I confess that I have always been a jpeg shooter, trying to get the images right in camera, rather than post processing. I always concurred that a well exposed raw file would be better than a well exposed jpeg. However the advances made with in camera processing of jpegs, has made the raw-jpeg debate even harder to compare. With my switch to Fuji cameras over 18months ago, I was always amazed and blown away by the incredible jpegs that the X series delivers.
One of the other problems associated with the Xtrans is the problem with processing the raws. Given that I have been a Lightroom user since day 1, I find my workflow easier by sticking to one system. Given the issues Lightroom and Adobe had in getting decent results from a raw file, to me this just complicated things even more.
So when the new Lightroom update added raw support for the Xt1, I thought i would give raw a try. I have done a simple test compare a raw file processed in Lightroom, with the same profile attached as the jpeg file save with the raw. So my preferred camera profile for Jpeg is Provia, I chose that as my profile for the raw (changed withing Lightroom). I usually shoot slightly under the indicated meter reading as it protects any highlights from blowing.
The settings I used were applied to the Raw and kept the same for the Jpeg.
camera settings were auto ISO and auto WB
No exposure or contrast adjustment in Lightroom, just the following adjustments to the images in the develop panel
Shadows +75 Whites +57 Clarity +34
Sharpening 56 with a radius of 1 detail set at 25.
Here is the first raw file
The next file is the processed Raw
This next is the orginal Jpeg attached to the raw processed in camera using provia film profile
This image is the Jpeg file processed in lightroom
Fuji raw are now well handled when processed within Lightroom each file type printed well, if I were to be really nitpicky, the raw file looks a little smoother, the camera jpeg is sharper, even with in camera sharpen settings at 0 its still pretty sharp straight out the can.
Fuji raws take up more space, and consequently take longer to process and load. Bear that in mind if you've just shot 500 images.
The film profiles are easy to apply in lightroom, i found the monochrome profiles to be very nice, my preferred chocie for creating mono files is using the Silver fx conversion software, but I like the smoother tonal gradients in the raws, sometimes in Silver fx you can get some banding issues.
My point about raw-v- jpeg debate is that photographers should concentrate on taking a correctly exposed picture first and foremost, and should not rely on raw to save your bacon. Now that I have looked at the raw processing using Lightroom, I am now confident to shoot in either. I have not compared raw processing using capture one, or photo ninja as tbh I like my workflow being simplified within one programme, not several.
I am happy to continue using jpeg, from a quality point of view I feel its now simply too close a call to say one is more superior than another. However if you are in a difficult lighting situation I would change to raw, with the confidence that using the latest Lightroom update, it handles raw conversions very well.
Please bear in mind this is just my opinion using Lightroom to process a raw file, it was not shot as a definitive test, really just did it for me to form my own opinion. I have not used either Capture One or any other software so cannot comment on how it handles.