Fuji XT1 Test image fully processed
Thanks for doing these tests using the XT1 Robin and for alerting me to darktable. I tried to replicate your previous blog test of re-creating the jpeg in Lightroom. I am assuming that you are putting the watercolour effect down to the bayer pattern and most tweaks to the sharpening in Lr only resulted in a worse image for me. I noticed that the pattern showed up differently in the Lr Library module when zooming into the image to 11:1 size than the image in the Lr develop module. In the top right hand corner of the test raw file at 11:1 you can see clearly a circle pattern (in the first blue sky from the top right corner moving along the top to the left). At this zoom level the adjustments to sharpening with all other settings at zero show especially when adjusting the detail slider the patterns more pronounced and the wiggly worm pattern which is probably responsible for your blocky pattern and watercolour effect. No matter how much I changed the settings the jpeg could not be replicated exactly and the histogram shows the differences with the jpeg histogram looking like it is shifted left a little. The shadow detail is where the Raw file seems to fall down after being adjusted. In the past I have tended to use high threshold with my XT1 files if I do any sharpening at all with the images, mostly they don’t seem to need any and I let the default Lr setting apply.
Darktable looks a little slow to use, after trying the same exercise last night. It produced better control of the bayer pattern after adjusting the noise controls. The real question is how do we control the Bayer pattern in our images from not affecting them too much and can it be controlled? Is it the Lens, Camera or Software.
Although you asked us to use Lr what about the inbuilt Raw converter in the XT1 would it do a better job of replicating your jpeg?
Wow. Lots of good questions and points here. When I first started investigating the problem and talking about a water colour effect, I believe that it was down to a combination of poor lens, Adobe software and my stopping the lens down too far (in an attempt to increase the depth of field – I had mistaken the poor lens quality for a depth of field issue on the back of the camera). Now that I have confidence in my lenses and feel much more comfortable with the XT1, the problem that has been annoying me is the Bayer pattern which you call the wiggly worm pattern. I couldn’t agree more with this name as that’s exactly what I am seeing in the foliage of trees, usually distant trees. It’s also one of the things that I don’t like about this camera although I am starting to grown more accustomed to it. The best way I have found to control it is changing the RAW converter. RAW Therapee seems to me to produce the best results although the others that work well are Photo Ninja and Iridient (and now Darktable). RAW Therapee is free and available on both Mac and Windows. The only downside is learning curve as it offers so many complex options.
I have also found that introducing a little noise into the image can help reduce the pattern effect, especially if applied through either a luminance mask or an edge mask.
As for the in camera JPEG’s, they are very good but I find that I can exceed the quality quite easily now using any of the RAW converters.
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