Adobe has made their almost-finished versions of Lightroom 4.4 and Camera RAW 7.4 available for download. These Release Candidates (RC) have been thoroughly tested, but are subject to improvement over the next few months before final versions are available. So far, Lightroom 4.4 RC is a free download for all current Lightroom 4 customers and will expire by 31st of May. Adobe Camera RAW 7.4 RC will expire on 30th of April. Why are these RC updates important? Well, first of all because of the added support for newest camera models:
Along with X100S, Fujifilm has also announced a new high-end compact camera. Replacing the very popular and attractively styled in recent Fujifilm X-series fashion, Fujifilm X10, the new camera retains all of predecessors’ strengths and gains a few more. With what X20 has to offer, it should end up as a very nice little camera for those who want a camera for simple occasions but with the usual flexibility of higher-end gear.
Fujifilm’s storming 2013 with two refreshed models. Today, the Fujifilm X100S and X20 were announced (along with some other compact cameras). Both X100 and X10 were, and still are, immensely popular and well received by photographers of all levels. Strangely enough, their popularity is not due to outright perfection, but a very subtle balance between quality and… character? By all means, these cameras are not exactly easy to live with due to an enormous amount, for a finished product, of quirks. Luckily, Fujifilm is big on customer opinions – they seem to have heard the more known complaints and reacted accordingly. As a result, the two updated compact cameras carry certain welcome improvements. Lets see what those are in more detail, starting with the X100S and the X20 covered in a separate article.
Continuing to bring improvements to existing products, Fujifilm today announced a v2.0 firmware update, developed for the highly popular X-Pro1. The biggest downside of the X-Pro1 for us when we reviewed it, was its somewhat slow AF speed. However, given how Fuji has been addressing problems in the Fuji X100 with firmware updates, we knew it was a matter of time until we see a major firmware update with autofocus tweaks. With the v2.0 firmware update, Fujifilm is bringing us all the auto focus, manual focus and write speed improvements the newly announced X-E1 has to the X-Pro1. Many X-Pro1 owners will be extremely happy with this firmware. We will update our Fuji X-Pro1 review as soon as we get to test v2.0 firmware.
Ever since the often-mentioned X100, Fujifilm has been working very hard not to let their luck slip. Today, they made yet another step (actually – not one, but three steps) into winning over more customer hearts with the introduction of the second X series interchangeable lens camera, the X-E1, and Fujifilm has been bald again – the new baby X-Pro1 will surely attract many buyers, and likely even steal some from the (much) more expensive brother.
I have just updated the Fuji X-Pro1 Review with detailed camera comparisons with the Canon 5D Mark III and Nikon D800. RAW support has finally become available with the latest updates from Adobe for both Lightroom and Photoshop, so I was able to extract RAW files from all cameras to do a comprehensive analysis. My findings? The Fuji X-Pro1 RAW images look as impressive as the JPEG images. Despite the fact that I down-sampled the Nikon D800 and Canon 5D Mark III images, which should give them an advantage in terms of handling noise, the pixel level quality of the Fuji X-Pro1 sensor is still superior at low ISOs! At first, I thought that I did something wrong in Lightroom – maybe accidentally applied noise reduction to Fuji X-Pro1 images. However, after looking through the images in detail and resetting to RAW file defaults, I was surprised to find out that the Fuji X-Pro1 RAW files indeed looked cleaner. Here is an example comparison at ISO 200 between the Fuji X-Pro1 and the Canon 5D Mark III:
While working with the Fujifilm X-Pro1, I noticed one very strange phenomenon – the camera’s autofocus system makes babies cry! It is strange, but when I would hand the X-Pro1 to a baby and turn the camera on, they would be very happy until they half-pressed the shutter button, which would cause autofocus to start its painfully slow and inaccurate process of acquiring focus, ultimately making the baby upset:
I am currently working on the Fuji X-Pro1 review, although I will be honest that I have been delaying the review for quite a while now, since I am still waiting for Adobe to release a version of Camera RAW / Lightroom 4 that will support X-Pro1 RAW files. While the JPEG images produced by the X-Pro1 are superb, I know that I can get much more from each image if I use a good RAW image processor. The RAW converter that Fuji has for the X-Pro1 is definitely not my thing…
I have been super busy working on a couple of big projects lately and this weekend I helped out Lola with her bridal work. While setting up the lights, I decided to try out and shoot with three different cameras – the Nikon D800 (see the recently published review of the Nikon D800), the Canon 5D Mark III (a full review is coming up in a couple of weeks) and the Fuji X-Pro 1 (also coming up for a review soon).
A lot has changed since digital came around in 1999. Film has always been about quality – all kinds of it, too. It was about resolving power – we have Fujichrome Velvia for that now; it was about color accuracy, which also suits the former as well as, say, Fujicolor Superia Reala; or, for those who want sharp and vivid, there‘s always the beautiful Kodak Ektar. Now, however, there’s one kind of film for all those purposes. Just as film was finally providing the quality, the age of digital sensors came. And, some think, wiped film‘s quality ambitions off the table as if it were dust. We now have one film that can do everything – low light, color accuracy or vividness, sharpness and endless manipulation possibilities. One film that fits all.