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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”  

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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-Trans
Old 12-14-2014   #1
Bill Pierce
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X-Trans

What are the major differences between the Bayer sensor used in the majority of digital cameras and the Fuji X-Trans sensor? Fuji claims greater resistance to moire patterns even though the sensor does not use an anti-aliasing filter. The problem with that claim is that a growing number of cameras that use a Bayer array do not use an anti-aliasing filter and don’t seem to suffer in any extraordinary way from moire. Indeed, the newer Fuji sensor pattern seems to demand more complex demosaicing. In any case, those setting up imaging programs have much more experience with the Bayer array than the Fuji array. The very popular Lightroom initially had problems with the X-Trans forcing many folks over to Capture One, which did a better job and didn’t share some of the limits and peculiarities of the program furnished by Fuji. Lightroom has improved in performance, but Iridient Developer, PhotoNinja, and Capture One, among others, still do a better job with some images. Still, I do not find the Fuji sensor superior to those using a Bayer array. Comparing modern ASP C, I find the Bayer sensors and the Fuji sensors pretty much the same - with the Fuji sensors sometimes needing image processing with programs outside of the ever popular Lightroom to achieve best results. In other words, look at the camera system, the body designs, the lens quality, e.t.c., not the sensor array when choosing a system. I think the Fuji system is very good, but not because of the X-Trans sensor. Your thoughts?
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Old 12-14-2014   #2
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In order to help me with a purchase decision, I have been comparing Web images of two Fuji cameras that differ basically only in the sensor: The X-A1 with Bayer sensor and the X-M1 with Trans sensor. After having looked at hundreds of images, to me it comes down to color rendition. The Trans sensor images look warmer, with a special something to them that you either like or don't. They could be said to sometimes exhibit a brownish cast to the colors. The images from the X-A1, with Bayer sensor, look like regular digital images without noticeable color cast. More neutral, if you will. Again, the results from the Trans-sensor equipped X-M1 have more of an individual "character" to them, whether that's good or bad depends upon one's individual taste.
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Old 12-14-2014   #3
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It's the lenses. As apsc systems go fuji lenses are tops.
I enjoy the ergonomics of the bodies as well. Controls are in the right places.
I don't think the sensor has a great advantage or disadvantage from bayer sensor cameras at this point.
CO7, LR, aperture all do a nice job. The Xtrans files I have color issues with are the same situations that Bayer has trouble with (red tone gradation in particular).
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Old 12-14-2014   #4
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I shoot B&W only, or at least for anything I spend any effort on. I don't have the technical knowledge to explain why the output from my X-Pro1 and X-M1 appeals to me more than that of most digital cameras I've owned. But I would say it looks more natural and less digital than the rendering of most others. The term "organic" is probably overused but seems apt in this case. I've been through quite a few digital cameras looking for B&W rendering I like and the X-Trans output is partiicularly pleasing to me.

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Old 12-14-2014   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by johnwolf View Post
I shoot B&W only, or at least for anything I spend any effort on. I don't have the technical knowledge to explain why the output from my X-Pro1 and X-M1 appeals to me more than that of most digital cameras I've owned. But I would say it looks more natural and less digital than the rendering of most others. The term "organic" is probably overused but seems apt in this case. I've been through quite a few digital cameras looking for B&W rendering I like and the X-Trans output is partiicularly pleasing to me.

John
Agree - especially so at higher iso's. I like x-trans rendering for my club shooting, couple examples at 6400 with an x-t1:


20141210-023-web by Mike Tuomey, on Flickr


20141210-011-web by Mike Tuomey, on Flickr

Very malleable files, nice to convert in LR5 with my Elixir presets and a few tweaks to crush the blacks .
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Old 12-14-2014   #6
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these are some excellent points and an interesting discussion topic. in the end, like much of photography, it really comes down to subjective decisions. ive had the x100 and x10 non xtrans sensor and the xp1 and x20 xtrans sensors. ive also had many othe ff, apsc and m4/3 digis. in the end, my subjective conclusion is i fully dislike the xtrans sensor as compared not only to the 'original' fuji sensor, but pretty much anything else ive ever used. i find xtrans muddled, lacking in sharpness detail and microcontrast. the greens are flat out awful, imo. i just flat dont like the look, and i use 'flat' specifically as a multiple meaning word.

this was a major disappointment to me as i'm a big fuji fan, from film days, and i loved the innovative x100 and x10. to me the x100 still stands up against many newer offerings from many other companies. but i stress, this is an 'opinion', its not right or wrong, and neither is the counter opinion.
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Old 12-14-2014   #7
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I find xtrans quite sharp, but I don't use LR, I use Aperture. I find the files very 'malleable', I usually shoot to get some minor blown highlights and bring them back in post. This makes for great shadow detail.
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Old 12-14-2014   #8
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I just purchased a XE-1 I'm hoping that I'll see a difference between it and the Nikon
system I've been using.


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Old 12-14-2014   #9
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My opinion is that the "X-Trans" sensor is a marketing gimmick pure and simple.

Fuji knew that they needed to differentiate themselves from the other players when they introduced the X-Pro 1. So, having lots of experience with funky and non-standard filter arrays, they took a standard Sony 16-MB sensor, placed a custom 6x6 color filter array over it, and voila, the magical X-trans sensor was born! Too bad it didn't play nice with existing image processing software, but Fuji didn't seem too concerned about that deficiency.

From a technical and image quality standpoint, I don't see any compelling argument for the "X-Trans" sensor. But from a marketing standpoint, there is no denying that the "X-Trans" has been, at least, marginally successful.
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Old 12-14-2014   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gustavoAvila View Post
My opinion is that the "X-Trans" sensor is a marketing gimmick pure and simple.

Fuji knew that they needed to differentiate themselves from the other players when they introduced the X-Pro 1. So, having lots of experience with funky and non-standard filter arrays, they took a standard Sony 16-MB sensor, placed a custom 6x6 color filter array over it, and voila, the magical X-trans sensor was born! Too bad it didn't play nice with existing image processing software, but Fuji didn't seem too concerned about that deficiency.

From a technical and image quality standpoint, I don't see any compelling argument for the "X-Trans" sensor. But from a marketing standpoint, there is no denying that the "X-Trans" has been, at least, marginally successful.
Not really.

Look. Fuji built a complete and comprehensive system that competes very well in the market.
The lenses are what photographers want at prices they can justify.
The bodies are well designed for use, robust, inexpensive, and getting better with constant hardware and firmware improvements.
It's a system that goes far beyond "a gimmick" or whatever derogatory thing unhappy former adopters or unexperienced "experts" comment.
There were some rough patches with editing continuity early on... sure.
Those issues have been mostly overcome.
A bit of patients learning to use the editing tools available pays off and will unlock the performance available. IQ is excellent.
There are legitimate issues with af speed and performance that for me eliminate this system for some projects.
No other mirrors has completely overcome the same issues.
If one shoots sports or long lens work... get a reflex!
For Portraits, street, and other more deliberate work close in,... the fuji way is great.

If you don't like it fine! However, dismissing what Fuji has accomplished and has delivered to users with this system as a marketing gimmick of some sort sounds like sour grapes and frankly...absurd!
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Old 12-15-2014   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by f16sunshine View Post
Not really.

Look. Fuji built a complete and comprehensive system that competes very well in the market.
The lenses are what photographers want at prices they can justify.
The bodies are well designed for use, robust, inexpensive, and getting better with constant hardware and firmware improvements.
It's a system that goes far beyond "a gimmick" or whatever derogatory thing unhappy former adopters or unexperienced "experts" comment.
There were some rough patches with editing continuity early on... sure.
Those issues have been mostly overcome.
A bit of patients learning to use the editing tools available pays off and will unlock the performance available. IQ is excellent.
There are legitimate issues with af speed and performance that for me eliminate this system for some projects.
No other mirrors has completely overcome the same issues.
If one shoots sports or long lens work... get a reflex!
For Portraits, street, and other more deliberate work close in,... the fuji way is great.

If you don't like it fine! However, dismissing what Fuji has accomplished and has delivered to users with this system as a marketing gimmick of some sort sounds like sour grapes and frankly...absurd!
Huh? Please re-read the thread topic, which only concerns the sensor, not the system, upon which I cast no dispersions.

That being said, I stand by my opinion that the primary "advantage" of the "X-trans" processor is marketing, not technical.
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Old 12-15-2014   #12
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I'm mainly a film shooter but I like to have in my bag a small digital camera (actually a Leica x1) for when I need different iso, like when I have 100 film and need to shoot some interior at 800 or more. Looking for a more versatile small digital than the one I have I'm thinking to buy an xt1 fuji, not so much for the sensor but for the small size, weight and interchangeable lenses.
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Old 12-15-2014   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by johnwolf View Post
I shoot B&W only, or at least for anything I spend any effort on. I don't have the technical knowledge to explain why the output from my X-Pro1 and X-M1 appeals to me more than that of most digital cameras I've owned. But I would say it looks more natural and less digital than the rendering of most others. The term "organic" is probably overused but seems apt in this case. I've been through quite a few digital cameras looking for B&W rendering I like and the X-Trans output is particularly pleasing to me.

John
Though I do shoot some color, this is my take on it as well. The output feels closer to film (especially in B&W), and that to me is a desirable characteristic. At least in my case, I can isolate the sensor as the determining factor, as I use the same LTM lenses on my X-E1 that I use on my Canon rangefinders.
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Old 12-15-2014   #14
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I think it made more sense when the xtrans was originally brought out since back then manufacturers hadn't got into the habit of taking AA sensors out of their cameras and so it did offer a genuine advantage. Now AA filters are weaker, mechanical (e.g. Pentax/Ricoh) or left out entirely, the xtrans doesn't really seem as relevant as before, especially considering the tradeoffs. And in spite of the claims, in my experience I never actually found xtrans files that sharp. They don't seem to have that crispness I've seen from APSC DSLRs or the crunchy sharpness from smaller sensor cameras - but I actually quite like the files anyway. I think they upscale nicely, the colours are good, plus I like the grain from the RAF files at high ISO (but NOT a fan of the JPEG noise reduction).

I've figured out how to use xtrans files in a way that satisfies me so I will keep using these cameras for a while yet, but I'm quite unsure about wether it makes sense for fuji's next cameras to keep the xtrans. Rumours regarding the XP2 are that the camera is designed but they're waiting on a new sensor/processor, no doubt future fuji's will use something a bit different from what they have now.
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Old 12-15-2014   #15
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I too find the XE1 xtrans to produce slightly less saturated colors (mostly in the red zone) and slightly less shadow darkness (can't find the right word there) than the XA1 Bayer sensor.
Hard to compare the X100 because the lens is unique.

Straight out of the camera, I prefer the XA1 JPGs, but similar XE1 JPGs are possible with in-camera tweaking, if you desire.

However the build quality of the XE1 (and the X100) is much more robust than the XA1. So I do wish that Fuji produces a few designs sim to the X100 with an XA1-like (Mp) sensor.

IMO what Fuji brings to the party are it's lenses and body designs. The sensor issue isn't driving their market share way up or way down (again, IMO).
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Old 12-15-2014   #16
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Overall I find the x-trans sensor output more 'film like' than bayer sensors. I can't quantify that.
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Old 12-15-2014   #17
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The x-trans sensor is physically different (size and arrangement of the color cells), but from a pure performance standpoint, I don't find it to be a significant improvement over traditional bayer sensors. I like the system, but not specifically for the sensor.
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Old 12-15-2014   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by daveleo View Post
I too find the XE1 xtrans to produce slightly less saturated colors (mostly in the red zone) and slightly less shadow darkness (can't find the right word there) than the XA1 Bayer sensor.
Hard to compare the X100 because the lens is unique.
i agree dave about the 'flat' colors, and i in particular find the greens muddled as well.

however contrary to your post it is quite easy to compare the x100, in fact thats the easiest comparison, because the original did not have an xtrans sensor, while the x100S and T do. same with the x10 vs the x20. its in these kind of 'apple to apple' fuji vs fuji comparisons where imo the xtrans 'deficiencies' in output become so obvious. but as i said earlier, thats my subjective take on it. the pre xtrans output really suits my eye and the xtrans output couldnt be further from what i like. these are not 'system' comments, just 'result' comments based on sensor output differences and how my eye interperts them.
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Old 12-15-2014   #19
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I should really be a Fuji system owner as so much about what Fuji is doing appeals to me. Timing and the X-Trans, however, have prevented that from happening.

X-Trans shooters do seem to rave about some of the image qualities the sensors are capable of producing. These assertions often appear subjective to me. Note that subjective is not a bad thing. I have trouble seeing the same.

When I was contemplating buying a Fuji I was turned off by the problems in demosaicing. These problems are well documented and the "turning point" if you will came when I saw a print by a photographer I know. The demosaicing problems often encountered with vegetation were clearly present. Also, it appeared at the time that Fuji was overstating ISO and, therefore, one of the other oft touted benefits of the X-Trans (better than bayer high-ISO performance) was not what it seemed.

So in the end I took a pass on Fuji. I don't know if these two key issues have been overcome yet as I don't follow the cameras.

One thing I find interesting is the original X100. This camera, to my eye, produces lovely IQ. And users speak highly of it. It suggests to me that Fuji (in line with the company's history in sensor development) is/was capable of producing an excellent bayer with, shall-we-say, some subjective pixie dust.

I tend to agree with gustavoAvila above that the X-Trans is mostly marketing. But it's marketing that may have backfired. I don't think anyone is buying Fuji systems because of the X-Trans, yet the X-Trans issues have likely turned some potential buyers away.
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Old 12-15-2014   #20
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I think the key thing is that any party providing something different from mainstream should bend over backwards to provide uncompromised support for the most popular tools. Fuji did not initially do this, I hear things have since improved to a usable level. Sigma still have not done this. It's mostly their loss, but (potential) users also suffer.

Foveon is the true differentiator in this space.
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Old 12-15-2014   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gustavoAvila View Post
My opinion is that the "X-Trans" sensor is a marketing gimmick pure and simple.
If this is the case the Fujifilm's management should be fired.

Developing an entirely new color-filter array is expensive and time consuming. That's a massive expenditure of resources to implement a marketing gimmick. There are much more efficient ways to differentiate products via marketing.
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Old 12-15-2014   #22
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And furthermore, how does a "marketing gimmick" cause such admitted division amongst users? The output is distinctly different and acknowledged so.
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Old 12-15-2014   #23
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I never bought a Fuji because of the X-Trans sensor. It was because they had good ergonomics, classic dials / rings, and were relatively cheap.
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Old 12-15-2014   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lss View Post
I think the key thing is that any party providing something different from mainstream should bend over backwards to provide uncompromised support for the most popular tools. Fuji did not initially do this, I hear things have since improved to a usable level. Sigma still have not done this. It's mostly their loss, but (potential) users also suffer.

Foveon is the true differentiator in this space.
I couldn't agree more.
It took Fuji way too long to figure this out. Instead they depended on their Marketing department to hype the XTrans Sensor.
Sigma may never figure this out and the price of their cameras keep plummeting for lack of sales.
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Old 12-15-2014   #25
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...

X-Trans shooters do seem to rave about some of the image qualities the sensors are capable of producing. These assertions often appear subjective to me. Note that subjective is not a bad thing. I have trouble seeing the same.

When I was contemplating buying a Fuji I was turned off by the problems in demosaicing. These problems are well documented and the "turning point" if you will came when I saw a print by a photographer I know. The demosaicing problems often encountered with vegetation were clearly present. Also, it appeared at the time that Fuji was overstating ISO and, therefore, one of the other oft touted benefits of the X-Trans (better than bayer high-ISO performance) was not what it seemed.

So in the end I took a pass on Fuji. I don't know if these two key issues have been overcome yet as I don't follow the cameras.

...
At this point in time the Adobe ACR demosaicing is competent. After doing some comparisons I found all the major raw rendering platforms have slight advantages and disadvantages. This certainly was not the case when the XTrans cameras were initially released.

XTrans raw does have two fundamental disadvantages with ACR. First, the best rendering results will not be obtained if one uses the same post-production techniques one uses for Bayer raw. So there is a learning curve to climb. For instance sometimes a small change in color temperature can significantly improve improve the rendering. The sharpening parameter differences are well documented. Second, different scenes can require rather different rendering parameters to produce the very best results. To some extent this is also the case for Bayer raw, but in my experience XTRans raw is more requires more attention.

I worked with D700 NEFs for many years.The D700 sensor is a rather long in the tooth; the pixel pitches and density is different, so direct comparisons with XTrans raw are questionable, However, in my experience the XTrans raw contains more information. That is, XTrans raw is more robust when it comes to highlight recover and shadow detail.

As far as moiré goes. XTrans raw will show moiré. The LR selective brush tool works very well for effected regions. Oddly, I also occasionally saw moiré in some D700 images which has a AA filter. XTrans raw has less non-moiré rendering artifacts for very fine detail such as speaker grids. But the difference is irrelevant since these sort of effects are only seen with ridiculously zoomed crops. I agree with Bill that moiré is not much of an issue in digital photography.

It turns out Fujifilm has a business group that manufactures color-filter arrays, Fujifilm Electronic Materials. I think one of the advantages of the XTrans system is the characteristics of the sensor's color-filter array. Of course this is only conjecture.

As far as ISO goes, the Japanese camera industry conforms to two ISO standards defined by the Camera & Imaging Products Association, CIPA, guidelines. These guidelines state members of CIPA must measure sensitivity using either the Standard Output Sensitivity (SOS) or Recommended Exposure Index (REI) methods. It is unfortunate Fujifilm uses a method that is different than other brands. But unless Fujifilm is non-compliant with CIPA standards, they are not cheating. If they are cheating, than CIPA membership is worthless. In some ways the entire point is moot for raw files. The sensor only operates at one ISO - base ISO. Increasing ISO just increases the analog signal amplification after the shutter closes. ISO-less cameras (Nikon D7000) don't amplify the signals at all. Instead the increased brightness is achieved by digital multiplication after the data leaves the analog to digital converter. Contemporary sensor technology for many brands is approaching ISO-less behavior. This is why 14 bit ADCs are becoming common. One oddity with Fujifilm is above ISO 1600 analog amplification is no longer used. ISO brightness is achieved entirely using digital multiplication.
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Old 12-15-2014   #26
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Bill,

As many others have said, not many of us decided on the Fuji system purely because of the X-Trans sensor itself. The compact size, price point, and glass have also persuaded many of us to invest in Fuji X gear.

I've used X-Trans based cameras (XE-2, X-Pro, X-T1) and the 14mm, 18mm, 23mm, 35mm, and 56mm almost exclusively in my freelance work the past two years, and can tell you that personally, it's been a great experience.

The X-Trans seems to yield a touch better sharpness than my Canon gear (my last Canon cameras were a 5D mk2, 1DS III and 1D mk IV), even though I can't be sure if that's attributable to purely sensor performance because Fuji's glass has been, in my opinion, EXCELLENT. I also prefer the high ISO look of Fuji X files because they get "grainy" but not "splotchy" the way my Canon files used to look at ISO 3200+ especially in the shadow areas...my personal opinion is that high-ISO shots from the Fuji X print better, in the sense that they are as grainy as their competition, but that grain looks more "natural." Most importantly for me...the Fuji family's COLOR is far superior. Less color correction in post especially when shooting under artificial or mixed light saves me a few minutes an image in post...which translates into hours or even days of time saved per year. Also, Canon and Nikon were never in the film business, and I assume that the color's better because Fuji "gets" color in a way that Canon and Nikon do not, given the three companies' pedigrees. My only real complaint about Fuji's color output has occurred in really messed up lighting conditions, like a portrait lit only by red neon or some other terrible lighting situation...and I think all the digital gear I've ever used hasn't reacted very well to such situations.

One last point regarding the X-Trans: Moire. In all my time using the X-system, I've only managed to provoke one glaring example of Moire:



See the first segment of the walkway after the railing ends. This was taken with an X-Pro and 18mm lens stopped down to f/8 I believe.

I've shot portraits of people wearing thick and fine-woven cloth semi frequently, and haven't managed to coax moire artifacting from the sensor; the only time it seems to rear it's head is when I shoot a horizontally-repeating pattern, usually from an angle (the only other instance I saw a hint of moire was in a vented AC duct on the outside of a building, and that was not as severe as this example).

As for the rest of the system, it's evolved from something slow (X-Pro 1 +35mm lens) to something quite fast (X-T1 +23mm lens) in every sense of the word, from AF speeds to AF tracking to framerate. Sure, it's got drawbacks but so does everything else on the market if you squint hard enough. I think that we live in an amazing era where most of the new cameras on the market are capable of being quite good, and this generation of standard APS-C systems are on par with each other, Bayer or not.

When I considered all of the X-systems factors together holistically, it was just the right package for my shooting style, needs, and preferences, and I've been extremely happy with my results. With every camera system being capable of producing good or even great results, for me the X-systems size, form factor, and performance has been just the right fit.

It's pretty killer having all the options we have these days, isn't it?
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Me too, at first
Old 12-15-2014   #27
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these are some excellent points and an interesting discussion topic. in the end, like much of photography, it really comes down to subjective decisions. ive had the x100 and x10 non xtrans sensor and the xp1 and x20 xtrans sensors. ive also had many othe ff, apsc and m4/3 digis. in the end, my subjective conclusion is i fully dislike the xtrans sensor as compared not only to the 'original' fuji sensor, but pretty much anything else ive ever used. i find xtrans muddled, lacking in sharpness detail and microcontrast. the greens are flat out awful, imo. i just flat dont like the look, and i use 'flat' specifically as a multiple meaning word.

this was a major disappointment to me as i'm a big fuji fan, from film days, and i loved the innovative x100 and x10. to me the x100 still stands up against many newer offerings from many other companies. but i stress, this is an 'opinion', its not right or wrong, and neither is the counter opinion.
I came quite close to ditching my XPro1 when I first got it. I went through the various PP vendors as they were touted to be the answer to the problem. None seemed to be able to come up with image quality that equaled the X100. Then it seems that they finally got it figured out. I first noticed it in Aperture, now all of them seem to be able to get things right. I have this nice array of programs to choose from now, the economy thanks you Fuji.
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Old 12-15-2014   #28
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Positive on Fuji!

Thank you Bill for initiating this thread. I enjoyed your Leica Manual and writing for some time before I could so much as enjoy an M body.

I am not particularly scientific or technical in my approach to photography. I make practical decisions, feel confident about the technique and experience I do have, my aesthetic sense and as Paul Jenkin said here "it either works or doesn't; I feel I know what works for me. Of course when I worked in B&W I did play with chemistry to get what I wanted or hoped to achieve anyway.

I came to the X100 and X100S from an M9 and Leicas before that from M2 on including the X1, and M8. Having owned an X100 and X100S at one time, I had the opportunity to compare the two. Admittedly I didn't test in very diverse conditions but used a tripod and took care to line settings up to the extent I was able. As with just about any two cameras, adjustments were needed in the process of bringing files/images to life. I found the X100S took getting used to and while I have Iridient software, I mostly these days shoot Jpeg with the X100S; it works nicely for me in most applications including some low light, and I have made beautiful enlargements from Jpeg.

While I am sure the comments here about greens, lifeless color, lack of microcontrast and muddle come from real experience, this is not my mine. To the contrary, I have fewer issues processing Fuji files than other digital cameras I've owned including the M9 and with possible exception of the Leica X1. And I have been thrilled by results I have gotten from my Fuji X-trans cameras.

I am happy to have these new Fuji cameras regardless of sensor and look forward to see where they go from here -hopefully another X Pro 2 with OVF.

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Old 12-15-2014   #29
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I am happy with the output from the X100s, but I haven't used the other 16mp sony-based APS-C sensors.

Can someone with an X-A1 and another X camera just make a couple test shots with the same lens and settings and post the raw files?

EDIT: It turns out someone did exactly that:
http://www.fujirumors.com/x-a1-vs-x-m1-the-shootout/
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Old 12-16-2014   #30
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My next comments are motivated by Sam_N's post above, but are aimed at the general audience here.
I contend, with 67% confidence , that, when comparing Fuji camera output, the postprocessing method (RAF-JPG) is irrelevant. If the final comparative files are JPGs viewed on a monitor, it is only important that they were all created the same way.

Therefore .... it is just as viable to compare out of camera JPGs as any other post-processed method.

Isn't that correct ?


EDIT: I am assuming, I think, that the RAF conversion routine in all Fuji cameras is the same. Big assumption.
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Old 12-16-2014   #31
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Not all jpegs are created equal, Dave. If you only shoot raw, all that matters is your raw converter and the in-camera routines don't enter into it.
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Old 12-16-2014   #32
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Didn't mean to derail the thread here. I was seriously curious about RAF-RAF or JPG-JPG comparisons.
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Old 12-17-2014   #33
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Quote:
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Didn't mean to derail the thread here. I was seriously curious about RAF-RAF or JPG-JPG comparisons.
I think it is difficult to actually perform meaningful comparisons. Using default rendering parameters means neither Bayer or XTrans renderings are fully optimized. Carefully optimizing rendering for each means the results are dependent on the subjective decisions made by the person who created the renderings.
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Old 12-17-2014   #34
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I think it is difficult to actually perform meaningful comparisons. Using default rendering parameters means neither Bayer or XTrans renderings are fully optimized. Carefully optimizing rendering for each means the results are dependent on the subjective decisions made by the person who created the renderings.
I agree with this statement about meaningful comparisons and subjectivity in adjusting parameters. When I compared the X100 to the X100S that was my take away- I needed to optimize settings for each camera. The two are different, and it became clear that to arrive at a good solution, I needed to tweak this or that until the result was acceptable. They still had a slightly different look. neither one necessarily better. Both were very good.
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Old 12-21-2014   #35
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I never bought a Fuji because of the X-Trans sensor. It was because they had good ergonomics, classic dials / rings, and were relatively cheap.
+1 here.
I acquired the XE1 and one lens as an experiment. Later I added one more lens. I'd probably have bought a digi-Leica if not for their ghastly quality control, but now the XE1 handles that shooting modality better anyway, since I can't properly use the 1953-era M viewfinder with my glasses on.
The X-files look fine; I find myself deleting the color to go mono just as often as I do with my Bayer-equipped cameras.
The detail rendering irregularities(when the Adobe raw converter is employed) do not show in reasonably-sized prints, period.
And, there's always Photo Ninja or one of the others.
The APSC format does not compete with medium format.
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Old 12-21-2014   #36
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Has anyone shown a comparison of who owns the market share? For everything Fuji is doing right, including the wonderful sensor, I'd suspect buyers are trammeling all the other cameras with other sensors.
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Old 04-23-2015   #37
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Hysterical. Fuji was inspired by the random patterns of crystals in film. So I find it odd that Fuji is criticized for taking a more film-like approach to digital imaging. And they got rid of the AA filter and kept large enough photo sites to perform well at high ISO. Marketing gimmick? Or a camera that will make us old film shooters happy?
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Old 04-24-2015   #38
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I'm not convinced I've ever noticed any real differences.

Perhaps I should have the good manners to be ashamed of myself, or at least embarrassed

I'm also a LR (currently 5.7) user and haven't ever noticed any great issues editing within this software. The majority of the work and pictures I do with these cameras ends up in a monochrome presentation from RAW files so perhaps I'm missing out mostly on colour or jpg issues?

If anyone wants to they can follow my work website link to the 'reportage' weddings I do with just XPro's and X100T (any "street"-y type shots are also X-Trans) and point out any issues, seriously I'd take NO offense, because I'd like to know if I'm missing anything obvious...though some Silver Efex'ing may have made it impossible to tell now - I don't know.

Like film type being a huge matter of preference, or RF over SLR, I suppose we'll now have sensor type to add to the mix - which sounds like a pretty healthy state for photography to be in if choice is taken to be a good thing.
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Old 04-24-2015   #39
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[...]Like film type being a huge matter of preference, or RF over SLR, I suppose we'll now have sensor type to add to the mix - which sounds like a pretty healthy state for photography to be in if choice is taken to be a good thing.
Agreed.
Add the Foveon sensors and the Monochrom one of Leica and you are back to the analog comparison discussions. Decades ago we agreed (i did at least), that you cannot compare two images just because you used the same or similar photo gear. Too big was the impact of underlying film, the development and print process.

Having similar variables in modern photo workflow: Why would someone expect a die hard comparison between two digital images would work?
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Old 04-24-2015   #40
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The simple reason Beyer cameras with mild AA filters (they almost all have some sort of spatial filter even now, regardless of marketing drivel) don't show much moiré in 2015 is that the pixels are sufficiently small that the resolution delivered to the sensor plane is almost always oversampled.

The bigger the pixels the eaiser it is to see moiré. As pixels shrink, more adept optimization of the rest of the imaging chain is required to excite moiré.

Specifically: with modern 36-50 mpix sensors very few photographs are taken with a combination of lens, aperture, camera support, shutter speed, and focus precision that the sensor resolution is actually limiting. In addition, many (most) subjects do not have high-frequency repeating patterns (e.g., fabric) that make aliasing obvious.

Consequently, there are few situations where aliasing is obvious in pictorial photography when a high-density Bayer sensor is employed. Most photographers don't work close enough to the resolution of the latest sensors to actually excite it in the first place, most subjects don't make the aliasing obvious — even when it's there, and most sensors are not as free of antialiasing devices as consumers imagine.

Put a D800E or an A7R on a heavy, well-damped tripod with a top modern lens, and shoot at f/4 with critical focus under a single strobe (not a set of inexactly-synchronized strobes). Do these things and if you're shooting fabric with the right sort of pattern you'll sure as heck see moiré, and plenty of it too. Even with the XTRANS sensor, which is indeed comparatively immune versus a Beyer sensor with identical pixel spacing.
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