I look at the punchy, richly colored images on that page, and am still impressed they came straight out of the camera. Much has been said about the beautiful JPEGs that the X-series cameras produce, but I never tried it myself until the X-T10 project. Up till that point, I’d shot only RAW. Mostly because I love to post process.
I love processing as much as I do shooting. There’s nothing like rounding out the creative impulse by adding that final polish to a concept. Certainly, if its digital version had not come along, I would not be a photographer. I have nothing against film, but I didn’t have any access to the other bits of the medium that I’ve found so vital – a darkroom, other photographers willing to give me the time of day, an education in general.
Digital photography was an exciting prospect. More than just end-to-end control over my image creation, “digital” and its inevitable association with the internet meant that I had access to other photographers. To opportunities to educate myself about photography: technique, history, philosophy, innovation. To find a community.
I bought my first digital camera, a cheap point and shoot, after I discovered Photoshop in 2005. The ability to take a photo with the camera, download the file, deepen shadows, adjust colors, bring out certain facets of the image in line with how I felt about it at the time of shutter release, was amazing.
Suddenly I had a new kind of voice, the tools to speak better with it and hone over time.
The best part was, I could do it all on a computer, which I did have access to. If I didn’t know how to do something, help was readily available via a search engine. Photography was no longer an exclusive club I couldn’t dream of entering, because I didn’t know anyone who could/would get me in.
That was, and still is, extremely empowering.
All of those things contribute to the reasons I still find post processing addictive. The ability to download a RAW file, chuck it into Lightroom and turn it into a tangible artifact of expression, continues to be the source of great joy.
For me, sight is the thing that connects hearing, touch, smell, taste, feeling. Photography is an extension of that connection, and so, crucial to understanding. Being able to create an image, and finish it in desired fashion, allows me to explore different ways of understanding. That is life.
The malleability of a RAW file was the reason I started shooting RAW at the first available opportunity. So having to deliver untouched JPEGs to Fuji for the X-T10 project was somewhat angst ridden. I love deep, rich colours, and the dark, solid shadows I spoke about in the video. I wasn’t at all sure I could get the camera to do it to my preference, but after some adjusting, I found that shooting:
1. With the Velvia simulation
2. With Highlights to +1
3. and Shadows to +2
4. At the right times of the day
resulted in pictures extremely close to how I envisioned them, further affirmed once I started post processing the RAW files. My own edits are a little contrastier than the in-camera JPEGs, but generally, the Velvia film simulation used for all sample images does a damn nice job.
But yes, I have been processing X-T10 RAW files. Adobe hasn’t released an update for the little X-T10 at the time of this post, so Lightroom doesn’t officially recognize its files yet. Flemming pointed me at this thing called an EXIF editor – apparently, if I changed the X-T10 camera EXIF to X-T1, it would be enough to fool Lightroom into thinking it was an X-T1 file, which it does currently know and love. Clever people of the internet!
So I’m post processing again. There isn’t that much difference with the colour images… but the fact that I got to adjust them to achieve that result on my own (and straighten crooked horizons!), is just that little bit more satisfying.