A few weeks ago I wrote about how Aperture was rendering pinks from the raw Fujifilm x100s files in a weird way. I mentioned it looked overly saturated. I asked Rob Boyer about it and he wrote an article explaining how to fix it. I've been testing Rob's suggestion and while it does help, I still can't get it to look natural.
In the image above you can see four versions of the same image (click to see at 100%):
- Upper-left is the RAW file as interpreted by Aperture
- Upper-right is the RAW file with the Colour adjustment as suggested by Rob.
- Lower-left is the RAW file with Rob's suggestion, plus additional adjustments (lowered black point, increased exposure, reduced vibrancy, increased saturation, and s-curve).
- Lower-right is the JPEG as rendered by the Fujifilm x100s.
As you can see, the JPEG and all RAW versions are very different. I prefer the JPEG as it's closer to reality and the pink doesn't look as psychedelic. As much as I try, I just can't get a better result in Aperture from the RAW file. The colours in the piñata shift drastically with any change, but even just looking at the pink without worrying about the others, I found it impossible to get it close to the JPEG.
The photograph was shot with an aperture of 2.8 with the focus point on my daughter's eye. The background and foreground are out of focus, and the piñata is quite soft. This makes it harder because there's no clear separation between the pinks.
Here are a few close ups of the photographs (again, click for 100%). They're in the same order as above:
RAW as interpreted by Aperture
RAW with Rob's fix
RAW with a bunch of adjustments
JPEG from Fujifilm x100s with no adjustments
Notice the difference in the other colours, especially the red bit at the right. That last one, the out of camera jpeg, is the closest to the real thing. I'll continue to experiment.
The New York Times writing about the Chicago Sun Times firing it's staff photographers a couple of weeks ago:
The Chicago Sun-Times laid off its entire full-time photography staff ..., including a Pulitzer Prize winner, in a move that the newspaper’s management said resulted from a need to shift toward more online video.
The shift toward online video makes sense. Paper-based newspapers are a relic of the past and the devices we all have are perfect for video. Smartphones, tablets, laptops, and desktops almost beg to display video. Hell, some will even watch video through their glasses. But more importantly, I assume most news "readers" today prefer to watch a video than to read a long essay.
But I don't believe that "people want to watch online video" is the main point in this case. The real issue is that content consumers, in general, don't like to read long texts anymore.
People are getting lazy. Facebook, Twitter, et al have gotten us used to quick fixes. A few bursts of 140 characters is frequently all people want. An article with more than 250 words is often considered too long.
This is exactly why this doesn't make sense to me. A photograph with a caption can be very engaging. A series of photographs can tell a compelling story. And people want stories. The Boston Globe wouldn't be publishing The Big Picture if nobody showed up to see the amazing photography.
Of course, I don't know the full story. I have no idea what's happening inside the Chicago Sun Times that would suggest this was the right decision. I can only comment from the outside, but from here it seems like a really dumb move.
And then reading (yes, I still enjoy reading) that they plan to replace the photographers by "training its remaining staff to take photos with iPhones" just makes me want to bang my head against the wall. What the hell are they thinking?
What's the plan here? Turn the Chicago Sun Times into YouTube?
VSCO recently released their new iPhone app called VSCO Cam. It replaces the previous VSCOCam app, which I onwned and really liked. When I say replaced, I mean exaclty that. The previous version is no longer available or supported and this is a brand new app.
While the previous one was a paid app (from memory it was US$.99), the new one is free with in-app purchases. If you own the old one and have it installed, you get a bunch of paid filters for free when you download the new one. This is a nice touch from VSCO.
I've only started playing with it so I can't really review it yet. I need a few weeks of heavy use before I feel comfortable writing about it. I did purchase the full pack of filters and I'll be spending some quality time with it. So far, I really like it.
One thing I noticed when I bought the filter pack is that it kept giving me an error in the middle of the download. The error message said only "There was a connection error" and all I could do was start the download again. I tried multiple times and always got the same error.
Frustrated, I tried again and watched the phone through the download instead of just letting it do it's thing. That's when I realised the download took so long that the screen went dark and the iPhone locked. If you purchase the full filter pack, it's about 108MB and I assume the app can't download in the background.
So, to fix the VSCO Cam download error issue, just go to the Settings app, then General > Auto-Lock and set it to Never. Then start the download again. It'll take a while, but it'll finish fine. Then go back and set the Auto-Lock to whatever you had before.
Hope that helps others having the same issue. I'll write a proper review soon.
For some reason, seeing this really annoyed me. Just because Aperture has access to Photo Streams doesn't make it an app "to connect Mac, iPhone & iPad" as the Better Together section in Apple's App Store suggests.
It is under the iCloud category, so I guess technically it's correct. But there's nothing connected between Mac and iOS as far as Aperture is concerned other than publishing and downloading Photo Streams.
Putting Aperture in the same group as Byword, iA Writer, Day One, MindNode Pro, and even Apple's own iWork apps (Keynote, Pages, Numbers) is misleading in my opinion. All of these have a Mac app and an iPhone or iPad app (most have both) that are truly connected. The data is in iCloud accessible to all apps, no matter the device. This is certainly not the case with Aperture. Before version 3.3, there was a cool indie iPad app called Pixelsync that allowed you to sync Aperture projects with your iPad and update the metadata there. Although not perfect or full featured, it did its job well. Back then I did consider Aperture and Pixelsync "Better Together". Unfortunately the changes in Aperture 3.3 broke the app and made it difficult to access the library.
Today, there is no iOS app that works "Better Together" with Aperture. So, the above image annoyed the hell out of me.
I just want Aperture for iPhone and iPad.
I'm still getting to know the Fujifilm x100s. It's an awesome camera that feels great in my hands. I'm especially loving the viewfinder.
As part of becoming truly familiar with any new camera, I tend to shoot everything in front of me using almost every mode and possible combination. Last weekend I shot friends and family at a mother's day barbeque we had at the beach. I'm shooting in RAW+JPG at the moment so I can study both files and eventually decide what to settle with.
One particular thing that caught my eye is the way the x100s renders colours in both RAW and JPG. And the way Aperture interprets the x100s RAW files. In particular pink.
See the images below as an example (right-click to open in new window to see larger versions):
That's the RAW file rendered in Aperture with no adjustments. The colours are extremely saturated to the point that they almost look radioactive (at least what I imagine a radioactive colour will look like). The pink is blotched and detail is lost. I'm not sure if this is Aperture or the Fuji file itself.
In contrast, look at the jpeg of the same photograph:
It's also a bit oversaturated for my taste, but it's not as radioactive and shows much more detail.
I can correct the RAW file in Aperture, but I'd love to see how the file is rendered in Lightroom or ACR. I might just have to install them to run a test.
UPDATE: The experiment continues here.