The RAW Flaw – An X-Trans RAW Story

Hopefully, in several days or at least in another week, I can publish a full report or review on my newly acquired lens (which happened to be my current favorite), the Zeiss Touit 2.8/12 for X-Mount in Zuikoholics or at least here.

Anyhow, this rant is actually about my own lack of skill and experience in dealing with RAW files. To cut it short, I am a JPEG shooter. Not until I have my first Leica M8, RAW files are something very distant to my workflow. I have a full faith in JPEG engines from my previous Olympus DSLRs and those of Fujis. They work absolutely fantastic. And definitely I have no complaints at all. But yes, somehow the ‘magic’ was not there.

And so, enter RAW in my life – the DNGs of Leica. At first, I could not appreciate the differences. Not that much. But taking a peep into pixel level, RAW files provided that one carefully processes it will become another masterpiece. No wonder people advise us to shoot in RAWs. As for me, processing DNGs in Aperture is simple and quite straight to what I wanted it to be.

Zahir Mosque (Fuji X-Pro 1 + Zeiss Touit 2.8/12)

Zahir Mosque
(Fuji X-Pro 1 + Zeiss Touit 2.8/12)

Not until these few days. On my course of doing the Touit review, I shoot the samples for my first time in RAFs (X-Trans RAW). The shooting was fun. But definitely not when processing the files. RAFs which are the RAW from the new X-Trans sensor which discard the conventional Beyer array, are actually quite a hassle to deal with. Especially for a JPEG shooter like myself. Until now, many post-processing software have support to this file. But many are failing to give the best outcome expected.

I’m not expecting much. I only use Aperture 3 to process this file. So far, I am satisfied with the outcome. But… at times, or should I say most of the times, artefacts will appear in the compressed files especially when some amount of sharpening is applied onto the RAFs themselves. And this artefact usually is in a ‘water color’ patterned that is quite visible.

Al-Hussain Mosque - water color sky (Fuji X-Pro 1 + Zeiss Touit 2.8/12)

Al-Hussain Mosque – water color sky
(Fuji X-Pro 1 + Zeiss Touit 2.8/12)

Reading through the internet, this issue has been brought up. And luckily, the author of this article here is kind enough to share his experience and default setup in processing RAF with Aperture. Thank you sir.

Anyway, after several tries I figured out that I am a no RAW shooter (except in DNGs which actually quite easy to deal with). Maybe this is the premature end of my experience with RAW haha. I just stick to JPEG. Again, lucky for me that Fuji and Olympus do deliver an outstanding JPEG compression.

Thanks for reading my lengthy rant here. If anyone wants to share his experience with RAWs (especially RAFs) please leave your thoughts.

Sujud (Fuji X-Pro 1 + Zeiss Touit 2.8/12)

(Fuji X-Pro 1 + Zeiss Touit 2.8/12)

Oh, by the way, the Zeiss Touit 2.8/12 is a devil..!


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