February 15, 2017 | 9641 Views | By Dan Harlacher
Some of you out there shoot with Fujifilm® X series cameras that use the X-Trans® CMOS sensor. These sensors use a unique color filter pattern compared the the traditional Bayer pattern that most cameras use. Fujifilm claims this filter layout reduces moire patterns naturally so you don’t need an anti-aliasing filter which can soften details in your photos. They also claim this layout provides for better color reproduction with less color noise. Here is what that looks like.
From a software developers prospective, the way you interpolate, or debayer the raw data from these cameras is quite different from the algorithms we use for most other cameras. For most cameras there has been years of research to optimize these algorithms for speed, quality and reduced errors (noise). These approaches don’t translate directly to the X-Trans layout which forced our engineers to develop a new and unique algorithm for Fujifilm X Series cameras.
When we first started this work we listened to our Fuji users and reviewed the processing results other tools in the market produced. A common refrain we heard was other raw processors often created a smeared or painterly look in areas of texture like grass, bark and rock. This issue was very familiar to us, but in a somewhat different use case. Years ago our Genuine Fractals users would get the same smeared look when upsizing their images. Luckily for us we already knew the causes and how to properly solve the problem.
Here is a great example of this from Joel Wolfson, a respected photographer and writer. You can read more about Joel’s thoughts on Fujifilm X-Trans processing in his recent blog post.
Here is the overview of the image, the area in red is magnified below for comparison we show below.
Here are the processing results in that area using ON1 Photo 2017.0.2 and two other raw processors.
Another processing issue we saw was the odd edges and artifacts in the bokeh, or out of focus regions in certain photos.. These are often caused by internal masks used in raw processors to define different tonal ranges. The hardness of these edges must adapt to the strength of detail in the photo so they are strong on hard edges but soft in areas that are out of focus. Below is an example of this in practice.
Here is the overview of the image, the area is magnified below for comparison we show.
Photos © Nicole S. Young
Our user feedback has been tremendous in helping our engineers solve both of these issues. This yielded excellent image quality and processing results from Fujifilm X Series cameras while maintaining our lightning-fast decoding speed. If you shoot with an X-Series camera, give ON1 Photo 2017.0.2 a try, you’ll really notice the difference compared to your current processing. Version 2017.0.2, our latest update, includes these improvements to our raw processing just for these cameras as well as support for compressed Fujifiilm Raw files. To learn more about the improvements in the 2017.0.2 update click here.