JPEG

In-camera B&Ws and related thoughts

I have mainly been shooting RAW with my X-Pro1 lately largely because of improved RAW support by LR 4.4. But I tested again (did this already with my earlier X-Pro1) in-camera B&Ws and this time exclusively in 1:1 format. Very cool indeed. I have adjusted highlight tones to +1, shadow tones in +2, and sharpening to +1. These settings increase contrast quite a much and give also additional punch to sharpening. Square format is very interesting one for the compositions. When doing this I am not cropping in LR at all and also otherwise use only very minimal adjustments. For example, I am not so worried about clipped highlights or shadow areas (of course I try to get the right exposure). It seems that little bit of a clipping give that certain wanted character for the shots. This approach may seem to be very limiting but actually I find it very nice approach. It gives more space to breathe. It is not limiting me at all. It frees my mind.

When shooting using the approach mentioned above led me to think cameras. This could be very dangerous thing to happen, I know. But anyways. I would be very happy with a very limiting camera. For example, a digital camera with a fixed prime lens having a B&W-only sensor. I know there is Leica Monochrom but it is way too expensive (and it uses interchangeable lenses which too are way too expensive for me). I would like to go one or two steps further from the Monochrom when speaking about limiting factors. Yes, B&W only but fixed prime lens and fixed image format (e.g. 1:1). Yes, just crazy. But I feel that kind of a camera less limiting than those with huge amount of customization. Just take the camera in your hands, compose, expose, and shoot.

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I’ll forget X-Pro1 RAWs – for now

I have tried to process X-Pro1 RAW files with Lightroom and have not been very happy with the results. This is especially true with high ISO shots. ISO 1600 is totally okay but I will need ISO 3200 and even 6400 often. With that high values I am getting quite mediocre results.

When shooting JPEGs even ISO 6400 is quite clean of noise. Below is a shot taken with ISO 6400 and I even added some grain by using a VSCO Film preset. And I feel very comfortable with that shot and result. You can see evolution in that shot. I really hope Lightroom’s RAW converter will have same kind of a evolution – from dinosaurs to elephants.

Do I need RAW shooting?

I have been pondering this question very much lately. Earlier I was pure RAW shooter but because of the lack of proper RAW converter for Fuji X-Pro1 files I started to shoot JPEGs. Or wait a minute… It was actually much earlier than that. It was after buying Fuji X100. I was so stunned of its fantastic JPEGs. I have started lately to shoot also RAW to test if I can get more out of them as compared to JPEGs.

My own answer to this question is simple no. Fuji’s JPEG engine is so fantastic that usually I cannot do better with RAW files. And what I have noticed is that it really is possible to adjust JPEG quite much too. Much more than I have thought of.

Here are few shots taken with Fuji X-Pro1 and all of them are shot as JPEGs. Many of them have been adjusted quite much in LR.