Adobe has released the Release Candidate versions of its latest Camera Raw 7.4 and Lightroom 4.4 raw conversion software.

As well as offering improved support for new cameras and lenses, the software addresses issues regarding the quality of raw files – which were not quite up to scratch – from the Fujifilm X-Pro1 and X-E1. Both cameras use Fujifilm’s X-Trans sensor.

In our recent test featuring the Fujifilm X-Pro1 (Punching Above their Weight, AP 2 March), AP found that raw images converted using Adobe Camera Raw 7.3 and Lightroom 4.3 lacked fine detail, causing them to appear like watercolour paintings when viewed very closely.

The latest version of Camera Raw looks to deal with this issue by improving the raw conversion algorithm.

A quick test, using the same image as featured in the original AP test, shows that there is indeed more detail in the image converted with Lightroom 4.4, though this does come at the expense of image sharpness, with images slightly softer than those converted using the older version of the software.

However, the images can be sharpened to reveal a lot of detail, and one or two artifacts.

On the whole, the new versions of Camera Raw 7.4 and Lightroom 4.4 should please X-Pro1 users who had previously been unimpressed with the way in which Adobe’s software handled the Fujifilm RAF raw files created by the X-Pro1 and X-E1.

The improved support for the Fujifilm X-Trans sensor is needed, as the new Fujifilm X100S and X20 cameras are due to hit stores in the next few weeks.

Interestingly, the Hasselblad Lunar and Leica M (see update below) are also supported by the latest versions of Lightroom and Camera Raw, which implies that both should also be on sale shortly.

Other cameras supported by the new software include the Canon EOS 1D C, Casio Exilim EX-ZR700, Nikon 1 V3, Nikon 1 S1 and Pentax MX-1.
Full details and downloads of the Release Candidate versions can be found HERE

Leica M delay?

Leica’s UK office today said it has started to fulfill pre-orders for the Leica M which was due to be launched in early 2013. The news follows reports that the Leica M has been delayed until April. ‘There has been a very high demand for the latest milestone in the evolution of the iconic M system,’ a UK spokesperson told AP’s news editor Chris Cheesman this afternoon.