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X100S Clipping Blacks in JPEG

X100S X100

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#1 johnnydanger

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Posted 31 March 2013 - 05:47 PM

Just got my new X100S and am 90% enthused and 10% dismayed.  It's clear that the blacks are clipping badly when shooting in JPEG, plus the compressing/detail/artifacting is not good and there is noted posterization in the shadows.  The RAW look great, but the JPEGs are miles behind the X-Pro1 in terms of quality.  Working on finding a solution... maybe Shadow tone -2 and then apply a batch curve to all the JPEGs?  It seems to help.  But basically there's no detail in the blacks especially if you try and pull them up at all even one stop.  See attached comparison images.  I was expecting the X100S JPEGs to equal the X-Pro1 JPEGs, but they're miles off unfortunately.  Now if only there was a good tool to quickly process .RAF files with good results.  Some day maybe.

 

Attached are some images all shot in Standard:

 

1) An ISO 800 JPEG pushed 1.5 stops side by side with the same image RAW file in Accuraw.  The JPEG is lacking significant detail and has some gnarly color posterization that really shouldn't be there when shooting in Fine JPEG.

 

2) An ISO200 X-Pro1 JPEG next to an X100S JPEG, same aperture, ISO, shutter speed, both pushed 1.5 stops to see what detail is available in the shadows (none on the X100S JPEG...)

 

3) An ISO200 JPEG OOC, 1/60, f4 showing the painfully clipped blacks.

 

Anyone found a remedy to the mediocre JPEGs on the X100S?  I'm going to try Shadow Tone -1 and -2 to see how they do and if that'll open up the shadows.

Attached Files



#2 Bashar AR

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Posted 31 March 2013 - 10:00 PM

you are so right, i thought i was going crazy, its clipping the blacks and in bright sun its clipping the whites and  the blacks!!!, never had this issue with other x cameras, i am shooting at default settings, confused?! 

 

8608982560_809a7aae08_c.jpg

8607873519_680316d98f_c.jpg


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#3 InTheMist

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Posted 01 April 2013 - 12:09 AM

Guys, those are insane exposure situations - especially in JPEG!
Even my D800 would need very careful exposure and raw adjustments to pull details out of the shadows without blowing the highlights.

If you insist on JPEG, have you tried DR400 in those cases? Even so, if the X100S can make those scenes work when shooting JPEG, color me impressed! I'm still waiting on mine.

Edited by InTheMist, 01 April 2013 - 12:46 AM.

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#4 Bernardo Nielsen

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Posted 01 April 2013 - 12:21 AM

With a bit of research on the web I found that the X100S has less dynamic range in it's JPEGs than the x100.

 

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It seems like the x100S has more dynamic range for it's raw files though.

 

And there are also the dynamic range settings that could make somewhat of a difference in your pictures.

 

 

I've never really used a Fuji camera before, and am trying to decide what camera I should buy. Seeing all of the issues members of this forum seem to be having with the X100S, I'm starting to consider a x100. But I don't really know any better, could users of them both chime in?



#5 Fredrik

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Posted 01 April 2013 - 02:23 AM

Bernardo, think of all the users that are happy with their camera and doesn't go onto forums because they have an issue they need help with. There are most likely more happy users than unhappy. Go try the camera out at a store that offers a full return policy, try it out and then return it if you are not happy.

I've got a huge batch of RAWs and JPEGS to process this week when my iMac is back from getting a new LCD panel installed. When I'm done I'll post my impressions on clipping in JPEGs. However I have noticed that shooting with -1 in shadow tone produces far more nicer looking pictures. Fujifilm definitively changed this behavior from the X100.

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#6 Bashar AR

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Posted 01 April 2013 - 02:40 AM

I am loving my x-100s so far, the iq is mind blowing, it will take time to get to know the camera and how to get the best pictures out of it, it's a completely new animal,
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#7 johnnydanger

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Posted 01 April 2013 - 06:21 AM

Just shot a full day around Kyoto with the X100S side by side with my X-Pro1.  Tomorrow I'll shoot it side by side with the X-Pro1 again and my X100 to get a good comparison across the board.

 

Basically, the X100S JPEGs are a let down.  The X-Pro1 runs circles around the X100S when shooting JPEGs.  The X100S JPEGs look clipped (because they are), they exhibit posterization in the shadow areas visible even at ISO200 and really pronounced when brought up using curves and/or S&H.  Shooting Standard with Shadow Tone at 0 is not an option in my opinion unless you like losing the bottom 10% of your image exposure detail.  I shot most of the day at Shadow Tone -2 to see if that would help and it provided a better base to work from with much more shadow detail, but with that being said it's still a let down due to the posterization and requirement for a good bit of work to get the midtones looking good again since ST -2 makes the image really flat.

 

I've attached an image that shows a comparison of the same shot in 3 versions: RAW conversion, tweaked JPEG, OOC JPEG.  Why Fuji can't make the image look more like the RAW JPEG conversion in-camera I'm not sure.  The X-Pro1 can do it, and so should the X100S be able to.

 

More shots coming soon showing the issues I'm experiencing.  The bottom line for me is that when shooting night shots with lots of black, or medium to high contrast daytime shots, the X100S JPEGs are unusable. They look like crap, plain and simple.  Which is a shame because that's what this camera should be good at, and the same sensor in the X-Pro1 is fantastic for.  Clearly some more work needs to be put in on Fuji's part to get the camera up to snuff to more closely match the X-Pro1 image quality.

Attached Files



#8 johnnydanger

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Posted 01 April 2013 - 06:32 AM

WHOAH, hold the presses.  I was just thinking... you know, I've seen posterization issues like this before... what if the color profile is messed up on the X100S JPEGs?  Looking at the images on the back of the camera shows a lot more shadow detail than what I'm getting in Aperture, so WTF.  And guess what, they are!  I have shot most of my images in AdobeRGB and by assigning them to sRGB (not converting) then BAM.  All the shadow detail magically appears.  So why are things f'ed up when viewing the images in Aperture and when opening in Photoshop?  I'm not sure but this is likely the issue, not the camera.

 

LEFT: AdobeRGB Profile (preserved when opened in PS)

RIGHT: sRGB Profile assigned in PS (not converted)

Attached Files


Edited by johnnydanger, 01 April 2013 - 06:34 AM.


#9 johnnydanger

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Posted 01 April 2013 - 06:51 AM

Two more examples showing the color space issue:

 

Attached Files



#10 johnnydanger

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Posted 01 April 2013 - 07:07 AM

Some last examples showing the color space problem: 1) A side by side at 100%, 2) Two 1200 pixel sized images showing the before/after color space assignment/conversion—much, much better!

 

 

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#11 johnnydanger

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Posted 01 April 2013 - 07:15 AM

So... in summation: The solution to this issue is by setting the camera to shoot sRGB, not AdobeRGB.   It is apparent that the AdobeRGB menu option is just profiling the images as AdobeRGB and not actually saving the color values in the AdobeRGB space.

 

I just tested this, and indeed shooting sRGB fixes the issue and no more clipped blacks are visible. Phew.

 

Hey, I fixed my own problem!  I hope this helps someone else that experiences this same issue.  Surely Fuji will update their firmware to solve this issue in short order.


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#12 urbanshoot

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Posted 01 April 2013 - 08:07 AM

Hey Johnny,

 

Thanks you very much for your findings :)



#13 johnnydanger

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Posted 01 April 2013 - 08:11 AM

Sure thing!  I'm just glad that I figured out what the deal was.  I was majorly bummed when the JPEGs weren't holding up since there is no good (and fast) RAW processing solution that fits into my workflow.  Just glad that the JPEGs are much better than I was seeing initially and am glad that my findings are helping others get the results they should be getting.

 

Cheers.



#14 Kev

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Posted 01 April 2013 - 09:56 AM

Thanks again Johnny I had the same issue. I'll try the camera in sRGB today :)


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#15 Bernardo Nielsen

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Posted 01 April 2013 - 10:30 AM

Bernardo, think of all the users that are happy with their camera and doesn't go onto forums because they have an issue they need help with. There are most likely more happy users than unhappy. Go try the camera out at a store that offers a full return policy, try it out and then return it if you are not happy.

I've got a huge batch of RAWs and JPEGS to process this week when my iMac is back from getting a new LCD panel installed. When I'm done I'll post my impressions on clipping in JPEGs. However I have noticed that shooting with -1 in shadow tone produces far more nicer looking pictures. Fujifilm definitively changed this behavior from the X100.

That's a very good point Fredrik, thank you very much. Unfortunately I won't find a camera to test in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, but as soon as I get to Maine for a workshop I'll be buying a Fuji X camera.

I'm an aspiring cinematographer and a camera assistant, so I'm used to bulky cameras and glass, and I really needed something that's small and practical, so I can concentrate on making images myself without thinking about equipment all the time. I'll be shooting JPEGs mostly, and the dynamic range issue bothers me a bit. Not that it's an issue in itself, just that I'm still in that pre-buying paranoia stage. =)

 

So far the X100 has dynamic range and price going for it, with images that are a little bit softer and more magenta.

The X100S has the new improved AF (even though it seems like a lot of people don't notice the difference in firmware 1.01), and the lack of an AA filter and the extra megapixes produce a bit more of fine detail and sharpness.

 

I guess the main question for me is the ease of use, and if the x100S AF is really better than the x100's, then I guess that's the camera for me. But I still get a little bit bummed that the original x100 JPEGs have more dynamic range. 

 

Sure thing!  I'm just glad that I figured out what the deal was.  I was majorly bummed when the JPEGs weren't holding up since there is no good (and fast) RAW processing solution that fits into my workflow.  Just glad that the JPEGs are much better than I was seeing initially and am glad that my findings are helping others get the results they should be getting.

 

Cheers.

 

Thank you very much for your findings Johnny!

Now I'm curious about that graph I posted earlier in the thread. I wish I knew if it was calculated after a color space conversion or not. Can anyone compare the dynamic range between the two cameras with this deal solved on the X100S?



Man, I'm dying to stop thinking about these things and just getting out there and shooting!



#16 Draig

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Posted 01 April 2013 - 11:24 AM

Bernado, and you should indeed stop fretting and just shoot.
Waaaaay too many people argue, worry, discuss, examine every minute detail of a camera and its attributes. Yet they shoot very little, research even less and no little about photography itself.
Many of the most famous images by the most heralded photographers in the world were taken on a camera they could afford/were given/suited their purpose (size/weight etc.).
Adobe RGB has sooooo much more information that sRGB that I would imagine the sRGB files are crushed (that is more immediate perhaps but waaaay less workable), that being said, Adobe (and others) have had issues with the X sensor which may explain much (historically it has on every new camera produced).
Just buy and use that which suits your needs and worry not about internet forums.
Whats more shot and print so you actually produce a photograph and not merely a series of 1's and 0's which a digital image is.
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#17 Bernardo Nielsen

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Posted 01 April 2013 - 11:37 AM

I quite agree with you on most things. I plan to keep my new camera as a close companion for a long time, and to use it well. But before I buy the camera and spend my money, there are some decisions that need to made. I'm trying to find out which camera suits my needs the best, so I can stop worrying about all of the technical stuff once I have it on my hands, and then I'll be a hundred percent fixed on creating images.


Edited by Bernardo Nielsen, 01 April 2013 - 11:56 AM.


#18 Puciral

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Posted 01 April 2013 - 07:55 PM

So... in summation: The solution to this issue is by setting the camera to shoot sRGB, not AdobeRGB.   It is apparent that the AdobeRGB menu option is just profiling the images as AdobeRGB and not actually saving the color values in the AdobeRGB space.

 

I just tested this, and indeed shooting sRGB fixes the issue and no more clipped blacks are visible. Phew.

 

Hey, I fixed my own problem!  I hope this helps someone else that experiences this same issue.  Surely Fuji will update their firmware to solve this issue in short order.

 

This.

 

That's one of the first things I try to remember when getting a new camera or helping someone with one when they complain the camera colors "look flat".  Most monitors can't handle AdobeRGB until you pop above $1000 with a few exceptions from Dell.  

I can't even begin to describe the utter headache that AdobeRGB has given me and my family over the years for color correction and color matching b/w screen and printer.

 

I recognize AdobeRGB is awesome with its wide color gamut and very important for professionals, fine art prints, and big manipulation later, etc.  But there is something so portable about sRGB that it will look great everywhere on the web, cheaper sRGB monitors, walmart prints (yes, walmart), and matching colors on EPSON printers.  

To me, It's like high variable bit rate MP3 vs FLAC / WAV.  They are distinguishable, but many times that mp3 is good enough and makes taking pictures and dealing with them easier...



#19 johnnydanger

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Posted 02 April 2013 - 04:16 AM

The problem isn't AdobeRGB specifically since on a Mac the color workflow all revolves around the ICC Profile, display profile, and print profile.  Shooting images that are in the AdobeRGB color space is something I do with all my other cameras—X-Pro1, 5D2, 7D, etc.—and it works just fine.  I can't think of anytime you'd ever have a monitor with an AdobeRGB profile or printer that would print straight AdobeRGB.  That's what display and print profiles are for.  sRGB is a somewhat neutered colorspace that contains less color information in certain parts of the color gamut and hence results in banded gradients at times and less than perfect color.  AdobeRGB helps fix that by allowing a larger palette of colors.

 

Here the issue is that the camera seems to be tagging the images as AdobeRGB, but the color values it saves are actually in the sRGB space. So when Photoshop and Aperture see this incorrectly profiled images they are showing them incorrectly because the color values aren't being correctly converted for the display profile—in effect clipping the blacks.



#20 Liam

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Posted 02 April 2013 - 12:02 PM

Any plans to bring it to Fuji's attention?  By the way...that leprechaun is a long way from home.  Was he kidnapped :-))


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#21 the_badger

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Posted 02 April 2013 - 12:41 PM

Very interesting findings Johnny! Is there a chance TechRadar did their DR testings using AdobeRGB jpegs and that's the reason the X100S came up so low?


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#22 Bashar AR

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Posted 02 April 2013 - 01:49 PM

hmmmm, i am on a mac/apreture, shooting sRGB on camera, i checked in apreture and it says "sRGB IEC61966-2.1" not Adobe. Also, my understanding ADOBE has less colours than SRGB because of the technical limitations of print, am i missing something here?!


Edited by Bashar AR, 02 April 2013 - 01:51 PM.

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#23 hdahl100

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Posted 02 April 2013 - 02:49 PM

Bashar, I think you got them mixed up :)
Adobe is the wider of them.

#24 Draig

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Posted 02 April 2013 - 03:33 PM

Adobe is way wider than sRGB and Pro Photo is the biggest of the three (but very very few, think heard couple, of printers can handle this, not even the £150,000 one at the Uni can).

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#25 PhoTom

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Posted 02 April 2013 - 03:53 PM

Rockwell, yes Rockwell, has some interesting things to  say about Adobe RGB vs sRGB. He claims there are pitfalls you need to know about before using Adobe RGB and that you really need to know what you're doing.

 

 

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#26 johnnydanger

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Posted 10 April 2013 - 12:16 AM

All is good in X100S land.  I like all the upgrades from the X100.  I wouldn't say it's way way faster than the X100, but it does focus better in low light, it's quicker in operation, the 16mp sensor is nice and very similar to the X-Pro1—though the JPEGs aren't quite as clean. I wish the manual focus peaking and digital split screen was more accurate, but otherwise it's great and a good evolutionary (not revolutionary) update from the X100.

 

Chion-in, Kyoto.  ISO800, f2.8, 1/1000, ND filter, DR400.  JPEG with basic processing:

 

Attached Files


Edited by johnnydanger, 10 April 2013 - 12:17 AM.


#27 archi*dss

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Posted 10 April 2013 - 06:58 AM

use the NHs film setting. It is the closest to the RAF file



#28 the_badger

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Posted 13 April 2013 - 10:34 PM

I feel the need to re-activate this thread. I noticed my images are clipping blacks a lot! And that's using sRGB!! I copy my jpegs directly from the sdcard to the PC, I'm I doing it wrong?

Edited by the_badger, 13 April 2013 - 10:45 PM.

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#29 hdahl100

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Posted 14 April 2013 - 12:21 AM

I feel the need to re-activate this thread. I noticed my images are clipping blacks a lot! And that's using sRGB!! I copy my jpegs directly from the sdcard to the PC, I'm I doing it wrong?

Try setting a softer film simulation like Astia or ProNegS.

Experiment setting shadows to -1

Check out the Auto DR function 

 

I use AdobeRGB and haven't noticed the problem of this thread, but I have quite soft settings.



#30 johnnydanger

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Posted 14 April 2013 - 01:02 AM

I feel the need to re-activate this thread. I noticed my images are clipping blacks a lot! And that's using sRGB!! I copy my jpegs directly from the sdcard to the PC, I'm I doing it wrong?

 

I find the Shadow Tone -1 or -2 to do weird things to color and overall look of the image.  Are you on Windows or Mac?  Do you have another camera to compare it to? Are the blacks really being clipped or are they just dark?  What image editing app are you using?  It's worth brightening up the shadows with Shadow & Highlight or curves and push them way over to see what detail is actually available in the shadows. I find that I typically use S&H to pull up the shadows on just about all my shots.  It really 'opens' up the apparent dynamic range.







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