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Thread: Raw Processing and D700/D3

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    Raw Processing and D700/D3

    What do you Nikon uses recommend when processing your Nikon raw files? Does Capture One float peoples boat as with most Leica users, or do people like NX or Lightroom?
    Thanks for comments.

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    Re: Raw Processing and D700/D3

    Lightroom has the best workflow and most to offer for me, but I think Capture One does a better job with certain files, particularly the higher ISO ones. If the files are really critical, I will use Capture One or Raw Photo Processor, but otherwise Lightroom is my main choice.
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    Re: Raw Processing and D700/D3

    NX2 IMO is the only way to get the most out of the hi-iso the D700 and D3 offer.

    My own experience shows that NX2 gains a stop or more of apparent quality over PS or LR. I'm talking noise,"grain" and sharpness. ISO 3200 is a piece of cake for NX2 where in LR no pun intended you are pushing it.

    But NX2 workflow isn't as smooth as LR or Bridge for sure.

    Neil

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    Subscriber Member kit laughlin's Avatar
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    Re: Raw Processing and D700/D3

    Maybe its my strong resistance to poorly crafted and implemented software, and my relative degree of satisfaction with ACR (now 5.5) but I just could not use NX2 for any significant numbers of images at one go. As well, I would rather not use a software that can crash the otherwise uncrashable OS 10.5 that I use. And I have a quad-core high-spec machine, too.

    ACR for me; time is too precious. I have to say that I have never tried LR.

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    Re: Raw Processing and D700/D3

    I use NX2 to process all my Nikon files. IMHO, NX2 will get the most out Nikon files in terms of sharpness, noise in high ISO, and lens correction with Nikon AF lenses. But, as mentioned above, the NX2 workflow is not ideal.

    Kind regards,

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    Senior Subscriber Member Steen's Avatar
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    Re: Raw Processing and D700/D3

    Me too. Capture NX (first version) for all my D300 Nikon NEF files.
    I do have some other RAW-converters as well, like Capture One Pro, Silkypix and Raw Therapee.
    But the access to Picture Control modes in NX is invaluable for processing the NEF files, in my opinion.
    I fear that some may have even sold off their entire Nikon rigs because they never got to know the value of Picture Control modes with regards to getting the colors right in difficult lightings. Especially D2Xmode1 has often saved my day when dealing with a difficult file.



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    Re: Raw Processing and D700/D3

    When you say difficult lighting, do you mean high contrast scenes like the one above? How many stops of highlights do you reckon you can recover using NX over other converters? I ask because I'm sensitive to blown digital highlights. They're not as smooth in transition as with neg film.

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    Re: Raw Processing and D700/D3

    are these any different than the modes in lightroom? Lightroom also has DX2Mode1-3,portrait, landscape etc etc
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    Re: Raw Processing and D700/D3

    Quote Originally Posted by tjv View Post
    When you say difficult lighting, do you mean high contrast scenes like the one above? How many stops of highlights do you reckon you can recover using NX over other converters? I ask because I'm sensitive to blown digital highlights. They're not as smooth in transition as with neg film.
    Ultimately that's of course limited by the camera - when the sensor clips information is lost.
    Monochrome: http://mochro.com

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    Senior Subscriber Member Steen's Avatar
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    Re: Raw Processing and D700/D3

    Quote Originally Posted by tjv View Post
    When you say difficult lighting, do you mean high contrast scenes like the one above? How many stops of highlights do you reckon you can recover using NX over other converters? I ask because I'm sensitive to blown digital highlights. They're not as smooth in transition as with neg film.
    No, actually I was just thinking about how to get the color tones right, because some say they "don't like Nikon colors, especially the green colors".
    I recently went on a trip in cloudy veather. Most of the time it was overcast. I took some landscape shots and the colors were rather subtle in the dull light. And as human beings we are very sensitive with subtle colors in the nature, probably because we know them so well from our entire life that we immediately recognize what colors are (or seem to be) right or wrong. D2Xmode1 saved those captures.
    Another example was a recent trip to a market with a tent roof which gave everything a tad of a strange color cast. Especially skin tones looked a bit weird, but again with D2Xmode1 I got a result that seemed very real and exact to my eye.
    On other occasions I have used Neutral with good results.
    And with colorful subjects in bright light I tend to use the sparkling colors of the Standard mode.
    My main point being that one shouldn't underestimate the value of having access to these Picture Control modes in NX.
    Just my 2 cents.

    Stuart, I don't know about Lightroom, sounds like those modes may be the same as in NX ?

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    Subscriber Member TRSmith's Avatar
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    Re: Raw Processing and D700/D3

    For about a year after first buying my D2Xs I was convinced that Capture NX was giving me better results than Lightroom. But as my library of files grew, the modest difference in perceived quality was outweighed by LR's tremendous cataloging capability. Plus, I hated the interface and workflow of the Nikon software.

    I then purchased an M8 and my attention turned to shooting with it and processing in C1. My Nikon sat dark and lonely in the bag for a long time! But on a rainy day I got the urge to shoot and decided the Nikon made sense. Almost as a joke I decided to process the files in C1, which by that time had been updated and included good Nikon profiles. I was completely shocked at the results in C1. My Nikon seemed to have become a better camera!

    I haven't used or updated Capture NX for a long time now and probably won't. I'm willing to believe there are some areas where it has a very minor advantage, but I am so pleased with what C1 is doing with my files, I doubt I'll ever use NX again.

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    Subscriber Member Corlan F.'s Avatar
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    Re: Raw Processing and D700/D3

    NX2 is great if you have a powerful computer.
    Then you can turn on the "keep all steps active in the edit list" tab in the Preferences menu.

    Some main advantages of NX2 are:
    - direct access to all Nikon native modes.
    - the array of control points edit options (better than in any editing software including PS)
    - highlights/shadows recovery (takes some time to play with though)
    - the more versatile editing options while staying in RAW mode.

    Having said that, after using ACR for a while then C1 for 2 months:

    - IMHO ACR is good if you're in "lazy mode" and intend to process the files in PS anyway -so you have a one-stop software.

    - C1 is indeed another class of software especially as far as details and advanced color editing is concerned. But like NX2 though for other reasons, it's an irritating piece of code with low ergonomics. And there i agree with Steen, the various Nikon Mode are sometimes dearly missing.

    In short:
    - ACR for quick import to PS.
    - NX2 for a comprehensive, native processing. Requires faster computer.
    - LR is the best engineered software, interface is great.
    - C1 for ultimate detail and color performance. RAW processing only.

    Personally i would keep the "most irritating" but best performers, for different purposes: NX2 and C1.

    Needless to say, YMMV.

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    Re: Raw Processing and D700/D3

    If you've never seen the results from NX2 or Capture One then you'd be happy with ACR in Lightroom & Photoshop. Particularly if you use Adobe's versions of the Nikon profiles.

    However, I Personally find raw conversion in ACR to be far less accurate than NX2 or C1. The colour and rendering by both C1 & NX2 produce much better files IMHO. If only there was a hybrid of the best parts of NX2 & C1 in a single converter!!

    For my workflow I bulk import into LR and select those files I want to create masters from. I then open these raws in NX2 to create the base edit file and then either reimport to LR or pass to Photoshop. (NX2 can do 90%+ of my edits). The final files are also kept in their own dir too. Not an ideal workflow but it works for me.

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    Re: Raw Processing and D700/D3

    Looks like I will be the odd man out for converters. Have tried C1, really did not care for it with Nikon or even P1 files for that matter albeit they were ones provided to me from other photogs.

    Tried the demo with NX2 also and could not stand the UI or the program in general. While I do have NX and can convert my D3 files with it, generally I don't like this program either. Though I will agree with one poster it does an over all excellent job of CA correction on the fly. This part they have dialed in very well.

    The camera raw engine is the same in LR and ACR so no difference there. Given the workflow of LR I use it almost 100% for my conversions, cataloging, and tethered studio photography. What I do not do is use any of the preset WB provided by Nikons in camera capabilities. Rather I have stored custom WB presets or run a custom WB as I go along, be it on location or in the studio using the Whibal gray card. This method gives me very accurate color right out of the box with minor tweaking at most. For instance I photographed some half dozen paintings for artist yesterday with very subtle colors and only had to make some minor tweaks in Selective color on the red or yellow channel.

    Hope this helps.

    Rob

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    Subscriber Member Corlan F.'s Avatar
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    Re: Raw Processing and D700/D3

    Rob,

    could you please elaborate on your custom WB technique using a grey card? I've tried a lot of options and get decent results in post processing (mainly by clasically picking the grey values from a shot of the card in the series lighting conditions then copy the settings in batch mode), but i've had a hard time coping with in camera correction with de "d" settings. Is it what you use ?

    (for studio mainly - WB is pretty good or generally easily adjusted to taste in exterior conditions)

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    Re: Raw Processing and D700/D3

    Quote Originally Posted by Corlan F. View Post
    Rob,

    could you please elaborate on your custom WB technique using a grey card? I've tried a lot of options and get decent results in post processing (mainly by clasically picking the grey values from a shot of the card in the series lighting conditions then copy the settings in batch mode), but i've had a hard time coping with in camera correction with de "d" settings. Is it what you use ?

    (for studio mainly - WB is pretty good or generally easily adjusted to taste in exterior conditions)
    Sure thing Corlan. I use the D3 but assume the D700 has the same capabilities, but not sure about some of the other Nikon bodies. The D3 can store up to 4 custom presets and one dynamic custom preset, meaning it can be changed at will without saving it to one of the 4 slots. This can be done either tethered with Capture Pro or implemented with the camera controls. The instructions for doing this are in the manual, but as usual also about as clear as mud too as they leave a bit to be desired.

    For simplicities sake lets use the camera only for now. First you will need to choose from the camera menu system the Preset WB mode under the camera icon at the top of the menu. Then by pressing and holding the WB button at the back & bottom of the camera you will see the "PRE" (which is the default wb setting now) start to flash. At this point while it is flashing hold a gray card front and center of the lens so that it fills the entire frame, snap a picture. The camera back will tell you whether or not you got an accurate exposure before storing this setting. If its over or underexposed try and again with a different exposure setting.

    Assuming you now have a good capture of the gray card you can choose to copy and save this one as a stored custom wb preset along with what ever captions or nomenclature you want. Reference to the four saved presets can be accessed through the menu system at a later date if you forget which is which. I tend to have one stored for my nano coated glass under daylight balance, one for copy light setup etc etc. Note the nano glass definitely has a different color balance than the legacy Nikon glass. The operation becomes a bit more difficult as you might imagine with super wide lenses, though not its insurmountable.

    Using this method I have made numerous comparisons with NX and LR conversions only to find the differences were subtle rather than overwhelming. Things like blue rendering slight more magenta on one conversion than the other and which can be corrected with very little effort in post production. The ACR rendering engine does try to milk a bit more dynamic range out of the file where as NX will tend to clip out those last few values at the bottom end, but once again in most situations this is mostly subtle stuff.

    Having said that I will also add that the Abobe Raw engine sees or perhaps more appropriately interprets the numbers into color differently than does NX using the camera presets, ie Daylight, Shadow etc. And in this regard like so many others do not care for the ACR renderings. But once you take control with custom presets the playing ground is leveled considerably. I tend to like the gray cards such as the Whibal because it is not a painted patch. Titanium oxide can do strange things in photography which all paints from white to mid tones have a huge amount of the mineral for opacity. The Robin Meyer gray card, very similar is also on my short list of things to buy. Also worth mentioning, one can more or less obtain the same results by creating a frame with gray card in scene, then using the eyedropper to color balance but from my experience this does not quite render the exact same results always, probably because with the previous method you are sampling the entire card vs a small selection of it which might be polluted with grease, finger prints, dirt etc.

    Hope this helps, let me know if you have any other questions about it. As the saying goes, try it you'll like it.

    Rob

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    Subscriber Member Corlan F.'s Avatar
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    Re: Raw Processing and D700/D3

    Hi Rob,
    whie i had the global direct grey card method cornered when i tried (and yes, it's the exact same on the D700 and yes again, the Nikon manual does not make it an easy task), your detailed explanations and experience are of great hep -and a welcome encouragement to test further, knowing the results will be there.

    Have to try out some of your card references, too.

    Many many thanks!



    ( note: when you say "tethered with Capture Pro" i assume you were referring to "Camera Control Pro" aka CCP )

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    Senior Member routlaw's Avatar
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    Re: Raw Processing and D700/D3

    Quote Originally Posted by Corlan F. View Post
    Hi Rob,

    Many many thanks!

    ( note: when you say "tethered with Capture Pro" i assume you were referring to "Camera Control Pro" aka CCP )
    Whoops, yes CCP is what I meant, and btw you can easily access the saved presets here and much easier write what ever is needed for nomenclature vs the in camera typing method. Good luck with it.

    Rob

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