Monday, December 26, 2011

Fuji X10 – Review Part 4 – Shooting the Christmas Tree – ORB Hunt

So can you or can you not shoot your Christmas tree with the Fuji X10? Has the ORB issue been blown completely out of proportion? Or is it very real?

The short answer is …

Yes, you can shoot it. No, you cannot shoot it noise free. Sorry, but this sucker is very sensitive to too much light. By its standards of course … you won’t find any other modern cameras that hate excess light this much.

Should I say the word? You are seeing the perfect demonstration of ORBs …

But hey, this camera is actually quite good at 1600 ISO, so I would not despair were I you. If you think you will be shooting in situations that have glaring lights, crank the ISO. Now, this is quite difficult in bright sunlight, but there is always stopping down. And adding ND filters if you have to.

Anyway, for the Christmas tree, there is little wrong with the 1600 image above. In fact, here is how I like to process Christmas Tree images. A touch of Topaz Denoise if necessary and Topaz Adjust with the dramatic filter which is then dialed down either with layer opacity or with the edit option to adjust the last action (basically the same thing as layer opacity for a single operation.)

Now that’s not bad. However, the opening of shadows has exposed noise in the upper left quadrant. There is also some posterization in the floor. The chip really does not have a tone of headroom. It is likely that you will have to stay within the limits of what you capture or accept this little flaws.

Here is what I prefer to do … shoot the tree with the D7000. At 100 ISO.

Everything is better, as it should be. As I write this, I see these side by side for the first time and I am struck at the extreme color cast the Fuji shows. I suspect that this is the rather extreme amount of light the Fuji got? Let’s compare exposures …

















Total is 3.6-1.66-4 = –2 stops for the D7000. Now, I shot both in matrix mode and relied on the meter to show me –1ev by hitting the center and then dropping shutter until I got –1ev.


  • Forget 100 ISO with the X10 for shooting the tree. Try 800 and above and do underexpose, then bringing up the shadows and mid tones. This applies to images shot of the tree with it being the only light source. If you have lights in the room, you will be in good shape with 800 or 1600 anyway because the total light will drive shutter higher and the hot spots on the tree will be less hot relative to the overall light.
  • I see some issues here with Topaz Adjust, but will not make any real observation as I’ve had success with the F80 so the X10 should smoke that. I’ll try it again.
  • The meter is pretty wonky it seems. I don’t really understand how it added 2 stops to the exposure over the D7000. Beats me since the only light in the room was the tree and the framing was pretty similar. If you are shooting lights, start at –2 and consider bracketing from there. Note: The two Fuji images above were shot from tripod and they are also rather differently metered. So the camera is not all that consistent with itself either.



Forgot to add that you can also shoot isolation shots for fun. The tree is interesting in the day time too …

But even in the day time … there is that thing with the lights … here I show a shot with the original being the washed out light and the darker light having been adjusted in ACR and CS5 …

Happy holidays to you and yours.