Editing Fujifilm RAW files with Iridient Developer for more WOW By Axel Friberg

Editing Fujifilm RAW files with Iridient Developer for more WOW

By Axel Friberg

Dear Brandon and Steve,

It’s been a while since I wrote you last. As of today, I still shoot with the Fujifilm X-Pro1 and edit my pictures in Lightroom CC. I might upgrade to the X-T2 when it comes, this summer. The Fuji RAW files are still not fully supported by Adobe, which is a drawback. As I’m sure you are aware, some details like foliage for example, will looked smeared. Inspired by the amazing photographer Olaf Sztaba, I decided to download the trail version of the photo editor Iridient Developer and gave the Fuji RAW files a run for its money. Let me tell you, the difference is real. Like going from 480p to 1080p on Youtube. I used Olaf’s settings in Iridient Developer, choosing the unique sharpening method ‘R-L deconvolusion’ and setting the radius slider to 0.5 and the Iterations slider to 30.


Then I exported the RAW file edited in Iridient Developer to Lightroom and compared it with the same Raw file edited in Lightroom only, where I had set the sharpness to 33, radius to 0,8 and detail. to 100. Additionally, I also set both pictures’ contrast to +15 and clarity to +10 in Lightroom and exported the same cropped part of the picture to emphasis the difference in sharpness of the pine tree’s needles. To me there is a massive difference. The pine-needles in the RAW file edited in Iridient Developer are crisp whereas the same pine-needles in the RAW file edited in Lighroom almost look like they have been painted. Hopefully, you will be able to see what I mean in the pictures I’ve sent you!

The photo was taken with the Fuji X-Pro1 and a Canon FD 85mm f/1.2 (via a Metabones adapter) @1/250 s, f/5.6, ISO400.


Now both crops..



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  1. Fuji`s silkypix raw converter does better than ACR for handling xtrans RAF.. and it`s bundled.
    open it on Silkypix, save as Tiff and than open it on ACR.

  2. Well I am locked to Bayer … and I like what Fuji does with Bayer … So I limit my Fuji to my lovely black X100 + 50mm and 28mm screw on F2 lenses … lovely ….

    I then bought a Xpro1 + 18
    +27 for the price of nothing. Sold the body the next day and use those little lenses on my XA1 which is great except I like a viewfinder.

    I leave my Fuji stuff at that level …. and wait to see if the offer cameras with a Bayer Sensor …I think if they had I would have dropped Pentax after 30 years … but I haven’t .. and now with the K1 on the horizon ….I think I will keep the X100 for the street and go back to FF Pentax .. use all those old lenses ….

  3. don’t waste your money! It’s only a matter of sharpening values; you can easily see the artifacts on Iridient versions that you don’t find in the LR version; if you apply more sharpening in the LR version you obtain the same results

  4. I have performed double blinded experiments on A2 prints for viewer preference based on two factors: post-processing software (Iridient, C1, Raw Developer, OOC Jpeg and LR) and content (backyard, horse in front of barn in the winter, kid portrait and fall landscape. The results showed no statistically significant difference (P value= 0.82) for post-processing, vs a very, very significant difference (P value=0.00012) difference for content (apparently nobody likes my backyard picture). People should run similar tests before spending money on software and complicating their workflows.

  5. why does nobody speak of the domestic RAW converter included by the fuji ..is it so in-capable as the adobe in taking care of their own RAW data ??[I do not own any fuji body as yet …but am looking to do so soon …once the waxy skin issue gets taken care of …]

  6. Iridient is sharper. The needles are distinct and look better, but there is a price to pay for this sharpness. Above the trees in the background you can see artifacts from the sharpening.

    • Most comments are missing the Point. Where Iridient Developer shines is Color (compared to LR). Sadfully the author did not provide good sample Images to proof that Point.
      Wether you like the sharpening engine is a matter of taste. I do my sharpening in PS.

      • The primary difference between ID and LR, with regards to X-Trans, isn’t sharpening per se. Rather, it’s Iridient’s ability to extract the most detail from .RAF files onto which you can apply your sharpening method/algorithm of choice. With Sharpening tools in both ID and LR set to 0 — effectively turning sharpening OFF — you still see considerable detail in Iridient while LR files look muddy. Not just a little softer in LR … It’s like looking at the same image in HD (Iridient) and SD (Lightroom).

        Note that I’m not a pixel peeper. To me, image quality is more ‘holistic’ and comprised of characteristics beyond sharpness. And there are plenty of cameras out there that produce stunning levels of detail without extra effort (D810, et al). I love shooting Fuji because the cameras and image qualities instill passion; they aren’t just tools (FF DSLRs) or appliances (Sony). But to get the most out of X-Trans, one has to go a little further until Adobe offers similar results.

        I’ve used LR since it was introduced, and have been a power user of Photoshop since v1.0 for design, photography processing and retouching. The majority of my workflow is done in LR, with PS employed as needed. For online viewing, I’ll process .RAF files using my normal LR workflow since it doesn’t matter much on screen. But when I want to maximize detail in my X-Trans files, I’ll start in Iridient then jump to LR from there.

        I have over 14k .RAF files on my HDD at current and have shot Fuji almost exclusively since around 2012. I’m happy to post up examples of any sort comparing baseline raw conversion in ID vs LR.

  7. Agreed, the difference is massive!!
    But I also notice that the out of focus areas have some false detail with Iridient but look much cleaner in LR. I guess it’s a trade-off?

  8. Hi Axel, thanks for the post! Great to hear you are liking the results from Iridient Developer! Based on your screen grab it looks like you may be using a fairly old version of Iridient Developer (pre version 3?). The latest version adds some new sharpening methods (Iridient Reveal and High Pass), multiple RAW process (demoniac) options and has improved the RAW processing of Fujifilm X-Trans significantly compared to older versions. If you haven’t tried the latest 3.0.7 release I’d definitely recommend taking a look at the current release available from my web site here:

    Also with X-Trans cameras the lenses tend to be quite sharp (especially the primes) and there is no AA filter so keeping the sharpening radius in a fairly low range of 0.35 to 0.50 or so can help avoid an over sharpened look on screen in particular.

    Best regards,
    Brian Griffith (author of Iridient Developer)
    Iridient Digital

    • I’m sure I’m the millionth to ask but please make Iridient available for Windows 🙂
      Great work by the way! 🙂

      • Indeed, many, many requests for Windows support. Iridient is a very small company (just myself) and my development experience has mostly been on Mac and Unix systems so it’s slower progress on Windows than I’d like 🙁 I’ve made attempts to hire outside consulting help for Windows over the years, but no success so far finding someone with skill set and other traits I’d like…

        The good news is I’ve made major progress on the Windows (and Linux) ports of much of my RAW processing pipeline in the past couple months. I hoped to have a public beta in Jan-Feb, I’m now aiming for March-April. Initial product(s) on Windows won’t be the full Iridient Developer application, but the most critical processing elements will be there. For those that use a primarily Lightroom based workflow the new product(s) should be more convenient and have a much lower learning curve than a more full featured RAW processor like Iridient Developer anyway.

        Brian Griffith (author of Iridient Developer)
        Iridient Digital

        • ok I’ve got a check with your name on it. I just need the amount and a date 😉
          hmm oh never mind, don’t even read this, just go back to work and release it!! 🙂 hehe

        • Excellent! I understand where you are coming from. I’m an independent software manufacturer/developer myself.

  9. I understand the desire to shoot everything in RAW but to be honest the Fujifilm system is one of the best reasons to shoot JPEG. You can literally see the final image in your viewfinder. The straight out of camera jpeg files are so good that unless your exposure is completely off, there is, in my opinion, no reason to shoot RAW.

  10. Downsizing for web both are fine. At 100% though ID version looks like clinical over-sharpening. It is the opposite to Fuji’s first generation X100, which has some sort of soft touch in the details.

  11. I’ve posted a number of LR vs ID comparisons over the past couple years and can’t emphasize enough how much detail there is to be realized from Iridient for X-Trans versus LR/ACR. It’s unbelievable, really. The added steps in a workflow that would otherwise take place almost entirely within LR can slow things down, but it’s worth the effort.

    I shared a pair of screen shots just yesterday, showing the same unprocessed .RAF file at 100% zoom in ID3 and LR CC. The image is straight from the camera, with NO edits to the file in either program … meaning the comparison is even more dramatic, since the ID version is *before* applying requisite tweaks such as R-L Deconvolution.

    With a file like this, I’ll do baseline edits in ID3 the work from the resulting TIFF file in LR for final processing.

    Would love to share the two images directly here, but don’t think comments will allow images … so here’s link to my post on FM: http://www.fredmiranda.com/forum/topic/1097477/449#13409635. I have tons of examples like this and am always blown away by how much detail there is in images that otherwise look muddy in LR.

  12. Thanks for this post. It’s hard to tell tho unless at 100% crop. Also on the 100% crop of the Iridient Developer processed file, the pine trees in the distance (on the top left of the cropped photo) seems to me like just a bit more chroma noise than the Lightroom one.

    So, I guess the decision I should I really make now is if I should worry what it looks like at 100% crop when it is hard to tell at normal magnification (at least for me)? And is it worth introducing both the extra step to get this result?

    BTW, I do have both Iridient and Lightroom.

  13. When i used a XE-1 back in the days it was released, i was never satisfied with how LR redered the images and bought Iridient Developer. The program was fairly cheap (less than 50 bucks) and the difference especially in color rendering was massive. Iridient seems to do a its sharpening when leftt to default settings but you can change that in case you are not satisfied. But for the colors alone this program is worth its price. You can still work with LR and PS once you have converted the files with Iridient Developer (as 16 bit .tiff).

  14. Well to be fair Lightroom is sort of infamous for its bad sharpening that is always turned on. And it is as bad on Canon Raw files as on Fuji. Just turn it off. You could get a similar result to Irdient using a high pass filter in photoshop and keep a nondestructive workflow.

    I wonder why people always complain about having to buy extra software. If you want a good postprocessing workflow you will need different tools. Otherwise its a bit like buying that pro camera and then sticking a 24-300 sigma lens on it.
    if you dont want to postprocess a lot then maybe export jpg from the camera. my fuji x100s has great results that way too.

  15. The difference is big, but what a pain. My whole workflow for other cameras is in Adobe, like a lot of people. I had the X100s but sold it because of this.

  16. So, i have to buy $$$$ new software to process and Xtrans to look like a bayer? seriously? the Fuji Xa1 and Xa2 have great image quality. Xtrans is salesmanship to me.

    • The right way to look at is that Adobe hasn’t done what they needed to do to support Fuji files while Irrident has. If you have a bone to pick, it is with Adobe for not giving you what you paid for.

      • There isn’t much Adobe can do. Fuji, like Nikon, will not release their proprietary demosaicing methods to anyone. Camera compatibility updates for the RAW editors we use are simply reverse-engineering attempts and the consumer usually gets the short end of the stick. But it does seem Iridient in this case is using better math…

        • I was at Fuji X-pro2 launch event last night at GPP here in Dubai, with both Fuji Execs & pro photogs who have been advising Fuji on development of X cameras, lenses, firmware updates etc. These photogs have been both glowing in their praise of aspects of the Fuji products & damning in their criticism of the aspects that annoyed the hell out of them. All categorically state that Adobe has been given every bit of information they need for rendering the X-trans files, as have the other RAW processing vendors. Interestingly, we got to give feedback on what to do to make Fuji products better & this feedback is going directly to the President of Fuji Digital Imaging. One of the suggestions was that Fuji develop their own plug in that does all the RAW rendering/ developing, including applying Fuji’s own film simulations to the RAWS (kind of like the in-camera developing ability but with full control) & then bringing the file back into LR, PS, C1, etc. Something like how a Nik plug in functions. This would allow proper processing of the RAWS as intended but within people’s choice of processing software. When polled, the audience said they would pay for such an option, if Fuji were to develop it. Let’s see if this is do-able.

          • I’d pay for that plugin!
            Or, since dng is open source, the plugin could simply do a very basic rendering on the raf files and convert them to dng in order to be brought back into Lr but with a much better initial rendering?
            I have no idea how that works so I might be saying something stupid…

        • That’s exactly the reason why I hate X-Trans. It’s highly proprietary. Another way to lock down customers. Others try that too, like Nikon, but as long as they use bayer pattern, the raw files can easily converted tp DNG for long term storage. If Fuji ditches X-Trans (remember SuperCCD ?), no software developer will work on better demosaicing, especially Adobe. The only one who loses, is you , with your precious photos, locked in proprietary X-Trans files.

  17. Tremendous difference Steve. Anyone who can’t see the difference must not be looking at the enlarged pic of each.

  18. When you said you export from Iridient to Lightroom, what exactly do you mean? Did you export to jpeg from Iridient and then open the them in Lightroom?

  19. Wow. I’m viewing this on my mobile phone and I can see a difference. Wish Adobe would get it together in regards to Fuji raw files. Can’t wait to view on my desktop computer.

  20. Wow!
    What a difference. Thanks for that little test. Now this kind of probleme to me, as i like lightroom a lot for being a complete workflow solution. But your examples shake my world. Because wants to get the best out of his pictures, right?

  21. I had heard about this from a friend, I didn’t believe him and started using Lightroom, then one day I wanted to print out this pretty picture of Maroon Bells, it wasn’t that big, 13 x19, and I could tell right away, it was so smudged, I thought I had done something wrong, motion blur, that didn’t make sense though, as the picture was taken at 1/1000 and it was the 23mm lens, long story short, I hate the water color effect of LR, I continue to use aperture (somehow works) and iridient, even my ipad pro handles these photos better than LR, I don’t get it.

      • Steve, you should try Iridient Developer when reviewing the X-Pro2!
        It’s not something one need to do for every picture. I myself shoot JPEG and do minor processing in LR for everyday use. But some pictures, like maybe landscape shots and portraits, could benefit from being shot in RAW and have some extra bit of work done to them!
        Thanks for posting!

  22. I hate to say it, but the image processed by Iridient looks oversharpened and somewhat harsh to me. The ACR version preserves the quality of light better and overall has a more natural appearance.

      • Left a comment on the FB page Steve, I wildly disagree with your Fuji hate, and I could provide dozens of examples of Lightroom not sucking the life out of my files. The X-Trans sensor is designed to feel more like film and replicate the warmth that is missing from many other sensors. And it does just that! My clients LOVE he warmth and feeling of the Fuji photos, as do I. I’ve been a photographer for more then 20 years, professionally shooting for more then 15, the Fuji is easily my favorite digital outside of Leica I’ve ever used, it’s AF flaws are the only draw back.

        • That’s the beautiful part of all of this. NONE of us have the exact same tastes, we are all different, as we should be. What you love I may dislike. I never said I hated fuji, ever. EVER. I said I did not care for their XTrans sensor (VERY rare to see WOW shots, and i have seen tens of thousands), their hollow build and cheap dials/buttons (when compared to others) or their AF performance, not only speed but accuracy. Fix these and make it full frame and they would be unbeatable. But that will never happen as they are stuck with APS-C and a new system would take years to flesh out. Anyway, I like Fuji and have enjoyed MANY of their cameras – S2 Pro, S5 pro, X100 (original), X-T1…

          • I agree with you regarding the Fuji cameras Steve. Over the last several years, I’ve tried hard to like them but I just didn’t in the end. For the same reasons that you mentioned…. Hollow plasticky feel (X-Pro 1 especially), X-Trans issues with Lightroom, etc. I actually just walked back to my office from the local camera store where they already have the Fuji X70 and Olympus Pen-F. When holding both of those side-by-side in my hand, the X70 felt way more substantial (not hollow and not plasticky) compared to the Pen-F. First thing I said was, “Wow, that feels nice!” Not that the Pen-F felt hollow, but it was bordering on feeling plasticky in my humble opinion. I hope that is a sign of things to come for the X-Pro 2. And now that I know about the Iridient Developer software (Thanks Axel!), even BETTER! Looks like it would be worth adding that software to my workflow. I walked out of the store with the X70 in hand (after paying for it of course)! =) Anyway, just my opinions/thoughts that I figured I’d share.

        • No not really. In my eyes..I see 90% or more using Adobe Lightroom. That’s just how it is among the masses. MANY who buy a Fuji will NEVER EVER know about this issue with Adobe and Fuji X Trans. They will see muddied files and wonder what is happening. It would be in FUJI’s best interest to help Adobe along with this. The most popular imaging software NOT compatible with this odd sensor? That is the problem. It’s a Fuji and Adobe issue. As it is, those who are true enthusiasts or pros will download a different solution. This one or CX1, both which will cost them more money. It’s an inconvenience that only comes with Fuji. I wish it didn’t.

          • It’s the problem with Adobe….Enthusiasts, and these are the ppl which buy a X-Trans sensor Fujifilm mirrorless camera, *would* use Iridient Developer, because it simply gets the job best done, with best IQ into it’s class – *but* it’s currently only being avialable for MacOS, so Windows Users are sitting before closed doors….i hope Brian would get it done ’til into this year – or at least into January 2017, to get a feature spec’d down Iridient Developer for Windows ready….really, would love to use my X-E1 with that RAW Developer…

            At least, X-Trans Fuji Sensor (well, speaken about the CFA – the rest is just an ordinary (Sony) APS-C sensor, just not the usual Bayer Sensor CFA, but Fujis X-Trans…do have also Support from Capture One, Photo Ninja, LR, and a few others….*but* with sub-optimal IQ…and here Iridient kicks into…hopefully on this planet, soon for Windows, too… 😉

      • So… let me see. You KNOW that LR “sucks the life out of Fuji files” and that’s why you don’t like the X-Trans sensor? Cut off your nose to spite your face much? 🙂
        With that said and out of my system I use LR 5.7 for my X Files, and I LOVE IT. However, I’ve also used ID from it’s original version, and now through 3.0.8 and i love the quality, sharpness, and clarity of the images I’ve processed. I only use the R-L method at .5 and 30 iterations. I learned of this waaaay back in 2013 when I first purchased the X-E1.
        I’m travel/landscape stock shooter. I have found that on occasion various stock agencies would reject my ID processed files as being over sharpened. I then process the raf file in LR, and walaaa they accept them. I will agree on the point made that if you are not careful, over-sharpening does indeed occur.
        It is an amazing piece of software considering ONE GUY developed it.

    • The point of this test was to highlight the difference in sharpness, not tonality. The reason the IR-crop might look over sharpened and harsh to you is because the lens is actually very sharp at f/5.6 and I used similar edeting-values on both files i LR. I could’ve tweaked the IR-crop to look more like the LR-crop in tonality if I wanted to, but didn’t in an attempt to avoid criticism for not using the same values

  23. Capture 1 also does well with Fuji raw files, if at a higher cost. However, I have come to prefer it to Lightroom.

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