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Two FANTASTIC new FREEWARE opportunities for B&W photographers and/or Fuji camera users

Oct 26, 2018

I have to make a posting out of this, in spite of the fact that it applies to so few of you. The first one, PhotoKit,  doesn't really effect me – I paid $50 each for the darn things long ago and one would have to pry them out of my cold dead hands to get them away from me. The second, Capture One Fujifilm, has immediately become an essential part of my workflow. Details below.

Christmas in October for anyone interested in serious B&W Photography

PhotoKit plugins are now Free…

Pixel Genius – http://pixelgenius.com – is making their PhotoKit plugin freeware, along with PhotoKit Sharpener and PhotoKit Color. I use the plugins extensively. In fact I do about 90% of my work in Photoshop through PhotoKit. The first two are arguably the best plugins out there. The third, Color, might be useful to someone, I haven't a clue.

The advantage of PhotoKit is that it works from an analog/darkroom perspective. I wouldn't use anything else for B&W. It virtually brings Photoshop into the darkroom (or vise versa). All three filters are now free, downloadable from the link above. Installation instructions included. 

I doubt very much if I reach many potential users, but this is not an opportunity to be missed. These plugins have been stable in Photoshop since CS2, and stil are in CC-2018. Who knows how long this will last. 

PhotoKit – the biggest reason I won't even consider leaving Photoshop.

 Hark, another present unde the tree… Fuji-dedicated version of Capture One now Free

CAPTURE ONE has released a freeware version designed specifically for Fuji RAW. Wow. Sure, it's not the full Pro version of the app – which can be had for life with a one-time payment of $200, but it is a comprehensive RAW converter AND is fully functional as an image cataloguer. I'm in the process of trying it out right now – expecially since I presently have to run my Fuji RAW files through Iridient X-Transformer before putting them in Photoshop, which SUCKS at Fuji RAW conversion.


     For someone who is primarily a color photographer, using Fuji, this would be a veryvery tempting proposition. For my B&W I was reserving judgement.


Past workflow – I export the Fuji RAW file from my Photos catalog and drag/drop it on Iridient X-Transformer. Out pops a dng RAW (Adobe RAW) and I then open that in Photoshop RAW converter. There I convert to B&W and make a number of adjustments. From there I work in Photoshop, primarily using PhotoKit plugins.

Potential workflow using Capture One Fuji – This thing does everything that it does right in RAW. That would eliminate the transformer step, and Capture One does a great job of converting Fuji RAW. From there however I would export as a TIFF and open that in Photoshop in order to use my PhotoKit.

Converting from Fuji RAW to Adobe RAW vs opening Fuji RAW in Capture One then exporting it as (lossless) TIFF and opening that in Photoshop. There's the choice. This seemed to call for some extensive and exacting tests. I like my present workflow, and like the results. But from first look, I liked working on the RAW file in Capture One, using very similar controls, over working in Abobe RAW converter in Photoshop.

WOW – Extensive testing be hanged – one test image was enough. RAF RAW conversion in Capture One Fujifilm results are as much better than converting to an Adobe RAW first (in Iridient X-Transformer) as that conversion process is to simply opening the file in Adobe RAW. I find this astounding, and enough of a difference to warrant going back to scratch reworking some files as I move along. Hark – my NEW workflow. Exporting from Capture One Fujufilm to TIFF does no damage whatsoever – and goes Adobe RAW one better insaving the image as a 16 bit RGB, avoiding having to get it out of Grayscale. 


I’ll just have to rethink the above. Adobe, whose RAW converter up to now did such an inferior job on converting Fuji RAW, has just been updated. I noticed considerable changes to the app, beyond simply adding new cameras to the list, so I ran some tests. Finally – pre-conversion in X-Transformer is no longer needed. In fact, results are actually slightly better than if taking that extra step. I’ll still play around with Capture One conversion, but hey, the whole point is fixing the workflow and eliminating time-wasting steps. It’s about time Adobe.