Fuji X… or why I mostly shoot Jpegs

It has been an interesting development which has occurred over the past years.
Years ago while shooting with the Nikon D80 I only shot in RAW. I thought, well I´ve got this great DSLR and quit a few lenses with the most used being the Tamron 17-50 and Nikon´s 50mm 1.8

A great combo.

But it got to heavy and I wanted to go portable. I switched to Panasonics GF1 the 20mm and the 14-45 and still shot only RAW.
One day I thought to myself:
Why don´t I try the Jpegs out of this Panasonic? I did and I was not happy.
The colors where just so wrong for me.

Anyway, after trying some different cameras which produce nice jpegs I found it.
I sold of all my micro four thirds gear and bought myself Fuji´s X100.
Yes I only had one focal length left instead of a hand full of lenses. Yes I had a slow focusing and slow working camera.
And I started with firmware 1.01
It was slow in good light and even slower in low light.


Fuji gave us more than one firmware update and with the latest 1.3 the X100 is a all new camera. Not to be compared with the very first at all.

Still I shot RAW. I thought to myself. Well I´m a RAW shooter. Everybody shoots RAW. Jpegs can never be as good as the RAW.
Yes and No.
The X100 and the other X Cameras have a great jpeg engine. I have owned Olympus cameras and they already have a good jpeg engine, but the Fuji is just… well… better.

I read many blogs, articles, forum post and what not all about Fuji´s jpegs. I saw pictures so called jpegs ooc and began to wonder why I am shooting RAW and post processing them. Every single picture.

I can´t be bothered with post processing every single picture. Coming back from a great vacation having taken more pictures than is healthy for my marriage and having to post process the pictures was just not relaxing any more.

“STOP this has to end”.

This Fuji jpeg engine is supposed to be great, awesome, stunning. OK let´s try it.
I did. And even with the Standard settings I began to wonder.
Wow, how do they do it?
I started to change the settings, tried and tried and tried until I came up with MY personal favorite settings.

These are:
Filmmode: Astia
ISO: I tend to stick with Auto 6400, but this depends on the situation
DR: mostly Auto, this also depends on the situation
Color: M-High
Sharpness: M-Hard
H-Tone: M-Soft
S-Tone: M-Soft
NR: M-High (with the new X100S I have noticed that M-Low works better)

Even with the X-Pro1 and now the X-E1 I can use the exact same settings and get the same great results.

During the trip to New York I used these settings all the time and due to the fact of a missing RAW support at that time I stuck with the jpegs ooc and am still very happy with the results.
Most of the time I can not even manage to top the out of camera shots while using Adobe Lightroom 4.4. Mostly, as you will see in a sample shot.

Feel free to copy these settings and go out and take some stunning pictures with these stunning cameras and share your comments on the settings.
Remember, you can use the settings on all Fuji X cameras.

The following pictures are some sample shots which I took with either the X100, X-Pro1 with the XF35 lens attached or the X-E1

You can also take a look at this entry.



The detail in this ISO 3200 shot is amazing
Sometimes the jpegs ooc are not enough. Luckily enough Lightroom 4.4 now supports the X-Trans files fully. I picked out this picture to show you that I am no RAW hater at all. In some cases the RAW files do just give me the better results.
The second picture is of course extremely over processed. But it does show that the jpeg is not always the best.
This is the jpeg ooc taken with the Fuji X-Pro1 and the XF35mm lens hand held
And this is the same file developed out of the RAW in Adobe Lightroom 4.4
The typical flower shot
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  1. setup 6 in my xpro1 as you suggested 🙂

  2. Your story – evolution from dslr to Fuji X series – closely matches mine. At first I also tried RAW on the X-E1, I presume old habits die hard. But truth is that the jpeg files are so good that raw is a lot of time an unnecessary pain.
    What I particularly like about the Fuji jpegs is that they are also very Lightroom friendly. My old Canon files could not stand the same level of adjustments. I suppose it is caused by Fuji’s very “natural” shadow noise patterns…

    And your pictures are beautiful!

    • Hi Andrei,

      Thanks a lot for your feedback. You are absolutly right about the Lightroom friendly jpeg files. The same goes for Apple´s Aperture. The jpeg files are easy to handle with this software as well.
      I sometimes use VSCO on the jpegs ass well and this works just fine.
      The only time I use the RAF files is when using Nik Software. Well actually I have not tried the jpegs with Nik Software yet.
      Might do so.

  3. Thanks for sharing your settings.
    Do you have any suggestions for portraits in natural light or indoor?
    Astia doesn’t work well for me.
    I have done only few tests so far. In order to get natural (skin, hair) colors, however, they seem to indicate Pro Neg Std. with Color: +1; Sharpness: +1; H-Tone: -1, S-Tone: 0. ISO/DR: Auto.
    Another point: I have also realized that I have (very often) to correct exposure 2/3 EV, even in “normal” light conditions(?).
    Christoph (X100s user)

  4. Hi Christoph,

    On your X100S I would recommend to try the Pro Neg Film Simulations. Astia produces red/orange colored skin tones. The other you state sound good. I personally find that I have to use the exposure compensation less on the X100S than on the X100.
    It seems to work a lot better to get the correct level of light.


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  7. Martin Scherer

    Hi Daniel, Congratulations to your site. I have past now at least 2 hours to read through your inspiring articles and your very nice pictures. Just one question: I can’t understand your settings? How do translate them in -2 to +2 e.g. for H-Tone: M-Soft? Thank you for your response.

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