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. 

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Sleeklens, Lightroom Workflow Made Easy(er).

Finish your photos faster.

ammonoosuc_cascade_5567

About a month ago the good people at Sleeklens asked me if I would be interested in trying out some of their workflow products for Lightroom and Photoshop. I figured anything that could speed up my workflow was worth trying, so I agreed to take a look at their Through the Woods collection of presets and adjustment brushes.

Due to the hectic Holiday Season being upon us this is just a brief overview and my initial impressions. Stay tuned for a more in-depth review.

First a few words of disclosure. I am not in any way affiliated with, nor do I receive any monetary gain from using/reviewing/promoting their products, however I was provided the Through The Woods workflow bundle free of charge.  

Tools to help speed up your landscape workflow.

The Through the Woods bundle consists of 50 landscape presets and 30 adjustment brushes that can greatly speed your image enhancement workflow.

The presets are divided into 7 separate categories, All-In-One, Base, Exposure, Color Correct, Tone/Tint, Polish, and Vignette. The majority of the presets are stackable, allowing you to globally add effects to your photos.

The 30 adjustment brushes ranging from Add Golden Sun to Darken Shadows can be used to further enhance your images in a more selective fashion by controlling the size and opacity.

The results speak for themselves.

Below are a few before and after images, none of which took more than a few minutes to go from the straight out of camera before to the finished after.

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Before

cobblestone_beach_marginal_way_2665

After

fort_foster_sunset_7306-2

Before

fort_foster_sunset_7306

After

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ammonoosuc_cascade_5567

After

Even though I haven’t had a chance to really dig into these presets and brushes, so far I’m impressed with the results I was able to get with just a few clicks and a few brush strokes.

For more information on the workflow products offered by Sleeklens you can visit them at the following links.

Through the Woods Workflow  This is the one I used for the above images.

Lightroom Presets Here you’ll find a complete collection of the workflow products offered by Sleeklens.

Image Editing Service If you’re too busy to enhance your own photos, or maybe you’ve got a photo you’re having a problem with, let the experts at Sleeklens handle the task for you with their image editing service.

The last word, for now.

As with any other Lightroom presets the presets offered by Sleeklens don’t all work perfectly on every image. Once applied you may need to go to the adjustment panel and play around with the sliders a bit in order the fine tune the preset to each individual image.

Are they worth it? To that I answer your question with a question, what is less time behind the computer worth to you? The Through the Woods collection sells for $39, and based on the time I can see the presets saving me is quite a deal.

My Favorite Plugins Are Now Free!!

 

Nik logo

I had to share this exciting news as soon as I could.

The Nik Collection by Google is now FREE!! 

That’s right, the plugins that I use on virtually every image are not $299, the price before Google bought Nik.

They’re not $149, the price after Google bought Nik.

They are FREE!!

Run, don’t walk, and get your copy today!!

Notice: these plugins require that you have either Lightroom or Photoshop as host programs, this is not stand-alone software. 

 

Give Lens Flare The Finger!

Have you ever taken what you thought was a killer landscape photo only to get home and find it unusable, ruined by the dreaded lens flare?

lens_flare_in_a_mountain_sunrise_8000-Edit

Some lens flare is good, think of those light rays emanating from the sun.

Some  lens flare is bad, like the big balls of color in the photo above.

Would you like to know how a few simple steps taken while in the field, combine with a few equally simple steps taken during post processing can pretty much do away with lens flare?

Check out my article on Craftsy.com where I show you how to go from this…

beech_mountain_sunset_with_lens_flare_0929

 

…to this,

beech_mountain_sunset_acadia_mask_0931-Edit-2

By giving lens flare the finger.

An Introduction To Canon Picture Styles

Canon Picture Styles, what are they? How do I use them and why?

Check out my latest article on the Craftsy.com Photography Blog to find out more about how to get more out of your Canon DSLR.

5D Mk III LCD Picture Styles Menu 2091