The X-Pro1, RAF Files, Adobe DNG Converter & Photoshop Elements 9

Since purchasing the XP1, i have been exclusively shooting in JPEG Fine and have not really thought about shooting RAF files.  A RAF file is what is produced when you shoot in RAW with a Fuji camera.  Therefore, the extension on any RAW file will be .RAF.  On a Nikon, the file extension would be .NEF.

When the X series first came out, support for it’s RAW files was pretty much non existent.  Though, Fuji does have their own RAW file converter and Silky Pix photo editor software, it is not that great.  Fuji RAW files are nothing new and are not foreign to Adobe software.  However, when the X series came out with the X Trans sensor, Adobe was not very fast in developing plugins to support the RAW files that were being produced by the X Trans sensor.

As of today, things have changed quite a bit when it comes to working on RAF files in Adobe products.  From what I have been reading, many people are using Lightroom to process RAF files produced by their X cameras. Not being all that much into post-processing, I have not invested in any photo editing software at all.  I do have Nikon’s NX2, which came with my Nikon cameras for free and I do use it to touch up my JPEGs.

In regards to Adobe products, I was able to get my hands on a free copy of Photoshop Elements 9 quite a few years ago.  Up until now, I have only used it to watermark my photos.  However, since having my Fuji cameras, I have been trying to figure out a way to process RAF files with it.  I searched around on the interweb and read a few articles on how to do it; though, I just never got around to sitting down to go through the steps.

Well, today was the day.  I refreshed my memory on what I had to do by doing some quick searches and started my journey into the world of working with RAF files in Adobe Photoshop Elements 9.

There may be other ways of going about this, but this is the one that I found and it is easy.  Here is the first thing you will need: the Adobe DNG converter.  This converter will take your RAF files and convert them into DNG (Digital Negative) files, a file format that was developed by Adobe.

You can find the DNG converter(s) here:  (http://www.adobe.com/support/downloads/product.jsp?product=106&platform=Windows)

It is a standalone software and does not integrate with your Adobe software at all.  One thing I noticed when using the converter, is that you have to pull the RAF files right off your SD card and send the converted DNG files back to your SD card.  It did not work when I put the RAF files on my desktop.

Depending on your computer and the number of RAF files your are converting, the process can take a while.  Once all the RAF files are converted into DNG, you can easily use them in your Adobe photo editing software.

The JPEGs that the XP1 produces are awesome.  So, what is the point of all this file conversion and processing RAW files?  Well, I wanted to start doing some HDR with the XP1.

A couple of caveats with the XP1: there is no in-camera HDR and AE bracketing is limited to three exposures.  Personally, I think three exposures is the minimum that you would want in order to produce a good HDR image.  Secondly, using RAW files to produce your HDR, will most certainly give you better results.

There is no real “HDR” function in Photoshop Elements 9, but there is a way that you can get an “HDR” like photo by merging exposures.  Well, HDR is about merging different exposures, right?  Anyhow…

The first thing that you are going to do, is import the DNG files that you will use for your HDR image.  Once they are all in the project bin, make sure to select them all.  Next, you will need to go to “File” and click on “New”.  Then, you will need to click on “Photomerge Exposure”.  This will merge all the DNG files that you selected at the beginning.

Once they are all merged, you are prompted to make a few adjustments to the final image.  Once you have made the adjustments that you want, click on “Done”.  This will finalize the image for you.  After this final step, you can then save the image in the file format of your choice.

As I stated before, the time that this process takes to finish all depends on the computer you own.  For me, it took some time to do each HDR image on my nearly 7 year old laptop.  The process that took the longest, was the merging of the exposures and the making of the final image.

Please stay tuned for my next post, where I will write about my day out taking multiple exposures with the XP1 and you will be able to see the final product.

Thanks for looking

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