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Nikon Capture 4 Editor

Nikon Capture 4 is the latest version of Nikon's advanced RAW conversion application which started life with the D1 back in 1999. Nikon Capture has always been an optional purchase, and remains so with the D2H although you can at least perform some RAW manipulation in Nikon View Editor. To ensure you get a flavor for Capture 4 Nikon has chosen to provide a 30 day trial copy with the camera.

Nikon Capture 4 Major Features

  • Open JPEG, TIFF and NEF (Nikon RAW) files (understands image color space)
  • Save as JPEG (EXIF or JFIF), TIFF (RGB or CMYK) re-save NEF with 'image adjustments'
  • Process images in batches, can be set up as a batch conversion 'server'
  • Full view, zoom (up to 1600%) and scroll images (fast and smooth)
  • Bird's Eye view of image (fast scrolling)
  • Point information
  • Detailed shooting information (general, lens used, exposure, camera settings etc.)
  • Show lost shadows / lost highlights
  • Show gridlines
  • Crop image
  • Selectable color spaces for monitor, printer and CMYK separation
  • Edit IPTC information (see previous page) including load/save IPTC info
  • Print single image
  • Copy & Paste Image Adjustments between images (single adjustments or the 'set')
  • Load & Save Image Adjustments
  • Flip (horizontal / vertical) and rotate (-90°, +90° or +180°)
  • Image resize (including ppi)
  • Select image area and save selection
  • Create camera tone curves
  • 'Receive' images directly from Camera Control
  • Image adjustments
    • Curves & Levels
    • Brightness
    • Contrast
    • Red / Green / Blue balance
    • Unsharp mask (multiple masks can be overlaid)
    • Digital DEE (Dynamic Exposure Extender - digital 'dodge and burn')
    • Output Size / Resolution
    • Color Noise reduction (Low, Medium, High)
    • Edge Noise reduction
    • Nikon RAW (.NEF) adjustments
      • Digital exposure compensation (+/-2.0 EV in 0.01 EV steps)
      • Sharpening (Unchanged, None, Low, Medium Low, Normal, Medium High, High)
      • Tone compensation (Unchanged, Less Contrast, Normal, More Contrast, User)
      • Color mode (Unchanged, I sRGB, II Adobe RGB, III sRGB)
      • Hue Adjustment (+/-9° in 3° steps)
      • Saturation compensation (0 - 9)
      • White balance (Recorded, Gray Point, Auto, Incandescent, Standard Fluorescent, High Fluorescent, Direct Sunlight, Shade, Cloudy, Flash, Kelvin temperature) - fine tunable
      • Image Dust Off (using dust reference image)
      • Vignette Control
      • Fisheye Lens correction


Nikon Capture Options

The Options dialog allows you to control various default settings such as the 'user default' set of image adjustments, temporary files, grid lines and color management settings (color space used for monitor, local print and CMYK output.


Nikon Capture Batch processing

You can easily set Nikon Capture to process a batch of images, either a single folder or multiple folders. You can even leave it checking for images and converting them automatically, this would be useful in a multi-user office network environment where RAW files could be 'dropped' into a standard shared directory and automatically processed by the Nikon Capture server. This can also be useful in a wireless environment where compressed RAW files could be written directly to a server which was custom processing them ready for transmission or output.


Nikon Capture Editor Tools

Capture Editor Tools are by default split across two tool palettes (1 & 2), however just like Adobe Photoshop you can drag and drop tools and arrange them into any order you like. This also means you can remove tools you aren't likely to use.

When working with TIFF or JPEG images the settings below are applied to the image at the time it is saved, the original 'state' of the image can not be retrieved (unless you save as a different filename). However, for Nikon RAW (NEF) files these settings are simply recorded in the header of the RAW file, you can always revert back to the RAW file as it was when the shot was taken.

Tool title bar icons

Tool is enabled, click to disable
Tool settings are shown, click to hide
Tool settings are default, have not been adjusted
Tool settings have been adjusted and applied to the image
Display tool settings copy / load / save menu

Tools

The Bird's Eye tool gives you an overview of the image along with a movable rectangle which indicates the current viewing window.
The Information tool provides information about the current color space, cursor position and RGB value at that position
The Curves tool provides a 'Photoshop like' combined curves and levels function. You can adjust high / medium / low grey levels, drag a new brightness curve or adjust individual levels. You can also perform automatic adjustments by picking high / medium / low grey points or click on the fully automatic adjustment button.
The Color Balance tool allows you to adjust the tone and color balance of the image.
The Unsharp Mask tool allows you to create multiple unsharp mask elements.
Digital DEE is Nikon's 'Dynamic Exposure Extender' which is essentially an automatic digital 'dodge & burn' feature. It can be used to enhance shadow detail and darken slightly highlight detail. Similar to the 'Shadows & Highlights' feature in Adobe Photoshop CS and 'X3 Fill Light' in Sigma Photo Pro 2.0.
The Size/Resolution tool allows you to choose the output size for the image, this allows you to create a smaller or larger image and also 'mark' the image with the output PPI (pixels per inch) for printing.
The Advanced RAW tool is only available for Nikon RAW (NEF) files. It allows you to change certain image settings which are only available for RAW files. You can 'shift' the exposure digitally with the exposure compensation slider (+/-2.0 EV in 0.01 EV steps). You can also change the sharpening, tone compensation, color mode, hue and saturation settings from those which were used at the time the image was shot.
The White Balance tool is only available for Nikon RAW (NEF) files. It allows you to select an alternative white balance than that which was used at the time of exposure. You can select from a wide range of preprogrammed white balance settings (which can be fine tuned) as well as automatically calculated or gray point white balance. In addition of course you can enter the white balance as a 'Kelvin temperature' value.
The Noise Reduction tool can be used to eliminate the noise we would expect to see in an image shot at high sensitivity (ISO). Color Noise reduction introduces a 'watercolor-like' noise reduction algorithm. Edge Noise reduction is probably the most interesting as it manages to enhance the sharpness of edges while removing and jaggedness due to noise or interpolation issues.
Nikon's unique 'Image Dust Off' feature uses a RAW reference image of a blank sheet of paper or gray card to remove dust marks in an image.
The Vignette Control feature allows you to compensate for any vignette effect at maximum aperture and near the corners of the frame. This works with Type G or D lenses.
This tool can be used to modify images taken with the AF DX 10.5 mm F2.8G lens. It can be used to apply either vertical or horizontal compensation to produce a 'rectilinear image' (no distorted lines).
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