Iridient X-Transformer 1.0 beta 1 Tested

Iridient developer is considered by many to be key to X-Trans image quality excellence (Fujifilm X-T2, X-Pro2, X-T1, X-T10etc….). It is known for providing additional sharpness and avoiding the “worm/water color” effect that some people see when processing their RAW files in Lightroom. So, does Iridient transformer beta 1 deliver?

Iridient Transformer 1.0 beta 1 - More Detail - X-T2 ISO 200

Yes, and no… I’m a Mac user for my creative work, so I could have switched to Iridient Developer years ago, but I greatly prefer Lightroom. I never found Iridient Developer very convenient for my workflow so I haven’t used it in a very long time. I like to work across my multiple Apple devices using Lightroom and other products that sync my work through iCloud. I was pretty happy with Lightroom, and very happy with the last update that greatly improved X-Trans support, but I have always wanted to give Iridient a try again.

Iridient Transformer 1.0 beta 1 - More Detail - X-T2 ISO 200 100% Crop

So I bought Iridient Transformer 1.0 for Windows on day one to see how it fit in my work flow and, initially, I was very impressed at the sharpness that it could add to my photos. I ran my recent series of lightning photos through it and imported them into Lightroom for processing, and man did the bolts pop along with the clouds, but then I wanted to see what 100% looked like and it was kind of off… and then at 200% I saw “worms/water color” everywhere. I found this very curious. I barely touched my photos yet I saw something I haven’t witnessed since Lightroom’s first attempt at processing X-Trans files.

Iridient Transformer 1.0 beta 1 - More Detail - X-Pro2 ISO 2500

Then tried to simplify my methodology to limit anything I might have done to cause the effect, but it was still there, although slightly reduced. I do like some of the Iridient processed files better than the Lightroom ones, but I’m still seeing artifacts that this raw developer is supposed to solve. Another curious thing I noticed is that lens correction is applied differently in Iridient than Lightroom, by default with some lenses. Of course this is beta software one so these things should improve, but I’m curious if the artifact errors show up in large prints. Once Iridient Transformer is final I’ll likely run a print comparison to check.

Iridient Transformer 1.0 beta 1 - More Detail - X-Pro2 ISO 2500 100% Crop

I created five albums on 500px for readers. One is processed in Lightroom and the other two are Iridient, but one is with the Smooth setting and the other uses the More Detail setting. The last two are 100% crops and full images for closer inspection/comparison. I would host the crops here for you to download, but the site is booming this month and we need the bandwidth. The Iridient processed files can be very big, with some DNG 3x as big as the original RAF they came from, and the JPEGs being 20-30% bigger on export and I didn’t want to compress them.

Iridient Transformer 1.0 beta 1 - More Detail - X-T1 ISO 1600

Since this is only the first beta, I’ll continue tracking the product for changes. It’s amazing the detail that the More Detail setting brings out when viewing the complete image on a monitor. My lightning bolt photos are so much sharper, and you can even see forks that didn’t show up in the Lightroom processed versions. I also really like that you can use film simulation on the Iridient DNGs.

Iridient Transformer 1.0 beta 1 - More Detail - X-T1 ISO 1600 100% Crop

This is a great first beta and I can’t wait to see where the product goes from here. I also included one of my favorite X-T1 pictures in the test to see how the old sensor performed and it seemed to be supported better than the new one. If the performance gets a little better than the X-T1 processed version, I might use it regularly. In future tests I’ll run original X-Pro1 photographs through Iridient Transformer to see how other X-Trans chips are supported.

Make sure you have a viewing resolution at or above 1024×768 when viewing the 100%’s. Also check all the albums to better compares for yourself (LightroomIridient SmoothIridient More Detail100% cropsFull Images).

This entry was posted in Fuji X-Pro2, Fuji X-T1, Fuji X-T2, Software and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Trackbacks are closed, but you can post a comment.
  • Brian Griffith

    Be sure to turn off or turn down sharpening in Lightroom. The baseline sharpening levels in Lightroom will typically be inappropriate to the DNG conversion and can leading to a doubling up of sharpening and can definitely lead to over sharpening artifacts with some images in particular.

    Also you may want to increase Luminance noise reduction in X-Transformer if you are trying to avoid any potential for worm like artifacts.

    The combo of the smoother raw process, high luminance NR and zero sharpening in Lightroom or other RAW processors should greatly reduce or entirely eliminate any such artifacts. Turning off sharpening in Lightroom is probably the most critical adjustment. To avoid these artifacts, though I wouldn’t recommend totally turning off Luminance NR in X-Transformer especially for higher ISOs if artifacts are a concern.

    If you feel you are still running into more worm artifacts that you’d expect please contact me by email and if you have any test RAF images that would be super helpful.

    Brian Griffith
    Iridient Digital

    • I didn’t do any tweaking for sharpening etc… simply ran them through the app and adjusted exposure a little etc… I wanted to see what default looks like because I’m sure it’s what most will end up using. I’ll give your tips a try when beta two rolls around to see if they help. Thanks for the input. There’s definitely a difference and what you’re doing must be a headache, but it’s appreciated.

  • Sebastien

    I found that this strange effect is mostly visible on foliage. As I shoot a lot of landscapes, this is really annoying. I also purchased Iridient Transformer on day one and I’m impressed so far. It easy to integrate this conversion into my actual Lightroom workflow. However I don’t plan to use this tool for all my pictures, only those where I suspect I miss details, or I see this water color effect.

    That being said, I need to more tests on more different image types… and this is just the beta version!

    • I wish it were possible to select it like a processor version type in Lightroom. It’s kind of hard to predict what the presets will do to a batch of photos unless you tailor it for a set of images shot under specific conditions.

      I think Lightroom is very acceptable, but you get a little extra pop out of Iridient.

  • Great review! It seems from a number of early reviews of this tool it is great but also has some quirks with lingering artifacts. Do you think the artifacts will/can be resolved in future versions of the software or are they inherent to the Iridient conversion using Transformer? I’ve never used Iridient Developer because I run Windows; are the same artifacts seen in files processed there?

    • Thank you. I think Brian Griffith’s input below is helpful, but ideally I should be able to just run all my X-Trans files through his Transformer and forget about it. But it seems the tool needs to be tweaked some. Maybe he can add a preview or dial things back a little. I’m really not sure what the solution is… it’s a huge task based on my understanding of how these products interplay.

      I’m sure I could zero out the odd noise on a single image if I tweaked everything, but the product is really designed for batch jobs.

      • Brian Griffith

        You can batch apply presets in Lightroom that zero out sharpening on import. If using a more image by image workflow like “edit in” functionality you can also easy apply custom presets to the images on load.

        In my experience many people use X-Transformer with Lightroom more on an image by image basis as an “edit in” or scripted plug-in. It certainly can also be used as a batch processor, but no requirement it be used in that way. Drag and drop is a popular method with Bridge and Photo Mechanic too, but oddly doesn’t work in Lightrrom on Windows (it does on the Mac).

        The Lightroom defaults are designed for their own RAF processing and assume no capture stage processing has been applied. The assumptions the RAF defaults make are largely not applicable (at least in terms of noise and sharpness) to the converted DNG. Just one of the inherent disadvantages to a more “raw” format like DNG. Each RAW processor will do things a little differently in this regard and no matter what RAW processor you use you’ll probably want to do some fine tuning to get the default results to better suit your own preferences and style.

        Shouldn’t be a huge task to setup a custom preset or do a little fine tuning of sharpening on an image by image basis (many do so regardless) and with LR in particular there is very good support for custom defaults, applying custom presets on import, strong and applying custom presets in general.

        Brian Griffith
        Iridient Digital

        • As I said before I didn’t play with my settings settings. I simply used all default settings and did some minor tweaks to the photos like exposure etc… then copied them so that all of the photos would be adjusted the same…

          So what you’re saying is zero out Lightroom’s sharpening, but what would happen if I changed the sharpening in your app from default to zero? Does your file tell Lightroom how to handle sharpening? Im curious because I know Lightroom handles files from different cameras differently and I am not sure how it sees your DNG’s. Does it try to treat it like a Fujifilm file? In which case could this cause problems with their demosaicing algorithm with some filters? Or does your DNG tell lightroom what to do with the file since it is kind of something newish…

          I think there is a pretty big range of photographers out there using Fujifilm cameras and some are going to expect that they can just run their raw files through X-Transformer and forget about it. Lightroom has come a long way for this kind of work flow, but I would like to see your improved image quality in a Lightroom work flow for every kind of image type. E.g. it’s likely an X-A3 user will hear about a product like X-Transformer and try to use it in their work flow without tweaking much, where as an X-T2 user might be more methodical.

          It would great if there was a simplified way to do this X-Transformer side that was clear for users. I’m going to give all of your recommendations a try for when I really want to tweak a photo, but many photographers I know enjoy shooting more than editing… So they would likely use X-Transformer to batch process their files then edit in Lightroom like my test above.

          • Brian Griffith

            There really isn’t a way directly in the standard DNG metadata to tell Lightroom how to handle sharpening. There are some Adobe proprietary DNG tags for noise reduction which I do use.

            Lightroom will basically treat the DNG as if it were a RAF and apply too much default sharpening (for many peoples tastes).

            Yes, you can also turn off sharpening in X-Transformer and then you could use Lightroom sharpening (for better and worse) more like you might normally do, but there will still be inherent differences to RAW processing style that may merit some sharpening changes.

            I apply my own sharpening by default as I feel it is a key part of the Iridient file quality that people love. For that matter Lightroom’s sharpening is probably a portion of the problem with Adobe’s rendering quality.

            That said some may prefer Lightroom’s sharpening style. In my Iridient Developer product I support 6 different sharpening methods!! Yikes!! Trust me if everyone’s taste in sharpening matched closely there would only be one. I tried to choose one the newer, “best” options (Iridient Reveal) for X-Transformer, but I am certain there are some that will prefer one of the other methods in Iridient Developer (which is why that product will continue to be very actively developed going forward as well).

            Brian Griffith
            Iridient Digital

          • I find there are huge differences in work flow between people that share online and people that print. There are just so many variables. This is why I’m sticking to defaults for testing. It’s the easiest way to get reproducible results. I did my best to remove anything editing might do to make matters worse. Deleloper seems to be the way to go, but I don’t see you building it out as much as Adobe has Lightroom in the future. When you shoot 25k+ photos a year across 5 cameras catalog management takes priority.

            Maybe a plug in(for single photo processing) or license your algorithm to Adobe?

          • Brian Griffith

            Both Iridient X-Transformer and Developer work as plug-ins for Lightroom already. See the Help topic “Working with Lightroom” for detailed, step by step (and even a video tutorial for Iridient Developer) instructions on how to set this up and all the various ways of incorporating Iridient tools with Lightroom. Single photo processing is easy with either product (for most).

            There are cases where the defaults may suit ones personal style perfectly and many do love the results right out of the “box”, but this is just mostly by chance, but there are just WAY too many variables to come up with one perfect default that works great for everyone.

            Brian Griffith
            Iridient Digital

          • I only used Developer in demo mode. It’s not really worth the investment for what I would use it for, but X-Transformer is which is why I bought it even though I have to work across two computers for now. When the mac version comes out in the future I’ll give the plug in a try.

        • Thanks for the extra information! Of course, at this stage, I have to wonder why Iridient just doesn’t license the particular RAF->DNG algorithm to Adobe to be integrated into Lightroom? Either that or make a Windows version of Iridient Developer for those of us on PCs. I could guarantee you at least one customer 😉

          • Brian Griffith

            Iridient X-Transformer is available on Windows now and features several of the core RAW processing stages from Iridient Developer. I will likely release more Windows products in the future and a more full featured RAW processor, like Iridient Developer, is certainly one of many products under consideration.

            Brian Griffith
            Iridient Digital

          • Outstanding! Looking forward to trying Transformer and seeing what else comes out. Cheers!