Recently (April, 2010), I purchased a FujiFilm HS-10.

This camera will shoot Raw images, and comes supplied with a Raw File Converter (RFC). This is 'powered' by SilkyPix, and is similar to the SilkyPix Developer Studio, albeit with a little less functionality. Still, it is very usable.

I normally use other applications for processing Raw files. At present (May, 2010), RFC, and SilkyPix Developer Studio (or Pro), are the only applications which will support the HS-10 Raw files.

The HS-10 delivers beautiful Jpeg images, if it is used correctly. If shooting Raw, much more control can be had over the resultant output. Particularly in terms of exposure, contrast, sharpening and, perhaps most importantly, noise control.

Processing raw images can seem a little daunting, and confusing, for a first time user. So, I have put together some notes about a set of process steps which can be used to get good results from RFC.

In the illustrations below, I will describe the typical step by step process which I use for converting, and adjusting, a Raw file from the HS-10 using RFC.

The original Raw file, I have used in this example, is available here if you wish to download and play with it yourself.

Have fun.


Note : I have kept this first example fairly straightforward, as it is designed to help as much with familiarisation with RFC, as the actual processing of an image.

Also, I have chosen a particular image, for this first example, as it has fairly even exposure and much foliage. I will add more examples over time.


For a second RFC process example - Click here



Step One - Opening and displaying the image

As with all applications, simply select File/Open, and then select the Raw file you wish to work with in RFC.

Once the file is open, right click on the image and select the display size you wish to work in. To start, I normally select the size as 25%, and then enlarge the image to comfortably fit the display.

Once a size is selected, the 'magnify' icon can be used to easily move the image around the display area.

This is particularly useful when working at larger magnifications.

Note : If you select 'Fitted Display', you cannot move the image within the display. This is why I use the other option.



Step Two - Checking for any highlight/shadow exposure issues

Here, I have enlarged the image to 32%, to comfortably fit in my display area, and have positioned it to the left of the display.

At this point, I select 'View/Display warning/Enable both Highlight/Shadow warning'. This will present a flashing warning to show any areas which have highlights which are 'clipping', or shadows, which are 'blocked'.

Note : Clipping simply means that an area in an image has been over exposed. Either for all the colour channels (RGB), or for some. Blocked means that an area in an image is under exposed to the point where nothing has been captured. Again, either in all the colour channels, or for some.

For a more detailed understanding of exposure, clipping, and blocked, have a look here (Cambridge In Colour). In my opinion, some of the very best tutorials, and attendant examples, for photographers, available on the web. And, they're free !!



Step Two (continued) - Checking for any highlight/shadow exposure issues

Now that I have turned on my 'warnings', the image below shows areas of the image which are clipping, and are blocked. I have set a pointer to the clipped highlight areas, but there are also some blocked shadow areas at lower right, and upper left. These show up as bright white 'spots'.

In reality, and for this image, none of the 'warning' areas give me any cause for concern. Overall, the exposure is quite good.

Note : I use the warning simply to show me where any 'clipped' areas may be. Once I have an understanding, I click 'View/Display warning/Disable warning', to turn it off. Otherwise, it will flash continuously and be very distracting. Leave it on and see what I mean.

As I process the image, I may turn it on again, from time to time, to see how my process steps are affecting these areas.



Step Three - Fine tuning white balance

This is the first step of the actual processing stage. It is best to do this step first, as other adjustments can affect the overall 'balance' of colours in the image.

Overall, with this image, I am fairly comfortable with the default white balance (WB). However, as with most images, I wish to adjust the WB slightly.

In this case, I want to 'warm' the image a little, and without affecting the overall green feel of it.

To do this, I simply open the WB options and adjust my values to suit.

Note : Many HS-10 images, when first opened in RFC, seem to have slightly incorrect WB.

This should always be the first step when working with an image in RFC. If you are comfortable with the white balance, when you open your own image, you can omit this step. If not, do this before moving on to other adjustments. You can always come back and fine tune the values, as you go.

Tip : If you get the WB totally messed up, simply click where it says 'Manual' and then select Fine (5200K) to go back to the default settings.



Step Four - Contrast adjustment prior to noise reduction and sharpening

This is my next step in the work flow.

This is a simple preliminary step before we move onto noise reduction (NR) and sharpening.

For this step, we simply click where it says 'Average contrast'. This will display a set of preset contrast options.

Here, I will select 'A little low contrast'.

Note : Increased contrast also increases noise. It can be tempting to do your contrast adjustments at this point, however, lowering the contrast here, performing any NR, and sharpening, and then coming back to the contrast adjustments, will ensure a cleaner finished image.



Step Five - Turn off all sharpening and noise reduction controls

To effectively control the sharpening and noise levels, first we need turn them all off.

To do this, click the sharpness, and then the noise reduction icons and set all levels to zero. All of them.

Note : At this point, I have enlarged the image to 65% magnification. You can work at any size desired. For me this is a good balance as it is showing the image at an equivalent print size of about 18 x 24". This is far in excess of most normal printing activity.

When I downsize later, I can be confident that an image printed at, say, 12 x 16" will stand up to close scrutiny.



Step Six - Apply noise reduction to any colour noise in the image

After setting all Sharpness and Noise reduction values to zero, reselect the Noise reduction icon, and adjust the 'False color ctrl' slider to suit.

I have found that you can be very heavy handed here. I have even used 100% for some images.



Step Seven - Apply sharpening to the image

Reselect the Sharpness icon and adjust the values to suit. As a starting point, you can simply reapply the default values by clicking on the inverted arrows above each slider.

Here, I have applied values of 65, 85, 40.



Step Seven (continued) - Apply sharpening to the image

At this point, let's quickly review what we have done.

I applied a slight adjustment to the WB, negated all NR controls and then reapplied some colour noise NR. I also negated all sharpening controls, and reapplied sharpening levels.

So, if we now set the image magnification back to 32%, this is how it looks.



Step Seven (continued) - Apply sharpening to the image

At this point, I wish to jump back and do a quick check of what is happening with my clipped highlights, and blocked shadows.

This is how it looks. Black areas are over exposed highlight warnings, and white areas are blocked shadow areas.

Reality, not enough to worry about. 



Step Eight - Reapply contrast to the image

I'm comfortable with the little noise there is in the image, the level of sharpness, etc. Now I wish to give the image a little 'pop'. To do this, I am simply going to adjust the contrast settings.

Here, I have increased the Contrast and Black Level controls. I have also shifted the Contrast center to the right, and raised the Gamma value to keep some overall lightness in the image.

Note : Remember that the more you apply contrast, the more you will accentuate any noise in the image. Whilst I am working at 32% magnification for the purpose of this exercise, I often jump to higher levels to check my adjustments



Step Nine - Saving the image

Well, that is all I am going to do. It may seem like a lot of steps, really it is few.

All I have really done is to 'warm' the image very slightly, get the sharpness and NR under my control, and add some contrast.

Now I am going to save the image.

To do this I simply select the Development icon and the 'Save As' options window will open. I have also clicked the 'Preview button so I can preview any steps I take here.

I am using the file format of DSCF3349 RFC Final.jpg. This is so I know that it has been developed in RFC, and this is my final version.

I have also elected to add a very small amount of extra sharpening in this step. Here I have applied the values of 20, 0.3, 3.

That's about it. So, I will simply click the Save button.


Below this illustration, I have put the image as first opened in RFC, and then followed by the final image.






Below is an example of the image as first opened in RFC, followed by the final image I saved.


The image as opened in RFC, and with the RFC default settings.




The image as finished using the RFC adjustments as described in the process steps above.




For a second RFC process example - Click here