Before purchasing the X-Pro1 I read about the RAW conversion woes reported by many other people. I saw their examples posted to their websites, read the forums, and read the rumor sites. I work exclusively with RAW due to the wide latitude the files provide. I try to expose to the right of the histogram, without blowing highlights, but I have always preferred the flexibility afforded by RAW output. Besides, Canon’s out-of-camera JPG’s were awful.
So, if I knew the issues surrounding RAW files on the X-Pro1, why did I take the plunge anyway? Quite simply, the RAW converter in camera.
You see, as we sit today, the best RAW converter for X-Pro1 images is the camera itself. The camera allows one to do quite a bit of in-camera processing of a RAW file, make multiple JPG files from a RAW, and generally make out-of-camera JPG files something to actually consider rather than abhor. Besides, high-quality JPG’s from the camera provides some flexibility that I had not considered with my Canon. Now, if I don’t feel like processing a RAW file, I can often use the JPG straight out of the camera and have an excellent image.
What about the times when I need to process a RAW file outside of the camera? Well, I use Adobe’s Lightroom for almost all of my image processing and cataloging and Lightroom’s RAW processor for X-Pro1 files isn’t too great yet. Colors are generally there but sharpness is questionable, especially with foliage, where it is left looking like a watercolor painting. Just how bad is it? Check out these examples of a 100% crop from a recent image. The first one is the output after processing in Lightroom 4.2, while the second one is the output of an out-of-camera JPG utilizing the Velvia film simulation.
The difference between those two photographs is shocking and demonstrates how far Adobe has to go before properly handling output from the X-Trans sensor. There is far more sharpness, contrast, and dynamic range in the out-of-camera JPG.
Check out the bright sky along the horizon. It’s almost blown out in the Lightroom example (not as a result of the exposure, which wasn’t changed) while the out-of-camera result has plenty of color and even cloud definition. Amazing.
Now, if that out-of-camera image is what can be achieved with the puny processing power of the on-board computer of the X-Pro1, imagine what a modern desktop can do with the RAW and competent processing software.
Come on, Adobe, help us unlock the potential of the X-Trans sensor.