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Fuji S2pro and S5pro RAW Format Sharpness Test


General sharpness tests

S2 sensor layout First I want to notice that this test is only relevant for the Fuji S2/S3/S5pro cameras. For other brands of cameras, the results will typically be completely different, and most of the software described here works very well for those other cameras. This is a very Fuji-specific issue. Different parts of this test are not the same age, and there have been improvements to both Adobe's RAW loader and dcraw as far as I can tell.

The problem is that most camera raw loaders mess up royally when they try to decode the Fuji S2pro, S3pro and S5pro images. This is because Fuji's SuperCCD is not a normal bayer pattern. It is uncertain whether the sensors are really just "rotated 45 degrees" as commonly belived. The sensor array of the S2 is said to have the layout displayed to the right. The S3 and S5 use variations on this theme.

I will now demonstrate the image quality with focus on sharpness using different methods of converting the image into jpeg images. So let's get on with the test...

RawConverter LE (S2 Pro)

RawConverter LE

Adobe RAW 3.4 (S2 Pro)

Adobe RAW 3.4

Obviously the unusual sub pixel positioning of the S2pro is causing Adobe some trouble making lines vary in thickness. More moir is also visible.

Fuji HyperUtility 3 (S3 Pro)

RawConverter LE

Adobe Camera Raw 4.6 (S3 Pro)

Adobe RAW

dcraw 9.05 (S3 Pro)

dcraw

dcraw 9.05 using fujiturn.c (S3 Pro)

dcraw 2

This time I used later versions of the various software with the Fuji S3 Pro and a Nikon 85mm F1.4 stopped down to F8. All images come from the same raw file. For the last dcraw test, I used the alternative fujiturn.c code to rotate the image. We no longer have quite as clear a winner as before. My personal impression is that Fuji's own software wins on over-all performance, being fairly good at extrapolating both sharpness and color precision, and it's the only software that understands both S and R pixels of this camera (giving a 4x boost in dynamic range over cameras of the same age and price.)

Adobe's raw loader wins on usability and adjustment features as well as good integration with Photoshop. Sharpness is acceptable but has to be helped with sharpness more than Fuji's software to reach the same clarity.

dcraw wins on scriptability, being free, and giving some nice options to bypass various interpolations. It also has excellent noise reduction. Unfortunately it doesn't handle moiré very well.

ISO 1600 tests

The difference between jpeg and the different raw formats are especially pronounced when putting both resolution and iso to the highest levels. For this test i have pushed the camera to the pseudo 12-megapixel mode at iso 1600. This yelds an image of 4256 x 2848 pixels.

Camera JPEG (1:1 pixel cut-out)


All settings set to STD and sunshine white balance.

camera jpeg


Fuji RAW Converter EX (1:1 pixel cut-out)


All settings set to follow camera settings and sunshine white balance.

fuji raw


Adobe RAW Converter 3.7 (1:1 pixel cut-out)


The resolution is lower than expected, and there is more noise despite trying hard to find the most noiseless and yet sharp setting. Adobe RAW is generally good, just don't use it on a SuperCCD camera.

adobe raw


DCRaw 8.77


The resolution is again lower than expected, and the output is rotated 45 degrees internally in the algorithms used by dcraw. The output is only 71% of what it should be. Just like Adobe, dcraw does not seem to fully understand how the subpixels in the SuperCCD are arranged. The wavelet based noise reduction in dcraw is quite excellent though.

dcraw


The entire picture i used can be seen here scaled down a bit to 1280x857 pixels for faster download. As you can see this old camera (from Jan. 2002) still performs quite decently at iso 1600.


Fuji S5 Pro: Same issue


I actually wanted to test a newer version of Adobe's RAW loader, but they stopped supporting Windows 2000, so the first few tests are performed with Adobe RAW 3.7. Further down this article there are tests of more recent versions, not that this makes a big difference.

Generally for these tests the colors look nice on right-hand examples (Adobe), but resolution is much poorer than Fuji's software in all test shots.

Fuji FinePix Studio

fuji


Adobe RAW 3.7

fuji

Fuji FinePix Studio

fuji


Adobe RAW 3.7

fuji

I finally got hold of a later version of Adobe's RAW loader, which is very nice to use. The underlying algorithms seem to be the same, giving a more noisy and less sharp result than the Fuji converter. I have disabled denoising and lens-correction but used a similar amout of sharpening for both applications.

Fuji FinePix Studio

fuji


Adobe RAW 4.4.1

fuji

And here's an even newer version from CS4 which is still more blurry than Fuji's algorithms. These images are scaled up to 200% so that near-pixel sharpness is more easily discerned.

Adobe's color rendition is different, and again I tend to prefer it. But this test concers sharpness first and foremost, and colors can be adjusted anyway.

Fuji FinePix Studio

fuji


Adobe RAW 5.2

fuji

Here's the same two images, but this time I've even applied "sharpen" once to the right-most image to help Adobe's software keep up with Fuji, but it's still more blurry. Applying sharpen twice resulted in nasty ghosting, so that was not a viable option.

Fuji FinePix Studio

fuji


Adobe RAW 5.2 + sharpen

adobe raw

Fuji versus PhaseOne 4.8.1. PhaseOne is unfortunately limited to 6 megapixel output. In this comparison I have scaled Fuji's output to the same resolution and applied the same amount of sharpening.

Fuji FinePix Studio

fuji


PhaseOne v4.8.1

phaseone 4.8.1


Website by Joachim Michaelis