Fuji X-T1 Comparison Shots: Jpeg And Raw

Selfie 2
Click on the old-fashioned selfie to see Fuji X-T1 comparison shots.

Yesterday was warm and sunny here in Bloomington, fine for taking some test shots with the Fuji X-T1. I wanted to see any differences between the Raw files and the jpegs we have been shooting. I was anxious to get them into Lightroom and Photoshop to see what I thought (and could do). Sue and I walked a portion of the downtown B-Line Trail, trying to stay out of the direct sun and harshest light. I shot with the so-called kit lens, the 18-55. And I say ‘so-called’ because the lens is sharp, very sharp. I have no quarrels with it and can recommend getting it with your X-T1. Today was not an artistic day; the light wasn’t great, and I was interested in comparisons. It was an instructive day.

The camera processes bracketed jpeg shots quickly, even with a medium-fast SD card. I could see a noticeable slowing down when I bracketed Raw shots. I definitely recommend the fastest card you can afford if you want to bracket your shots. I wasn’t dissatisfied; I just could see a big difference in the writing-to-card times. The controls on the X-T1 are easy to get used to and to use in the field. Fuji has done a good job in laying out the buttons and dials; the back of the camera and the menus are simple and quick. No complaints from me on that score. I shot from a tripod. I would not have needed to at all. This camera is well-balanced, and it sits well in the hand. I just am used to shooting off a tripod – habit, I guess. The auto focus was fast and accurate all day long. I only had one set of three bracketed images that weren’t in focus. That set was my fault … I was trying to make the camera focus on a wide expanse of painted door with little texture or change in pattern. I was asking a bit too much on that one. Overall, everything I have read in various reviews about this camera is true – it really is a fun camera to shoot.

The jpegs that come out of the X-T1 are sharp, with quite a bit of headroom for tweaking. I left all the settings for jpeg images on their defaults. One thing I noticed was a very slight tendency to overexpose in the brightest of conditions. I should have watched my blinkies just a tad closer. But every camera will do that in the conditions we faced today. There is nothing to worry about here – I just needed to manage my exposure a bit better. I am strictly a Raw shooter with my Nikon; if I shoot jpegs I will need to get back in the habit of watching my histogram a bit closer. Part of that also resulted from a lack of chimping today – I was shooting and moving, not spending any time reviewing images before moving on. Don’t blame the Fuji for that.

Processing jpegs in Lightroom and Photoshop CC is quick and easy. In fact, being used to processing Raw files, I probably over-processed some of the Fuji’s jpeg shots. I think I should trust the camera a bit more on that score, and process just the basics without getting cute. Fuji color is most pleasing; I just didn’t know when to stop on a few of these. Once again, blame that on me. Some habits are hard to break. I had to download Adobe’s latest Camera Raw beta to process the Fuji Raw files. It may have a couple of bugs in it; my computer crashed a couple of times. And the files took a great more work to get them where I wanted to go than did the jpegs. Now, of course, you are saying. True; but I think I had to work a bit harder than I am used to with Nikon Raw files. And part of that was I tried to get the Fuji look, because I actually like the way the X-T1’s jpeg files look. So I was trying to emulate a look a bit more than just pleasing my eye – maybe that added to the time I needed to spend on each shot.

There is not as much headroom with the Fuji files as there is with my Nikon D800 … no surprise there, since the Nikon packs a walloping 36 megapixels inside. But I was used to that fact, and I had to tweak a bit more and a bit differently to get where I wanted to go. It wasn’t difficult, just different. There is a small learning curve here for me with this new system. I like going into Lightroom for a lot of my first processing and then over to Photoshop. I’ll be glad when Adobe add the X-T1 to the Lightroom arsenal. But files are files; Raw is Raw. I’ll get a new workflow going and speed up with a bit more practice.

I like the Fuji’s jpegs – no doubt about that. I can see that in most conditions it is going to be the file form I turn to. The processing is quicker and easier. The results are beautiful, and they can be tweaked in Photoshop for any finishing touch you like. The Raw files may be reserved for some situations when I just am not as sure of myself as usual. I have to admit – I liked not having to spend a lot of time processing the jpeg files while still enjoying what I ended up with. I am going to run some more tests, but I have no reservations in recommending shooting in jpeg with this camera. It does its job.

Click on the image at the top of the page to see the comparisons I did. I wasn’t sure what I was going to discover today. What I found out was that the Fuji is a very capable camera that is fun to carry and fun to shoot. It definitely has a place in my camera bag.

1 Comment

  1. In Camera Raw 8.4 the Fuji film profiles get you very close to the jpeg equivalences with a minimum of fuss. -Steve

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