Cheap Software Transformed my Fuji Processing

Last week I blogged to explain why I was reluctant to make image submissions from the Fuji X-T2. Then after some internal debate with myself, I made a few submissions. The results are back, and the submitted files passed QA. What I now need to confess to is that I didn’t process the files in Lightroom, I used Iridient Developer.

Lightroom is a key part of my workflow and has been for a long time. I use it for cataloguing, keywording, searching and printing as well as developing images from RAW files. When one aspect of this doesn’t work well, it’s not a simple as dumping it for something else. Unfortunately, despite recent improvements in the Fuji RAW file processing, Lightroom just isn’t as good as Iridient Developer. This is more noticeable with the images shot using my 18-135mm lens than the 16-55mm or 50-140mm.

In terms of using Lightroom with Iridient Developer, the process is easy, but it isn’t entirely seamless. I have Iridient configured so that I can send it a TIFF file from Lightroom. When this happens, it goes off to find the RAW file with the same name and opens that for processing. Once the adjustments are made the resulting image overwrites the TIFF that Lightroom produced. This all works well but I do miss some of Lightroom’s tools such as the Gradient adjustment and Brush tool.

Now if you look back to the original blog post you will see that one reader suggested Iridient X-Transformer and I have a further confession. I tried this software when it was back in its Beta test phase and thought it was fine but couldn’t see the point. Now I have realised, if I can convert the Fuji RAF files to DNG files I could then use all my favourite Lightroom tools. And if the DNG conversion was anywhere nearing the quality of Iridient Developer it would be wonderful.

To cut a long story short, the DNG converted files from X-Transformer are superb. It also integrates into Lightroom as a plugin which means I can select and keyword my files. I then convert to DNG files in batches before processing the DNG files to work on. The resulting images are brilliant and every bit as good as using Iridient Developer. Best of all the software cost me £35 including taxes.

21 thoughts on “Cheap Software Transformed my Fuji Processing

  1. The problem is that Iridient is Mac only so we Windows PC users can’t use this. I confess to not using Lightroom for processing my files but use it for cataloguing although rarely now. The problem with Fuji RAF files in Lightroom is purely the sharpening. Strangely if the RAF file is sharpened in Adobe Camera Raw first and then finally sharpened in Photoshop or NIK then I have no problems. Quite why Lightroom sharpening of RAF files is so different to ACR I don’t know.

    1. Hi Graham, there’s a Windows version of X-Transformer as well. I agree that Lightroom sharpening doesn’t work that well with Fuji RAF files (despite recent improvements), it’s not the only problem. There is definately a problem with the demosaic routine that converts the XTrans data. This is more noticeable with the lower quality lenses and X-Transformer has made noticeable improvements. I would really encourage you to try the demo version.

  2. Robin,

    Thanks for providing this information & I am interested in trying it out. I currently use LR primarily for the digital asset management features & have been trying to do most editing in PS (I have the photograper’s subscription model). But I also occasionally do some editing in both NIK & Affinity Photo after downloading the raw files into LR. Have you had any experience in converting Fuji RAF files into TIFF or other formats in Affinity, & if so, what do you think of doing this?


  3. Hi, I don’t understand how you bought Iridient for £35 all in, according to Iridient‘s website it is more like £90 plus.

    Having dumped Lightroom in favour of ON1’s Photo RAW 22018, I would be very interested in Iridient at £35.

    Best regards, Graham

    1. I think you’re looking at the price of iridient developer. It’s the XTansfoemer software I was using. It produces a DNG File that you can then process with lightroom or similar software that can read these files. Because XTransformer did the conversion from fuji RAF format the quality is a huge improvement. But then you can process the DNG just like any other RAW file.

  4. I’ve downloaded X-Transformer and found it very good especially on landscape pictures with distant detail. I take quite a bit of portrait photos but I have found no problems sharpening those in ACR and Photoshop so if your main interest is landscape then X-Transformer is the way to go at the moment I feel. It will be interesting what FUJI produce in their next software update as they are suppose to be releasing there own software for processing I believe. Not until the end of January for XT-2 users though!

    1. I pleased you like the results. If your a Landscaper like me, it seems to be one of the best conversions. I was reading about the Fuji converter the other day and it appears its going to use the converter built into the camera. Whether that means they will port the camera software to the desktop or if you need to plug your camera into the computer we shall seee. I’m looking forward to trying it though.

    1. Hi Brian,
      Thanks for the information. Whilst I’m not familiar with this photographer, I am familiar with the techniques he covers. There are a number of people who recommend very similar settings. These help drive up the local contrast between the “clumps” of similar tone sensors in the XTrans sensor. You can also achieve something similar using a micro contrast adjustment tool. I have tried the technique on many of my images and whilst it’s an improvement in the usual Bayer sharpening settings, it doesn’t seem to match the sharpness of Iridient. I also find it amplifies the “wiggly worm” in some images, especially where there is very fine rock detail. Having said all of this, these problems are much less evident with some lenses than others. My 10-24 and 18-135 appear more susceptible than any of my other lenses. I suspect there are more variables at work here than just Lightroom sharpening.

  5. I agree 100% with your thoughts on X-Transformer. The dng files are much easier to work with and in mu opinion have a grater latitude for sharpening and exposure adjustments.

    1. Thanks. It has been a real game changer for me. I also like the way the film simulation you set in camera can be carried across into the DNG file. Much better than keep needing to change from “Adobe Standard”.

  6. Hello, just purchased IridientXTransformer and looking at the opening screen it has Default camera profile: ‘Adobe Standard’ on drop down menu. Do I leave it there for optimal results or do I select ‘Iridient Standard’? Also, while I am asking about this what other settings do you change on the opening screen for best results? Thank you.

    1. I tried switching from the Adobe Standard to Iridient Standard but it didn’t seem to make much difference. For most of my images the default settings have been great. I have though tried experimenting with a couple of changes. In the RAW Options screen I changed the Sharpening from Default to Medium and even high with very detailed shots. In the DNG Options tab I have set the Bit Depth to 16 bits/ch. I also ticked the option to Translate film mode to Lightroom Camera Profile. That’s all and it appears to produce excellent results in ever image I have converted.

  7. Hi Robin, I have Iridient X- Transformer on trial at the moment but I am disappointed with the initial results comparing the original RAW file with the new DNG file in Lightroom. On images taken at ISO 12800 the original Fuji X-T2 RAW files have that lovely fine grainy noise but the DNG files have changed this to what is best described as a ‘scale’ like appearance (as in reptile)! I just wondered what settings you use for Sharpening, Luminance/Color Noise Reduction etc.

    1. Hi Geoff,
      I haven’t tried the software on a high ISO image but it should still work well. Most of my images are shot at upto ISO1600 and are fine. I tend to sharpen at Medium or High and set the noise reduction to default. I also have the Lightroom Sharpening and noise reduction turned off. The reason I turn it off is that I see artefacts similar to what you describe. You might also try changing the method from detail to smooth in the first tab. Hope this helps.

      1. Hi Robin, many thanks for your suggestions I’ll give them a try. To be fair i really need to convert some lower ISO images to get a more balanced view on the X Transformer software and hopefully this will give me the sort of results that you are achieving.

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