About Thomas Fitzgerald

Thomas is a professional fine art photographer and writer specialising in photography related instructional books as well as travel writing and street photography. 

Some More Thoughts on On1 Raw

Some More Thoughts on On1 Raw

I wrote some first reaction thoughts on On1’s new RAW photo processor on Friday, specifically how it relates to Fuji X-Trans Files. Since then I’ve spent a bit more time trying it out, and I tried it using images from a few different cameras. When not using X-Trans files the results seem quite different, and so, while my first thoughts were a bit overly negative, I’m a bit more optimistic now.

First of all, it’s still pretty unstable, even for a beta. If I make sure that nothing else is running, then after a fresh reboot, the software is useable for a little while. However, there does appear to be a significant memory leak in it, at least on my Mac, and memory usage slowly starts to creep up until the whole system grinds to a halt. The thing that seems to kill it the quickest is indexing folders, or browsing large folders, so I suspect the memory leak is somewhere in the “Browse” section.

                                     Memory usage after about 20 minutes of use

                                     Memory usage after about 20 minutes of use

When working with Sony ARW files, it’s fast and responsive for the most part. Much more so that Lightroom. Also, the quality is pretty good. It’s significantly better than X-Trans conversions. The various sharpening modes are nice, and you can add multiple sharpening effects and use different sharpening methods. You can also limit certain adjustments to various colours, or tonal ranges, although unlike Luminar, you can’t seem to mask individual effects.

I was particularly impressed by the quality of the conversions from my Sony A6000. As with the X-Trans conversions, the default calibration seems a bit off, but mostly in terms of the black levels being too high, although this is a problem with A6000 files on Lightroom too. Colours seem ok though. Detail and sharpness are excellent, and the files are clean and seem to be much cleaner than they are in Lightroom.

Sony A6000 1:1 Crops (Click to view large)

Some other observations in no particular order:

  • The default sharpening settings are all too high in my opinion.
  • There’s quite a few useful presets with the software, but these appear to work by using the “effects” panel, which is a holdover from the previous version of On1, rather than using the Develop panel. This has its advantages though, in that you can do your “developing” separately from your “processing”.
  • When it’s working well, it’s very fast.
  • Scrolling while dragging in the folders panel doesn’t work, so if you have a long list of folders, and you want to drag one to the “drag here to index” section, you can’t.
  • When an image is loading, it pops up open a system style dialog box with a status bar. This is really jarring as it’s “on top” of the interface and takes you out of it. I hope this is just a beta issue, as it’s very tacky looking.
  • The browser is much slower than in On1 10.5 so I hope this is a beta issue.
  • I’ve tried files from a few different cameras. The only ones it really has a problem with is X-Trans files. Sorry :-( If they want to cater for Fuji uses they need to work on this. It’s a bit better on older 16mp files than newer (X-Pro 2, X-T2) 24mp files, but it’s still bad.
  • At the moment, it’s very buggy. I covered this in my first piece, but it makes it difficult to work with for any length of time. It’s fine for about 20 minutes of use, but then it becomes pretty much unusable for me. I’m working on a 12core Mac Pro with 20gb of ram, so it’s not a problem with my system. You have to keep an eye on the memory usage, and quit it before it gets too high, or your whole system will become unusable.

That’s about it really. I was pretty negative in my first report on it, so I wanted to try and give a positive side too. I still stand by my assertion that they shouldn’t have released a public beta this half cooked. I know it’s pre-release, and a beta, but public betas are generally relatively stable, and I don’t think this is at the moment. I am a bit more optimistic though than I was on Friday when I first tried it. It’s not really good enough for X-Trans files at the moment, but for everything else it’s pretty good, or at least it could be when they stabilise it.

I do hope they work to improve X-Trans support and fix some of the artifacts, but given the low priority other developers seem to put on Fuji support I’m not optimistic on that one, but you never know. I’ll keep trying it every time I get a chance, and I’ll report back If I discover anything else. If there’s anything you would like me to try, let me know in the comments below, and I’ll do my best.


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Shooting on a Dull Day

Initial Impressions of On1 Raw for X-Trans Files

Initial Impressions of On1 Raw for X-Trans Files