D300 High ISO Pics...

Started Jun 10, 2008 | Discussions thread
OleThorsen Veteran Member • Posts: 3,111
Extend of PP

nikond2000 wrote:

All this for one pic??????????? Very nice but if thats the case
WOW...I take tons and tons of pics...Seems like I would be at the
computer all day

Don't tell me that your tons and tons of pictures are equally good and worth keeping and do some special PP for.

The wiórkflow I described is for bird and landscape pictures and for selected keepers only. My normal workflow for bird pictures and landscape pictures begins this way:

For birds and landscapes I use 12bit NEF lossless compressed. I almost always use selective sharpening on bird pictures, so I don't sharpen any out of focus areas unnecessary. A side benefit is also I avoid any noise due to sharpening. If high ISO is used I also use selective NR to avoid removing details on the main objects.

I have the in-camera sharpening set to 3 (D200: +1 Medium High) to better be able to judge sharpness on keepers on the camera LCD. I almost always use the D2XMODE3 as a starting point (D200: Colour mode III), because I really like the colours and saturation out of the box for nature pictures.

  • I use Nikon transfer to copy the NEFs from the ExpressCard CF-card reader and includes automatically some standard Copyright information in the IPTC Contact section.

  • I use ViewNX to cull the pictures and selects only the absolute best pictures for further postprocessing using the star rating system. If I have several similar pictures of the same bird/situation I only select one for further PP.

I use Nikon CaptureNX for my further postprocessing as described. The steps described takes between 5-15 minutes per picture depending on complexity.

Notice step 5 is applying a settings file with 3 editing steps with my standards included, while step 6-8 is adjustments of the presets if necessary. Step 3 is NR only performed on photos with high ISO.

OleThorsen wrote:

1. Reduce the sharpening to 1 (D200: -2 Low) in the Develop/Camera
Settings as a form of capture sharpening. If high ISO is used like in
this case, I reduce the sharpening to 0 (None) to avoid unnecessary

2. Adjust White Balance and Exposure Compensation if necessary. This
is very seldom with the D300, which have an improved metering system
compared to the D200. Automatic CA removal is enabled as standard. I
changed EV compensation to -0.3EV in this case.

(3.) If ISO800 or above is used I sometimes break the CNX2 workflow
here and save as both a original NEF and temporary TIF 16bit file. I
use the fantastic Nik Dfine noise reduction plugin for Photoshop,
which is much better than the rest of the NR tools at keeping details
and remove noise at the same time - even with the global NR applied.
I used NoiseNinja as my preferred NR tool before I got Dfine 2.0. I
save the NR back to the temporary TIF file and reopen this file in
CNX. I really hope they make Dfine as a CNX plugin. If in seldom
cases I want to remove certain objects from the picture with
Photoshops clone tool, I also break the CNX workflow here. Though
with the new CNX2 with the improved selective tools and the Auto
Retouch brush this step 3 will probably mostly be done in CNX. In
this case I used selective NR with much more NR on the background
(amount 125/125) and only little luminance NR on the subject (amount

4. Apply a cropping step if necessary. With the D300 and bird
pictures I never crop below 6MP and mostly crop to 70-90% of the
original size depending on the focus distance. I use this order of
cropping because local adjustments get screwed and placed in wrong
places if I apply the cropping as the last step.

5. Apply a previous saved settings file, with three editing steps:
Level & Curves (weak S-curve), Colour Control Point, and a linked
Unsharp Mask and High Pass Sharpening. In my experience High pass
sharpening is very effective for objects with fur or feathers.

6. Adjust the weak S-curve if necessary in rare cases.

7. Add a few Colour Control Points to the same editing step (the
editing step created in step 5) as a form of local dodge and burn if
necessary. I often use a technique where the background is darkened
to emphasize the main subject. I also use Colour Control Points to
soften or increase local contrast if necessary or to get a better sky
colour. A fantastic tool which automatically creates very advanced
masking, and I really hope version 2 of CNX will utilize this
technique for all adjustments, including sharpening and NR. (Update:
CNX v2 has selection points utilizing the advanced u-point technology
for masking, which can be used for all adjustments).

8. Adjust the linked USM and High Pass sharpening to avoid visible
halos and too much sharpening. I normally use a USM setting of around
25-4-1, and a High Pass radius of 1-2 and opacity of around 40%
(luminance) and 10% (chrominance). I then paint the selective
sharpening with the +brush with a size of around 50-70 pixels, brush
hardness 0% and opacity 100%. I begin painting the edges of the
objects I want to sharpen, and then increase the brush size to paint
the remaining objects inside the edges.

9. I save the editing back to the original NEF. In the case of
external NR in step 3, I save the editing of the temporary TIF to a
new NEF file for eventual full future reversibility.

Ole Thorsen


Knowing what
thou knowest not
is in a sense
(Grook by Piet Hein)

Ole Thorsen


Knowing what
thou knowest not
is in a sense
(Grook by Piet Hein)

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