FujiFilm X70 (with filter adapter and UV filter mounted)

When I bought the X70 a year ago, I chose it over the Ricoh GR II (basically the only other camera in the same class, APS-C premium compacts).

I made my decision then primarily based on specifications; the X70 was the newer model, has phase-detect autofocus (which is theoretically quicker than the GR’s contrast only AF) a tilt and touch-enabled LCD, and better video capabilities. The X70 further distinguishes itself from the GR by having absolute value physical controls for aperture, shutter speed, and exposure compensation (but not for flash).

Both cameras are aimed at a specific kind of photography…

The X-Trans sensor of the X-Pro1 (shot with the FujiFilm X70)

Since the introduction of the FujiFilm X-Series of cameras, reviewers and consumers have struggled to compare them directly to the competition. FujiFilm’s is a tightly integrated system, wherein everything is a little bit different. They rate ISO by a different standard, use a non-standard Color Filter Array, and their RAW files rely on proprietary metadata to correct exposure levels (which 3rd party RAW processors may ignore). One well known lens and camera metrics concern has declined to even attempt any comparison against FujiFilm X Series cameras.

The effect of all these confounding factors, intentional or not, along with FujiFilm’s hyperbolic…

(close up of actual representation of grid artifact from an image shot with the X-T2)

When FujiFilm’s X-Trans III sensor was introduced in the X-Pro2, many users began noticing a strange new artifact in their backlit photographs. Upon further experimentation, it became apparent that the same artifact could also be found in images from cameras using the older X-Trans II sensor.

Many theories have been bandied about in internet photography forums, pointing the finger at specific lenses, certain body production batches, and, sadly but predictably, the users who dared to suggest there could be flaws in the output of a rather expensive camera, but very little information of a technical kind has been published on…

From Fuji X-T2 with Fujinon 35mm F2 (RAF processed with Darktable)

In my previous article, X-Trans: The Promise and the Problem, which focused on the difficulty of demosaicking FujiFilm’s X-Trans sensor data while preserving fine color detail and in particular the trouble FujiFilm’s own image processing pipeline has with it, I used the Free/Libre software Darktable to process the RAW examples. I showed that, specifically in terms of color detail, Darktable was able to do a better job than FujiFilm’s own processing. (But I also pointed out the compromise between color detail and false color/moiré inherent in X-Trans.) …

(actual X-Trans pattern)

FujiFilms’s X-Trans III sensor has been out since the X-Pro2 hit the scene in March 2016. It was joined recently by the X-T2, and presently the X-T20 and X100F are about to be unleashed upon the world in February 2017. I’ve spent some time with both the X-Pro2 and X-T2, as well as every generation of X-Trans sensor package going back to the X-Pro1. In the process of using these cameras, I’ve become intimate with X-Trans CFA and the problems it presents.

With this new wave of cameras on the verge of release, I’ve decided to share some of what…

Jonathan Moore Liles

Photographer / Musician / Writer / Software Architect

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