I Like Simple

Well, I like simple when it comes to cameras, and especially post-processing. Way back before digital my process was simple. One film, one developer, one paper. I knew all of them inside and out. It's nice to have a few stakes in the ground as constants. I treat a lot of my digital work-flow the same way. I swear if I didn't print and I shot all color I would probably just shoot JPEG's. Hell, even if I did print but only color I would shoot JPEG's.


I've said it before, I really miss Apple Aperture. For some reason that app just felt good to use. It got out of my way and a lot of the tools (like the light table) were just more efficient infinite versions of how I worked with paper prints and contact sheets.

Now that Aperture is gone I've been searching for a place to call home. Seems that's always the way now that we're all using at least some sort of digital tech in our processes. The screenshot above is an app I'm messing with that could be home. At least it could be for black and white (told you I own every film simulator/grain simulator in the universe). I got it on sale via the Mac AppStore for something like $4. It's Tonality from MacPhun. A Mac OS only black and white app.


It has all the tools I would need. It also does a much better job emulating film grain than LR. The UI is actually pretty nice and perfect in the "pro" version for a few more dollars. Most of the built-in presets are way over the top but the basic film emulation presets aren't too bad. Here's the rub; I'm 99.9% sure it uses the Mac OS RAW processor which is perfectly fine with me. In fact for Fuji RAF files, the Mac RAW processing is pretty good. Better than LR IMO.

Every single thing on the Mac that uses the OS RAW processing library applies embedded lens corrections in RAF files and they look great. Everything except Tonality. WTF, WTF, WTF??? I haven't looked at the API's but how can every single App but this one that uses the same libraries not apply lens corrections. Ask MacPhun about this… Crickets for two months.


There is a work-around, sort of. If you use Tonality as a Photos extension and you apply at least one adjustment prior to activating Tonality then it seems Photos will apply the lens corrections. If not then the RAF gets handed to Tonality and they don't. I've not looked into it very throuroghly but when you do this it seems like Photos hands Tonality a JPEG??? It also seems Tonality hands back a JPEG??? Well guess it's not much of a work-around. Finding home is a bit more difficult than it appears.


It's ludicrous in 2015 that something powerful, and simple, and fast ummmm like Aperture just doesn't seem to exist. Let me rephrase; Something feature rich, fast fluid, intuitive, direct, doesn't exist as an integrated whole. Guess it's back to LR and/or Capture One for now. Neither of which really floats my boat. Sure, each does a reasonable job but as an environment they are both extremely klunky, not super fast, and compared to Aperture's UI feel like they belong in the '90's. Is it me or are both of the getting slower and slower with age? I'm still hoping Photos grows up someday.

End Notes

Top two photographs are a screenshot of Tonality's box stock TMAX3200P emulation preset and the resulting image output. Open the screenshot in a new window to see the grain emulation at 100%. Bottom two are Tonality's Neopan 1600 preset and resulting image. Both are using Fuji OOC JPEG's as input shot with Pro Neg S.