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Thread: Digital Negatives: FFFs and 3FRs

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    Digital Negatives: FFFs and 3FRs

    This is a question for the whole Forum, but especially directed to Woody. A few weeks ago, in the long thread about Woody's new H4d-60, he had the following line: "Hasselblad recommends considering the fffs as archives and tossing the 3frs. I do the opposite for reasons that I can discuss another time." I would love to hear the answer, here. I do as Hasselblad recommends, keeping the FFFs as archival raws, and discard the 3FRs. Is there a better way?

    Thanks,

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    Re: Digital Negatives: FFFs and 3FRs

    An FFF effectively contains the 3FR (which is a losslessly compressed format intended to increase capture speeds) plus additional data, so IMO keep the FFFs and toss the 3FRs.

    Nick-T

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    Re: Digital Negatives: FFFs and 3FRs

    I keep and archive the fffs, and toss the 3frs when completed.

    For volume work I use 3frs in Lightroom using my own XRite generated color profiles.

    -Marc

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    Senior Member KeithL's Avatar
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    Re: Digital Negatives: FFFs and 3FRs

    Hasselblad refers to the FFFs as the "Archiving File Format 1".

    I keep the FFFs and bin the 3FRs.

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    Re: Digital Negatives: FFFs and 3FRs

    when capturing files tethered, no 3FR file is generated.

    not sure what Woody's strategy is...but when he figure out how to hook up his 60 back to his Alpa TC, he will be using the external storage/power unit to power the back and I don't think he will have any 3FR files

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    Member Miller's Avatar
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    Re: Digital Negatives: FFFs and 3FRs

    Up to now, I have archived my 3FR files as well as the FFF's, for the simple reason that they can be processed by Photoshop and the FFF files can't. The idea being, that future third party software versions might produce even better results than any present software versions.
    At present, my workflow is Phocus for development, and Photoshop for local adjustments, which leaves little to be desired. But, speaking as a true amateur, one never knows... A pro might have a very different approach, depending upon workflow.

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    Workshop Member Woody Campbell's Avatar
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    Re: Digital Negatives: FFFs and 3FRs

    This issue ties into to the issue of your overall storage strategy. The short answer is Lightroom. The much longer answer is spelled out below.

    Let me put this in the context of my H3D-39. This is a 39 meg back. Here are some basics on file sizes:

    3FR - this is the format that comes out of the camera (assuming not tethered). It has mild lossless compression. File size is variable, but eyeballing a column of numbers 45 megs would be a typical number. Lightroom reads and and Photoshop translates 3FRs.

    FFF - this is Hasselblad's native, uncompressed raw format. When tethered the camera saves directly to FFF format; its the native format for Hasselblad Imacon scanners. Typical FFF file size for the 39 meg back is 60 megs or so. Lightroom does not read and PS does not translate FFFs. I don't know why. Might be some kind of a licensing issue.

    16-bit Tiff - the H3d-39 files expand to 234 meg tiffs.

    The conventional Hasselblad workflow working non-tethered would be something like this:

    1. Set up the "landing folder" for the files in you file storage system.

    2. Insert the card into you computer. If you've used the instant approval architecture on the back the files come sorted into greens, yellows and reds. Use Phocus to do a rough sort of keepers and non-keepers. At this stage Phocus displays the fairly low res jpeg thumbnail in 3FR file so you can't make judgements on focus or whether the highlights are blown just a little bit.

    3. "Import" the keepers to your landing folder. Phocus translates them to FFF and puts them in the folder you've specified.

    4. Further editing and processing of the FFFs in Phocus, then export for further processing (I use 16 bit tiffs).

    Why don't I do it this way? My context is that I use a chronological filing system and Lightroom for file management . In LR I use the key word feature to keep track of files topically, and the collections feature to keep track of projects. I'm pretty well committed to this with 80k or so files and 400 key words and many, many collections. Kind of hard to start over with another system.

    My steps are as follows:

    1. Copy the Hasselblad folder to the target folder. The fact that Hasselblad increments the folder name when you format means that there is no risk of overwriting when copying to the target folder - I don't understand why all camera makers don't do this.

    2. Import to LR. File names reflect the green/yellow/red classification so files are shown sorted accordingly. Identify the mistakes and disasters and delete the files. Of course in LR you can examine the files at full rez in making these decisions. Also identify the most interesting files for further processing.

    3. Move to Phocus and "Import" the most interesting files as FFFs to a scratch folder (I've set it up on a internal drive that I use for LR indices and as a PS scratch disk - this minimizes read write times). The scratch folder facilitates deleting the FFFs at the end of the process - all of the FFFs are always in the same place.. Further processing in Phocus and export as 16 bit tiffs - back to the same folder that the 3FRs were in to facilitate stacking in LR.

    4. Import the 16 bit tiffs into LR and continue onward.


    Why do I do it this way?

    1. I can't manage FFFs in LR but as noted above, I can manage 3FRs in LR. (Actually at this point I can't manage H4d-60 files in LR either, but this will pass as the LR list of supported cameras gets updated.)

    2. I find it very hard to make critical judgements based on the small thumbnails that Phocus provides so at step 1 in the Hasselblad workflow I end up importing just about everything.

    3. 3FRs are smaller, saving storage space. This is not a major consideration - my long term working storage is a drobo with 12 terabites of storage.

    4. One of Miller's points - 3FRs can be opened directly in Photoshop as well as being managed in LR. This lets you skip the Phocus step in situations where perfection isn't necessary (for example for my daily blog postings). I tend to use Phocus for serious critical work - on these I keep the output tiffs, but not the FFFs.

    5. Miller's second point - that keeping the 3FRs leaves you open to realize future third party software improvements. This was my original reason for choosing this path. Compare a LR version of a Nikon D1 file with a version translated by Nikon's original software and you'll become a believer on this one.

    That's it.

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    Member Arjuna's Avatar
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    Re: Digital Negatives: FFFs and 3FRs

    Quote Originally Posted by Woody Campbell View Post
    ...
    3. "Import" the keepers to your landing folder. Phocus translates them to FFF ...\

    This says to me that, as long as you have Phocus, you can translate a 3FR file into the FFF equivalent, i.e. in some sense, the 3FR file is more 'original'. The only issue that I can see would be that if the compression scheme used in the 3FR files changed over time, future versions of Phocus might not be able to translate older 3FR files correctly, but then neither Phocus nor LR will exist forever either.

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