Fujifilm X100s: Test - Adobe Camera RAW for your high ISO shots!

The Jpegs from Fujifilm x100s smoothens skin details to the extent that it looks like plastic when you are shooting at high ISO. Normally one wouldn't use high ISO for portraits, but sometimes I do in more normal situations like at a party or in a restaurant. I don't have an off camera flash, so... pushing the ISO is the way to go for me. Many of us are used to shoting RAW, especially when shooting in low light. But some like to stick to Jpeg anyway. But if you're taking pictures of people, at high ISO on Fuji X100s and XE-2 (same sensor), and you don't like the skin smoothing feature- but still want the out of camera Fuji colors - Adobe Camera Raw might solve this for you now with their new release candidate.

Please take a look at these examples. (Please don't mind the composotion or lighting, this is just for testing details). They are all the same picture. It's from Fujifilm X100s, shot at a restaurant in low light, ISO 6400, f/2.0 and 1/34sec shutter time. So, I really couldn't push this any higher shooting in RAW  with my X100s.  Click on the pictures for larger size, or go to my flickr page to see full size examples - http://www.flickr.com/photos/authen/sets/72157641397929284/

First up is what you get as straight out of the camera JPEG (I shot in RAW, but converted to JPEG later in the camera - an nice Fujfilm function). The settings for this out of camera JPEG were everything at standard with Film simulation set to Astia. (my favorite Fujifilm simulation). So, Noise reduction: Standard. Sharpness: Standard. Color Space: sRGB. White balance: Auto. 

The skin lacks detail, it's more wax like actually - or plastic. Also look at the brick wall behind the modell, smoothed out. But of course - no noise.

So, you say this must be because the noise reduction in the camera is too high. Well guess what, here's the same exact JPEG, Straight Out of Camera, noise reduction set to lowest (-2) and sharpness set too highest (+2). Everything else is the same as above.

Look any better to you? For me it doesn't make much of a difference. A little bit better perhaps, but the skin is still smoothed out, making that plastic look, the brick wall likewise.

So, shoot in RAW a lot of us say. But then you miss the nice Fujifilm Jpeg colors, the straight out camera JPEG fans say! No, not anymore! (or very soon at least). 

Adobe is updating their RAW conversion program, ACR to version 8.4. It's not officially out yet, but you can already download a release candidate of the program from Adobe. It's a release candidate so the final version will probably be pretty much the same. You can download this from here: http://labs.adobe.com/downloads/cameraraw8-4-cc.html for the CC version, for the CS6 version look here: http://labs.adobe.com/downloads/cameraraw8-4.html

So here it is, the same colors as the in camera JPEG's - but no skin smoothing and no killing of details! The below is the same picture opened as a RAW file in Adobe Camera Raw 8.4RC, converted to full size JPEG. No adjustments were done in ACR conversion except - the I chose the new camera profile for Fujifilm. Astia/Soft - which gives the exact same colors as the in camera JPEG. But with a lot more details (which of course you can freely smooth out yourself later if you want, but now at least you have the choice):

The above is converted to sRGB in Adobe Camera RAW. And the two top pictures are sRGB from the camera. For some reasons on my wide gamut Dell monitor, when opening this blogpost in Chrome, the last pictures is less saturated. In all other browsers I've tried, Safari, Internet Explorer, with other screens, and on my iPad - the colors match up like they should. They also match up in Windows and inside of Photoshop.

To see this for yourself you can check out my Flickr set of the same pictures, in full size and downloadable:  http://www.flickr.com/photos/authen/sets/72157641397929284/

So what the heck the Chrome browser is doing - I don't know. Could be something with the wide gamut profile loaded from my Dell monitor too. Using different monitor or computer doesn't make this problem - even with Chrome.

Please note that the Jpeg from ACR is not saturation og contrast adjusted like the Jpeg out of the camera. So, one should increase the saturation just a tiny notch and the versions should match up even more.