only in camera settings that have an impact on your RAW images are the aperture and shutter speed relative to the ISO, and white balance. The rest of the processing is left up to you and your raw converter. I have understood from some of the reading I have done that the reason some people like the Nikon software is because it makes the RAW images look more like what JPEG images would look like directly from the camera. I think the main thing you need to do is take the time to calibrate everything so that whatever software you use it will help you speed your processing workflow.
          • 2. Re: Workflow for Fuji S5 (or S3)
            Level 1
            Thanks. I do understand that the advantage of RAW is that one can nondestructively alter settings such as sharpness, contracst, color level, etc. (and white balance as well), but it would still be useful to begin where the camera settings are for these settings, wouldn't it, as a time saver in beginning the editing process? The idea is not to finalize the RAW images just as the JPEG's would look, or why bother shooting RAW, but to have a starting point for editing. As you suggest, one reason Nikon users like Capture NX is that the software can be told to begin with the camera settings; I'm sure there is much editing from that point, but this seems a logical starting place.

            Perhaps I misunderstand, then, but I do have a question about Lightroom. When starting with a RAW image in the Develop module, there must be some settings for sharpness, contrast, color level, white balance as a default, if not the camera settings, what does Lightroom use? Again, apologies for my naivete.
            • 3. Re: Workflow for Fuji S5 (or S3)
              ArrrBee Level 1
              <Lobalobo@adobeforums.com> wrote in message <br />news:3bc36be6.1@webcrossing.la2eafNXanI...<br />> Thanks. I do understand that the advantage of RAW is that one can <br />> nondestructively alter settings such as sharpness, contracst, color level, <br />> etc. (and white balance as well), but it would still be useful to begin <br />> where the camera settings are for these settings, wouldn't it, as a time <br />> saver in beginning the editing process? The idea is not to finalize the <br />> RAW images just as the JPEG's would look, or why bother shooting RAW, but <br />> to have a starting point for editing. As you suggest, one reason Nikon <br />> users like Capture NX is that the software can be told to begin with the <br />> camera settings; I'm sure there is much editing from that point, but this <br />> seems a logical starting place.<br />><br />> Perhaps I misunderstand, then, but I do have a question about Lightroom. <br />> When starting with a RAW image in the Develop module, there must be some <br />> settings for sharpness, contrast, color level, white balance as a default, <br />> if not the camera settings, what does Lightroom use? Again, apologies for <br />> my naivete.<br /><br /><br />---<br /><br />Many of the settings you set in the camera for saturation, contrast, white <br />balance, etc. doesn't apply to RAW images so something like Photoshop and <br />ACR can't start from something that isn't there. Is Nikon's software <br />starting from the settings set in the camera for JPG images or is it just <br />apply a set of default amounts and auto settings like applying Adobe <br />Photoshop's AutoColor command?<br /><br />Robert
              • 4. Re: Workflow for Fuji S5 (or S3)
                JimHess-8IPblY Level 3
                Your responsibility is to take the time to work with one of your images in Camera Raw until you get it looking the way you want it to look. Then you save those settings as your Camera Raw defaults. Those will become the settings that are applied to all your RAW images. If you have different shooting and lighting situations that you frequently use, you can save additional settings to accommodate those unique situations. Using the settings in the camera as a starting point is not one of the things Camera Raw does. You are working with the "Raw" data from your camera. It is your responsibility to create your own defaults that are compatible with your style of shooting.
                • 5. Re: Workflow for Fuji S5 (or S3)
                  We have an S2, an S3 and were so impressed with our new S5, that we have ordered another and will sell our S2 and S3. And like you, were set to get a D200 until we had our heads turned by the S5 Pro. My husband spends a lot of time on the DP Review web site in the Fuji SLR forms and indeed there are a LOT of complaints about the Fuji software. It is definitely NOT intuitive, especially if you are used to using the Adobe Suite. (A case in point - my husband spent ages trying to find out how to convert a RAW to a TIFF, he finally discovered a menu command titled 'Improve Image' - this launched the Studio software where you get to perform the conversion!!).

                  For a long time, I wouldn't even try the Fuji software as I liked ACR so much.

                  My husband finally convinced me to do some comparisons. I was really surprised by the results. The Fuji software produces the least noisy converted image of any conversion utility out there, including SilkyPix. Even the difference between the S3's Hyperutility software and the Studio software that comes with the S5 has shown further improvement. I'm sorry to say that ACR produces the most noisy image in our comparison and the differences are dramatic. I believe it has something to do with Fuji being unwilling to release details of the algorhythms for their special honeycomb shaped sensors to Adobe?

                  Anyway, I am now using the Fuji Studio to convert to 16 bit TIFFs. At least with the coming CS3 version of ACR, you can edit TIFFs and JPGs in it as well. A real bonus if you like the batch processing and special controls like the Black and White conversion features in the new ACR.

                  I would definitely recommend you persist with the Fuji software. You can always finetune in ACR and Photoshop...
                  • 6. Re: Workflow for Fuji S5 (or S3)
                    Level 1
                    Thanks so much Melody; this is precisely the sort of information I need. Any chance the noise from the S5 images in ACR is that ACR hasn't yet modified its RAF converter for the S5 and maybe the S5 files are different from the S3 files? Anyway, assuming that this is not the case, a quick follow up. On the DP Review site one poster mentioned that Lightroom handled the Dynamic Range of the Fuji files better than the HyperUtility software. Have you tested that? (Maybe not as you mention using ACR rather than Lightroom, but maybe you've tried both.) Would a plausibly reasonable workflow be to convert using Hyper Utility and edit using Lightroom (then Photoshop where needed)? I'm hoping not to have to use (learn) both the Fuji software and Lightroom, but if that's going to get the best image, then I'll set it up that way. Thanks again.
                    • 7. Re: Workflow for Fuji S5 (or S3)
                      Level 1
                      We have tested the ACR with our S3 and S2 files as well, and the noise difference (and differences in edge definition and detail) is there in all instances, so unfortunately, I don't think it's a case of the converter not yet having been modified for the S5 files.

                      I did try the Lightroom Beta when it was first released for PC users and liked a lot of the aspects. I found that the importing photos as Shoots didn't quite suit our workflow, so later uninstalled it. Having seen the improvements to the Bridge in the CS3 Beta, much of what I liked about Lightroom will be available to us now in Bridge, in one form or another at least. I couldn't really comment on how Lightroom handles the Fuji files as I didn't really use it for long or for anything significant.

                      For small prints and mass runs of average sized prints (or even images for the web), I'd say it doesn't matter a whole lot what you use to convert - using Lightroom or ACR would be quite suitable for this. It's quick and easy...

                      However, on your important or large prints, I would always use the Hyper Utility software (or whatever the proprietary Fuji software for the camera model is - eg. Fuji Studio for the S5) converting to 16 bit TIFFs as a starting point - then use Photoshop, or Lightroom if you prefer, to take the image to completion.
                      • 8. Re: Workflow for Fuji S5 (or S3)
                        Level 1
                        Melody: This is enormously useful advice, which I will follow. Thanks so much.
                        • 9. Re: Workflow for Fuji S5 (or S3)
                          can you give me your advice/experience re S5 vs. D200 for landscapes?

                          in terms of resolution, in particular.

                          my D70S isn't cutting it, and don't want to end up with a replacement body that doesn't increase resolution sufficiently.

                          is there a difference between D200 and S5 in terms of resolution.

                          i also do low light, and it seems like the S5 may have advantage there (?)