I made the jump from Canon to Fujifilm three years ago, and although the cameras are fantastic, processing the pictures is a little bit more complex. Using Lightroom for its unparalleled organization, I was able to make several tests and comparisons to finally find the best workflow for this weird combination.
If you haven't read my Lightroom organisation tips, I suggest you to go read it and before continuing this tip.
Here, I will show you my settings to extract the best possible quality from Fujifilm's RAWs (X-Trans II and X-Trans III). Obviously, I will let you adapt and use my recommendations as you please.
Almost every year, I compare Lightroom to all other processing software: for me, no software compares in terms of file management (the Library panel). Of course, its speed could be improved, but I prefer to be well organized and have time to take a coffee!
One of the biggest weak points of Lightroom is its difficulty to process (the Develop panel) the RAFs (RAW from Fujifilm). Indeed, several software offer a much better support (Irridient, ON1, Darktable), But with the right settings, Lightroom (6) arrives almost on pair, while being easier to use.
I strongly recommend copying the RAFs and not converting them to DNG for two reasons:
First, the Lightroom (Camera Raw) processing engine improves with each major version and allows us to extract more details from our RAFs. However, when converted to DNG, the result is frozen in time and, especially for the sharpness, can not be improved in the future.
Secondly, processing RAFs takes about 20% to 30% more resources (and time) to be processed compared to a conventional RAW. I prefer to be able to quickly select interesting photos using only Previews (in the Library panel) and then edit the most interesting ones only (in the Develop panel). Conversely, by converting the RAFs to DNG, I need to wait for the conversion of all the photos from the session (about 2 coffees) to select only 30 to edit.
In the camera configurations, lock the DR% to 100 for two reasons:
1) The DR% has effect only on the JPG files of the camera. This has no effect on RAFs.
2) A higher DR% will unnecessarily increase (for normal exposure) the ISO, and thus the noise present in the photo.
As a reminder, the DR% indicates the desired Dynamic Range, therefore 100%, 200% or 400% DR more, compared to normal exposure. DR% works like this: the camera will underexpose an EV for DR200% and two EV for DR400%. To ensure that the aperture and shutter speed are the same, ISO is increased by 2 and 4 EV, respectively. To disable the DR effect, simply set it to DR100%.
Lightroom (since v4.4) will understand the DR% and apply the correct curve, but it is very hard to compensate its rather unpredictable effect.
Lightroom has the unfortunate tendency to apply the Adobe Standard Profile to newly imported photos, replacing the much appreciated Film Simulations from Fuji.
In the Develop tab, at the bottom, in the Camera Calibration section you can find the popular color profiles you can now apply, just as you would do in the camera.
I invite you to apply your Film Simulations favorites to un-edited photos, then save the changes as a Preset.
Then, at your next import, you can choose your Film Simulation which will be applied automatically.
Following this procedure, I give you the presets that apply the right Film Simulation.
Sharpness is the most difficult point to deal with (for RAFs) in Lightroom. Over time, I have found some recipes that seems to be a good starting point, depending on the situations:
X-Trans II (X-T1, X-T10, X-E2(s), X100S, X100T, X70)
Amount: 20 à 25
Amount: 25 à 30
Detail: 85 à 100
X-Trans III (X-T2, X-Pro2, X-T20, X100F)
Amount: 25 à 35
Detail: 80 à 100
Masking: 10 à 20
The use of a very high Amount may seem counterproductive, but because Fujifilm uses a different pixel arrangement (X-Trans) from other manufacturers (Bayer), it triggers a different deconvolution algorithm, RAFs.
If necessary, adjust the Radius, for example with a badly focused picture, or micro-blur.
Masking reduces noise (caused by Sharpness) in calm areas, such as the sky.
In the end, it should not be forgotten that each photo is different, and that it is necessary to adapt these suggestions to each case.