Don’t Sweat the Details but… – a non-scientific review of Iridient Developer

Disclaimer first.

If you are wise enough to shoot JPEG only, if you don’t print larger than 12×18 or prefer to spend your time on what is really important in photography (light, composition, etc.) – enjoy the images below but please ignore the article. It is not going to do your photography any good. Quite the opposite!

However, if you cannot sleep at night because your processed files don’t show every single detail available at 100% or you print larger than 12×18, please keep going. Keep in mind that the subject matter presented in this article is secondary to almost all other topics in photography. It won’t make you a better photographer, it won’t help you to take a better photos and it may drag you into the dark world of pixel peeping and other such disorders.

Don’t say you haven’t been warned!

©osztaba_sft_IR_20130830__DSF0217

When Fuji introduced the X-Trans Sensor there was great excitement in the photographic community. The APS-C sensor that could challenge full format cameras was something that hadn’t been done before. Indeed, the JPEGs from Fuji X-Trans cameras have been spectacular.

For the RAW shooters, however, it wasn’t all roses. The RAW saga with the X-Trans Sensor started when Adobe issued its support for the sensor (I didn’t mention Silkypix since nobody wanted to learn this unintuitive software). Anticipation and excitement turned into a spate of cries and accusations. What happened to the details that are supposed to be present in the files of an aliasing-filter-free camera with a revolutionary sensor? They were simply not there for many.

Then there was Capture One. Along with the support came a sigh of relief, as the files from C1 show a much better rendition of tiny things. All pixel peepers went berserk with 100%, 200% and __% comparisons between different RAW processors. As usual with the Internet, everyone saw something different but in general the majority crowned the C1 as the best bet for the X-Trans sensor files treatment.

Then, almost out of the blue came a little known software, Iridient Developer. I have to admit that my early reaction was sceptical. If Adobe couldn’t do it, why would they do it? One weekend I decided to download a trial version of Iridient Developer and take a look. From the first I liked the simple, logical layout. I processed a few files and exported them to Lightroom. Then when nobody was watching I indulged myself in an orgy of pixel peeping. What a party it was! First on my agenda were some photos of dusty old trucks. The difference was clear. I could see every imperfection on the hood and tire marks I hadn’t seen before. In fact, the details I saw approached the details on the D800 files. Unbelievable!

Grinning happily, I went back to the Iridient Developer site and bought the full version. More processing followed and after a few days of comparing the files with the C1 and Lightroom, my conclusion was in: This is the best processing software for X-Trans Sensor files if you are looking for razor-sharp details!

Take a look at the examples below. Please ignore the colour matching and other minor differences. The purpose of this comparison is to look at details only. Please click on double images for full view.

©osztaba_sf_13-08-31__DSF8534

Screen Shot 2013-09-11 at 2.25.12 PM

©osztaba_sf_13-08-25_IR__DSF8075

Screen Shot 2013-09-11 at 2.18.52 PM

©osztaba_sf_ID_13-08-28__DSF9818

Screen Shot 2013-09-11 at 2.24.20 PM

©osztaba_us_13-07-20__DSF7765

Screen Shot 2013-09-11 at 2.23.25 PM

Look at the stunning details in this example (Iridient Developer). 

©osztaba_us_13-07-21__DSF7809

Screen Shot 2013-09-12 at 8.56.35 AM

Clearly, the Iridient Developer is doing a fantastic job of extracting every single detail from the RAW files. Part of the secret formula could be the unique R-L deconvolusion sharpening method offered by the program. After talking to my more technically oriented friends they assured me this is the best way to sharpen files as of today.

After working for a few months with this software, I admit I like it a lot. Its simplicity and layout are refreshing. The results are fantastic but as with all software, it has its shortcomings. In comparison to Lightroom and C1, its highlight and shadow recovery capabilities are limited. As a result, for the images that require a lot of adjustments in this way, we use C1 or LR. There are also some colour issues, which to my eye are not as accurate as C1 or Lightroom. It appears that the reds are a bit overrepresented. Finally, it is Mac only. Other than that I haven’t found anything else that bothers me.

Putting those things aside, I would strongly recommend this software for processing Fuji RAW files for maximum details. Here’s how we do it.

We use R-L deconvolusion sharpening with the following inputs 0.5 & 30. Then we put saturation at 7 or 10 and adjust the exposure to our liking. That’s all! Then we export the file to Lightroom for any final touches if needed. Simple and straightforward!

©osztaba_sf_13-08-25_IR__DSF8165

©osztaba_sf_13-08-25_IR__DSF8123

©osztaba_sft_IR_20130830__DSF0243

I would like to finish where I started. The topic presented here is the least important in the whole spectrum of things that comprise the art of photography. After all, it is the vision, light, deep thought, composition and fascinating topic that should occupy your attention – not pixels. While presenting our prints we have never heard anybody saying: “Wow, look at those marvellous pixels!” But we have heard: “What a great view!” or “fantastic composition” or “great light,” etc. If you worry excessively about pixels, then you have probably lost sight of what’s important. Maybe it’s time to start all over again!

P.S. …and now when nobody is watching try Iridient Developer here, you won’t regret it (:

 

I would like to thank Brian Griffith from Iridient Developer for his insights and guidance. He and his team did a truly marvelous job creating fantastic software.

 

box2 

© Olaf Sztaba Photography. All rights reserved.

23 thoughts on “Don’t Sweat the Details but… – a non-scientific review of Iridient Developer

  1. I like ID but I cannot seem to figure out the right workflow to use the Fuji colour profiles available in LR 5.4. Once the .tiff file comes back from ID the Fuji colour profiles are unavailable. I like those profiles. Any assistance you can provide is appreciated.

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  4. Olaf, just subscribed tour your blog.
    Excellent information here and I love your work.
    +1 on all your findings, I originally purchased an X-E1 late last year and sold it because of at the time the dismal raw support, then Brian with his excellent software released the 2.x version of ID and I opened up my original files which I had kept and WOW, day and night difference, for what I like to shoot, landscapes, it transformed the X-E1 into a different camera. So I went out and repurchased the kit with the zoom, 14mm and 60mm lenses. I also just purchased a used Zeiss 85/4 ZM and the Fuji adaptor, should have it next week for testing,

    Steven

  5. Pingback: travel-X: Morocco “on the road” with the X-E1 + 3 ghost towns with the X-PRO1, X100S and Iridient | Fuji Rumors

  6. Thanks for the article Olaf, gorgeous images!
    Anyway from my experience you could get much better and finer detail in CaptureOne using a simple 400/0,3/0 sharpening with NR set to zero and NR Advanced set to 50/0.
    Perfect details and zero halos.
    Ciao! :)

    Marco

    • Marco,

      Thank you for sharing your settings.

      You are right, Capture One could be the best program taking into account all factors (colour, highlight/shadow recovery etc), however, I was not able to extract as many details as using ID.

      Thanks for visiting.

      Olaf

    • Bruno,

      I cannot comment on your comparison because I don’t know the details. It appears to me that there was no saturation applied to the ID file. Also, something is not right with the ID details (no sharpening?). I worked with Aperture and I was not able to extract an equal amount of details as I did with ID. However, I like Aperture a lot – beautiful, clean design and simple, logical controls. I am glad it works for you.

      Regards,

      Olaf

      • Hi Olaf,
        thank you for replying.
        I have just seen that I forgot to uncheck added sharpening in Aperture, so the comparison was unfair.
        I did the job again :
        Irridient : ALL default, except sharpening : R-L deconvolution 0.5 & 30
        (saturation : default = 0).
        Aperture : CUSTOM RAW fine settings : sharpening/detail : 0.00/0.40 (Apple default : 0.50/0.00, which is BAD)
        NO color/saturation/contrast/levels adjustments, etc : nothing.
        Only adjustment : white balance (the x100s is too “cool”, by about 600K).

        Here is the result : http://hpics.li/299b56d
        Here is the original RAW file : http://demo.ovh.eu/fr/a85161778e6fdc1655cb5faf9adec3de/

        BTW : the center sharpness of this camera is amazing.

      • Hi Bruno,

        Thanks for posting your RAW for testing!

        Something is definitely not right with your Iridient Developer converted image… color and sharpness both are way, way off what they should be for those options (defaults + RL at 0.5, 30). This is actually a very high sharpening setting for the X-Trans cameras using the RL Deconvolution method I’d recommend something more around 0.33 and 15 iterations.

        At RL using 0.5, 30 over sharpening artifacts should be readily apparent. Your result is way too soft for these settings. Not sure what has happened to the color, but it too looks absolutely nothing like the Iridient Developer default should in a color managed image viewer. My guess is perhaps something is off with color management in the image viewer you are using.

        Here is a link to a full resolution, center cropped JPEG converted through Iridient Developer 2.2 with defaults and using RL Deconvolution sharpening method at 0.5 radius and 30 iterations saved in sRGB color space which should look reasonably OK even in non-color managed image viewers or web browsers, etc:

        If you are unable to get results similar to this in Iridient Developer contact me at my support email.

        Best regards,
        Brian Griffith (author of Iridient Developer)
        Iridient Digital

  7. Well Great article. Love the comparisons. As a longtime user Since Beta 1.x of LR, And now on 5.x I must agree that LR does my X files no justice at all. Which is why I initally used the Silkypix, for me very intuitive. Then I tried Aperture, I bought it to use. And now, I’ve come full circle and am back using SP. It does a great job! The IRR software to me is just too confusing to use. And too darn expensive quite honestly.
    Have you compared SP to Capture One? I’d love to see that comparison someday.
    Great images.

      • My Bad Olaf. I thought we were talking about that other Russian software. This one I downloaded and honestly I was BLOWN AWAY with the extra quality.
        Thank you very much. Now what to do with my D700, and D800….
        Best,
        J

  8. Hi
    I’ve been waiting for your ‘review’ of ID. There are other reviews out there, but I was most interested in your comments for two reasons:
    A) Your photography moves me
    B) You keep what is really important in photography to the fore – as reflected in your very well written opening and closing paragraphs.

    With some of my photographs, mostly those with a lot of foliage, I did see some of the smearing in LR. Most of this has gone away with the latest LR release. So generally I am beyond happy with the files, and especially so when I consider all factors and not just detail. The Xtrans and a good lens can really deliver. Sadly, they don’t help much with my compositional skills. Sigh…

    Anyway, for me the final product is a print. I just love the look and feel of a well made print. So detail can be important. I would be unlikely to switch to a whole new way of working for a small amount of detail (eg a switch from LR to C1), but the way you describe using ID seems very workable. I have the trial, so I will play with it this weekend. Thanks for the recommended settings.

    Two little questions.
    – When you export from ID do you do so in TIFF format?
    – Do you simply export to a folder, and then import that folder to LR?

    Sorry for the long comment, and many thanks for the post.

    • Stephen,

      It is always great to hear from you. Thank you for your kind words.

      Answering your questions:
      Yes, we export TIFFs.
      We export (only selected) images to a folder and then import individual images to folders in LR. However, I am sure there are better ways to do that.

      Regards,

      Olaf

  9. Pingback: Don’t Sweat the Details but… – a non-scientific review of Iridient Developer | Olaf Sztaba | hadassaab

  10. Have you also compared Iridient to Apple Aperture? I left LR a very long time ago, never liked Adobe in general. A few months ago I was curious and performed some comparison tests between Aperture (my own workflow), LR, and C1. No doubt that C1 is a wonderful, very competent professional tool but Aperture was in my tests still delivering better conversions for the X-Trans than C1 and certainly than LR (in my eyes there are still unforgivable artifacts in the conversion of the X-Pro1’s RAF’s, also differences in sharpness). I don’t know about Iridient, and how to position it against Aperture, but my entire workflow is now Aperture-based, it’s not that you switch over in a few minutes time… ;-) .

    • Dirk,

      I really like Apple Aperture – I like its simplicity and beautiful layout (the best in the industry). If I were you I wouldn’t change your workflow unless you print really large (20×30 or larger).

      Thank you for visiting.

      Olaf

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