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11/12/15 Adobe Lightroom still has no support for the Phase One IQ150–my method of fixing this

When Phase One first announced their flagship CMOS digital back, the IQ250 over 2 years ago, many photographers felt that the price point of $39,995 was way too much for a 50MP 1:3 cropped sensor back.  This issue became even more inflamed when Hasselblad came out with the 50c later that year with a price tag in the $15,995 range, more than half the price of the IQ250.  However both cameras shared the same sensor, the Sony 50MP CMOS chip for medium format cameras.  Later on Pentax announced the 645z, and a third camera hit the market with the same Sony chip and it’s price was 8.4K.  With the Pentax announcement and pressure from Hasselblad, Phase One made the decision to sell a “cheaper” version of the IQ250, and announced the IQ150 @ $34,995.  For 5K less you did not get a 5 year value add warranty or wifi support.  Also 1 year past, with the announcement of the Phase One XF camera body, IQ1 cameras did not receive the full support for all the new features the XF would offer.  But Phase One did allow for Capture One support for the IQ150.

I first tried out the IQ150 in April of 2015.  I was very tempted to purchase it with a trade it of my IQ260.  However after giving it a lot of thought, I held on to the IQ260.  The IQ150 would be a great fit for a XF or DF+ (both Phase One camera bodies).  With the CMOS chip, you now have an excellent implementation of Live View so manual focus was much easier using the excellent IQ LCD.  Use with a tech camera was not so positive as there was considerable color shifting past 10mm or so of shift.  So I felt that using the IQ150 would allow for a easier route for software conversion, as now I could pick from Lightroom (LR) or Capture One (C1).  However when I tried to open the IQ150 raw files IN LR, I received this screen.

Screen shot of LR import for IQ150 files before exif change to IQ250

Screen shot of LR import for IQ150 files before exif change to IQ250

Basically, LR can’t see the files since they have a exif header of IQ150.  LR had long ago picked up support for the IQ250, but back in April 2015 when I was testing the IQ150, I could only use Capture One.  Sure Capture One should be the best software as it’s made by Phase One and the IQ150 is also.  However there are times, more often than not, that LR due to it’s newer panorama and HDR tools may be a better fit.  Both of these tools work better on raw files rather than imported tiffs.  I naturally assumed that Adobe would pick up IQ150 support later on in a update to LR, however as of November 2015, you still can’t import the IQ150 raw files.

I have seen this issue before when new cameras first roll out as it takes sometime for the raw converters to catch up.  However when I tried the IQ150 in April of 2015 it had already been announced for over 6 months so I was surprised then that LR did not support it.  Now finding 6 months even further out, there is still no support I guess it’s safe to say, “Adobe plans not to support the IQ150″.  I am not sure what that is all about as it’s a very simple change on their side.

The good news is that you can easily make one change to the exif information on the IQ150 file and LR will work fine and allow you to import the images.  Just change the head from IQ150 to IQ250.  It’s as simple as that.  As the IQ150 and IQ250 share the exact same chip and CFA screen from Phase One, any profile from Adobe for the IQ250 will work fine with the IQ150, THEY ARE THE SAME CHIP 100%.  So what is the best way to do this? You will need an exif editor software.  These come in many types, some are command line other have a GUI interface.  As I am not a programmer, I prefer GUI.  So I found a neat little freeware program call ‘EXIFTOOL”.  You can find it here:

When you go to the site search for the GUI part of the program.  You have to have the base code loaded to your PC first then the GUI runs on top.  Works great and will take care of stupid oversights like this one where Adobe overlooked the IQ150, or they don’t care about it.

The GUI will look like this when you open it:  click on the image to view it larger.

Part One using ExifTool

Part One using ExifTool

Notice you have the standard windows folder interface on the far left, and when you click on a folder the files in that folder will open up in the middle part of your screen.  When you click on an individual file, the far right panel will open, will all the exif details for that particular file. Notice in the far right panel, that the “model” line lists this file as from an IQ150.

All you have to do is click on that line, the model line which then selects that item to be worked with.  When you click on the model, it will load into the box at the bottom of the screen in the right hand panel.

2nd Screen shot from ExifTool

2nd Screen shot from ExifTool

Now just click on the IQ150, and change it to IQ250 and hit enter.

3rd Screen shot of ExifTool

3rd Screen shot of ExifTool

Once you do this, notice “model” line has now changed to IQ250.  All you have to do now is hit save and you are done.  Exiftool will do the rest.

That’s all it takes, you don’t have to do anything else to the file.  If you are good with command line coding, then you can drop a large number of IQ150 raw files into a folder and then run ExifTool on that folder.  It will change just the model type for each image, if you can figure out the correct command line code structure.  The only drawback to the Gui is that you can only select one image at a time.  So if you have an IQ150 and are wishing to use it a lot with LR, then you might want to press Adobe to fix this issue with a update later on in both camera raw and LR.

Here is a screen shot from LR CC on the import screen.  You can see that LR now has no problems reading the images.  All it took was a SIMPLE HEADER CHANGE.  Not sure what either Phase One would not want Adobe to make this change as there will always be someone out there that is not going to use Capture One.  Since the issue has not been resolved now for over 1 year, I have to wonder what the acceptance rate of the IQ150 is inside the United States.  It can’t be that large or there would have been a fix for this by now, as it’s not that big a deal to fix in the first place.

LR import dialog after the IQ250 header change

LR import dialog after the IQ250 header change


Maybe this will be fixed sometime in the future, but for now this will get you the support you need in LR.  Also, don’t worry about this change for Capture One support.  Capture One will just use the profile for the IQ250 on the IQ150 files and all is fine as they are the same exact chip.  But more importantly they share the same CFA algorithm so all color profiles will work between the two with no problems.  NOTE, this is not as true with the Credo 50.  Here the CFA was developed by Leaf and there are some subtle differences in color profiles.



10/27/15 Fuji X-Trans Raw Conversions–Which is best Lightroom or Capture One

In 2015, Arkansas did not present a good color display really anywhere throughout the state.  Since July Arkansas has been short on rainfall and the month of September and first half of October no measurable rain fell in the state.   Most of the trees just turned brown.  There were some spots that held OK color, but they were the exception.  Since 2014 was such a great year on the Buffalo National River for fall colors, I have been going back over some of my shots.  Many times I was using my Fuji X-T1.  I realized once again that there is still no perfect raw conversion software for Fuji files however it does seem to me that Lightroom CC has made some improvements.

Since the announcement of the Fuji X-Trans cameras, which now max out at 16MP in an APS-C format, there has been a lot written about which raw conversion software provides the best output.  At present there are three main solutions:

  1. Iridient Developer
  2. Lightroom CC 2015
  3. Capture One by Phase One

I have worked with all three and since Iridient chooses to only work on the MAC platform, I rarely use it.  I prefer to do the majority of my work in either Lightroom (LR) or Capture One (C1).  One of the single largest issues that comes up with Fuji raw files is how to get the most detail out of the files.  Due to the different layout on the CMOS chip, the Fuji raw file needs a different domosaicing algorithm than most Bayer pattern CMOS sensors.  You can easily find out about the differences by a quick web search and since so much has been written already I am going to move on to the actual raw conversions.

With the Fuji files, I personally don’t think you can make definite all or nothing statements, as C1 gets around the issues by applying too much blur in the demosaicing alogrithim, and LR seems to pull out the edges a bit more than necessary, neither of the tools seem able to get all the surface details that are there, (when you use Iridient developer for example). To me C1 has some positives, but so does LR and in no way do I see C1 as the end all to Fuji conversions.

But to my eyes, many times the LR conversion looks better and holds up for sure in a interpolation scheme for making a larger print. Color out the gate C1 wins more times than not, but I can get there in LR. Overall I feel the C1 images converted loose too much details and get a bloated look where as the LR files can start to take on a overdone look which is some cases can start to look painterly.

But for sure I can’t say C1 is better than LR or vise versa and I have been working on Fuji X-trans files now since early 2013. LR has gotten better in that it no longer has the issue with haloing around green/blue transitions, which was such an issue before.

Here is a side by side comparison of a Fuji X-T1 raw taken in the fall of 2014.  Note that what I am writing holds true for the X-E1, Xe2 and XT1 as they all share the same sensor.  Click on the image at anytime to view it larger. I used the 18-55 on the X-T1 and as I recall the file was taken at 200 iso.

Fuji X-T1 raw file conversion

A side by side conversion, Fuji X-T1 file in C1 and LR

In this example, I have taken a typical photo from one of my Arkansas landscape studies.  This image is the middle of a 3 part panorama series I took.  In this case I was not looking for a true 1:3 ratio pano, but instead I planned to stitch the 3 files into 1 normal 3:2 landscape shot which would allow me to have more resolution for printing.  I do this often in my work.  Out the gate, I feel that the C1 image has a bit better representation of the color that was displayed, however the LR file is not far off.  This type of shot is a hard one to work since I had to expose for the sky and still have enough room in my foreground to pull up the shadows without losing too much details to noise.  Both C1 and LR were able to give me the strong yellows and reds that were available and also provide for a nice tone to the blue sky.  But now lets look at a few crops from each of these files.  To capture these crops, I opened both images in Adobe CC 2014 and then selected view at 100%.  I feel that the only way to really tell how well a image file will hold up in printing is to view at 100%, not view at print size.

With each file I used the default sharpening of the raw converter, in fact I added a bit more to the C1 conversion as I felt the default left too many details on the table.

Fuji X-Trans raw conversion comparison

Example No1 Fuji X-Trans C1 and LR comparing file details

The LR conversion is on the right, click on the image to view it as large as possible.  You can start to see that the C1 conversion appears a bit soft and begins to take on a interpolated look to the finer details.  Areas that stand out to my eyes, are the green trees on the distance hillside and the bare tree trunks.  When I look at those parts of the files, the LR conversion just looks better, whereas the C1 image is quite soft.  Also look into the yellows on the gum tree in the foreground.  The LR image may yet be just a bit soft but you can still see more details in the leaves.  If you were to attempt to interpolate this file to print it larger, the C1 image is going to give way to a much softer look.  On the Fuji image I would want to run one round of “Focus Magic” to add just a bit more detail to the yellows and greens.

Fuji X-Trans files

Example 2 , C1 and LR a comparison in raw conversion software.

A close up on the lower left of the shot. Rocks can pose problems and usually I have given C1 the edge here, however with the latest round of ACR in LR, it’s improved and I have to give LR just a slight edge.   The LR conversion has a bit more even look to it, but the overall amount of details seems about the same to me.  The details left out of C1 could easily be picked up again with any third party sharpening solution such as “Focus Magic” or “Topaz In-Focus” both of which use deconvolution algorithms.

Fuji X-Trans raw file conversions

Example no 4, a comparison of C1 and LR on Fuji raw files

NOTE again the greens on the LR image appear overdone. Looking closely at the greens you can see some of the issues that LR has. LR picks up the outer edges a bit too much and when you have a lot of greens then you can start to get a painterly effect if you are not careful with the sharpening settings. I still prefer the LR conversion as overall it appears sharper to me. Also look for the finer details in the shadows as the LR file has more there also. Top left of the crop look for the finer branches in the gun tree, they stand out much better in LR.  Here I found that C1 pulled a more pleasing look to the large rocks in the foreground than LR and LR also has a bit of red showing in the large gum tree trunk.  Both of these issues could be fixed with a slight color balance tweak and a bit of shadow recovery.  The water in the immediate foreground looks pretty much the same.  But again make sure to click on the image to view it larger.  Then compare the green branches on the left side right above the rocks.  There just is more definition on the LR file.  Also look into the yellows just above the already mentioned greens and see if you don’t agree that there is more detail present in the LR image.

Fuji X-Trans raw conversions

Example No 5, a comparison of C1 and LR raw conversions on Fuji X-Trans files

This last crop shows how well LR has improved on pulling out finer details against a blue sky. There is just more there and the areas in shadow right above the bluff look better in the LR conversion. But the strongest example is the yellow gun tree, again this is a view taken at 100% view, there is just more detail in the yellow tree and it’s going to allow for a larger print in follow on.

Let me say, there is not a right answer here. Sometimes I go with LR, others with C1. However I often do hand held panos with the X-T1 and now that LR allows the ability to create a pano in LR and save it as a dng I tend to start in LR first. The ability to work on a pano as a dng to me is invaluable as before you had to try to get all the segments close then export and use a stitching software to combine. Now you can work on the dng as one large image before you export. So far I have been very impressed with what LR can do with a pano on the Fuji Files in outdoor landscape situations.

You can get sharp conversions from LR on Fuji files, and to me the end results look better. But you do have to really control the details and sharpening sliders in LR to get the best look. Is it perfect, no, and I had hoped that LR/Adobe would have a newer process available now since back in June there was such a bit announcement by Adobe about working closer with Fuji on the raw conversion. So far only the fix for haloing on finer details seems to have been done.

Is there a better raw converter for Fuji? Yes I feel that Iridient Developer by far gives the best look to the files especially one like my example, but:

Iridient is MAC only, has a very limited toolset, all adjustments effect 100% of the image (no adjustment brushes or masks at least last time I checked), and Iridient will not export as a DNG, which to me would be a great solution. You can download Iridient for a trial and run conversion tests. The difference is pretty impressive most of the time unless you are working a Macro type of shot.

Just more food for thought.

Paul C

03/06/13 Follow up on New Phase One IQ260 Medium Format Digital Back

I received a detailed email response from Doug Peterson at Digital Transitions.  Digital Transitions is one of the largest Phase One dealers in the United States and has been very helpful in informing me about the features of the new IQ260.  There are the questions I asked immediately followed by Doug’s response.  Needless to say the sleeping giant has woken and hopefully these new announcements are just the start of series of new products from Phase One.

After reading your notes, I was wondering if the live view features are any easier to work with, or since it’s still CCD technology, with it work they same way as the Live works with the current 160?.
Live View is the same as the 160. No better. No worse.
The one hour exposure is amazing, and I was curious if this also had any effect on noise for higher iso work, on the 260?  mainly iso 400, to 1600?  Not as much in long exposures but just lower overall noise.  I am sure the iso 50-200 range will still be very clean
Normal high ISO is going to be similar to the 160, with some modest improvement.

Using the “long exposure mode” for standard high ISO work at short exposures: I have no clue, and honestly hadn’t thought about it. I’ll check into this right away.
Does the 260 still have sensor plus?
Yes. Up to ISO3200 (and my guess is ISO1600 will be decent)
Will phase be offering any upgrade incentives for 160 to 260? upgrades, like they did for the P65+ to 180?
Yes. There will be a cross grade offer. Michelle can provide you details.
Wi-Fi to any iOS device, will that allow you to use live view on a iPad? to help focus?
Live View WILL be implemented for iOS wireless, but that will not be ready out-of-the-gate. Only review of captured images (immediately after capture) will be ready at the time of launch. When Live View support is added it will still be the same quality as when you use it on the LCD of the digital back; this doesn’t suddenly make it CMOS.

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