These are all just boldfaced statements about how I feel or what I think. They’re just my ideas & if they differ from other people’s, that is fine. Different strokes, and all that.
1. People rave about the quality of the jPegs from X-Trans cameras. Yep, they’re pretty good. But I feel RAW is still better. More headroom, as they say.
2. Capture One is the best. Maybe Iridient Developer 2.2 gets more detail (important when you’re printing pixels), and maybe others do this or that, but for overall use as a RAW importer / converter / etc., I think Capture One comes out trumps. Overall, I find Capture One processed RAW files look best. But hey, it’s a personal thing, and also, depending on what’s being looked at, it really is splitting hairs at times.
3. Lots of stuff on the inter-naught about the pixel peeping results from the X-Trans sensors. “Watercolour effect,” and all that. However, I haven’t noticed anyone writing about the horrible smudged effect at the transitional edges of shadows. I first noticed it before I had bought my X100s, when I downloaded someone’s example X-Pro1 files (so, it’s not just me doing something odd on import). It looks like someone has taken some nugget (shoe polish) on a brush and dabbed it along the edges of shadows. I’ve never seen this before, so presumably it is an X-Trans thing. But it is also software compounded, as it is worse in jPegs, worse if soft-proofing and worse in Aperture than Lightroom. It also seems to show up more in out of focus areas. It’s not really a problem with those kind of ‘good tonal spread with open shadows’ photos which I find people often pushing (like when demonstrating the ‘correct’ way to process an image). But with shots where you want transitions into black for effect, it can be a real killer. It doesn’t appear so much once files are exported either, which is good (I guess), but when making adjustments to a photo, you want it to render nicely so you can actually judge what you are doing! Having said all that, most of my problems in life eventually turn out to be self generated, so perhaps it is just something fundamental, software-wise, I’m missing. See photos at bottom.
4. Not seeing the smudges in Capture One, so someone’s doing something right.
5. The same unprocessed post Capture One TIFFs appear lighter and less contrasty, with more open shadows in Lightroom, but, to my eye at least, more pleasant in Aperture. Again I’ll note, that’s pre-processing / adjusting.
6. On the other hand, although I’m new to Lightroom and have been only using it for a few days, I seem to be getting results faster – in terms of the adjustments part of handling files. Dare I say it, the results might even be better than I get in Aperture. The organisational thing I still don’t get. I’ll admit it, I want to hate Lightroom, and I do, except for the ‘Develop” module. And – sigh – ultimately it’s the photograph that’s important. Looks like change is in the wind.
7. Just realised, I’ve started to pixel peep. Going to knock that on the head, right now (well, after I stick in the smudge examples below).
Below are screen shots of zoomed in smudged shadows – they go Aperture, Lightroom, Aperture, Lightroom & finally, Aperture. In the first two, look at the shadows on the left side of the watch strap and the mottled tone of the large black area of the tattoo. In the second pair, look at the neck shadows and into the deepest shadows of the hair. The last, more out of focus area photo should be very obvious. I’m on holiday, with only my laptop, so I’m afraid I don’t have any good examples of this where the effect clearly ruins a photo that relies compositionally on a prominent transition to black.