Fujifilm X-T1 RAF + LR5.4 + vscoFILM

I shoot in raw format because I am not a great photographer. I underexpose. I overexpose. A lot. Having the ability to manipulate shadows, highlights, mid tones, and colour in post production is something that I require in my process. Yes, photography is a process to me. From the concept, to the execution, to the editing to produce the final image – it is a process.

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If you’re in the Ultimo, Sydney area, try out a new addition to the community that serves (IMHO) one of the best coffees in town: The Q on Harris (it is at the intersection of the Powerhouse Museum and Hannah’s Pies).

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Adobe finally released an update for Lightroom 5 that has support for the Fujifilm X-T1. Not only does it support native raf import, but Adobe has reverse engineered some of the film emulation that us x-series photographers have access to when shooting with our little compact awesome cameras (Provia/STD, Velvia/Vivid, Astia/Soft, and various monochrome). For photos such as these, I experimented with the Velvia setting, just to get a bit more kick into the photos. If I am shooting portraits however, the saturation is a bit too strong for my taste.

All embedded images were shot in raf + jpeg with auto white balance, with the XF35mmF1.4R. I tried to use aperture priority but after a few attempts, I went back to manual because that is what I am used to.

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VSCO has been a part of my workflow since its first public release. It has streamlined my editing. At least things are consistent across an entire set of photos. Using the Fuji 400H preset as a base (LR4 Fuji), the settings are applied upon import into Lightroom. From then onwards, it is a matter of adjusting each setting to taste.

Thus far, I have been pleased with the flexibility and malleability of the Fujifilm raf format. I can underexpose each shot and pull the shadows up in LR5.4. Not perfect mind you, nothing like film’s dynamic range, but good enough for a non-bracketed single frame. I suppose this is where my experience differs for the Olympus OMD EM1. The ORF were ok but when ISO is high, the flexibility to play with highlights and shadows were significantly narrower compared to the Fujifilm X-T1.

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What are my sharpening settings you may ask?

Amount:19
Radius: 1.5
Detail: 45
Masking 0

I then export, resize, then bring the jpeg files into Alien Skin Exposure 5 for a batch sharpening and compression job. I’m not sure why I’ve stuck with those sharpening settings but they seem to look good. From my experience, mirrorless cameras do not like strong Lightroom sharpening (especially the OMD EM1 ORF files).

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Hype Park, Sydney on a rainy overcast day looks supreme with the different shades of green, the blacks, the highlights and the shadows. Add the reflective nature of the wet pavement and it is a beautiful sight. The shadows/blacks are still a bit too strong in this edit but I think you get the gist.

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For many Fujifilm photographers, the camera’s jpeg engine will do a good enough job. Whilst I archive and edit raf files, I often wifi the jpeg across to my iPhone to edit and share on social media immediately. I have to admit, the jpegs that come straight out of camera from the X-T1 are damn sexy (add a sprinkle of vscocam and BAM!).

There is one minor issue I have with vscoFILM and the X-T1 at the moment. I cannot find a monochrome preset that looks good to my eye. Ilford HP5 or T-MAX rarely look bad, but on the X-T1′s raf files, they look horrible. And Adobe’s attempt to monochrome is not much better. So I’m not sure what to do …