Thoughts on Fujifilm X Series RAW files

Pebbles by Ste Manns on

I have recently been revisiting old Fujifilm X Series RAW files I have sitting on my hard drive gathering virtual dust.  A quick search on the internet will bring up a plethora of issues with Fuji’s .RAF files, how best to sharpen them, what is the best converter to even how to open them in the first place.  Everyone has their own opinion on the hows and whys, I prefer not to get too bogged down with that sort of thing preferring to concentrate, at least for personal work like the above photograph, on the emotive and aesthetic side of the end result.  I am a great believer in getting things right in camera, especially when I am using Fujifilm X series cameras, however as will become clear over time as I develop this website I am also very keen on the post processing aspect of modern digital photography.  It is a duality I am perfectly at ease with and I can switch happily between the two depending on how I feel at the time or indeed where necessity lies.

One of the great joys of the Fujifilm X series cameras for me is how you can embrace both these different approaches.  These cameras, as every X shooter knows, produce simply amazing and breathtaking Jpegs straight out of camera, and also the RAW files have great latitude and are fantastic for getting creative with, at least now we have the right support from the likes of Adobe and their latest Camera Raw plugin.

The above image was originally shot with a Fujifilm X-E1 together with the excellent Fujinon XF 18-55 kit lens.  I was on a day trip to Bridlington with my family, I took a lot of pictures that day and it is a fond memory for me, I remember shooting RAW + Fine, using the wonderful Fuji film simulations and I was experimenting with the various aspect ratios built into the camera.  I believe I originally posted this image straight out of camera in black and white + red filter at 1:1, which brings me to those RAW files again.  Because I kept the RAW files I have now, almost two years after the original outing, been able to make another version of the same picture in colour and at 4:3 aspect.  I also tweaked the image a little, using a subtle gradient layer to give the shot a calmer mood and to give it a completely different atmosphere.

I love the Fujifilm X series cameras and this image is a prime example of why.  The retro design gives me that certain nostalgic feeling lacking in most modern cameras and the fantastic Jpegs coupled with the film simulations allows me to pop out on a photowalk and feel as close to the ‘good old film days’ as possible whilst also giving me the advantages of the modern digital world.  I’ve had many digital SLRs but they’ve always lacked a certain something and I was never able to put my finger on it until I used a Fujifilm X camera, and of course I can still capture RAW files for when I want to get creative in post production.


Thoughts on Fujifilm X Series RAW files

Chinese New Year in Manchester

I recently braved the harsh winter weather for a short visit to the Chinese New Year in Manchester City Centre. The intention was to do some street photography, in the end I don’t manage many images, in-between the rain and hail and trying to get through the crowds I decided to call it a day.  Here are just a few of the images:




Modu Heart

Eleanor B&W-1

I was asked to do a photoshoot for a local music and training company at Grenada Old Studios, located in Central Manchester. The brief was to capture clear images of their recording gear and for a few straight portraits of their designer and head of design. The images would be multi purpose, for website and promotional material.

Conditions weren’t ideal.  The room was a tiny box approximately ten by twelve with no natural light.  In fact the only light came from the tiny halogen lamps recessed into the ceiling.  The walls, floor and ceiling were all strong reds and purples.  A photographers nightmare.

Luckily I had my speedlights with me together with my magic clips.  I call them that because they’re clips you can fasten virtually anywhere, to clamp your speedlites to, and  they’re just magic! I used three or four lights in the end, using gels to get some control over the colours and setting custom white balance in camera.  There weren’t many colour shots in the end though as the client preferred monochrome.

At the end of the day we were exhausted, it had been a long and hard assignment with problems popping up every time we thought we’d figured it all out.  I’m the kind of photographer who enjoys the challenges though and I look back on the day with fondness.

Here are a few of the final images complete with custom watermarking:

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Modu Heart