NEF and Lightroom - Why the images look terrible

Started May 6, 2012 | Discussions thread
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Re: NEF and Lightroom - Why the images look terrible
In reply to NikonGuyChicago, May 6, 2012

NikonGuyChicago wrote:

I dont own Photoshop, but I wonder if you import NEF into Photoshop, does the image look like in Capture NX 2 or like in Lighroom?


BTW, Photoshop is a pixel-level editor. It doesn't convert RAW files into something editable per se - that's the job of Adobe Camera RAW (ACR) which both Lightroom and Photoshop use as their RAW capture, conversion, and picture level editing routines. It's best to think of NX2, Lightroom, and Photoshop via this flowchart:

RAW image
ACR raw/NX2/Lightroom: import with RAW converter
ACR raw/NX2/Lightroom: Perform picture-level adjustments
(sharpness, contrast, white balance,
highlight/shadow recovery, distortion
ACR raw/NX2/Lightroom: render to output if finished
Photoshop: if not, export to pixel-level editor
render to output if finished

You may notice that the basic Adobe flow is: ACR raw -> photoshop. What Lightroom basically does is wrap a more photographer-friendly interface around ACR raw and adds in Digital Asset Management (image cataloging and search) with an editor that is non-destructive - the original RAW file never changes, what is stored is the set of commands that you use to "develop" the image to your liking.

What photoshop does is take that ACR-raw captured and filtered rendered RAW file and edit it at the pixel level, just like any rendered graphic (photoshop is actually a general purpose graphics editor, not a photo-specific editor).

Again, no Adobe product understands precisely what Nikon's Picture Controls actually do, and no Adobe product duplicates Nikon's proprietary filters, like A-DL.

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