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. 

Do you still need to use X-Transformer?

Do you still need to use X-Transformer?

Do you still need to use X-Transformer? That’s the question that I’ve been getting asked pretty regularly since Adobe launched “Enhance Details” in Lightroom and Camera Raw. The answer might seem like it should be straight forward, but it’s actually a little complicated and it depends on a few factors. It’s also pretty subjective, but more on that in a minute.

If you don’t know what this is all about, check out my previous coverage of “Enhance Details” in Lightroom. If you don’t already use X-Transformer, then don’t worry about this post. It’s not for you!

So, then, should you still use X-Transformer or Enhance Details? Well, it depends on your answers to the following questions:

Q1. Does Enhance Details work for you?

This is probably an obvious question. Unfortunately, because of the system requirements, some people simply can’t run Enhance Details. If you can’t then it pretty much rules it out.

Q2. Do you have lots of hard drive space?

DNG files created by Enhance Details uses a lot more hard disk space than files created with X-Transformer. I believe that this is because it all embeds the original raw file as well as the demosiaced version. X-Transformer files are smaller, although people still expressed concern at how much bigger these are than the native RAF files. If hard drive space is an issue then Enhance Details may not be the best choice for you.

Q3. Do you have a fast GPU?

If you have a fairly fast GPU and Enhance Details works pretty fast for you, then you should have no problem using it. However, if you have an older or slower GPU then you may find that it takes a long time to run the function in Lightroom, and you may be better off sticking with X-Transformer, which can process multiple files simultaneously and doesn’t have as stringent GPU requirements.

Q4. Do you prefer the results of Enhanced details to X-Transformer

If you answered yes to the above questions then this is what it really comes down to. Unfortunately, this is a question that you must answer for yourself. In my opinion, there is a pretty clear difference between the two, although it depends on the image, and I personally believe that enhanced details is much better, but not everyone sees this. Some people are strongly insistent that X-Transformer is better, and some don’t see the difference. It really boils down to your own personal preferences, the type of image that you shoot and how much you want to sweat the details.

Both provide an adequate improvement over the default raw conversion in Lightroom (although some people don’t see this either) so if you’re zooming into 400% and spending hours comparing images, then it’s close enough that it really doesn’t matter in the real world. In this case, the above issues like speed and hard drive space may be more prevalent.


If you answered yes to all of the above questions then I see no real reason to continue using X-Transformer. If the larger files aren’t an issue and you have a relatively fast GPU, then using enhance details keeps everything in the software (not that this really matters that much). If you don’t already have X-Transformer, and enhance details works for you, I see no reason to use it or buy it any more (sorry Iridient).

Now, I know the question I’m going to get asked? How does it compare to Capture One? Well, that’s another post for another day. (In my pinion there is very little difference between them - but there’s a little more to it than that)

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A few Software bits and Pieces

A few Software bits and Pieces

Film Lux 3 Now Available

Film Lux 3 Now Available