With the introduction of the D300 and D3 digital SLRs Nikon has considerably improved its image parameter functionality. You now have four standard 'Picture Control' presets (Standard, Neutral, Vivid and Monochrome) plus the ability to load and save custom sets. Adjustment options have been expanded providing a much wider latitude for sharpening, contrast and saturation as well as the new brightness adjustment. Note also the 'Quick adjust' feature which allows for linked adjustment of sharpening, contrast and saturation. Lastly there's also a grid view which allows you to see all of the current picture control modes on a saturation vs. contrast (plus sharpness) grid.
Image parameter adjustments
- Picture Control presets: Standard, Neutral, Vivid, Monochrome
- Picture Control adjustments
- Sharpening: 0 to 9 (10 levels)
- Contrast: Auto, -3,to +3 (7 levels)
- Brightness: -1, 0, +1 (3 levels)
- Saturation: Auto, -3 to +3 (7 levels)
- Hue: -3 to +3 (7 levels)
Picture Control presets
Below are samples of our test scene taken in each of the Image Optimization presets, we've also included a 100% crop from each image so you can see the sharpness level of each preset.
The 'quick adjust' option allows you to modify sharpening, contrast and saturation together to produce a more vivid / sharp image (positive adjustment) or neutral / softer image (negative adjustment). It's worth noting that making negative 'quick adjust' changes doesn't appear to affect these three parameters equally.
The D3 provides a total of ten manual sharpening levels plus the traditional Nikon 'Auto' mode. The default sharpening level for Standard Picture Control mode is three; below you can see examples of Auto and a selection of the sharpening levels. Kudos to Nikon for providing a wide range of sharpening options which cover a wide latitude of adjustment, and for delivering higher sharpening by default than they have in the past (though this is still fairly conservative compared to some of the competition).