Recently I took short tour of the islands of Skye and Arran of the west coast of Scotland. As I was short on space, I decided to leave the Cannon 5D at home and only take the Fuji X-E1 for the journey.
On returning home I started to develop my RAW files with Adobe Lightroom 4.4 and was a bit disappointed to say the least. The main issue I have is with the unrealistic rendering of grass and foliage when attempting to sharpen the image, and as you can probably guess, almost all my landscape images from Scotland contain quite a lot of grass and foliage.
So I revisited the notion of using a different RAW converter again.
I did try some convertors when I first got my X-E1 (Capture One, AccuRaw, Silkypix) but I didn’t think they were that much ahead of Lightroom to justify the extra workflow steps needed.
I then came across a convertor I’d never heard of before, Iridient Developer, so I though I’d give it a go.
I took an image and developed it in Lightroom as best I could suing the best combination of sharpening settings I could find (after much experimentation).
I then took the same RAW file and developed it in Iridient Developer.
While using Iridient Developer I paid attention to the exposure, white balance and sharpening. I exported the image as a jpeg (a 16bit Tiff would have given me more colour depth but this is just for quick test) and then brought the jpeg back into Lightroom (as I use the DAM features a lot).
Comparing the 100% crops is like night and day to my eyes.
The Iridient Developer output is so much sharper and renders grass and foliage so much more realistic.
Below are some 100% crops (Iridient Developer output on the left, Lightroom on the right).
I have been so impressed by the output from Iridient Developer that I’ve switched from using Lightroom for developing the Fuji RAW files (or using the Fuji jpegs) and only using the DAM features in Lightroom.
It’s a shame because I like using Lightroom and will now have more files to deal with.
Hopefully Adobe will catch up at some point with it’s rendering of Fuji X-Trans files but until then this is the workflow I’ll be using.
- Import RAW files to Lightroom.
- Review, tag, delete files.
- After deciding which files to process, open and process with Iridient Developer saving to jpeg or tiff depending on needs.
- Import jpeg or tiff into Lightroom and store in same folder as RAW file.
- Do any final tweaking in Lightroom.
- Stack RAW and jpeg/tiff together.
Raw Developer is available from Iridient Digital at http://www.iridientdigital.com