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Bill Pierce - Leica M photog and author

 

“Our autobiography is written in our contact sheets,  and our opinion of the world in our selects”  

"Never ever confuse sharp with good, or you will end up shaving with an ice cream cone and licking a razor blade."  

 

Bill Pierce is one of the most successful Leica photographers and authors ever. I initially "met" Bill in the wonderful 1973 15th edition Leica Manual (the one with the M5 on the cover). I kept reading and re-reading his four chapters, continually amazed at his knoweldge and ability, thinking "if I only knew a small part of what this guy knows... wow."  I looked foward to his monthly columns in Camera 35 and devoured them like a starving man.  Bill has worked as a photojournalist  for 25 years, keyword: WORK.  Many photogs dream of the professional photographer's  life that Bill has earned and enjoyed.  Probably Bill's most famous pic is Nixon departing the White House for the last time, victory signs still waving. 

 

Bill  has been published in many major magazines, including  Time, Life, Newsweek, U.S. News, The New York Times Sunday Magazine, New York Magazine, Stern, L'Express and Paris Match.  :His published books include  The Leica Manual,  War Torn, Survivors and Victims in the Late 20th Century, Homeless in America,  Human Rights in China,  Children of War.  Add to that numerous exhibitions at major galleries and museums.  Magazine contributions include  Popular Photography,  Camera 35, Leica Manual,  Photo District News, the Encyclopedia of Brittanica, the Digital Journalist, and now RFF.  Major awards include Leica Medal of Excellence, Overseas Press Club's Oliver Rebbot Award for Best Photojournalism from Abroad,  and the World Press Photo's Budapest Award. Perhaps an ever bigger award is Tom Abrahamsson's comment: "If you want to know Rodinal, ask Bill."

 

I met Bill in person through our mutual friend Tom Abrahamsson.  In person his insight and comments are every bit as interesting and engaging as his writing.  He is a great guy who really KNOWS photography.  I am happy to say he has generously agreed to host this forum at RFF  From time to time Bill will bring up topics, but you are also invited to ask questions.  Sit down and enjoy the ride!

 


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X Pro & E1 raw files
Old 11-25-2012   #1
Bill Pierce
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X Pro & E1 raw files

This is one of the most interesting, informative and useful articles on the issue of converting Fuji X Pro and E1 raw files.

http://www.dmcgaughey.com/2012/11/07...aw-conversion/
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Old 11-25-2012   #2
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Thank you for posting.
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Old 11-25-2012   #3
Jamie Pillers
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Bill,
As I said in another thread here recently, I can imagine the possibility that Fuji will go no further in providing RAW support for their X cameras but instead continue to improve the ability to adjust jpeg output. Jpegs from my X-Pro1 are already very good.

Some years ago I began thinking about the 'perfect' digital camera... what it could do. One of the issues I thought possible is that the difference between in-camera adjustment of RAW data to produce a jpeg file, and RAW output would narrow to the point that eventually there would only be in-camera adjustment... no RAW output needed. And we'd eventually see RAW files as an old-fashioned idea from long ago.
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Old 11-26-2012   #4
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Currently, however, the very best jpgs from the very best cameras don't even come close to what you can get from a RAW file. The new X E1 is hugely tempting for its manual controls (shutter speed dial and aperture ring) but if I can't get good RAW conversion from ACR, then I really can't imagine buying it, at least for now...
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Old 11-26-2012   #5
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RAW processors are getting better all the time. Just give the Engeneers some time to adjust their formulas to the new color pattern. One of the advantages of RAW is that if you develop a photo from a few years ago it will now look much better than it did back then, thanks to the improved programs and faster computers. Until RAW processors catch up, shooting JPEG+RAW is probably a good idea...
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Old 11-28-2012   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jamie Pillers View Post
Bill,
As I said in another thread here recently, I can imagine the possibility that Fuji will go no further in providing RAW support for their X cameras but instead continue to improve the ability to adjust jpeg output. Jpegs from my X-Pro1 are already very good.

Some years ago I began thinking about the 'perfect' digital camera... what it could do. One of the issues I thought possible is that the difference between in-camera adjustment of RAW data to produce a jpeg file, and RAW output would narrow to the point that eventually there would only be in-camera adjustment... no RAW output needed. And we'd eventually see RAW files as an old-fashioned idea from long ago.
Jamie, I agree with everything you have said, adding that I believe that for most photographers RAW is already old-fashioned. There is much concern and gnashing of teeth on the internet about the necessity to shoot RAW and produce from that the technically perfect image. What goes unsaid is that, in most cases, the image doesn't warrant such meticulous handling since it will still be average, even though technically perfect.

The jpeg output of the X-Pro1 is far better than we ever had it with Leica cameras and glass, back when we thought the picture was important.
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Old 12-02-2012   #7
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To abandon the development of raw in favor of the current camera generated jpeg is analogous of ditching monochrome silver negative film in favor of black and white reversal. Good luck with that...
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Old 12-02-2012   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bike Tourist View Post
Jamie, I agree with everything you have said, adding that I believe that for most photographers RAW is already old-fashioned. There is much concern and gnashing of teeth on the internet about the necessity to shoot RAW and produce from that the technically perfect image. What goes unsaid is that, in most cases, the image doesn't warrant such meticulous handling since it will still be average, even though technically perfect.

The jpeg output of the X-Pro1 is far better than we ever had it with Leica cameras and glass, back when we thought the picture was important.
As good as the Fuji jpg engine is... I still shoot raw w/ jpg (raw+jpg).. Here are some points to remember about jpg
- jpg is not lossless - it uses compression algo during save process
- every time u change something and save again to jpg, u have lost more info
-- unless u use a non-destructive photo editor such as Aperture or LR
-- or u save to a lossless format like tiff when using a normal photo editor
- harder to pull a good photo from a jpg if u accidentally moved the exposure compensation dial on the Fuji and u don't notice it in time compared to a raw file
- more info in a raw file, if the photo program can use it

W/ that said, I only go thru the trouble of using the raw file in RPP or silkypix for only the best of the keepers.

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Old 12-03-2012   #9
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Almost two weeks ago, I emailed Fuji with a question about the X Pro/E 1. They seem to promise an answer in a few days at most in the following automated email that I received moments after each time I sent them my email.

"We appreciate you e-mailing FUJIFILM, USA and look forward to assisting you. Please be advised that you will be receiving a response from our Contact Center shortly."

I have yet to hear from them although the first copy of my email was sent almost two weeks ago. Here's the email I sent them.

I am sure I am not the only photographer who has contacted you about the inadequacy of the raw file processing programs available for the X Pro and X E1. As long as the in-camera jpegs are superior to the images produced by the few programs that will process the raw files, professionals, artists and serious amateur photographers are quite limited in what they can do with what is, in essence, potentially a very fine camera system.

I have contacted Fuji USA by phone. I have spoken to sales and marketing people at trade shows. I have yet to get a straight answer on when an adequate raw processing program will be available. In the 1970’s to 90’s , I was one of the photographers at Time/Life. I got used to working with a small camera, at that time a Leica, and still use small cameras when possible for the commercial work I do today. I have three Fuji bodies and a basic set of lenses. I'm hoping you can tell me specifically where and when I will be able to get a raw processing program that will give me at least the overall image quality of the current jpegs plus the ability to manipulate that is inherent in raw files.

I really do like the Fuji system. I don't want to go back to big DSLR's when they are not necessary. But, unless I know that in a relatively short period of time I can get better raw processing than what is currently available, I have no choice but to let go of the system. I do hope you can give me some specific information on the availability of better raw processing for the Pro and E1. I know I am not alone in wanting to be able to use the Fuji system to its full potential. I'm in touch with too many photographers who feel the same way. Please help us.
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Old 12-03-2012   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Pierce View Post
Almost two weeks ago, I emailed Fuji with a question about the X Pro/E 1. They seem to promise an answer in a few days at most in the following automated email that I received moments after each time I sent them my email.

"We appreciate you e-mailing FUJIFILM, USA and look forward to assisting you. Please be advised that you will be receiving a response from our Contact Center shortly."

I have yet to hear from them although the first copy of my email was sent almost two weeks ago. Here's the email I sent them.

I am sure I am not the only photographer who has contacted you about the inadequacy of the raw file processing programs available for the X Pro and X E1. As long as the in-camera jpegs are superior to the images produced by the few programs that will process the raw files, professionals, artists and serious amateur photographers are quite limited in what they can do with what is, in essence, potentially a very fine camera system.

I have contacted Fuji USA by phone. I have spoken to sales and marketing people at trade shows. I have yet to get a straight answer on when an adequate raw processing program will be available. In the 1970’s to 90’s , I was one of the photographers at Time/Life. I got used to working with a small camera, at that time a Leica, and still use small cameras when possible for the commercial work I do today. I have three Fuji bodies and a basic set of lenses. I'm hoping you can tell me specifically where and when I will be able to get a raw processing program that will give me at least the overall image quality of the current jpegs plus the ability to manipulate that is inherent in raw files.

I really do like the Fuji system. I don't want to go back to big DSLR's when they are not necessary. But, unless I know that in a relatively short period of time I can get better raw processing than what is currently available, I have no choice but to let go of the system. I do hope you can give me some specific information on the availability of better raw processing for the Pro and E1. I know I am not alone in wanting to be able to use the Fuji system to its full potential. I'm in touch with too many photographers who feel the same way. Please help us.
I think maybe we should start a online petition to make them open there eyes.
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Old 12-03-2012   #11
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Originally Posted by stompyq View Post
I think maybe we should start a online petition to make them open there eyes.
Good idea... It is a amazing how well they listen to everything else...but are so different about this..

There was an article about how long Fuji took to develop the algo's for the raw to jpg engine (somewhere in the neighborhood of 3-5 years if I remember correctly). I wonder if silkypix had to sign a level of confidentiality agreement past the normal nda, and others don't want to sign that level or the lawyers are still in the middle of the final nda that will open the doors for aperture, LR and ps to have a good raw developer.

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Old 12-03-2012   #12
Jamie Pillers
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Pierce View Post
Almost two weeks ago, I emailed Fuji with a question about the X Pro/E 1. They seem to promise an answer in a few days at most in the following automated email that I received moments after each time I sent them my email.

"We appreciate you e-mailing FUJIFILM, USA and look forward to assisting you. Please be advised that you will be receiving a response from our Contact Center shortly."

I have yet to hear from them although the first copy of my email was sent almost two weeks ago. Here's the email I sent them.

I am sure I am not the only photographer who has contacted you about the inadequacy of the raw file processing programs available for the X Pro and X E1. As long as the in-camera jpegs are superior to the images produced by the few programs that will process the raw files, professionals, artists and serious amateur photographers are quite limited in what they can do with what is, in essence, potentially a very fine camera system.

I have contacted Fuji USA by phone. I have spoken to sales and marketing people at trade shows. I have yet to get a straight answer on when an adequate raw processing program will be available. In the 1970’s to 90’s , I was one of the photographers at Time/Life. I got used to working with a small camera, at that time a Leica, and still use small cameras when possible for the commercial work I do today. I have three Fuji bodies and a basic set of lenses. I'm hoping you can tell me specifically where and when I will be able to get a raw processing program that will give me at least the overall image quality of the current jpegs plus the ability to manipulate that is inherent in raw files.

I really do like the Fuji system. I don't want to go back to big DSLR's when they are not necessary. But, unless I know that in a relatively short period of time I can get better raw processing than what is currently available, I have no choice but to let go of the system. I do hope you can give me some specific information on the availability of better raw processing for the Pro and E1. I know I am not alone in wanting to be able to use the Fuji system to its full potential. I'm in touch with too many photographers who feel the same way. Please help us.

I still say that we might be making too much of a commotion about this lack of RAW support. Bill, do you think you can't produce images acceptable to your commercial clients with the X-Pro1 jpegs? It seems to me that using a program like Aperture gives you more latitude for adjustment of the X-Pro1's jpegs than you had when using film.
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Old 12-03-2012   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jamie Pillers View Post
I still say that we might be making too much of a commotion about this lack of RAW support.
An 8 bit jpg, no matter how good, is just not suitable for many purposes. Bill states the case eloquently in his letter to Fuji. Personally, I cannot shoot jpg. I would buy an XE1 tomorrow if I could open the RAW files in ACR (and get good results). Meanwhile, I am using the NEX cameras with the Sigma lenses, and with Leica lenses, for quite a bit of professional work. The results are great, but I'd love a real shutter speed dial and aperture ring.
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Old 12-03-2012   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by digitalintrigue View Post
Might want to try sending it to

Kayce Baker <[email protected]>
Director of Marketing
Fujifilm North America Corporation
Electronic Imaging Division
I spoke to her at Expo. She was gracious and pleasant, but did not supply any specifics.
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Old 12-03-2012   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jamie Pillers View Post
I still say that we might be making too much of a commotion about this lack of RAW support. Bill, do you think you can't produce images acceptable to your commercial clients with the X-Pro1 jpegs? It seems to me that using a program like Aperture gives you more latitude for adjustment of the X-Pro1's jpegs than you had when using film.
There are cases where I can't produce images that are acceptable to me from the jpg's. By running raw files through Lightroom, SilkyPix and RPP in a variety of ways I can usually come up with something acceptable. If I had to do that on a professional shoot with a large batch of images, I'd never get done. I need a single program that will give me the good sharpness inherent in the Fuji jpg's and the color and tonal controls I can get from raw files.
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Old 12-03-2012   #16
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Here is a interesting link if your willing to go the extra mile. Particularly important since some of us are not apple uses and can't use RPP.

http://www.flickr.com/groups/fuji-x-...7631913173508/
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Old 12-04-2012   #17
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I think it is necessary to distinquish two things here.
1. The availability of a specification of te RAW format. If the RAW file is encypted or obfuscated so that a great deal of reverse engineering is required to read the RAW data then is clearly an obstacle to third party processing and a good reason to not buy a product that restricts access to data you have created.
2. If Fuji know better than anyone else how to get the best out of that RAW file then that is their trade secret and in my opinion they are entitled to keep it.
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Old 12-04-2012   #18
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2. If Fuji know better than anyone else how to get the best out of that RAW file then that is their trade secret and in my opinion they are entitled to keep it.
Certainly entitled to keep trade secrets, but that route may not coincide with business interests. Licenses and NDAs are how companies usually serve both interests, and Fuji easily can go this route, but appear disinclined to do so. That's a shame.

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Old 12-04-2012   #19
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Certainly entitled to keep trade secrets, but that route may not coincide with business interests. Licenses and NDAs are how companies usually serve both interests, and Fuji easily can go this route, but appear disinclined to do so. That's a shame.
Does it serve Fuji's interest? Perhaps noboddy is willing to pay what Fuji require for a licence? If Adobe's raw processing was better than Fuji's own do you think Adobe should be obliged to license the technology to Fuji?
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Old 12-04-2012   #20
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Originally Posted by digitalintrigue View Post
They provide Silkypix so we know they've worked with at least one software developer.
If Ichikawa indeed has access to the complete Fuji x-tran demosaicing algorithm, then Silkypix processed raw files should be comparable to the X-Pro1's jpeg output.

So far, all the comparisons I have seen are lacking; Fuji is holding back some steps in the algorithm (from Ichikawa).

If Fuji truly desires X-Tran to be a marketing success, they must publish their (x-tran) demosaicing algorithm.

Since they have not done so, suggests they consider this proprietary information and are actively restricting its access.

Since it reportedly took many years to develop the x-tran demosaicing algorithm, third parties cannot be expected to undertake the expense to replicate Fuji's efforts.

Though some individuals may consider raw processing to be quaint and obsolete, a significant number of buyers will not consider models that are not fully supported by Aperture or Camera Raw.

Lets hope that Fuji "sees-the-light" and releases this information soon.
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Old 12-04-2012   #21
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I am happy with Fuji jpgs. As an enthusiast (i.e. not a pro), I don't need the same high level of quality that Bill does. I'd like to have it but I don't need it.
But I hope better RAW support comes soon. I wrote to Apple recently asking that they support Fuji X RAW in Aperture.
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Old 12-04-2012   #22
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But I hope better RAW support comes soon. I wrote to Apple recently asking that they support Fuji X RAW in Aperture.
I used the Sigma DP1 camera for a while. I liked the camera, I liked the results, and years later still do. The fact that adequate RAW support just wasn't happening however led me to selling that camera. I learned my lesson there and will wait for decent RAW support before jumping to a new camera system. Others may feel differently, but I like my efficient workflow.
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Old 12-07-2012   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Pierce View Post
This is one of the most interesting, informative and useful articles on the issue of converting Fuji X Pro and E1 raw files.
thank you for that link. The article and the embedded links (e.g. "Sandy") were understandable even to the technicaly challanged ;-). I also found the comments to Sandy's four part post interesting, as well as his post on RAW developers vs. camera mfgs.

I am sure that you understand that when you don't get an answer from a Japanese mfg, that the silence is the answer ;-). Possibly the "wrong or wrongly worded" question or addressed to the "incorrect" person/group. If you are interested, try again...

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Capture one rumor for raw support
Old 12-07-2012   #24
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Capture one rumor for raw support

Even though I am not a user of capture one... I hope this rumor is true.. And other vendors are not far behind now.

http://www.fujirumors.com/x-trans-un...eries-support/

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Old 12-07-2012   #25
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Excuse me if I missed this, but has anyone used Adobe DNG Converter on the Fuji RAW files? I totally forgot about it and will try it out myself tonight.
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