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Thread: Some colour DS300 pictures and Capture NX

  1. #1
    Mitch Alland
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    Some colour DS300 pictures and Capture NX

    Last evening I shot some "crossover" pictures, sort of between street photography and landscapeto familiarize myself further with the D300 and to prepare for shooting game in the Etosha Game Park in Northern Namibia. As the evening approached twilight the colours of the sky and the dirt road reminded me of Eggleston.

    It seems to me that the D300 can do very good colour and that the 17-35mm f/2.8 is excellent lens that, even though it is not a prime, doesn't yield anything to my Leica-M lenses except maximum aperture.

    Here are three colour D300 pictures all shot at ISO 400 at f/8. Processed in Nikon Capture NX the colours seem good to me, without the over-rsaturated Velvia look that I dislike. For comparison I'm including B&W versions of the last two. Of course the B&Ws have quite a different feel and am interested in which you prefer.



    D300 17-35mm f/2.8 lens | ISO 400 |f/8 | 19mm [28.5mm EFOV]





    D300 17-35mm f/2.8 lens | ISO 400 f/8 | 28mm [42mm EFOV]








    D300 17-35mm f/2.8 lens | ISO 400| f/8 | 25mm [37.5mm EFOV]









    On NX: I'm really beginning to like it. It renders the Nikon files very well and is powerful software. It's U-point facility and Photoshop-type selections allow dodging and burning. Also, contrary to what I wrote incorrectly yesterday it has a good cropping facility. This means that I should be able to do all my post-processing in NX without having to finish off files in LightZone. A negative point, however, is that NX is somewhat flakey, with a tendency to crash (go into a non-response mode) on the Mac often when you try to close files. Since you can save the NEF with all the NX processing steps, you can in effect include the colour and white versions of the file in the NEF file rather than having to save two larger TIFF version of the file, which can save a lot of disk space. However, I couldn't find a facility for naming the steps the way you can in LightZone, which is useful to make it clear which file you need to check or uncheck in order to move from the colour to B&W version. All one can do is, for example, to be consistent in saving the file with all the colour steps checked, which makes it obvious that the unchecked ones are the ones that need to checked to create the B&W version, or vice versa; but the trouble is that one may have some other steps in the file that one may want to toggle for creating different version: therefore, a facility for naming the steps would be useful. BTW, all the steps can be saved as a style and applied to other pictures, individually or using batch processing.

    These three pictures are cropped to square format because I still often find the 3:2 aspect ratio to "long" for the type of composition that I like. I have a feeling that if the D300 had a choice of a 4:3 aspect ratio I could have shot these pictures without having to crop.

    —Mitch/Tsumeb, Namibia
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/

  2. #2
    Senior Member LCT's Avatar
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    Re: Some colour DS300 pictures and Capture NX

    Pics 1 & 2 greens are too green IMO. Partly due to a bit of blue cast but the feeling of overcooked greens remains after adjusting BW. I know it's not a Leica and it's Africa as well but did you try Capture One?

  3. #3
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    Re: Some colour DS300 pictures and Capture NX

    Mitch,

    I hope you don't mind but I'm going to go OT and cross posts on you here.

    For shooting fast moving game, I was going to give you some suggestions on the your lens and camera settings.

    Turn your lens VR (70-200) on and set it to the restricted distance not full. It will focus faster at distance.

    I shoot on CH, the high frame rate. Shoot in 12 bit on the D300, not 14 bit. The D300 cuts its speed in half at 14 bit. That is in the shooting menu, under NEF recording.

    Leave Active D-Lighting off.

    I set AF-C Priority to focus, so the camera won't fire until focus is achieved. The same for AF-S.

    Dynamic AF area at 21 points. The focus point which you set, plus the surrounding 20 points will be used to keep track of the subject. You must keep the subject in that area of the frame and focus first.

    I leave focus tracking with lock-on at normal. This relates to the amount of time an object can pass in front of your subject prior to the camera switching focus distance. (example a bush or branch)

    AF Point selection at 51, so you can refine more where you want the subject in the frame.

    AF-On button is only AF-On. I use this button to start the AF system when initially framing and selecting my point of focus with the selector.

    Shutter-release button AE-L is on. Allows a continued half press of the shutter to lock exposure.

    AE-L/AF-L button is AE lock (Reset on release) - This allows you lock the exposure with this button and not have the half shutter press change your exposure. This works well when you want to lock exposure on continuous focus mode and then the shutter button only focuses and fires the shot. Once the shot is taken, the exposure lock is gone.

    So now for the shot.

    Set focus mode to "C" and type to the dynamic area auto focus. The middle setting of the control switch.

    Use the AE-L button if you would like to like the exposure prior. Your choice.

    Set your camera mode to A, S, P, or M however you want along with the appropriate ISO, aperture, shutter as needed for the mode.

    Move your focus point where you want to compose your subject in frame.

    Compose your shot. Press the AF-on button or give a half shutter press to start focusing on your subject.

    Keep your subject as close to the lit focus point as you can, panning the camera as needed.

    Press the shutter to get the shot.

    I normally also shoot with a 5.6 or 8.0 aperture on a fast moving subject to keep my DOF covering everything as it moves within the 21 points that we have already selected.

    Fairly simple, but I hope that helps on understanding the focus system a little.

    Best,

    Ray

  4. #4
    Senior Member helenhill's Avatar
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    Re: Some colour DS300 pictures and Capture NX

    hey Mitch
    THANKS for posting this here....much easier to view than on flickr
    In terms of color /in particular the way the greens & yellows come through
    It is the Fourth Shot I very much liked.
    There seems to be more subtle variations in tone(with greens & yellows)
    as if working on a Fine Painting / doing layering & depth of glazing

    The other Colour Shots 'POP' abit for my taste which then makes me ask what sets them apart from lots of other cameras flooding the market

    The Last Blk & White pulls Me in more possibly due to the super subtle variations in the sky. I LOVE the way the sky gets a hint of moodiness in depth as our eyes gaze into the furtherest backdrop of trees & train signal post.
    It does seem like you are now possibly falling into the Spell of the Muse.... the Hypnotic Pull of losing oneself in Creativity
    Cheers ! Helen
    Last edited by helenhill; 29th March 2008 at 08:55.

  5. #5
    Mitch Alland
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    Re: Some colour DS300 pictures and Capture NX

    Thanks, Ray, that's very helpful. After watching the Nikon focus video on the D300 site and after reading the second focus information in the further back in the manual as well as the first, I finally figured out that I would use the C mode and Dynamic AF Area with 21 points; but I didn't think about 12 vs 14 bit and about setting the AF-C Priority to focus, because for street photography I would do it the other way because sometimes I want the result of "accidents". So your posting is very useful, also the bit about the AF-On button to only AF-On. Thanks, again for taking the time to write all this.

    —Mitch/Tsumeb, Namibia
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/

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    Super Moderator Cindy Flood's Avatar
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    Re: Some colour DS300 pictures and Capture NX

    Mitch,
    I am seeing too much cyan in #1 and 2. The third colored photo is much more pleasant.

    Ray,
    Your explanation is great. I'm sure that a lot of D300 shooters will appreciate reading this. I was wondering if maybe you should copy it into another thread that could address settings for the D300. Maybe Guy could make it a sticky and others could add to it.

  7. #7
    Mitch Alland
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    Re: Some colour DS300 pictures and Capture NX

    Thanks, Helen: what you say is inspirational and encouraging. I see what you say about the greater subtlety of fourth one. Here is another colour shot from yesterday: the sky and colours kept on changing quickly because of the arrival of a rain storm. This one is cropped to the 4:3 aspect ratio in which I really do like composing more often than in 3:2. Next week when I'm n the game parks shooting animals and landscape I'll have to keep on deciding whether to print in colour or B&W, which often is a hard choice: my instinct tells me to stick to B&W but I'm getting seduced by colour.





    —Mitch/Tsumeb, Namibia
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/

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    Administrator, Instructor Guy Mancuso's Avatar
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    Re: Some colour DS300 pictures and Capture NX

    That is what i was thinking Cindy . Someone please start a D300 setting thread new with Rays stuff than I can stick that thread all by itself right at the top. D3 users can do the same and i will stick that. This is pretty complicated systems so any setting like this is important to the users , so this would be very nice to have a sticky of . Thanks i have to run out to a funeral of a friends dad. 52 years old, very sad died of a heart attack and in good health normally. Makes you stop and think anyway i will do that later on. Thanks folks. The nikon forum is jumping now and that is nice to see. Keep up the great work folks
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

    www.guymancusophotography.com

  9. #9
    Mitch Alland
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    Re: Some colour DS300 pictures and Capture NX

    Guy, sorry to hear about your friend's father — bummer! But to change the subject, eventually you'll have to put down your thoughts on how your experience compares on the D300 and the M8; sacrilegious as it may turn out to be either way it should be interesting.

    —Mitch/Tsumeb, Namibia
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/

  10. #10
    Administrator, Instructor Guy Mancuso's Avatar
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    Re: Some colour DS300 pictures and Capture NX

    We have a thread going right now , take a peak.
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

    www.guymancusophotography.com

  11. #11
    Mitch Alland
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    Re: Some colour DS300 pictures and Capture NX

    LCT, Helen, Cindy:

    Do you think that these are any better?









    —Mitch/Tsumeb, Namibia
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/

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    Re: Some colour DS300 pictures and Capture NX

    Mitch

    As for naming your versions in NX look at the bottom of the long list of the changes you've made. This is on the right side unless you've moved it. There is a pulldown for a new version which you can name and go back to whenever. I think there are 3 things to click on and pulldown there.


    So say you've made 10 changes to the image, some you may not like later after seeing a print. Turn off the ones you may not need, maybe a U-point or contrast change. So let's say now you have 7 of the 10 clicked "on". Just save the "7" version with a new name. Nice thing about NX is as you said it is all there for later changes w/o gig of layers.

    I find "painting" contrast/sharpening/color temp etc etc very fast in NX compared to CS3. That plus the u-points makes it very good indeed. Plus you'll get the best hi-ISO file from NX vs ACR/CS3.

    Neil

  13. #13
    Super Moderator Cindy Flood's Avatar
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    Re: Some colour DS300 pictures and Capture NX

    Mitch,
    It is hard to tell if they are different when they are not side-by-side, but my sense is that they are not as cyan. I still see cyan on the back of the stop sign in the second one, so I think it might be able to be color balanced to get rid of the cyan cast. I don't know the NX software yet, so I'm not sure what tools you are using to white balance, etc.

  14. #14
    Senior Member LCT's Avatar
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    Re: Some colour DS300 pictures and Capture NX

    Quote Originally Posted by Mitch Alland View Post
    WB on the roadsign, assuming it's gray, green saturation -30, bit of contrast tweakings in iCorrect, but perhaps my screen (laptop here) is out.
    My advice Mich FWIW: try Capture One and think afterwards.

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