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Best quality settings for X-Pro 2. Black shadows and under exposure, flat images
Old 08-04-2016   #1
eleskin
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Best quality settings for X-Pro 2. Black shadows and under exposure, flat images

Just wanted to know the best settings for highest quality photos. I usually shoot raw on my A7r, and the files have been excellent in tone and detail. At the moment , I am shooting JPEG (I do not have the conversion software yet on my MAC) and find that the X Pro2 can underexpose and the colors are flat at times. So my question is what is the best setting on the camera to generate files that can be worked on with the best results. I am sure most will say just shoot RAW, but what is the best setting for JPEG to give me the most options (and give me files similar to what I see on my A7r).
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Old 08-04-2016   #2
Dogman
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I don't have an A7r and I'm not much of a fan of Fuji's color palette (although I love Fuji's X cameras). That said, if you're getting flat colors, you have a range of options with Fuji for your JPEGs using the film simulations. Velvia is over the top for color and contrast in most people's opinion, including my own. Provia is less saturated, Astia is a little softer and less in-your-face. Classic Chrome can be nice but can look a bit faded. Of the two negative simulations ProNeg Standard is pretty flat and ProNeg High has more contrast. You can always punch up (or down) the color and contrast for any of them using the Highlight and Shadow Tone controls and, of course, the Color control. You can also tweak the JPEGs in Lightroom.

To my eyes, all these simulations are inaccurate to more or less of a degree. But most people like the look and the simulations are very popular. Of course, shooting Raw is the solution. Then you can apply whichever film simulation looks best to you or just go with the Adobe Standard, any of which can be adjusted to taste.
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Old 08-05-2016   #3
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Fujifilm's defualt raw rendering tends to block the blacks in order to improve highlights. This doesn't mean the raw data is modified or altered. It means Fujifilm's definition of 0 EV in their in-camera raw rendering algorithms is weighted to favor highlights. This affects both in-camera JPEG rendering as well as rendering in post-production platforms such as LR.

All the data you need is in the Fujifilm raw file. The difference the optimal rendering strategies are different than those you ar familiar with for the A7r.

Until you start using raw during post-production I suggest you take advantage of Fujifilm's in-camera raw rendering software. While this is tedious you can re-render in-camera raw with different Film Simulation Profiles and rendering curves. I believe there is a Shadow Tone JPEG rendering parameter. These parameters can be saved as presets. I'm not familiar with in-camer JPEGs as I only work with Fujifilm raw. So there may be limitations to Presets I don't know about.

A simpler solution for in-camera JPEGs only is to set the Fujifilm DR in-camera rendering parameter to 200 or 400. This will invoke in-camera rendering that selectively pushes the shadows. Keep in mind when DR is greater 100 ISO is always increased by a factor of two or four. So, one should never use DR > 100 for raw because for any digital camera one should use the lowest possible ISO constant with the required shutter time and aperture for the situation at hand. With post-production raw rendering you can selectively push the shadows as needed so the DR setting does nothing except increase ISO.
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Old 08-05-2016   #4
shawn
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"I believe there is a Shadow Tone JPEG rendering parameter."

There is also a shadow and highlight controls for the JPEGs as well.

"This will invoke in-camera rendering that selectively pushes the shadows. Keep in mind when DR is greater 100 ISO is always increased by a factor of two or four."

Not quite. If you have ISO set at 800 and turn on DR200 or DR400 ISO doesn't change at all. A more accurate way to state this is DR200 requires at least ISO 400 and DR400 requires at least ISO800. The camera will preset this for you if you have AutoISO on and engage DR200 or DR400.

When you are at DR100 the camera meters and shoots at whatever ISO is set.

When you shoot at DR200 the camera meters at the set ISO (with the above stated requirement of >= ISO400) but actually shoots at 1/2 ISO.

When you shoot at DR400 the camera meters at the set ISO (with the above stated requirement of >= ISO800) but actually shoots at 1/4 ISO.

This doesn't really increase dynamic range, it just shifts the exposure window to be able to capture more highlights (at the potential loss of shadows) and then applies a tone curve to the resulting JPEG to boost shadows and mid tones to account for the underexposure.

" So, one should never use DR > 100 for raw because for any digital camera one should use the lowest possible ISO constant with the required shutter time and aperture for the situation at hand. "

The DR settings work exactly the same with RAW as they do for JPEGs. Some raw processing software will automatically apply a correction factor to the file, some won't. IOW, if you are at "ISO800" and DR400 the sensor is actually exposing the picture at 1/4 ISO... ISO200 which is base ISO.

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Old 08-06-2016   #5
willie_901
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shawn View Post
"I believe there is a Shadow Tone JPEG rendering parameter."

There is also a shadow and highlight controls for the JPEGs as well.
These are identical. The in-camera JPEG rendering is identical whether you use a single set of parameters or do different in-camer renderings from a raw file. You use stored JPEG rendering presets as well presets as well.

Quote:
Originally Posted by shawn View Post
"This will invoke in-camera rendering that selectively pushes the shadows. Keep in mind when DR is greater 100 ISO is always increased by a factor of two or four."

Not quite. If you have ISO set at 800 and turn on DR200 or DR400 ISO doesn't change at all. A more accurate way to state this is DR200 requires at least ISO 400 and DR400 requires at least ISO800. The camera will preset this for you if you have AutoISO on and engage DR200 or DR400.

When you are at DR100 the camera meters and shoots at whatever ISO is set.

When you shoot at DR200 the camera meters at the set ISO (with the above stated requirement of >= ISO400) but actually shoots at 1/2 ISO.

When you shoot at DR400 the camera meters at the set ISO (with the above stated requirement of >= ISO800) but actually shoots at 1/4 ISO.
Thanks for this useful clarification. I never use in-camera JPEGs so my ambiguous description needed your more detailed explanation.

Quote:
Originally Posted by shawn View Post
This doesn't really increase dynamic range, it just shifts the exposure window to be able to capture more highlights (at the potential loss of shadows) and then applies a tone curve to the resulting JPEG to boost shadows and mid tones to account for the underexposure..
It is physically impossible to increase the datas' analog dynamic range after the shutter closes. Fujifilm's use of DR for automated underexpose (an in-loco parentis scheme to protect inexperienced photographers from blowing highlights) and then selectively pushing shadow regions is confusing and unfortunate. In fact when their DR parameter is > 100, the analog DR can be decreased. If the higher ISO is not required to use appropriate shutter times and, or apertures the DR actually goes down. I intentionally did not discuss this because the OP was looking for a temporary solution and most in-camera JPEG users could care less.

" So, one should never use DR > 100 for raw because for any digital camera one should use the lowest possible ISO constant with the required shutter time and aperture for the situation at hand. "

Quote:
Originally Posted by shawn View Post
The DR settings work exactly the same with RAW as they do for JPEGs. ...
When you do what the meter tells you to do, increasing ISO always decreases the analog DR when the shutter is open. Dr depends directly on SNR and increasing ISO decreases exposure which results in less signal. And this is how come people recording in-camera raw files should never use DR > 100. One exception could be silkyPix users. SilkyPix seems to have a close relation ship with Fujifilm so it's possible SilkyPix has a mode automatically lifts shadows. Of course the DR is compromised if the DR ISO is higher than it needs to be.
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Old 08-06-2016   #6
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"In fact when their DR parameter is > 100, the analog DR can be decreased. If the higher ISO is not required to use appropriate shutter times and, or apertures the DR actually goes down."

Remember though that only the metered ISO may have increased, the sensor is running at 1/2 or 1/4 ISO. So the sensors DR is not lower. Or in the case of ISO400 dr100 turning it to dr200 would increase DR as the actual sensor will now expose at base ISO.


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Last edited by shawn : 08-06-2016 at 06:26. Reason: Clarity
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Old 08-06-2016   #7
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Actually, I think there is a case for using auto DR (selects between 100 and 200) when shooting raw if you are using auto exposure and auto iso. In this case, auto DR can help maximise exposure (I.e. Minimise noise and maximise signal Dr) whilst also protecting highlights that the standard matrix metering would allow to blow. It's a compromise, and not as effective as full manual control, but quite.effective when you are working quickly in changing light or just snapping.

For Jpeg shooting it's absolutely sensible to use. My daughter took mine to Canada a few weeks ago. I set it to auto everything and Jpeg out, fitted the 27/2.8 and, apart from her occasional desire for a 'zoom' it was perfect. She's only 14 and also has her own fed 4 that she's learning to use.

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Old 08-06-2016   #8
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Exactly, auto Dr can work well with raw when shooting in fast changing lighting. One of the things I like about the xp1 vs xp2 is the xp1 will go to dr400 in autodr mode.

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Old 08-07-2016   #9
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If you don't care about recording data with the highest possible signal-to-noise ratio, it doesn't matter what ISO you use. The data's analog dynamic range depends directly on the SNR. Nothing else matters.

The meter is meaningless. For optimum dynamic range, all that matters is maximizing the SNR of the analog data when the shutter is open. This could mean loosing unimportant highlights in order to maximize shadow-region SNR. Of course maximizing SNR is useless without appropriate apertures and shutter times.

When it is useful to rely on the meter's estimate, setting DR > 100 may or may not be the best strategy. It depends on how important it is to properly expose all the highlights. It also depends on the dynamic range of the scene. In many circumstances the scene of interest does not challenge the camera's analog dynamic range.

In practice convenience and spontaneity can be more important than maximizing the signal (a.k.a exposure of the sensor). At the same time it is useful to maximize raw data SNR because in some circumstances it does make a difference.
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Old 08-14-2016   #10
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In my OPINION raw shooters should never use the DR expansion modes.


Auto DR - this doesn't update the in camera histogram. So you're giving yourself 1 or 2 stops (sic) of headroom but the histogram will be meaningless (and it's only a luminance guide at the best of times)

This is true of all the fuji cameras

However, the X-Pro2 will use the correct histogram if you MANUALLY select DR200 or 400

The earlier fuji X cameras will ALWAYS show you a DR100 histogram no matter what DR setting you select, be it via manual or auto.

The DR modes are accurately explained above.

But it works like this,

In DR expansion modes the camera UNDER exposes by one or two stops, then a shadow and mid tone brightening curve is applied to the jpg.

But the raw file is left with one or two stops of under exposure, as using DR completely removes pre ADC brightening.

There's also the angle of how what ever raw SW you use treats DR expanded raw files, for example some (LR iirc) apply a GLOBAL image brightening curve upon demosaicing what it sees as a underexposed file. Just what you need when you want to preserve highlights (not)

Max DR is always native ISO. If you can't use base ISO for whatever reason, then manually raise the ISO - at least the resultant raw file will have the correct info in the meta data for your raw SW to work with.

For jpg shooters, DR expansion is pretty helpful if used in the correct application (for example you're not letting the camera throw away a stop of data in auto mode, just to save a highlight you don't care about in the shot)
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Old 08-14-2016   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eleskin View Post
Just wanted to know the best settings for highest quality photos. I usually shoot raw on my A7r, and the files have been excellent in tone and detail. At the moment , I am shooting JPEG (I do not have the conversion software yet on my MAC) and find that the X Pro2 can underexpose and the colors are flat at times. So my question is what is the best setting on the camera to generate files that can be worked on with the best results. I am sure most will say just shoot RAW, but what is the best setting for JPEG to give me the most options (and give me files similar to what I see on my A7r).
Not enough clues about what images you like to answer very well!

But

Pro neg std colour +1 or +2 with shadow +1 is pretty natural, and a bit punchy, but not stupidly so

Same settings with classic chrome isn't that natural, but looks ok

PERSONALLY I use sharp -1 and NR-3 and I think this looks ok for detail, but tbh I use these settings to facilitate accurate manual focusing (with focus peaking set too low) rather than any great love of sooc jpgs (except acros, I like acros very much and often PP that!)

SOOC jpgs (even with NR -3) are still unaturally clean for my tastes... The fake grain weak setting can be ok... Bit tacky though IMO/YMMV

As previously mentioned, the in camera raw convertor is a decent tool to get the best from your SOOC files (for example, you wont find a sooc jpg setting that's great for sunsets and portraits, so why not give yourself the flexibility to change the files later? Plus when you can PP raw in the future you revisit your shots from now!)

Not sure what raw SW you're waiting for... But making 16 bit .Tiffs with the bundled SW that ships with the camera (or DL from fuji's website) will give you files with a reasonable amount of malleability and will work in just about any PP SW. You can even pick a close approximation of the Fuji film sims with it

HTH?
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