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Thread: D700 ISO 6400 - Four RAW Processors Compared

  1. #1
    asabet
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    D700 ISO 6400 - Four RAW Processors Compared

    I was interested in seeing how different RAW apps would handle a high ISO D700 file when each one had sharpening and noise reduction set to off.

    I've used Raw Developer (Mac only), Lightroom 2, Capture One 4, and Aperture. I don't have Capture NX2 and am unlikely to buy it if only because I think it should have come with the D700.

    In each processor, I set sharpening and noise reduction to "0", "Disable", or whatever the minimum amount was. Otherwise, settings were left at the program defaults, which resulted in a darker image for the Raw Developer image.

    Here is the center crop from each:



    Some quick observations:
    1) Aperture is doing chroma NR and sharpening no matter what
    2) Lightroom is doing luma NR no matter what
    3) C1 and RD are more or less "keeping it real"

    I'm new to processing Nikon files, so if any of my quick obs are dead wrong, I trust that someone here will correct me .

    Overall, I like the results I'm seeing in Aperture and will probably continue to use that application. If they get an Alien Skin Exposure plugin for Aperture, then I'll hardly need Photoshop.

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    Re: D700 ISO 6400 - Four RAW Processors Compared

    Only proves what I was feeling always since I moved back to Aperture from LR and C1 Pro: Aperture is far superior, already out of the box

    At least I like it's output (as I like it's GUI).

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    Re: D700 ISO 6400 - Four RAW Processors Compared

    When ACR 4.1 was released it had some rather severe auto NR for high ISO files that couldn't be turned off. There was a big stink about it and the NR was reduced in 4.2. It still wasn't turned off though which is why I still use ACR 4.0 and DNG converter.
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  4. #4
    asabet
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    Re: D700 ISO 6400 - Four RAW Processors Compared

    I did a similar quick and dirty shootout at ISO 200.

    This time I tried to match the levels and sharpening in post (RD still came out darker, so I guess I didn't try too hard).

    Here's an example:



    Overall, my eye tends to go with the way Aperture handles the fine detail, although in this crop it rendered aliasing in an area which the others didn't (at the lower border of the brick area).

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    Re: D700 ISO 6400 - Four RAW Processors Compared

    Hi Amin
    Thanks for this - you try much harder than I do.
    I decided on Aperture with 1.5, and now to change is such a huge job that barring a catastrophe I'll be sticking right with it.

    Nice to see that it makes the best files though

    :-)

    Incidentally, with the D700 are you simply converting to DNG, or have you done the little raw.plist hack?

    Just this guy you know

  6. #6
    asabet
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    Re: D700 ISO 6400 - Four RAW Processors Compared

    Hi Amin
    Thanks for this - you try much harder than I do.
    I decided on Aperture with 1.5, and now to change is such a huge job that barring a catastrophe I'll be sticking right with it.

    Nice to see that it makes the best files though

    :-)


    Hi Jono, it is nice when things work out that way, isn't it!

    Incidentally, with the D700 are you simply converting to DNG, or have you done the little raw.plist hack?

    I've done the plist hack thanks to you for the excellent instructions .

    Occasionally I use EXIF tool to change the exif to D3 from the command line, For example, I wasn't sure if RAW Developer used the same raw.plist, so I modified the EXIF as another way to have it think the D700 files were D3 files.

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    Re: D700 ISO 6400 - Four RAW Processors Compared

    It IS nice when things work out like that.

    It's possible that NX2 is better . . . . but I'd rather throw the camera away than use it!

    Pleased to be of service with respect to the hack. for once I kind of worked it out myself rather than simply passing on the information.

    I also posted it on the Apple Aperture discussion forum . . . . had my post deleted and my wrist slapped

    They really should get a bit less arrogant and get their act together over this one. I know lots of people who aren't using Aperture because they're too slow getting camera support. They could, at least, have come out with an interim solution (like Adobe have).

    Silly Apple

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    Re: D700 ISO 6400 - Four RAW Processors Compared

    Quote Originally Posted by asabet View Post
    I was interested in seeing how different RAW apps would handle a high ISO D700 file when each one had sharpening and noise reduction set to off.

    I've used Raw Developer (Mac only), Lightroom 2, Capture One 4, and Aperture. I don't have Capture NX2 and am unlikely to buy it if only because I think it should have come with the D700.

    In each processor, I set sharpening and noise reduction to "0", "Disable", or whatever the minimum amount was. Otherwise, settings were left at the program defaults, which resulted in a darker image for the Raw Developer image.

    Here is the center crop from each:



    Some quick observations:
    1) Aperture is doing chroma NR and sharpening no matter what
    2) Lightroom is doing luma NR no matter what
    3) C1 and RD are more or less "keeping it real"

    I'm new to processing Nikon files, so if any of my quick obs are dead wrong, I trust that someone here will correct me .

    Overall, I like the results I'm seeing in Aperture and will probably continue to use that application. If they get an Alien Skin Exposure plugin for Aperture, then I'll hardly need Photoshop.
    Amin

    Just one other observation regarding Aperture. Instead of waiting for an alien skin plug for it, why not download a trial of Nik's Silver Efex? I did that and ended up buying it and using it for both Aperture and Photoshop (one license covers both apps). I find Alien Skin a fine app but I like Silver Efex better. The grain is more film like and the use of control points (from U point technology) is a real plus. I doubt that, even having spent a lot of money on Alien Skin Exposure 2 that i will use it any longer for black and white conversions.

    Hope this may help in some way

    Woody

  9. #9
    asabet
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    Re: D700 ISO 6400 - Four RAW Processors Compared

    Quote Originally Posted by woodyspedden View Post
    Amin

    Just one other observation regarding Aperture. Instead of waiting for an alien skin plug for it, why not download a trial of Nik's Silver Efex? I did that and ended up buying it and using it for both Aperture and Photoshop (one license covers both apps). I find Alien Skin a fine app but I like Silver Efex better. The grain is more film like and the use of control points (from U point technology) is a real plus. I doubt that, even having spent a lot of money on Alien Skin Exposure 2 that i will use it any longer for black and white conversions.

    Hope this may help in some way

    Woody
    Hi Woody,
    Thanks for the advice re: Silver Efex. I love the use of control points in Viveza and after your encouragement will give the trial a go. However,Silver Efex couldn't replace Exposure for me, since I use the latter more for the color film simulations than for the B&W. I really enjoy the Astia, Portra, and Kodachrome 25/64/200 simulations. Does Color Efex do something similar?

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    Re: D700 ISO 6400 - Four RAW Processors Compared

    Quote Originally Posted by asabet View Post
    Hi Woody,
    Thanks for the advice re: Silver Efex. I love the use of control points in Viveza and after your encouragement will give the trial a go. However,Silver Efex couldn't replace Exposure for me, since I use the latter more for the color film simulations than for the B&W. I really enjoy the Astia, Portra, and Kodachrome 25/64/200 simulations. Does Color Efex do something similar?
    Yes it does, although it doesn't seem to have 25 Kodachrome (does have Astia, Portra and 64/200 Kodachrome). Worth downloading the trial to have a go I'd say.

    Just this guy you know

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    Re: D700 ISO 6400 - Four RAW Processors Compared

    About two months ago I finally decided to take the plunge with Aperture for several reasons.........one is that Aperture recognizes the 3FR Hassy raw format and Lightroom does not and I liked the color rendition of the Aperture better as well.

    Well wouldn't you know that Adobe comes out with Lightroom II and to me it is a killer. The retouch bruch alone is worth the price of entry. It gives Lightroom the ability to do selective edits with power heretofore seen only by CS3. Also the ability to port directly to CS3 for Photomerge and HDR is a really nice touch.

    So thankfully I didn't invest a lot of time importing existing catalogs to Aperture. For me there is no comparison between the two tools now.

    woody

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    Re: D700 ISO 6400 - Four RAW Processors Compared

    Let me just ask one question that's not directly relevant to the discussion...

    I use aperture, and have recently tried lightroom, because the raw files from my recently acquired fuji s6000 are not compatible with aperture (even after converting to dng).

    Anyway, my question is: what precisely are the equivalents of the raw controls in lightroom? In particular, I miss the boost slider, which I pull down in aperture all the time.

    Must say, I like the aperture results better on average. One thing which is slightly better implemented in lightroom are the presets, but lift & stamp comes close.

  13. #13
    asabet
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    Re: D700 ISO 6400 - Four RAW Processors Compared

    Quote Originally Posted by jonoslack View Post
    Yes it does, although it doesn't seem to have 25 Kodachrome (does have Astia, Portra and 64/200 Kodachrome). Worth downloading the trial to have a go I'd say.
    Very interesting...

    Jono, you may just have cost me a pretty penny there. If I end up buying Color Efex, I'll have to do my best to convince you to buy the Zeiss 50 macro .

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    Re: D700 ISO 6400 - Four RAW Processors Compared

    Colorwise I would range them like this based on the sample shot:

    (1) Lightroom 2
    (2) Capture One 4
    (3) Aperture
    (4) Raw Developer

    Apparently different eyes perceive differently, or it's simply a matter of personal taste.

    Here's a couple of rotated crops from Amin's excellent comparison shot (hope it's ok with you Amin ?)




    -- Raw Developer ------- Lightroom 2 --------- Capture One 4 --------- Aperture -----





    With my D300 I prefer to use Capture NX all the way, but that's another story.
    And when I was shooting Leica M8 I actually preferred the Capture One colors over the Lightroom ditto.
    It probably depends on the camera to some extent.
    Last edited by Steen; 17th August 2008 at 00:48.

  15. #15
    asabet
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    Re: D700 ISO 6400 - Four RAW Processors Compared

    Quote Originally Posted by bondo View Post
    Colorwise I would range them like this based on the sample shot:

    (1) Lightroom 2
    (2) Capture One 4
    (3) Aperture
    (4) Raw Developer

    Apparently different eyes perceive differently, or it's simply a matter of personal taste.
    Bondo, I agree with you. The mandatory color NR in Aperture is muting the color in some areas and eliminating variation in others. Furthermore, I was going to choose exactly the same pieces of crops to highlight this but got too lazy. Thanks for the rearrangement!

    On the other hand, if I apply color NR only in Noise Ninja to get rid of the splotchy color noise in the Lightroom and C1 shots, then the overall color in those images becomes similar to the Aperture color.

    Experienced Aperture users - is there a way to disable color NR in Aperture that I am missing here?

    Here's the RAW file available for download in three flavors -> http://www.box.net/shared/obdtjhobom
    • DSC_0977.NEF is the original NEF file.
    • DSC_0977converted.NEF is the same file with the EXIF modified to make it look like a D3 file to a RAW converter that lacks D700 support.
    • DSC_0977.dng is the file converted to DNG for those of you who have already hacked your raw.plist file for Aperture support.

  16. #16
    asabet
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    Re: D700 ISO 6400 - Four RAW Processors Compared

    Tell me what you think of this one. I used the sharpening and noise reduction sliders as well as a touch of saturation, contrast, etc in each of the same four apps.

    This comparison says as much about my ability to quickly use the controls as it does about the qualities of the RAW converters themselves.

    Let me know what you think. Bonus points to anyone who figures out which is which .


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    Re: D700 ISO 6400 - Four RAW Processors Compared

    Quote Originally Posted by asabet View Post
    Experienced Aperture users - is there a way to disable color NR in Aperture that I am missing here?[/LIST]
    I haven't figured out how to disable NR or sharpening in Aperture as a preference, i.e. set it and forget it... but if you hit the + sign at the very top of the Adjustment tab (right below the word Adjustments) there is a pull down menu which gets you to NR and Sharpening. Selecting them and turning them off should get you where you want to go. Haven't tried it but I'd guess that the Lift and Stamp will apply that adjustment to any other images you'd like to select.

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    Re: D700 ISO 6400 - Four RAW Processors Compared

    From top to bottom my guess would be:

    (1) Aperture
    (2) Capture One 4
    (3) Lightroom 2
    (4) Raw Developer

  19. #19
    tetsrfun
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    Re: D700 ISO 6400 - Four RAW Processors Compared

    Quote Originally Posted by woodyspedden View Post
    About two months ago I finally decided to take the plunge with Aperture for several reasons.........one is that Aperture recognizes the 3FR Hassy raw format and Lightroom does not and I liked the color rendition of the Aperture better as well.

    Well wouldn't you know that Adobe comes out with Lightroom II and to me it is a killer. The retouch bruch alone is worth the price of entry. It gives Lightroom the ability to do selective edits with power heretofore seen only by CS3. Also the ability to port directly to CS3 for Photomerge and HDR is a really nice touch.

    So thankfully I didn't invest a lot of time importing existing catalogs to Aperture. For me there is no comparison between the two tools now.

    woody
    Also LR2 +DNG Profile Editor allows even the technically challenged, such as my self, to create camera profiles that show up in LR2 when that camera is used.

    Steve

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    Re: D700 ISO 6400 - Four RAW Processors Compared

    Looks like we have some small differences in the compromise between optimal Noise Reduction and optimal Sharpness.
    In this case I think my favourite compromise is number 3 (or maybe numbert 2) from the top, both being pretty clean but still with good and crisp sharpness.
    Anyway, the differences are subtle and being an ISO 6400 actual pixels crop I think you have done an excellent job with all of them, Amin

  21. #21
    asabet
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    Re: D700 ISO 6400 - Four RAW Processors Compared

    Quote Originally Posted by bondo View Post
    From top to bottom my guess would be:

    (1) Aperture
    (2) Capture One 4
    (3) Lightroom 2
    (4) Raw Developer
    You nailed it .

    Quote Originally Posted by bondo View Post
    Looks like we have some small differences in the compromise between optimal Noise Reduction and optimal Sharpness.
    In this case I think my favourite compromise is number 3 (or maybe numbert 2) from the top, both being pretty clean but still with good and crisp sharpness.
    Anyway, the differences are subtle and being an ISO 6400 actual pixels crop I think you have done an excellent job with all of them, Amin
    Thanks Steen! I agree with you that probably C1 and LR look best as processed this way, but I don't doubt that Aperture could be used to give a similar look.

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    Re: D700 ISO 6400 - Four RAW Processors Compared

    I would be interested in seeing a comparison of the skin tone rendition in properly white balanced RAW files. I have found that to be quite different for each of the processors and have had to tweak profiles in CaptureOne Pro profile editor and now often must do the same in Lightroom2 using the Adobe DNG editor.
    For subjects where skin tones are not essential all three give very acceptable results.
    Sorry for butting into this thread as I use a Leica M8 at max 2500 ISO but am thinking of adding a Nikon DSLR.

    Maurice

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    Re: D700 ISO 6400 - Four RAW Processors Compared

    Quote Originally Posted by archiM44 View Post
    I would be interested in seeing a comparison of the skin tone rendition in properly white balanced RAW files. I have found that to be quite different for each of the processors and have had to tweak profiles in CaptureOne Pro profile editor and now often must do the same in Lightroom2 using the Adobe DNG editor.
    For subjects where skin tones are not essential all three give very acceptable results.
    Sorry for butting into this thread as I use a Leica M8 at max 2500 ISO but am thinking of adding a Nikon DSLR.

    Maurice
    Hey,
    Thanks for butting in. Do you have a good M8 DNG profile for LR2 that does well with skin tones? Wanna share it ?

    Terry

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    Re: D700 ISO 6400 - Four RAW Processors Compared

    Quote Originally Posted by TEBnewyork View Post
    Hey,
    Thanks for butting in. Do you have a good M8 DNG profile for LR2 that does well with skin tones? Wanna share it ?

    Terry

    I second Terry.....Thanks.....
    Mike

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    Re: D700 ISO 6400 - Four RAW Processors Compared

    I will be happy to share them but I don't know how to post or send them.
    Some I made by shooting the Macbeth chart, others using portrait shots.
    I have one which I made to compensate for magenta cast on blacks when not using the IR filter but it doesn't work on all files. Because you can always trash them it won't matter if they don't work for you.
    So tell me how to send.

    Maurice

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    Re: D700 ISO 6400 - Four RAW Processors Compared

    How big are the files?

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    Re: D700 ISO 6400 - Four RAW Processors Compared

    56 kb each.
    Maurice

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    Re: D700 ISO 6400 - Four RAW Processors Compared

    here are two profiles to start
    Attachment 7039

    My iMac 20" monitor is calibrated to 80 cd/m2 using x-rite I1 photo which gives me a perfect match with the output of my Epson 3800 printer and any of my profiled papers.

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    Re: D700 ISO 6400 - Four RAW Processors Compared

    Attachment 7040Mike and Terry,
    Loading the profiles into LR2 by simply placing them in the user\application support\adobe\camera raw\camera profiles folder doesn't seem to work. (I just tried it!)
    It does work if I send you the recipe, download it to your desktop then open it from the DNG profiler it and then export it as a M8 camera file.
    Let me know if this works.

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    Re: D700 ISO 6400 - Four RAW Processors Compared

    Awesome, thanks I will give it a whirl today.I love getting Leica help on a Nikon thread.

    Also, I use Eye 1 and print on a 3800.

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    Re: D700 ISO 6400 - Four RAW Processors Compared

    Thanks!! I'm using a mac and a 23" monitor and print from a Canon ipf6100, I'll try it this evening.
    Mike

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    Re: D700 ISO 6400 - Four RAW Processors Compared

    The adjustments I made to the profile are very gentle. Generally I find the skin tones in LR (1 and 2) slightly too magenta and that is what I corrected for.
    As far as I am concerned, the new profile in LR2 for the M8 is even worse than the former one.

    maurice

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