Dynamic Range Adjustment on Fujifilm cameras and how this affects darktable

The Creative Camera > darktable > Dynamic Range Adjustment on Fujifilm cameras and how this affects darktable

A real quick post here guys as this issue was stumping me until I found this page – https://www.darktable.org/2014/08/using-x-trans-cameras-with-darktable/ – at which point it all became a little clearer.

Basically, and as you can see from the image below, my jpeg and RAW files when read by darktable are light years apart. The jpeg is reasonably well exposed while the RAW file is much darker.

On the left is the jpeg SOOC while on the right is the RAW version as seen bydarktable

Now, in some respcts this is unsurprising as the jpeg has been processed in-camera, in this case a Fuji x-T1, following either a standard base recipe, or in the case of applying a specific film simulation, what ever that receipe looks like. This is generally what Fujifilm shooters like to do as the film simulation options provided by FujiFilm are one reason why so many photographers choose Fuji eco-systems and why Straight Out Of Camera (SOOC) jpegs are so highly regarded by the Fujifilm community. Anyway, I digress.

From what I have learned, what is happening here is that because I generally apply dynamic range adjustments to my images, I often choose to use DR400, this is applied only to the in-camera jpeg only. My RAW file by contrast, which is basically what the sensor sees, has been under-exposed by 2 stops since this is how dynamic resolution works on Fui cameras. Had I used DR200 then my RAW would be under-exposed by 1 stop. In truth I do tend to push EV when I am using DR400, for example ev +0.67 however this still leaves my RAW files under-exposed by 1.3 stops. So, how to overcome this issue?

The obvious and quick answer is not to use dynamic range adjustments as a catch all in my photos. Just set the camera to DR100 (which is off) and have done. I can then use ISO 200 rather than ISO 400 or ISO 800 and I don’t need to worry about dialing in some exposure compensation. What I’ll get is a perfectly usable RAW than can be processed with darktable or any other editor I choose to use. Interestingly, this problem does not appear to manifest itself in On1 PhotoRAW or Affinity Photo, my two other go-to editors and I have also not seen it on Luminar although I haven’t used this software in some time. Even with dynamic range applied, it seems that these editors are able to figure out the correct settings for viewing the RAW file on import.

Another alternative is to look at somehow modifying the RAW file by applying a different base curve to the imported RAW. From what I have read, this seems possible but with only five or 6 days experience with darktable under my belt, yep, you read that right, I feel I might have to research this a little more!

So, there you have it. If you are using darktable and your Fuji RAW files are way darker than your jpegs, check to see if you have dynamic range adjustments applied in camera. Pound to a penny, that will be the culpret.

If you have any comments, advice or solutions, please feel free to write a comment below.

2 thoughts on “Dynamic Range Adjustment on Fujifilm cameras and how this affects darktable

  1. You can automatically apply exposure tweaks, or any module that you require on input of an image.

    In the case of exposure, adjust the exposure to a level you want the images to have applied to them, and then save that as a preset. You can then have the option to apply that preset to imported images based on any criteria you wish (camera, lens etc).

    Alternatively, you can set up a collection of Darktable Styles, which you can apply instantly via the lighttable or in editing in the Darktable.

    You can use which ever method suits you best, and there is plenty of room to tweak whichever option you use to suit your needs.

    I hope this helps.

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