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Date: 13/08/2013 | By: Mathieu

What is the Best Way to Post-Process Fuji X100s Colours?

DSC-RX100M2, 1/80, f/ 18/10, ISO 160

What is the Best Way to Post-Process Fuji X100s Colours?

Update: the Fuji Film Simulation profiles are now included with Adobe Camera Raw 8.4. Check out our first impression article!

I am not usually the pixel-peeping kind of photographer, nor am I obsessed with bokeh or dynamic range or tridimensional full frame perception. (Try saying that five times fast!)  If you have already read some of my articles such as why I am using the E-M5 for work or our E-P5/X100s unconventional ISO comparison, the truth is that I mostly care about functionality and the actual photographs produced by the camera. But as there are many digital technology lovers out there, sometime the geek inside me takes the lead!

I am not usually bothered by noise in my pictures (within reasonable limits), and I won’t hesitate to raise my ISO if necessary. The most important thing for me when it comes to pure image quality is colour. Beautiful colours in a photograph are the aspect that will set me in motion more than anything else, probably because I have always appreciated art and paintings. I like photographs whose colours remind me of that.

One thing I really love about the Fuji’s X-Trans sensor is the colour reproduction of their various film simulation modes. My favourites are Astia and Velvia, especially for the warm tones: they render yellow and orange in a very unique way.

X100S, 1/480, f/ 5.6, ISO 200
X100S, 1/480, f/ 5.6, ISO 200 – Astia

Now, a limitation to this is that to fully appreciate these colours, you will have to rely solely on JPGs on-camera. If you want to work with RAW files as I do, things get a little more complicated because it is not easy to find a software that can reproduce these colours accurately enough.

I admit that the more I use the X100s, the more I trust its JPG engine. Sometimes we are too obsessed with retouching and we forget that if the picture comes out perfectly from the camera, the resulting JPG will be more than fine.

X100S, 1/1100, f/ 5.6, ISO 800 - Velvia
X100S, 1/1100, f/ 5.6, ISO 800 – Velvia
Look at that red sand, wonderful.

But sometime we need that extra quality that a less compressed file like the RAW format can give us, without forgetting the massive flexibility you get by post-processing your pictures. If you want to open the shadows or adjust highlights, you are very limited with JPGs as it is a compressed format and every time you save it, you lose quality. It is not something that you will see right away with your naked eye, but the more your retouch it, the more you reduce its quality.

For me, the perfect solution would be either for Fujifilm to release official camera profiles for software such as Adobe Lightroom, or as a plan B, to implement the possibility to shoot in TIFF format to have the option of a less compressed file than JPGs.

But back in the real world, it is either JPG or RAW files, so let’s see which options are available to us.

Before proceeding further, there are a couple of things which I want to make clear:

  • Colours can be subjective: a particular red tone that I love in my sunset beach picture may look unappealing to you;
  • Colours can vary depending on the calibration of your computer monitor, or if you are seeing the images on a tablet or smartphone;
  • Colours can also vary when printing, but since I am not an expert in this field, I will skip it;
  • There are many RAW developer software programs out there. I have tested the most known/relevant;
  • My daily post-processing involves Adobe Lightroom 5 on a 2009 Mac Book Pro.

X100s RAW files and Adobe Lightroom

I have always used Lightroom to catalogue and edit my photographs as it is fast, reliable and gets better with every major update. I open Photoshop only if I have to do heavy post-processing that involves layers and changing an element in the actual scene. But what happens is that when I import my RAF files (Fuji RAW format), the software applies a default Adobe Standard Camera Profile that changes the colours I see on my X100s LCD screen and in my JPG version.

See the example below: what you see is a the JPG on-camera taken with the Astia Film Simulation mode. If you pass your mouse over top, the Adobe Standard Camera profile render will appear.

N.B.: For better navigation, I’ll advise you to read this article on a computer or laptop. If you are reading this on a tablet or smartphone, skip to the gallery further down as you won’t see the mouse over effect on the first two pictures.

Astia > Adobe Standard

As you can see, the colours are less saturated and some colour tones change: pay attention to the red in the foreground and in the background. With the Adobe version, it loses some of its pink tones.

Below is another example of a photo taken at sunset (originally shot with the Velvia/Vivid Film Simulation mode): look at how the yellows/oranges change.

Velvia > Adobe Standard

Below you can see some other examples in different lighting conditions with different film simulation modes with the X100s JPGs.

If you like using Lightroom as I do but want better colour rendering, what are the options, aside from spending hours adjusting the different settings in hope of matching the JPG colours?

Well, here comes the first option of this article, and I am talking about the Huelight Color Fidelity camera profiles. I already reviewed the OM-D E-M5 versions and a couple of weeks ago, they kindly sent me the newly released version for the X100s. Those colour profiles aim to provide an alternative to the Adobe Standard Profile for Lightroom and Photoshop by improving skin and colour rendition.

Let’s have a look at some examples. I will keep the X100s JPGs on-camera as a reference and compare them with the Adobe profile first, and then with the Huelight X100s colour profile.

N.B.: Keep in mind that the JPGs on-camera have more contrast, while the photos exported from RAW files are less contrasted. This is because RAW format has more dynamic range, and therefore more information in the shadows. In some cases, I increased the contrast of the RAW files by an average of 20% to make the comparison easy, but it won’t be 100% accurate. Remember, we are talking about colours and colours only.

Astia vs Adobe Standard

Astia > Adobe Standard
Provia > Adobe Standard

Astia vs Huelight High

Astia > Huelight High
Provia > Huelight High

So, as you can see, both Adobe and Huelight cause a loss in saturation, but the Huelight version manages to keep the colour tones closer to the original shot. Focus on the house and red boat for example:

Provia > Adobe Standard
Provia > Huelight High

Another example below:

Velvia vs Adobe Standard

Velvia > Adobe Standard

Velvia vs Huelight High

Velvia > Huelight High

You can see in the rose example that the Huelight version is more accurate in retaining the yellow tones in the green leaves and the pink tone on the edges of the rose. Since the shot was taken as the sun was setting, thus with a warmer light, the Huelight results aren’t as cold as the Adobe Standard version. I will even admit that in this precise example, I prefer the Huelight version to the Velvia.

Also, Huelight profiles can enhance skin colour rendition and colours such as blue and green better than the Adobe Standard profile.

Adobe Standard > Huelight Low
Adobe Standard > Huelight Standard
Adobe Standard > Huelight Standard

We are of course far from the X100s JPG version but keep in mind that Huelight colour profiles aren’t direct copies of the Fuji X100s camera profiles.

You won’t get an exact match with the JPG versions but certainly a nicer color rendition that is close to Fuji colours than the Adobe Standard Profile.

If like me you love using Lightroom, this is definitely the best solution, and it is also a cheap (10$) and the profile comes in three versions:

  • Standard: Ideal for general photography and for product shots where colour accuracy is required.
  • Low : Ideal for portraits or a scene that requires lower contrast.
  • High: High contrast curve and added saturation. It is ideal for landscape photography.

Below are some other examples. You can notice that in the second picture (the man standing on the street at night) that the difference is hardly noticeable, so the way in which the different profiles work also depends on the kind of light you have in the photograph and the balance of shadows and highlights.

X100s RAW files and Iridient Developer

Iridient Developer is a RAW image conversion software designed and optimized specifically for Mac OS X computers. I have read many positive reviews about how the application can read and develop the Fuji X-Trans RAW files better than Adobe softwares, especially regarding colour accuracy and sharpness. It includes a generic Fuji X100s profile. Let’s have a look!

N.B.: I used the trial version so a red watermark will appear in the centre.

Astia > Iridient

In the Iridient version, the colours have less luminosity but the tonal range is closer to the original shot. It retains much more pink in the reds than Lightroom.

Provia > Iridient

In this second example, you can see how Iridient manages to keep colours close to the original. The picture is slightly less saturated but colours are almost the same, and with some more editing in the software you can almost match the same colour rendition. Below are two other examples.

Velvia > Iridient
Astia > Iridient

The Iridient software has better colour reproduction than the Adobe software. This option is different from the Huelight Color Profiles as I am talking about an entirely different software. The trial I tested on my Macbook Pro (Version 10.8.2) crashed several times while I was converting the files into JPG format and it isn’t as quick as Lightroom. I didn’t try all its features as I was focusing on colour only but it definitely renders RAW files better than Lightroom.

It costs $75 which isn’t a bad price for that kind of software; it is way cheaper than Lightroom and Capture One. If you haven’t got too many photos to process every day, it can be a very reliable option.

Below you can see other examples.

X100s RAW files and Capture One

Capture One has great reputation as one of the best softwares out there for RAW development. I don’t know the software very well as I always used Lightroom so I downloaded the 60 day trial version and started to work some of the RAF files. I could see right away how it handles them better. The software has a built-in Fuji X100s Generic profile and you can choose three different curves that will increase or decrease contrast.

Here are some examples: the original JPG on-camera comes first.

Astia > Capture One
Provia > Capture One
Velvia > Capture One
Velvia > Capture One

I find the Capture One results slightly better than those of Iridient. Capture seems to manage to retain warm tones slightly more in the oranges and reds. You can see it especially in the first picture (the one with the bike) and the beach sunset picture.

This option is more expensive, as Capture One costs around €229 and it is a very complete software developed with professionals in mind. Luckily for us, there is a lighter version called Capture One Express that offers the same RAW development capabilities but lacks some of the most advanced features of the Pro version (thanks to Per for the info). They were created by the Danish company PhaseOne, which is very well-known in the medium format world thanks to their high-end medium format camera. So you should consider this a complete alternative to Lightroom.

Below are some other samples.

Other alternatives

There are other RAW developer software programs out there, but I haven’t tried them all so if you find some good results with software programs such as Silkypix or Corel AfterShot Pro (ex Bibble), let me know.

There are also some Fujifilm software programs, but for Mac, they are out-of-date and also have a bad reputation. Usually, software you get with the camera is very simple and slow to use so they won’t satisfy any pro or advanced amateur, so I didn’t consider them. That being said, it would be nice if Fuji could release a new version of its software because it will certainly be the most accurate in reading its RAF files.

A final alternative could be to develop the RAF file on the X100s itself. When you playback the picture and press the Menu/OK button, you have the option of converting the RAW file into JPG and adjusting the shadows, highlights, colours as well as choosing a film simulation mode.

The Playback Menu on the X100s
The Playback Menu on the X100s

Of course, this isn’t the fastest or easiest alternative, but I thought it was worth mentioning.


Click to open it in a new tab
Click to open it in a new tab

First, if you are reading this conclusion, it means that you went through the entirety of this very in-depth “colour peeping” article. So, the first thing I’m going to write is thank you for your patience. 😉

You might wonder which solution is the best, and the answer I can give is that there isn’t an optimal solution. For me, it makes sense to use Lightroom because I’ve used it for more than 5 years now, and because I have a Creative Cloud subscription. It wouldn’t make sense for me to buy another software when I already have one included in my monthly bill. The Huelight Colour Profile is as such the best option for me; I get a nicer colour rendering on my RAW files and I can adjust the pictures as I prefer.

If you are looking for a good alternative RAW developer software capable of rendering X100s colours accurately, the Iridient option is the cheapest one but it is slow and more unstable. If money is not an obstacle, then you will love Capture One. But you have to choose these software programs for all the features they proposes and not just for the colours because they are full RAW developers with different options and characteristics that you may or may not enjoy using.

As a final word, it should be known that none of the above-mentioned programs will reproduce the colours of the Fuji JPGs to a T, but you can rest assured that the results will be similar. Moreover, always remember that having a software that renders the colours of your photograph accurately won’t necessary make the photograph better. After all, colour appreciation is 100% subjective! 😉

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About the author: Mathieu Gasquet

Mathieu Gasquet is a professional photographer with French and Italian origins. Besides running his own video and photography studio 3Dit Lab, he is also the official photographer for the National Cinema Museum in Turin. You can follow him on Google+, Twitter or Facebook!

  • Mathieu

    I use Lightroom and it is available for both platforms. Otherwise Capture one could be a good solution. If you want a software that can process fuji RAW files very well concerning sharpness, then try Photoninja.

  • Donnie

    Does anyone have any suggestions for X100S post processing software for Windows OS? What’s the ideal option?

  • Subramoniam

    I tried hard with Fuji’s RFC. Not as easy with LR with all sorts of sliders. But finally got a couple of my sleeping RAFs better than what I could do with LR5.3 trial or DNG+PSE combo. Needs some patience to work on the tone curve, contrast, gamma etc. Even at 100% crop the sharpening artefacts that were visible with LR and PSE were not visible at all.

    COne (still have my trial license) does pull out great details but have a red and blue tinge. Indian Ocean was grey that day and it came out vivid blue!!

    Settling to master RFC and intend to save that money for another lens.

  • Mathieu

    Currently the best softwares for Fuji RAF files development are PhotoNinja and Iridient Developer, but both are slow compared to Lightroom.
    In the end I stick with Lightroom, even if doesn’t have the best RAW developer for Fuji files, it is still one of the best software to handle and catalogues thousands and thousands of photos. And the next update will fix one of my primary concern with Fuji files: colours.
    Otherwise the best alterative as you said is Capture One.
    If you don’t want to purchase a new software, then using DNG converter might be the best solution.

  • Subramoniam

    Switched to Fuji X-E2 after I found X-S1 performing as good as my DSLR (no cropping please) and DSLR with lenses being heavy for my bad back. OOC JPEG is too good, still hesitant to switch over from shooting RAW. Tried several options for PP.

    LR was first choice as I have LR4. So upgrade was obvious choice. Tried the LR 5.3 trial. Colours pretty tough to control, details mushy.
    Raw Converter not too flexible.
    SilkyPix 5 better than Raw Converter as it can recover shadows and control highlights better with HDR and Dodging controls. Still details not quite sharp.
    PhotoNinja does a real good job with details. Colour too is good but will support you with upgrades only for 1 year.
    COne 7 – best of all but too expensive for a hobbyist. Great details, colours too.

    After all these what is the way to still shoot RAW?

    Tried copying back my RAF onto SD card and process with in-built camera RAW converter. Hooked to my monitor through HDMI. After conversion while viewing the JPG they are soft!!
    How about converting to TIFF with Fuji’s RFC and using LR4? Will it preserve the sharpness and colours? I couldn’t see it much better than LR5. Am I doing something wrong?

    Or if I use DNG converter will I loose original info from the RAF?
    Totally confused as there are some 600 RAFs waiting to convert.

  • Mathieu

    I didn’t try the instagram presets but they look nice. Vsco are probably one of the best film present but I agree they are expensive. I think the price is worth if you use them every day.

  • Daniel Craig

    Personally I process images from Fuji in Lightroom. And sometimes use a film simulating presets to add a bit more character. Currently I prefer film presets from but previously used vsсо (which now looks overpriced).

  • Mathieu

    Hi Owen, sorry for the late reply but I wanted to send you an example with and without the Huelight profile but I actually didn’t find a lot of pictures that I took with the X100s under neon lights. If you want, you can send me one of your RAF files that shows what you mean and I can send you the images back with the Huelight profile applied.

  • owen-b

    Really interesting article, thanks!

    However, I have to say that in almost every single example you posted of the Huelight, that profile looks absolutely nothing like the JPG from the X100S. Quite staggeringly nowhere near, in fact, so I was surprised you were happy with the profile.

    The only major problem I have with processing RAF files in Lightroom 5 is that the Adobe profile handles neon lights terribly, you have to seriously reduce all saturation in the profile sliders, then pump it back up in the Develop sliders to solve the abysmal crushing of colours due to over saturation in the Adobe profile. The X100S JPG engine handles that quality of light magnificently. ACR: 0 marks out of 10. Whenever I’m somewhere that’s heavily lit with neon-style lighting, I know I’m going to not enjoy processing those RAF files…

    If the Huelight profile deals with that issue, I’d definitely consider it.

  • Mathieu

    I didn’t try them yet but as far as I know they are very different from the film simulation modes you can find on Fuji X cameras.

  • Sammy

    Has anyone tried the VSCO camera profiles for the x100s? I just wonder how they compare since they are supposed to emulate the film.

  • Mathieu

    You are right I should have checked this before. Thanks Per!

  • Per Ulrik

    Hi Mathieu!
    If you are going for the image quality of Capture One there is a Express version with the same RAW conversion engine as in the Pro-version, but to a much lower price. Major difference is that some Pro features are disabled.
    I’m a X100 owner and Capture One user myself.

    br Per Ulrik

  • Mathieu

    Thanks Vadim. I’ll give it a try. Other users suggested to me other software as well so I’ll update this article with all those new additions 😉

  • Vadim

    Hi Mathieu

    I am using Aperture 3.4.5. No, Aperture does not have Fuji profiles, but it handles Fuji colors better than Lightroom IMHO. Process flow is simpler and auto mode is great – very accurate, so all is left after is few little touches. I still like Fuji JPEG colors though, so often import JPEGs into Aperture and work with those. Unfortunately Apple discontinued free trial version. You can still find older trial on the web.

  • Mathieu

    Bonsoir Terry, dans cette phrase, j’explique que les profiles couleurs Huelight sont la meilleure solution pour ceux qui préfèrent utiliser Lightroom. Ils ne sont pas chers (10$) et ont un meilleur rendu des couleurs que le profil standard de Adobe. Trois versions du profil sont disponibles dans le meme prix: standard, high (plus contrasté) et low (moins contrasté).
    Je les utilise très souvent. Il ne simulent pas les memes couleurs que l’on retrouve sur les JPG Fuji mais sont un très bon point de départ pour développer le fichier brut.
    N’hésitez pas à me poser d’autres questions si besoin.
    Bien à vous.

  • Terry

    Bonjour Mathieu
    Je viens de lire vos articles sur le Fuji 100s et notamment celui-ci ou vous parlez des couleurs. J’utilise LR4 et justement je ne retrouve pas les couleurs intéressantes, bien que je fais beaucoup de N&B.
    Je pense ne pas tout avoir saisi sur les astuces notamment cette phrase : “If like me you love using Lightroom, this is definitely the best solution, and it is also a cheap (10$) and the profile comes in three versions:”. (je comprends pas tout l’anglais encore…)
    Pouvez vous m’en dire plus et en français ?
    Merci d’avance

  • Mathieu

    Hi Vadim, I haven’t tried Aperture yet. Which version do you use? Does it have some fuji profiles?

  • Vadim

    Hi Mathieu,

    great article. I am too has been unsatisfied with Lightroom performance on X100S RAW files. Have you tried using Aperture? I was getting better results than with Lightroom.


  • Mathieu

    That looks very interesting, I’ll try those presets as well. Thanks 😉

  • Nishant Ratnakar

    Hi Mathieu,
    That’ll be great. Meanwhile, I have been allowed to download beta version of version 4.1 . I’ll try it form my end too. I am nto sure, but I think Lightzone uses raw profiles from dcraw…

    Also, I’d like to point out that there is one raw x100s camera raw profile for lightroom. It was created by another photographer. You could check and compare it with how your images performed with Huelight. The link for it is here. I am yet to try it out too.


  • Mathieu

    Hi Nishant, I haven’t tried Lightzone yet. I’ll give it a try in the next days and share my impressions 😉

  • Nishant Ratnakar

    Hi Mathieu,

    Thanks for the informative post. I have been a longtime Lightroom user. And hence little disappointed on how it handles my x100s RAW file. Ans was looking for solutions to it or alternatvies to it.

    i have a question to you. have you given a shot at at Lightzone ? It is now an open source free software project. I tried my hand at version 4.0, but it didn’t support x100s files. But, it seems now the beta version 4.1 one Lightzone has added support to x100s and Xtrans raw files. It’ll be nice to see that comparison added to this list too, and see how it performs along side these options.


  • Mathieu

    Hi Alex. I haven’t tried the X100 extensively enough to answer that. The sensor isn’t the same, so I’m sure there are some differences. But as you said, if you want true Fuji colours, you need to use the JPG.

  • Alex

    Great article Mathieu. I have the X100, can you conclude the same for it as well. Maybe they have the same JPEG engine and only the sensor on the S is different?

    With this, I can say that nothing can match the camera’s JPEG engine. Tried myself using CS6, but decided that I’ll either shoot JPEG or shoot RAW and convert in-camera.

    Not so convenient but at least I’ll have those lovely FUJI colors.


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