What lurks in the shadows.

monument_at_sunrise_rye_harbor_state_park_2017

The more time I spend with my Fujifilm X-T2 the more impressed I’ve become with it and the X-Trans sensor inside. One of the things I’ve been most amazed by is the amount of detail I’m able to recover from shadows that seem to have gone to black.

With about 20 minutes before the sun would crest the horizon off the New Hampshire seacoast it was still pretty dark when I made the above photo. So it was no surprise to find the shadow side of the monument rendering as black in the image. Even the histogram in Lightroom indicated there was no detail to be recovered.

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Histogram indicating no detail in the shadows.

Or so it seemed.

While I’m happy with the photo the way it is I was curious as to just how far I could push the shadows and what if any detail might be revealed.

Below is an approximate 100% crop taken from the original photo. Just for the heck of it I pushed the shadow slider in Lightroom as far to the right as it would go.

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100% crop from the original image.

Much to my surprise there was a lot more hidden in those shadows than I thought possible. This is the same crop, only this time with the shadow slider pushed all the way to the right.

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The same 100% crop with the shadow slider pushed all the way to the right.

The real surprise, I wasn’t pulling all of this hidden detail out of a RAW file. All of this detail was hidden in the shadows in the straight out of camera jpeg. The second part of the surprise, there was virtually no noise introduced into the image after boosting the shadows.

Add this to the growing list of reasons why I continue to be happy  with my decision to switch from Canon to Fuji.

Why Choose Fuji?

Because they listen.

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I mean really listen.

When customers request new features, they listen by releasing a constant stream of firmware updates to both new(er) as well as existing older model cameras.

I’m not just referring to adding these new features to future models either. Besides image quality, one of the things Fuji is known for is the constant release of firmware updates. More often than not these firmware updates are designed to add new features such as better and faster autofocus performance to existing models.

Not just for current models either, they are known to add new features or improve performance in older models as well.

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Who else does that?

When most other manufactures seem hell bent on forcing you purchase the newest model in order to get the latest list of features, Fuji is content keeping their customers happy by improving older models as well as the newest high end models. My guess is they know that by treating their customers right and keeping them happy those customers are highly likely to upgrade to the newer models at some point anyway.

Case in point the camera that started my journey with Fuji, the Fujifilm X-Pro1.

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I purchased mine used back in October, roughly four years after its initial release. Known for great image quality though having autofocus performance that can generously be described as glacial, the X-Pro1 was and still is a great camera. However even with the release of the much improved X-Pro2 on the immediate horizon, the engineers at Fuji still saw fit to release at least one more firmware update in an attempt to improve the autofocus performance of this great little camera.

Even my current camera, the Fujifilm X-T2 which shares top of the line billing with its rangefinder style sibling the X-Pro2, has received two firmware updates since I bought it back in October.

Looking back to my time with Canon I can think of only one or two times, if that, that a firmware update was released, not one of which added a new feature of any kind to the cameras.

So if great image quality in a small package that’s built like a tank isn’t enough for you to consider buying one of the many great Fujifilm cameras, getting a few new features added to it long after you bought it just might.

Oh yea, those firmware updates, they’re free!

The (Fujifilm) X-Files

SOOC

Gray barn with red door, overlooking mount Chocorua, New Hampshire winter scenery

Velvia

Sorry folks, no Mulder and Sculley here, the X-Files I’m going to be talking about have nothing to do with aliens or government conspiracies. These X-Files are the gorgeous straight out of camera jpeg files I get from my Fujifilm X-Series camera, the 24mp X-T2. 

Anybody who’s considered purchasing one of Fujifilm’s outstanding X-Series cameras has no doubt heard about the quality of the in camera jpegs. As an avowed (former?)RAW shooter, to say I was skeptical would be an understatement. I just couldn’t believe that a straight out of camera(sooc) jpeg could possibly match a processed RAW file. 

How wrong I was!

Dark shadowy stairway in an old brick mill building.

Acros

The straight out of camera jpegs, especially when utilizing Fuji’s film simulations, are fantastic and have greatly reduced my post processing time because I’m getting finished images when I press the shutter, no further post processing required. 

My personal favorite film simulations are Acros, for outstanding black and whites, Velvia, for rich landscapes, and Classic Chrome, which gives me a cool retro look to the image. 

Am I really done with RAW?

 
Not quite yet, at least not when it comes to commercial work. But I’m close. For critical work I’ll still shoot in RAW+jpeg so I have the RAW file as backup just in case extensive editing is needed for highlight recovery or white balance adjustments. Still, since making the switch from Canon to Fuji 80-90% of the images I’ve shared on my fan page have been the jpegs and not processed RAW files. 

Smiley face graffiti in wooden frame on a brick wall

Classic Chrome

WYSIWYG. 

Two additional features of the X-T2 that help make the jpegs so good right out of the camera is the live histogram displayed both in the electronic viewfinder (EVF), and on the LCD on the back of the camera. This takes the guesswork out of setting exposure since you can easily see how adjustments to shutter speed, aperture, and ISO are affecting exposure. 

The next feature is the ability to set the camera to display the effect your chosen film simulation has on the final image before you press the shutter. Looking through the viewfinder is truly a, What You See Is What You Get moment. 

So that’s it, a few of the many reasons I’m loving my new Fujifilm camera and the X-Files it produces. 

Light In The Shadows. 

Fujifilm X-T2, XF10-24 F/2.8-4

 Washington Street Mill, Dover, New Hampshire.