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. 

Photo Ninja for X-Trans Initial Impressions

Photo Ninja for X-Trans Initial Impressions

Regular readers of my photo blog will know that I am a big proponent of Iridient Developer for processing files from one of Fujifilm’s X-Trans series of cameras. I’ve noted in previous posts that it gives a much more natural look than Lightroom does, and it is much better at extracting detail in my opinion. Since my posts on the subject, numerous readers have contacted me and suggested that I also give Photo Ninja a look too for it’s X-Trans rendering. The good folks over at Picture Code were kind enough to send me an evaluation license, and after a few weeks on other projects, I’m finally able to give it a good look.

Photo Ninja is a fully featured raw processing programme from the same company that is famous for its “Noise Ninja” noise reduction plug-ins. When they released Photo Ninja they built upon their highly regarded processing architecture and delivered a full raw development offering.

I haven’t gone through the software in detail yet, and I’ll have a full review and workflow video once I do, but for now, here are some observations.

  • The software is very fast. I’m not sure if they’re using GPU acceleration or not, but processing and previewing edits is very fast.
  • They seem to have put a lot of thought into the demosaicing algorithms. There’s a whole section on the website about it, and the developers seem to have appreciated the need to treat cameras with weak or no anti-aliasing filters differently from those with stronger filters.
  • When looking at files from my XE–1, it seems to have recognised my camera settings for highlight and shadow tone, and automatically applies the relevant adjustments to the raw files.
  • The level of detail you can extract is really impressive. I don’t want to compare it to Iridient Developer just yet, until I do some proper testing, but you seem to be able to extract more detail from my initial testing. I don’t think the results are quite as organic as Iridient developer though. ID gives an analogue feel which I really like, but I need to do more testing before I say for sure. Photo Ninja definitely outputs sharper and more detailed images at the default settings, but this could just be a combination of settings. I think perhaps the default sharpening is too high for my liking. Turning it down does seem to give better results for my personal taste.
  • The software has the ability to render out 32 bit Tiffs. This should preserve the maximum amount of detail for editing further in other software. I’m not sure if this retains super white details yet or not. It seems to from my first few attempts. If I’m right and it does, then this will be an amazing feature. If not then it’s up for debate as to how much value rendering your files out at 32bit will be compared to the increased file size.

As I said, this is just a quick “first impressions” look at the software. I’ll be exploring it more in the coming days and I’ll have a full review once I do. Some readers have also been asking for ways to get the most out of X-Trans with just Lightroom and Photoshop or from Aperture. I’m still working on best practice workflows for various software combinations, and I might put the whole lot together into an e-book.

In the mean time here’s a couple of images processed with Photo Ninja and Lightroom. As per my previous workflows, I’ve done the initial processing in Photo Ninja and the “grade” in Lightroom. I’ll have 100% crops and comparison images when I do a full review. More to come!

A Dublin Lamp Post

Dublin's Ha'penny Bridge

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