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Debunking 6 Myths About the Fujifilm X-Trans Sensor

The Fujifilm X-Trans sensor is evil, its design is seriously flawed, and it causes all kinds of issues. At least, that’s what pops up on the Internet every now and then.

Since some of these “X-Trans sucks” comments and articles keep up appearing on the Web, I decided to invest some of my extremely limited free time in order to address some of the issues. Let’s get started.

Myth #1: X-Trans III Causes Purple Flare with Grid Artifacts

One of the most discussed X-Trans flaws is the purple flare with grid artifacts in backlit images. Yes, it’s there, and not only with X-Trans III cameras but also with all other Fuji X cameras. But Bayer sensor cameras like Olympus cameras have this issue too, both the flare and the grid.

I know from sources that Fujifilm investigated the issue, found the cause (and it’s NOT the X-Trans Color Filter Array, or CFA), and tried to fix it starting from the X-T20 and X100F… and it seems that they succeeded.

The guys at mirrorlesscomparisons shot the X-T2 and X-T20 side-by-side in conditions in which purple flare can appear and the X-T20 almost never showed any purple flare with grid artifacts, unlike the X-T2. They write:

Are the purple flare/grid artefacts completely gone on the X-T20? Well, I do have a few examples where you can see a small trace but overall the problem seems to be much more contained than on the X-T2. Hopefully, this means that Fujifilm has minimized the issue and that the latest X-T2/X-Pro2 models to come out of the factory aren’t affected either.

As for current X-T2/X-Pro2 owners who are affected by this problem, it is worth remembering that it only takes a slight re-adjustment of the composition to avoid the purple flare (which is visible in the EVF/LCD) and get rid of the problem.

I personally experienced purple flare with grid artifacts on my X-T1, but it’s frankly so rare and so easy to fix with a minimal movement of the camera that it has no impact on my real world shooting. And now I know that once I upgrade to newer X-Trans III cameras, Fujifilm has already fixed this issue.

Myth #2: X-Trans Causes Waxy Skin Tones

No, X-Trans is not responsible for waxy skin tones. It’s the processor. To be more precise, waxy skin tones are caused by the noise reduction that Fujifilm applies to JPEG images (the problem does not exist with RAW files).

In the Fuji world, the X-A line (Bayer sensor) gives way more waxy results than any X-Trans camera. This is because Fuji wants it this way. The X-A line is very popular among Asian women, and Fuji’s imaging engine is adapted to meet their taste.

Back to X-Trans… Fujifilm has listened to feedback and has fine-tuned noise reduction as well as given customers more range to adjust it in-camera with X-Trans III cameras like the Fujifilm X-T2. Waxy skin tones are now better controlled.

Myth #3: X-Trans Causes Wormy Artifacts

Another extremely popular attack on X-Trans sensor is that it creates wormy artifacts when sharpening Fujifilm RAW files.

Ok, X-Trans requires a different demosaicing compared to conventional Bayer sensors. And out of the box, some RAW converters do a better job (Iridient) than others (Adobe Lightroom). But the good thing is that we are in charge and we don’t have to live with Lightroom default settings — we can optimize our sharpening to get nice crisp images without wormy artifacts, even with Adobe’s RAW converter.

There are many examples on the web on how to sharpen your X-Trans RAW files best, without getting wormy artifacts, and I will share a few here.

Adrian Evans

In his “X-Trans Sucks Trilogy” (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3) Adrian Evans recommends, among other things, to push the “detail” slider and not the “amount” slider. This is a common recommendation and works well, especially considering that “it’s a pretty well-known fact that the X-Trans sensor can take pushing the details slider harder than usual.”

Ming Cai

Ming Cai has an interesting video on how to sharpen Fuji RAW files without wormy artifacts:



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