Join Ben Long for an in-depth discussion in this video Understanding JPEG quality, part of Fuji X-T2: Tips, Tricks, and Techniques.
- When you shoot in JPEG mode, the raw data that the camera captures is converted into a JPEG file, in camera. A process which involves a lot of the same types of corrections and edits that you might make in Photoshop. If you're unclear on exactly what the difference is between raw and JPEG, check out my Learn Photography: Shooting in Raw Mode course. You'll find a number of features in the X-T2's menu that only affect JPEG files, because they are options that let you take some control of the in-camera raw-to-JPEG conversion. First and foremost among these are the film simulation options, found in the image quality menu.
In here, you'll find nine different simulations, many of them modeled on actual Fujifilms of old. Now I usually shoot in raw format, but I have to say, the JPEG quality of the X-T2 is fantastic. And the color and contrast treatments provided by these film simulations are sophisticated and beautiful. I could give you descriptions of them, but a better way to learn about them is to find a nice sample scene and then shoot it with each of these film simulation options. Now you can't modify these profiles, but you can add additional effects on top of them.
For example, just below film simulations is grain effect, which let's you dial in two levels of film grain. This is different from noise, it looks like film grain, and gathers differently in darker and lighter areas of the image, just like real film grain. On the next page, the color option let's you alter the saturation of a JPEG image, regardless of the film simulation that you've chosen, assuming that it's a color simulation. The highlight and shadow tone options, that are also found in this menu, let you adjust the contrast of the highlight and shadow areas of your scene, and give you more flexibility than a simple contrast control.
These options allow you to do things like increase the contrast of the shadows, without having to worry about over exposing your highlights. Sharpness and noise reduction options are also found in this menu. They give you some rather blunt controls for controlling the detail in your scene. When you're shooting portraits, be careful with these features. They can quickly make skin tones look worse if you turn them up too high. There's something called the lens modulation optimizer, which defaults to being on. It works with Fuji's lenses to automatically correct softness in the corners that's caused by diffraction.
You'll probably notice that softening in your image if you shoot it f/11 or smaller. There's also something called a dynamic range option, which defaults to 100%. It gives you a tool for handling high dynamic range scenes, scenes with a really wide range of dark to light. If you're in a situation like that, and your highlights are overexposing, and lowering the exposure is causing you to lose too much shadow or darker midtone data, then you might try increasing this dynamic range setting. It works by underexposing your shots to protect the highlights, and then boosting the shadows during JPEG conversion to restore details to those areas.
If you choose 200%, the dynamic range feature will give you one stop of adjustment, while 400% will give you two stops. Dynamic range auto tries to automatically determine which dynamic range setting is best. This feature can yield dramatic improvement in a high dynamic range scene. But note that this is not going to yield an HDR-style image. It's nothing more than an underexposure of an image, and then brightening it in post. It's just that post-work is happening in the camera. Of course, since this is a JPEG image, this dynamic range setting, and all of the other things that I talked about in this movie, are baked into your final image.
You are not going to be able to remove them later. These features only impact JPEG images. If you're a raw shooter, there's no reason to look at any of these features. However, as you'll see later, if you're a raw shooter who uses Lightroom or Photoshop Camera Raw, you do have the option to use these same film simulations.
- Choosing between the X-T1 and X-T2
- Using controls including the ISO dial, focus locks, and exposure locks
- Choosing third-stop shutter fields
- Changing depth of field
- Using the autofocus mode
- Exploring face and eye detection
- Understanding JPEG quality
- Customizing menus and buttons
- Working with lenses and accessories