SHARPENING X-TRANS FILES IN ADOBE LIGHTROOM BY PETE BRIDGWOOD

We posted Mark Soon's great article a couple of weeks back regarding Adobe Lightroom's limitations when dealing with Fujifilms X-trans sensor files. Here Peter Bridgewood runs you through his X-trans imaging process when using Lightroom, enjoy.
image Simon Johnson iPhone 5

image Simon Johnson iPhone 5

Sharpening is one of the most taxing aspects of the digital process and consequently many photographers prefer to stick to safe and secure ways, either using presets, plug-ins, exporting to Photoshop or ultimately using JPEGs straight from camera. The X-Trans sensor produces wonderful JPEGs, and all the usual advice about always shooting in Raw doesn’t necessarily hold true anymore. There are now many professional photographers who happily shoot JPEG using X-Series cameras all the time and have no complaints.

JPEGs are very convenient, but for a landscape photographer like me, interested in the creative process and using post-processing as part of the digital alchemy, Raw files are so much more versatile. Sharpening Raw files from the X-Trans processor can be challenging for those of us who have grown familiar with more traditional Bayer array sensors; they demand a different approach and even experienced photographers will find there is a learning curve.

The sharpening controls in Adobe Lightroom have evolved to a degree of simplicity and perfection that eclipses much of the competition, including Photoshop. There were some initial teething troubles when sharpening X-trans files using earlier iterations of Lightroom; ‘waxing’ is one of the terms used to describe what can happen in images with high detail frequency (for example scenes with lots of fine detailed foliage). However, Adobe and Fujifilm have been working closely together to perfect the algorithms working behind the scenes. At the time of writing, I’m using Lightroom 5.6 to sharpen all my Fuji RAF files and creating exhibition prints up to A1 size without any significant problems.

This guide offers an introduction to perfect sharpening for Fujifilm X-Trans Raw files (.RAF files) in Lightroom 5

The processing of any digital image requires two essential and distinct types of sharpening: output sharpening and capture sharpening. Output sharpening is the final step in preparing an image for printing or display on screen. Because output sharpening always depends on known variables like printer model, paper type, and degree of enlargement, it is best performed automatically. In Lightroom, output sharpening is applied in the print module or for images intended for display on-screen it is applied on export. This guide relates only to sharpening that requires our human judgment, capture sharpening.

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Source (http://petebridgwood.com/)

INTERVIEW // John Carpenter's set photographer Kim Gottlieb-Walker

Snake Plissken at home and down-time with The Fog: celebrating John Carpenter's most iconic movie moments with an exclusive preview of a new book

As the saying goes: behind every great man there's a great woman. In the case of American photographer Kim Gottlieb-Walker, she was often behind the scenes of cult director John Carpenter’s original and thrilling films. From Halloween – arguably the first ever slasher film – to eerie classic The Fog, to cynical anti hero Snake Plissken’s performance in Escape From New York, Gottlieb-Walker was involved in documenting some of Carpenter’s most enduring work.

She began her life with photography taking 35mm stills during her freshman year at University of California, Berkeley, covering contemporary events such as the Free Speech Movement in 1964. After shooting a failed independent motion picture, her colleague on the project, Debra Hill, was drafted in to work Carpenter’s Halloween, or as it was initially titled “The Babysitter Murders.” Hill remembered Gottlieb-Walker’s good work, and brought her along, kickstarting an eclectic career that – alongside her Carpenter work – included diverse television shows such as Star TrekCheers, and even subjects such as Jimi Hendrix and Bob Marley.

Gottlieb-Walker is set to release the book On Set With John Carpenter, which features many images giving invigorating insight into these trendsetting horror and sci-fi films from the 1970s and 80s. As Carpenter himself describes in the book’s dedication: “Kim’s behind the scene stills catch the fun we were having at the time. Her portraits and action shots are exquisite.”

What was your experience of your early career – attending UCLA film school and working as a grad student for Motion Picture production?

Kim Gottlieb-Walker: I loved the Motion Picture department at UCLA. My film school teacher, Bill Kerby, used to do interviews for the underground press and brought me along to shoot the stills - it's how I got to shoot portraits of Jimi Hendrix when I was 20 and he ran the light show when the Doors played locally - which I got to help with as well. I worked as a teaching assistant for students making their first films when I was in grad school. Working for the underground press helped me compile a portfolio full of fascinating musicians, politicians, authors and popular culture heroes in the late '60s.

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WHEN WILL MEDIUM FORMAT RETURN? by ZACK ARIAS

The Bronica RF645 is my favorite medium format camera behind the amazing Norita 66. So when Saw Zack's great article on medium format, I just had to share the love. 

Bronica RF645 ..

I love medium format. I’ve always loved it. If you have never shot medium format, or a format above it, you are missing such a sublime and beautiful part of photography. DSLRs are fantastic. I wouldn’t be a photographer today if it weren’t for the Nikon D100. That 6 megapixel APS camera relaunched my career and I’m forever grateful for affordable digital gear like Nikons and Canons and Fujis and Sonys and the like. I can’t imagine life without them and I don’t want life without them, but life without medium format sucks.

Let me say that again for emphasis.

LIFE WITHOUT MEDIUM FORMAT SUCKS.

I’ve told this story many times and I’ll make this as brief as I can. A few years ago I attended an opening in Dubai presenting the work of the instructors teaching that year at GPP. One of the photographers showing work was Drew Gardner. His prints stopped me in my tracks. My jaw hit the floor. I got really, really close to them. He walked up beside me and I began to say, “There’s something about these prints…” He stopped me and simply replied, “Phase One, mate. Medium format.”

It was then and there that I began putting a Phase One into my budget. I was going to have a medium format again.

In my Crop or Crap video I said that the difference between APS sensors and full frame 35mm sensors was negligible; I stand behind that statement with all of my being. Put some perspective on it, though, and realize I shoot with a Phase One. It absolutely stands heads and shoulders above 35mm based cameras. Where it falls flat on its face is size. And speed. And ISO performance. And auto focus. It’s an ISO 50 – 200 camera for me and, while I have taken it to the streets before, I rarely do so. I like it locked down most of the time and that brings a certain slowness to my work that I like, and a set of limitations that hinders me at times.

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