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X-T1 : Pictures not sharp :-(


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xavierbonacorsi

Hello Guys,

I just switch to Fuji after being loyal to Nikon for 25 years !

I bought a X-T1 with a 10-24mm and a 56mm.

I must say that I'm very perplexed.

I've been shooting RAW and converting using Camera Raw/Photoshop CS6

I can't seem to get dead sharp images, except when I use a flash.

All the images are somewhat "smudgy"…

I just made some tests shooting in JPEG.

Same conclusion : can't get dead sharp images without using a flash.

All the firmwares are up to date.

Shutter speeds are fast enough.

Tested at avery aperture...

I have started a communication with Fuji about the issue.

I was wondering if anyone had a similar "experience"

Thanks !

Xavier

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Shooting the elephant at f/16 seems overkill. I believe you are going to be going up against diffraction at this point, or at least starting too.

The landscapes appear to be shot from a boat, which is hardly the most stable platform to be shooting from. It also looks like there is some haze in those images as well.

You are also using an x-trans sensor now, which requires a different set of post processing techniques than what you are used to from the traditional bayer sensor.

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MarcoDebiasi

@xavierbonacorsi, the sharp pictures taken with the flash are both at relatively short distance. So, I am wondering if this may have something to do with you inadvertently having enabled the macro function of the camera (a somewhat obscure function that has caused frustrations to other users as well).

In any case, try to take pictures of still objects (e.g. books in a bookshelf) with and without flash by manual focusing the camera mounted on a tripod with the OIS disabled (if the lens has it) and using f/8 aperture. Then repeat the same thing with auto focusing. This should help to understand if indeed this has something to do with the use of the flash (strange!) or rather if it is a focusing problem. In fact for completeness you should repeat the manual/auto focusing experiment capturing still objects at larger distances (e.g. building walls or other flat architectural details) always with the camera on a tripod, f/8, and no OIS. Of course at larger distances the use of the flash may not be significant, but still this should tell you if there is a problem with focusing.

After analyzing the results you and other members may be able to understand the nature of the problem or at least to start narrowing it down.

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The macro mode merely enables the camera to use the closest focus distances offered by the lens. It shouldn't make a picture out of focus, unless focus was not confirmed in the first place. My X cameras will focus at all distances even in macro mode, just more slowly - it doesn't disable infinity focusing.

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xavierbonacorsi

Thanks for feedback guys….

No, the macro mode was not "on".

Neither was OIS on the 10-24.

All samples above are RAF just opened using Camera Raw (CS6),

absolutely no post-process.

I'll definitely try to poinpoint what is "wrong".

I'll post any development.

Here's another (smudgy) sample taken this morning.

- Full image

- close-up from RAW

- Close-up from JPG (which gives a wax statue skin tone)

Blur-4a(RAW).jpg

Blur-4b(RAW).jpg

Blur-4c(JPG).jpg

All suggestions welcome.

Thanks again

Xavier

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Thanks for feedback guys….

No, the macro mode was not "on".

Neither was OIS on the 10-24.

All samples above are RAF just opened using Camera Raw (CS6),

absolutely no post-process.

I'll definitely try to poinpoint what is "wrong".

I'll post any development.

Here's another (smudgy) sample taken this morning.

- Full image

- close-up from RAW

- Close-up from JPG (which gives a wax statue skin tone)

Waxy texture in skin can be typically for Fuji jpegs from X Trans sensor. At least part of the problem seems to be the noise reduction that is applied, and has no "off" setting in the camera jpeg engine.

Softness from raw is completely typically for Adobe X Trans raw support, in my experience (I don't have LR5.x so can't comment about that, but previous versions were obviously soft). Other raw converters tend to be better - Fuji RFC, Silky Pix, or Capture One being 3 mainstream examples, which run on PC. X Trans files require different sharpening settings in Adobe to get anything out of them, in my experience, though I got better results in the other tools mentioned. Also bear in mind that there are some theories / evidence that the raw development of X Trans files seems to apply some noise filtering by default, perhaps by it's very nature as the maths to create the image is quite different to that required by Bayer sensors in all other cameras. I too found some people pictures seemed to lack bite when the lighting was "flat" (i.e. not flash) and / or when working at intermediate ISOs (e.g. ISO 1000 up from memory).

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Have a look at

this

. It may answer some of your problem.

A quick read, it looks quite a useful guide. He doesn't mention using different sharpening settings at different ISOs, however, and he always leaves the radius at 1 whereas I often found this should be varied for best results depending on image and ISO setting.

It didn't seem to talk about output sharpening at all - the sharpening settings used when exporting an image. LR has preset for it (level and media), other tools allow you to vary it yourself. It's an important step to make sure you final sharpening is suitable for the size of reproduction, and whether for printing or viewing on screen.

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xavierbonacorsi

Hi again (Straggler / Artuk / all)

I read the blog by Pete Bridgwood (using Lightroom to sharpen X-trans images)

I installed Lightroom and followed his suggestions…

While I now clearly understand that I must not try to process FUJI RAF files as I processed the Nikon NEF files, I unfortunately did not get better results than what I got using Camera Raw and Photoshop.

However, I have noticed that going back to using Unsharp Mask gives me better results than the Smart Sharpen I have been using since its introduction a few yeasrs ago...

I have sent samples to Fuji.

I am now waiting to see what they say…

Hopefully I have a defective unit that they will simply replace …

Will let you know...

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I am still failing to see how comparing photos taken on different days of different subjects in different circumstances is any sort of valid comparison. If you were truly serious about this you would find a static subject (I think a book shelf has been suggested but a person sitting still would also work) and you would put the camera on a tripod to eliminate user issues and you would take two identical photos with the same camera settings one after the other with the only difference being that one used flash and one did not. You could repeat the test at different apertures if you really want to.

Only then after viewing the results assuming that they differ would your complaint start to make any sort of sense. As it stands the unsharp photos could simply be caused by your caffeine intake affecting how steady your hands are to take things to rediculous levels.

Until you do some sort of quantifiable test this thread is a total waste of space.

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jeremyclarke

My suspicion is that the issue relates to camera shake and shutter speed. As soon as you use a flash you effectively give yourself a super-fast shutter speed, which will freeze close subjects very effectively (in combination with a reasonable actual shutter speed to avoid ghosting).

I'd try taking photos at 1/1000 or higher without the flash, then take a photo of the same subject with the flash (it will need to be 1/180 for that but you can still compare sharpness).

As others have pointed out you really need to test this on a tripod, which would also eliminate camera shake and (my guess) your problem.

Remember: Fuji cameras are fundamentally sharper than almost all Nikons because they have similar sensors but no AA filter. This extra sharpness could be playing into the sense that this is a new problem for you, since the flash photos are showing you the full potential of the sensor, whereas handheld-non-flash photos are limited by shutter speed. Try taking your old Nikon and running the same tests on it and see if the flash doesn't sharpen them up too.

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xavierbonacorsi

Hi Jeremy…

Close… I'm in Quebec City !

I will do as many have suggested and test with a rock solid tripod and flash.

I too am curious now !

But if I need a tripod to shoot at 1/170s with a 24mm lens…

That will defeat the purpose of switching to a light mirrorless system.

This shot was taken at 1/170s at 24mm

and I was holding down the camera on a rock !

Followed by a 100% blow up.

Don't worry.. this is the last "sample"…

I won't be using more space here :)

smudy.jpg

smudy_blow.jpg

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I strongly suggest you sharpen your raw files. Personally I use Nik's RAW presharpener before I post process anything, and the difference in sharpness is marked. Before exporting for print or web I use Nik's output sharpener and again the difference is marked. I have used Nikon, Canon and Pentax and the Fuji is as sharp or better than all of these when sharpened correctly. YMMV

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PS, have you tried shooting Fuji jpeg and seen what a properly sharpened image Fuji is capable of? If your Fuji jpegs are not sharp, you have either an equipment problem or you need to adapt to a smaller csc camera which I have found a little harder to handhold steadily compared to full frame dslr's. jmho

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What the OP might want to do as well is post a RAW file out on Dropbox or similar and provide it to some of the more experienced post processors here. We could then at least start to eliminate some of the variables, like problems with the RAW post processing workflow.

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jeremyclarke

FWIW that last shot was pretty sharp compared to the others, probably because it had bright direct light. Remember that you're seeking absolute sharpness for landscapes here, not just casual sharpness for clarity. In those situations my experience has been that everyone agrees tripods are much better.

Another thing to do, in addition to using a tripod, is to use a remote release or the countdown timer rather than pushing the shutter button (your rock commend reminded me) as that can add movement regardless of the focal length.

Also that closeup of the trees makes me think of the "watercolor" effect many people complained of in some Fuji cameras, which specifically affects foliage details (people speculate it's the X-Trans pattern's use of green pixels that causes it). I forget if that issue only affected JPG or if it was also in RAW, but it could be the issue (if it's an X-Trans pattern problem then it would also affect RAW). I'd recommend searching for that and seeing if it matches your landscape issues in particular.

P.S. Don't worry about posting images. It's interesting for us to diagnose the problem. Just post some from a tripod next time ;)

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I think that I remember someone here posting about the watercolor effect being mitigated in landscapes when they used a RAW converter other than Adobe's. Can't remember which one, though.

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