NX2 speed-based alternative for NEF

Started Apr 25, 2013 | Questions
nikkorwatcher
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NX2 speed-based alternative for NEF
Apr 25, 2013

I am looking for a solution to apply fairly basic operations to Nikon NEF raw files for D300 & D7000 but faster than NX2.

The operations are mainly:

- Change exposure

- Change white balance

- Apply noise reduction

- Resize

- Apply watermark

The problem: NX2.4 is just too slow for the batch operations I have. Even when I tried to use it as a file renamer on a quad-core, it was only doing about 10 a minute and bringing the system almost to its knees. Please note I am not asking for how many hard disks, what processor or what operating system I need. I'm not even asking whether NX2 is fast enough for you personally. I need software that is optimised for speed.

Can I batch all the above operations unattended on Photoshop CS5 with plugins and can anyone quote the throughput they are getting? Thanks.

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Nikon D300 Nikon D7000
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brn
brn
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Re: NX2 speed-based alternative for NEF
In reply to nikkorwatcher, Apr 25, 2013

Are you using the latest NX2?  It went 64-bit several months ago.  The speed improvement was dramatic.

Otherwise, FastStone image viewer is pretty quick and does what you're asking.  It's also free!

However, I'm not sure anything is going to perform decent noise reduction quickly.  That's a pretty intensive task.

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Leon Obers
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Re: NX2 speed-based alternative for NEF
In reply to nikkorwatcher, Apr 26, 2013

In spite I am a real NX2 user, and make use of a fast PC, so met not that big problems. Photoshop camera RAW converter, as well Lightroom are faster applications.

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malch
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Re: NX2 speed-based alternative for NEF
In reply to nikkorwatcher, Apr 26, 2013

nikkorwatcher wrote:

The problem: NX2.4 is just too slow for the batch operations I have. Even when I tried to use it as a file renamer on a quad-core, it was only doing about 10 a minute and bringing the system almost to its knees.

NX2 is not a speed demon. But the batch performance isn't so bad -- same ballpark as LR4.

It seems to me that something is badly wrong with the NX2 installation or some other aspect of your system.

I would:

1. Reinstall NX2

2. Collect more data on the exact symptoms; actual timings, observations from task manager etc.

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nikkorwatcher
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Re: NX2 speed-based alternative for NEF
In reply to brn, Apr 26, 2013

brn wrote:

Are you using the latest NX2?  It went 64-bit several months ago.  The speed improvement was dramatic.

Please quantify that. It would be a big step to use a 64-bit OS just for NX2.

When NX2 loads files, and just spits them out with a different name at 10 per minute that's a bandwith of no more than 300MB/min which is absurd. I've used it on various 32-bit operating systems and the speed is bad on all of them. It seems to rely on dotnetfx. I think I got up to 15% improvement with dotnetfx 4 but it needs to get a lot faster than that.

If anybody can describe specific alternative workflow steps it would be appreciated.

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brn
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Re: NX2 speed-based alternative for NEF
In reply to nikkorwatcher, Apr 26, 2013

nikkorwatcher wrote:

brn wrote:

Are you using the latest NX2?  It went 64-bit several months ago.  The speed improvement was dramatic.

Please quantify that. It would be a big step to use a 64-bit OS just for NX2.

Loads are about twice as fast.  Saves are about five times as fast.  Image modifications are now near instant.  This is on an AMD Phenom II x4.

I didn't realize you weren't on a 64-bit OS.

When NX2 loads files, and just spits them out with a different name at 10 per minute that's a bandwith of no more than 300MB/min which is absurd.

I suspect the noise reduction is what's really killing your throughput.

 brn's gear list:brn's gear list
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nikkorwatcher
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Re: NX2 speed-based alternative for NEF
In reply to brn, Apr 27, 2013

brn wrote:

I suspect the noise reduction is what's really killing your throughput.

As I wrote, NX2 simply loading and saving files is very slow at 10 per minute to rename them without applying any operations o files. Is there anyone that thinks that is good?:

nikkorwatcher wrote:

When NX2 loads files, and just spits them out with a different name
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Clueless Wanderer
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Re: NX2 speed-based alternative for NEF
In reply to nikkorwatcher, Apr 27, 2013

I was a die hard NX2 fan until Lightroom 3. Since then, NX2 has gone the way of the dinosaur from my workflow. It amazes me that Nikon can make such amazing camera's, but suck at software. Lightroom 4 Is soo good, that I ended up re-editing my favourite's that I had used lightroom 3 on.
In Lightroom, you just work on one Image and click 'synchronize' for it to apply the adjustments to every image.  In lightroom 4 there is a heading 'Camera Calibration', when you click on this you find all the "Camera portrait, Camera Vivid, Camera Landscape, D2x mode I, Mode II, Mode III etc...; Just as you can in NX2 (using Nef's)

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Ho72
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Re: NX2 speed-based alternative for NEF
In reply to nikkorwatcher, Apr 27, 2013

nikkorwatcher wrote:

Is there anyone that thinks that is good?

No, it's not good but the problem is not NX2.

As a test, I put 20 NEFs in a folder and renamed them in a batch operation with no other adjustments. The operation completed in 28.57 seconds, which works out to about 42 renames per minute.

I understand that you are "not asking for how many hard disks, what processor or what operating system I need. I'm not even asking whether NX2 is fast enough for you personally."

I also understand that you seek "software that is optimised for speed."

But until you clear your system of whatever is choking NX2, running software optimized for speed on a computer that clearly is not may be an exercise in futility.

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Leon Obers
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Re: NX2 speed-based alternative for NEF
In reply to nikkorwatcher, Apr 27, 2013

nikkorwatcher wrote:

As I wrote, NX2 simply loading and saving files is very slow at 10 per minute to rename them without applying any operations o files.

Better to use a simple rename-utility for this kinds of jobs. I am still using CKRename for years, and if you need a more comprehensive application I make use of Flash Renamer

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Leon Obers
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Re: NX2 speed-based alternative for NEF
In reply to nikkorwatcher, Apr 27, 2013

nikkorwatcher wrote:
I've used it on various 32-bit operating systems and the speed is bad on all of them.

Staying at 32 bits OS systems, it shall not be better.
Just buy or build a new system yourself around Intel Z77 chipset for today standards and speed needs. Not only for editing pictures, but e.g. also looking streaming HD video files etc.
- Intel i7 3770K
- at least 16 Gb RAM
- at least one SSD Samsung 840 Pro plus e.g. a 1 or 2 Tb WD black harddisk.

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nikkorwatcher
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Re: NX2 speed-based alternative for NEF
In reply to Leon Obers, Apr 27, 2013

Flash Renamer will be useful if it can rewrite names according to EXIF date/time shot.

Mainly I used the example to quote the very poor performance of NX2.

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Leon Obers
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Re: NX2 speed-based alternative for NEF
In reply to nikkorwatcher, Apr 27, 2013

nikkorwatcher wrote:

Flash Renamer will be useful if it can rewrite names according to EXIF date/time shot.

Flash Renamer already contains support for many metadata formats, but if you miss something there is a good chance that ExifTool supports it, and you can use ExifTool together with Flash Renamer to get this data into Flash Renamer!

See also: http://www.sno.phy.queensu.ca/~phil/exiftool/

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brn
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Re: NX2 speed-based alternative for NEF
In reply to nikkorwatcher, Apr 28, 2013

nikkorwatcher wrote:

brn wrote:

I suspect the noise reduction is what's really killing your throughput.

As I wrote, NX2 simply loading and saving files is very slow at 10 per minute to rename them without applying any operations o files. Is there anyone that thinks that is good?:

I did miss that.  However, the 64-bit version of NX2 saves files dramatically quicker than the 32-bit version did.  I realize 64-bit may not be in your immediate future, but it makes a huge difference.

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nikkorwatcher
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Re: NX2 speed-based alternative for NEF
In reply to Ho72, Apr 28, 2013

Ho72 wrote:

As a test, I put 20 NEFs in a folder and renamed them in a batch operation with no other adjustments. The operation completed in 28.57 seconds, which works out to about 42 renames per minute.

Thanks for the concrete figures. These caused me to try disabling the antivirus and I got nearly double, even with white balance and exposure adjustment. The noise reduction is still very slow and to be honest, not very good. It just applies what looks like a glowing blur, I forget the photoshop name for it. Things like Topaz denoise do better.

Does anyone have a figure for how quick Lightroom is to batch exposure and white-balance changes?

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b2martin_a
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Re: NX2 speed-based alternative for NEF
In reply to nikkorwatcher, Apr 29, 2013

I have Nikon Capture NX2 and Photoshop CS6 and process all my Nikon D700 NEF files using Adobe Camera RAW in Photoshop CS6 running on a Windows 7 Professional 64 bit PC.  I don't consider Capture NX2 is acceptable for processing large numbers of images, the process flow is just not acceptable compared to what I get with Photoshop.  I don't do a lot of work in Photoshop itself, but use Adobe Camera RAW in Bridge to make all the adjustments and run a Photoshop Action or the Image Processor in Photoshop to convert an entire folder of NEF files and save the output to a folder.

In Bridge, I generally select all NEF files in a folder and open them in ACR (Adobe Camera RAW) and make all adjustments of each image.  You can select multiple images in ACR and synchronize adjustments with one of the images to all of the selected images, you don't have to do a save of one image before you adjust another.  When adjustments are complete, click the Done button and the adjustments are saved.  I then select all the images I want to process (generally the entire folder) in Bridge and run the Photoshop Action or Image Processor to process the slected NEF files and save the results to another folder.  I typically have several hunderd images open at a time in ACR.

You need to be aware that Adobe software and most third party software will not read your in camera settings like Capture NX2, but it does read the white balance.  When you first open a RAW file with Adobe software it will use it's default settings and camera profile, but you can save your own default settings and camera profile.  The defaults in Adobe's RAW converter are camera model number specific and you can select to make them ASA and/or Camera serial number specific.  I have mine ASA specific, which allows me to have default noise settings set based on the ASA used to take the image - I have approximately 40 defaults for the D700 since that is the number of ASA values the camera can select.  Adobe supplies Camera profiles that are a close match to the ones available in the camera for Nikon, Canon, and a few other cameras - they will not be automatically selected based on what you have selected in the camera.  Adobe has a large number of lens profiles that will automatically correct lens distortion.

With Photoshop CS6 and Lightroom 4 Adobe released a new RAW converter that is considerably better that what was availalbe in Photoshop CS5 and Lightroom 3.  If you have Photoshop CS5 and want to use Photoshop to process NEF files you should upgrade to Photoshop CS6 before Photoshop CS7 is released since Adobe changed their upgrade policy to only allow upgrades from the previous release instead of the previous 3 releases.

You have the same capability in Lightroom, but Lightroom works in a database enviroment and I perfer the flexibility I get using folders.

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