Good news for X-Trans fans as Capture One adds Fuji X-Pro1, X-E1 support
posted Tuesday, January 15, 2013 at 7:02 PM EDT
Photographers shooting in raw format with digital cameras based on the Fujifilm X-Trans image sensor now have a new option for processing their images, thanks to an updated release of Phase One's Capture One utility. The update also brings new raw and tethered shooting support for several other cameras from Canon, Fuji, Olympus, and Sony.
The X-Trans raw file support is by far the most interesting change, though. X-Trans first launched some nine months ago in the Fuji X-Pro1 compact system camera, and also appeared in the more affordably-priced Fuji X-E1, which hit retail last November. (The recently-announced X100S and X20 are also slated to feature updated sensors based on the same tech when they ship this March.) Its design is intended to better emulate film by having a less regular filter pattern than the Bayer filters typical of most sensors. On Bayer-patterned sensors, the array's pattern repeats in 2x2 pixel grid, but the new array in the X-Pro1's X-Trans branded sensor uses a much larger 6x6 grid, a change intended to reduce the incidence of moiré patterning.
Since it differs so radically from everything else on the market, the X-Trans filter array has proven something of a headache for software developers. New demosaicing algorithms have had to be made specifically for X-Trans based cameras, a process that takes time and a not-insignificant amount of development resources -- and depending on how the application works, one that may also have knock-on effects for other algorithms relating to noise reduction and more.
That's lead to rather spotty support for X-Trans in popular imaging utilities, and more than a little anguish from owners of X-Trans based cameras. Neither Apple's Aperture nor DxO Labs' Optics Pro provide any support at all for X-Trans raw files, and the latter has clearly stated that support is unlikely to appear in the short term. Adobe's Photoshop Camera Raw and Lightroom do now support X-Trans, but the results have drawn much criticism, due to problems with color bleeding and unnatural gradation.That's left photographers largely reliant on Fujifilm's bundled Raw File Converter and the app on which it is based, Ichikawa Soft Laboratory's Silkypix, or a number of lesser-known commercial, shareware, and freeware apps, many of them merely serving as graphical frontends to the open source, command-line DCRaw utility.
With Capture One Pro 7.0.2, Phase One has finally thrown its hat in the ring, providing raw support for X-Trans, albeit only preliminary thus far. Images from both the X-Pro1 and X-E1 are supported on either the Windows or Mac platforms. The update also adds preliminary raw support for one Fujifilm camera not based on an X-Trans sensor -- the Fujifilm XF1 -- along with the Canon EOS M, Olympus XZ-2 iHS, and Sony Alpha SLT-A57. Capture One 7.0.2 also supports sRaw and mRaw files from the EOS-1D X, EOS 5D Mark III, and EOS 6D, again with the support being described as preliminary for now.
Additionally, the latest Capture One update now supports tethered shooting with the EOS 6D and EOS M, although the latter doesn't allow for remote capture.
Even if you're not shooting with any of these cameras, you'll want to update regardless, as Capture One Pro 7.0.2 also improves stability and support for pen tablets on Windows 8, as well as enabling Canon tethering on Mac OS X 10.8.
Phase One's Capture One Pro 7 is available for both Mac and Windows, with pricing set at around US$300. More details and the download can be found on the Phase One website. A free trial is also available.