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Thread: Your thoughts on which raw converter for D800

  1. #1
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    Your thoughts on which raw converter for D800

    I finally decided to pull the trigger on a new D800 today and got lucky and found one in stock. I've been a Canon convert since the 1Ds and in the past couple of years a Hasselblad shooter. For the Canons I liked Photoshop ACR and had not upgraded since CS4. For the Hasselblad I use Phocus which I really like. I purchased a couple of Nikon D3100's last year for vacation cameras (one is IR conversion) and process them in C1 Express and find it quite good. One thing I really use in ACR is the adjustment brush and lens tools. From time to time I even use Phocus and C1 Express to convert files to DNG just to have these tools.

    My question is which converter do you like and why.

    The primary work I do is commercial involving people so skin tones are important and architectural interiors where dealing with maximum contrast is important and highlight recovery is very important. The shooting conditions are generally very controlled.

    Your thought please.

    Thanks in advance.

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    Re: Your thoughts on which raw converter for D800

    Both ACR/LR and Capture One do a great job. I have not tried Nikon's Capture software.

    Capture One IMO has an edge right now, if for no other reason processing power. LR seems to get bogged down when working on D800 files. As you work on a file and start to use more and more tools, the sliders seem to get slower and jerky. This has been an issue since RC1 but has gotten better.

    I don't think it has a thing to do with my computers, as all are at least i7, 16GB ram, SSD for boot and 1GB of video ram. LR also seems to go off the deep end on their profiles unless you stick with the default. Camera landscape is way off IMO, over saturated and blacks are way too deep.

    However I still prefer LR sharpening, on a D800,
    Amount 50 to 67
    Radius 0.7
    detail 75 to 95
    masking 15 to 17

    I think you will find either tool works fine and can give you a excellent output.

    Paul

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    Senior Member danielmoore's Avatar
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    Re: Your thoughts on which raw converter for D800

    Personally, NX2 for skin tones and tonal separation, Capture One for sharpness. NX2 seems to have a better handle on dynamic range than C1, pulling better color and texture in the highlights. These are my impressions on respective default settings. One could be made to look like the other possibly but I try to avoid spending time doing so. NX2 tifs into C1 for sharpening is my current workflow which I hope to simplify with more practice.

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    Workshop Member glenerrolrd's Avatar
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    Re: Your thoughts on which raw converter for D800

    We had quite a post on this a while back . Since my other cameras are Leicas I favor LR4 . The calibration and presets have been worked out between Leica and Adobe ..I am completely happy with the conversions (and I am rarely happy ) . If I had a Phase back I am sure I would favor Capture One . So my long term strategy is to make LR4 work ..its my data management solution ..so the files are going here one way or the other . I tried once to integrate C1 with a LR workflow and it was just complex ..every upgrade required rethinking it . So I think here you have to choose ....Capture One or LR4 as the core of your work flow . Or maybe you have requirements that allow a patchwork work flow using Cs5/6.

    My tests show that LR4(ADOBE) and .NEF files form the D800E are too saturated and have some hue issues . We never resolved why a calibration to a neutral color chart didn t adjust for this...but its obvious . I can get around this by adjusting the HSL of the image to my subjective ..”looks good to me test” . But this is time consuming if you shoot in different light . So most people just say ..who cares ..I can adjust .

    NX2 produces to my eye perfect color doing nothing . Don t screw with WB just use AWB and convert . Skin tones are very neutral ,saturation is balanced and colors look true . NX2 has outdated everything and pales compare to LR4 in managing the tone curve,sharpening ,noise reduction and printing . So for me its a raw conversion to a TIFF and then input to LR4 . The TIFF is huge and the workflow nasty .

    A better way to do this is to use LR4 for the entire shoot . Then reprocess from the original only the few special images . This works for my type of shooting but may not for some uses (like a wedding where I would want good skin tones on every image shown ). LR4 skin tones aren t bad its the other factors so maybe I could work around this .

    So it depends on your requirements both for the .NEF files as well as any other systems you maybe using . I favor the NX2 conversions for color and mid tone separation.
    Roger Dunham
    http://rogerdunham.com/
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    Member jlancasterd's Avatar
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    Re: Your thoughts on which raw converter for D800

    As an M9 user I favour LR4, using the embedded profile rather than Adobe standard. I've tried other RAW converters and find that LR4 suits me best.

    I'll certainly use LR4 with my D800 when I eventually get it and will only switch if there is good reason to do so.
    John L Dobson
    Editor, Ffestiniog Railway Magazine

  6. #6
    richard.L
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    Re: Your thoughts on which raw converter for D800

    Quote Originally Posted by DDudenbostel View Post
    ...
    My question is which converter do you like and why.

    ....
    NX2.

    and picture control:
    Modifying Picture Controls and saving them to your camera.


    Also, I have (4+ years) used Nik software addins.

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    Member nikonf's Avatar
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    Question Re: Your thoughts on which raw converter for D800

    Hello,

    Where pray tell, did you find one in stock?
    I have been waiting for mine since day 1............

    Based on the raw files I have converted from my D300, I would definitely go with Phase One Pro. Simply the Best!
    Many thanks,
    Mike

    Quote Originally Posted by DDudenbostel View Post
    I finally decided to pull the trigger on a new D800 today and got lucky and found one in stock. I've been a Canon convert since the 1Ds and in the past couple of years a Hasselblad shooter. For the Canons I liked Photoshop ACR and had not upgraded since CS4. For the Hasselblad I use Phocus which I really like. I purchased a couple of Nikon D3100's last year for vacation cameras (one is IR conversion) and process them in C1 Express and find it quite good. One thing I really use in ACR is the adjustment brush and lens tools. From time to time I even use Phocus and C1 Express to convert files to DNG just to have these tools.

    My question is which converter do you like and why.

    The primary work I do is commercial involving people so skin tones are important and architectural interiors where dealing with maximum contrast is important and highlight recovery is very important. The shooting conditions are generally very controlled.

    Your thought please.

    Thanks in advance.

  8. #8
    Workshop Member glenerrolrd's Avatar
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    Re: Your thoughts on which raw converter for D800

    Quote Originally Posted by jlancasterd View Post
    As an M9 user I favour LR4, using the embedded profile rather than Adobe standard. I've tried other RAW converters and find that LR4 suits me best.

    I'll certainly use LR4 with my D800 when I eventually get it and will only switch if there is good reason to do so.
    John

    As an M9/S2/LR4 user ..I believe thats the point . LR4 processes a D800E NEF file using Adobe Standard profile to a high saturation and high contrast rendering . NX2 produces a more neutral and detailed rendering from the same NEF originals . Thats the good reason to consider it . Hopefully LR4 will evolve as it did with the S2 files and NX2 will not be required .

    Roger

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    Re: Your thoughts on which raw converter for D800

    Quote Originally Posted by nikonf View Post
    Hello,

    Where pray tell, did you find one in stock?
    I have been waiting for mine since day 1............
    Many thanks,
    Mike
    Cameta Camera had one new one in stock. I called B&H and Roberts and neither were willing to even tell me how many were on backorder much less an approximate delivery. I've purchased two Nikons from Cameta and they were third on my list. I assumed none were available and inquired about delivery time. To my surprise the sales person said I have one new and can ship today. I almost broke my wrist getting my credit card out.

    Like I said I do advertising / commercial / industrial and architectural work. No weddings and no work for the public I rarely process a large volume of images, just a selected few per the AD's picks.

    I used Nikon back in the D1 and D1x days and either used Bibble or the Nikon software of the day. I have no experience with LR and Nikon's current software. I hope Nikon did a better job with their software than Canon did with theirs.

    I think what I will do is try the C1 Express I have and see if I like the look and if so upgrade to the Pro version. It has some tools I like that mirrors ACR. If I don't like the look I will give Nikons software a try. Part of the deal is being familiar with C1.

    Appreciate your sharing your experiences.

    Don

  10. #10
    Administrator, Instructor Guy Mancuso's Avatar
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    Re: Your thoughts on which raw converter for D800

    C1 Pro, I use nothing else. I won't even buy a cam that is not supported by it or will be soon. LR is not even on my computer. LOL

    I find for the D800 files the color is the best and the sharpness levels extremely good with it. Its also extremely fast to process.
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

    www.guymancusophotography.com

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    Member Mr.Gale's Avatar
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    Re: Your thoughts on which raw converter for D800

    Phase One has a 40% off C1 Pro (and their other software) until July 1st.

    Mr.Gale

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    Administrator, Instructor Guy Mancuso's Avatar
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    Re: Your thoughts on which raw converter for D800

    You can try it for 30 days I believe free
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

    www.guymancusophotography.com

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    Re: Your thoughts on which raw converter for D800

    I have Express 6 which they were giving away free last year. Very nice of them! I didn't care for it at first but have started to warm up to it and use it with my Nikon NEF's. I never felt the need to upgrade because I only shoot personal stuff with my Nikons but that's changing this week. I looked at the Phase site and I can upgrade Express to pro 6 for $149. No bad compared to Photoshop 6.

    I also downloaded a 60 day free trial of Nikon NX2. It seems to have a strange interface but the images look very good. I haven't done any side by side comparisons but pan to this week when the D800 comes in. Also think I'll convert some toe DNG and see how Photoshop CS4 handles them.

    Thanks all! Have a safe weekend!

  14. #14
    Spiritshooter
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    Re: Your thoughts on which raw converter for D800

    Quote Originally Posted by Guy Mancuso View Post
    C1 Pro, I use nothing else. I won't even buy a cam that is not supported by it or will be soon. LR is not even on my computer. LOL

    I find for the D800 files the color is the best and the sharpness levels extremely good with it. Its also extremely fast to process.
    The biggest issue I have with C1 (and I have been using it for over 5 years) is the weird noise pattern generated in higher ISO images. Kind of like a herringbone pattern.

    Mike

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    Re: Your thoughts on which raw converter for D800

    What's wrong with NX2? It works like a charm with my D700 files, i bet it will do with the D800 files as well. I also use C1 and LR, but I more and more tend to use NX2. It's worth a try, imo.

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    Re: Your thoughts on which raw converter for D800

    If you have a workflow that works for you stick with it unless the results are poor. If you are starting with Nikon you have nothing to unlearn.

    The biggest grip people have with NX2 is it isn't like the others. You have to learn new stuff and it isn't intuitive maybe. You'll have to change your workflow for NX2. Maybe how and when and the order you do stuff. It isn't great like say Bridge for 1000 image shoot. It is great if you break things down and do it in smaller piles.

    The one thing I did that made NX2 a far better tool for me was to buy one of those DVD tutorials. Seeing someone use the tools, control pints, his workflow made a HUGE difference in what I understood the convertor can do. Now if I could remember the DVD name we'd be golden. Jason xxxxxx? Sorry I'm blank. Very very good though.

    While it may not take you away from LR or C1 etc at least you'll get the best from NX2 when you use it. IMO NOTHING converts a Hi ISO file like NX2.

    And just as an FYI, the image you see on the camera is of course the jpg embedded in the NEF, the image you see in NX2 is the NEF with all the settings that made that jpg look great applied to the NEF. When you know the camera the NEFs may and can be dead nuts on.

    So you set WB, contrast, saturation, USM etc etc on the camera, maybe you've made a custom picture control in NX2 and uploaded that to the camera. When you open the NEF in NX2 it is all there. Open the NEF in LR? You get what, what Adobe thought might be a good place to start from. All the stuff you set on camera is ignored. Are there any convertors that read the actual sidecar settings info attached to a NEF besides Nikon?

    Plus everything in the settings menu can be changed in NX2. You shot in srgb but meant to shoot 1998? Change it in NX2. You shot standard settings but wanted a neutral instead? Change it in NX2. It is really cool to be able to do everything practically except actually reshoot the shot in NX2 as regards to how you set what.

    I just shot a live band. 600+ frames at ISO 12,500. I shot B&W 'cause it looks better for the gig. If they want color all I have to do is tell NX2 I want color. I can convert the whole job to color and to any "picture control' setting I want.

    I just think more people need to try it. And it costs under $200 too so.........

    The 4 images below are straight from camera ISO 12,500 images. They the are embedded jpgs in the NEF file that Photo Mechanic extracted. PM also downsized them a ton for email. Open in NX2 as a NEF they look just like these. Just bigger and juicier. About all I do with these is turn off in camera USM, ,move the black slider up a hair (fills in slight noise), apply a very very fine blur (works better than noise reduction) and then using NX tool erase the blue from everything I want sharp. The blur is so weak you would maybe and I mean maybe know it was there. I then paint the USM I want on the area I want. No layers, file stays normal size. All changes are instruction in a sidecar file I can change whenever I want. I never make a TIFF unless I need PS for something.
    Neil

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    Workshop Member kuau's Avatar
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    Re: Your thoughts on which raw converter for D800

    My problem is I own all 3, LR4, CNX2 and C1 for my D800/e
    I know Jack and Guy swear buy C1 and I was lucky enought to win a copy of C1 on a Guy workshop a few years back when Doug was still at capture integration.
    So many different opinions out there, yes CNX2 interface is different,
    My biggest complaint is its sharpening, which I prefer the ease of control in LR4, I love the masking tool so easy for my to exclude the sky and clouds out of the image which there are a lot of in telluride. Yet on one other hand Jack in an earlier post clearly showed some outstandings results in C1, so now I have almost 1000 images sitting on my computer going back and forth between all 3 apps trying to figure out which will work for me.
    Steven Kornreich
    www.kuau.com

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    Contributing Editor ustein's Avatar
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    Re: Your thoughts on which raw converter for D800

    >going back and forth between all 3 apps trying to figure out which will work for me.

    That is likely not a good strategy. Pick one and improve with it. NX is too slow to make me happy. THis leaves C1 and LR4. I ended up using LR4 because it has better lens support and the adjustment tools (gradients and brush) are a class by themselves. But the look from C1 is nice I have to say.
    Uwe Steinmueller
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    Editor&Owner of Digital Outback Photo
    http://www.outbackphoto.com

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    Re: Your thoughts on which raw converter for D800

    I compared all three converters and wound up with LR4. As mentioned above the adjustment brush and lens support plus the overall look of the images were the deciding factors. NX2 was just to foreign and felt the images were just to soft. C1 has a great interface an I will continue to use my express version for some images. I just felt C1 was a bit harsh looking without having to back off contrast quite a bit. I could always do a new default but I like almost everything about LR4.

    Thanks for the input.

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    Re: Your thoughts on which raw converter for D800

    ?? strange, I think C1Pro is nice, but I do find the noise pattern of Phocus a little difficult to manage. I use C1Pro from the time of P25 until now, the way it manage sessions, would rather not to change my workflow although I do use LR and Aerture but more or less just to know what's there than really using them.

    BR,
    Pingang

    Quote Originally Posted by Spiritshooter View Post
    The biggest issue I have with C1 (and I have been using it for over 5 years) is the weird noise pattern generated in higher ISO images. Kind of like a herringbone pattern.

    Mike

  21. #21
    CaseyDane
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    Re: Your thoughts on which raw converter for D800

    I would like to get in on this topic. I actually just registered to get some help. Before I go on, I just want to make sure that everyone who is commenting on this thread actually used the D800. If not, the information they are providing is invalid. Nikon changed the sensor in the D800. The files represented in the D800 do not mirror images you would find in your d300 or d700. Why? It's a Nikon thing and we just have to get used to it.

    But as far as the NEF processing, I have found that Capture One does a horrible job. I just upgraded photoshop and lightroom to use their processing power. The greatest thing about Capture One is that you can control your exposure better than any other software out there. If you want to make sure that the maximum highlight on someones face doesn't exceed an RGB value of 235, then you can do it with ease. You can't do that with Lightroom. But on the other hand, I have found that lightroom converts a much better looking image(with the d800). With my D300, I used capture one 100% of the time. But it just processed my d800 files differently. Maybe there are other settings I should be working with. I was curious if anyone who IS using the D800 agrees or has a suggestion for me?

  22. #22
    Member jlancasterd's Avatar
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    Re: Your thoughts on which raw converter for D800

    I've used Lightroom since it first came out and find that the latest LR4.1 version works perfectly with RAW images from both the D800 and the D800E. I particularly like the range of lens profiles for Nikon and Zeiss lenses. Indeed, the only real gripe I have with LR4 is that it doesn't have profiles for the Voigtlander range as well.

    I tried Capture One some years ago with images from an M8 and a DMR but really didn't get on with it.
    John L Dobson
    Editor, Ffestiniog Railway Magazine

  23. #23
    CaseyDane
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    Re: Your thoughts on which raw converter for D800

    I forgot to mention this. The files are amazing and full of saturation when it comes to most photography. I am only interested in information regarding human portraits. It's mostly when looking at skin detail do I find that it really matters what converter you use. I will say that Capture one works well now that I have changed some settings. It does not do a good job if you use the default settings. I have to change it to portrait defaults and play with the contrast a little. Regardless, I still love my jpegs over my raw files.

  24. #24
    Senior Member danielmoore's Avatar
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    Re: Your thoughts on which raw converter for D800

    You owe it to yourself to go ape in your trials. As in, download all the trial software you can find and see which is best for a particular type of shot. Ahem, NX2, if you can whistle through a root canal...
    Capture One has a remarkable feature set and is learnable, fastish, and makes you look good if you put in the time. But skin, NX2. For now, with this camera.

  25. #25
    Sr. Administrator Jack's Avatar
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    Re: Your thoughts on which raw converter for D800

    C1 Pro, nothing else comes close on detail, noise and color.
    Jack
    home: www.getdpi.com

    "Perfection is not attainable. But if we chase perfection, we can catch excellence."

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    Administrator Bob's Avatar
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    Re: Your thoughts on which raw converter for D800

    I put in another recommendation for C1.
    I have tried its local adjustments and also LRs and frankly I am just not happy with them in terms of awkwardness, speed, or precision. I do all of those in PS where the control really is available.
    -bob

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    Administrator, Instructor Guy Mancuso's Avatar
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    Re: Your thoughts on which raw converter for D800

    I look at the D800 image thread as Jack and Bob mentioned this morning in a e-mail. I can spot what's processed in C1 and what's in LR. Just look at the blue skies. Much more neutral blue in C1. Better color tone and just more accurate.
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

    www.guymancusophotography.com

  28. #28
    Sr. Administrator Jack's Avatar
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    Re: Your thoughts on which raw converter for D800

    Look at skintones too -- way more natural.
    Jack
    home: www.getdpi.com

    "Perfection is not attainable. But if we chase perfection, we can catch excellence."

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