D300 noise and Capture NX

Started Nov 29, 2007 | Discussions
OP mink70 New Member • Posts: 12
Re: D300 noise and Capture NX

Thanks for the good suggestions.

Yeah, I guess batching them to TIFFs in Capture NX would work, but it does seem to kind of defeat the point of RAW. Fluxism might be right—the JPEGs out of this camera are very very good. And I'm not sure that a "Fine" JPEG out of the D300 is that much inferior to a TIFF. But there are a number of compelling reasons to use raw—extra exposure lattitude, more detail, superior white balance, and for large prints, CS3s amazing upsampling algorithm that kicks a 5MB file up to 20MB with only minimal losses in quality.

Sigh. Is this proprietary raw format problem unique to NIkon? I haven't heard Canon or Olympus users complain that their photos look inferior or even different in Photoshop. And can we expect all other raw converters to ignore the camera settings in the future? Is that the way it's been with previous NIkon models like D200 and the D80?

Thanks again!!!

Bill Heiser
Bill Heiser Regular Member • Posts: 415
Re: D300 noise and Capture NX

Flashlight wrote:

I use Capture NX with a core2quad 6600 and that works really good.
Before I used a really slow computer (Athlon at 1.8 GHz), so I know
how it feels.

There's one thing I've observed which may contribute to the perception that Capture NX is very slow ... that's "insufficient memory". In my own testing, comparing Capture NX to PS CS3, I've noticed Capture NX uses roughly three times the memory PS uses to edit the same image.

Iliah Borg Forum Pro • Posts: 25,824
Re: D300 noise and Capture NX

SoCalMan wrote:

A RAW image is just a file of numbers, and Nikon has NO intrinsic
advantage in interpreting numbers over Adobe, DxO or anyone else.

Please allow me to respectfully quote you saying "The previous post contains a lot of nonsense."

Meaning of "numbers" is very different depending on the camera. That meaning is a "trade secret", to quote Nikon. To interpret those numbers in an optimal way one badly needs intrinsic knowledge. Those who developed the camera do have a huge intrinsic advantage over third-parties when it comes to rendering raw into an image.

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OP mink70 New Member • Posts: 12
Re: D300 noise and Capture NX

Hey, Iliah, you make a raw developer, don't you?

Why is it so difficult to retain or mimic Nikon's in-camera settings in a third-party program? Unwillingness to share on the company's part? Obstruction?

LSR Regular Member • Posts: 204
Re: D300 noise and Capture NX

The previous post contains a lot of nonsense. In most images, you
will get MUCH better results convering Nikon RAW files to JPGs using
the latest version of Adobe Camera Raw. You don't have to believe me
or the previous poster. The proof is simple, just try it yourself.

You obviously didn't get the point of the message.

A RAW image is just a file of numbers, and Nikon has NO intrinsic
advantage in interpreting numbers over Adobe, DxO or anyone else. A
Canon RAW file looks just like a Nikon or Sony RAW file, with minor
formatting differences. A number is just a number. How can Nikon NX
"know" that a series of numbers came from a D300? What if I edit the
EXIF header of a Canon RAW file to say it is a Nikon file? How would
Capture NX know?

Try it and see for yourself, then maybe you'll understand. The raw file format isn't as simple as you imply. There's a lot more involved than simply reading an EXIF header. For starters, the raw file format includes proprietary encrypted data, and each camera model requires specific treatment (demosacing, profiles, etc.).

You obviously don't understand that the new Nikon cameras rely on advanced processing to get their best results. The in-camera JPEGs, among other things, are corrected for CA and noise. ACR converted JPEGs are nowhere in the same league. At least not yet. Same with raw files. NX processed raw files are superior to ACR in every way. You may be happy with ACR but if you want to get the most out of the new cameras you're not going to get it with ACR. This is not just my opinion, it's the general consensus from thousands of people who have worked with the new cameras.

Adobe, however, has been taking taking collections of numbers and
turning them into pleasing images for many more years than Nikon or
Canon. Adobe has a professional programming staff that is many times
larger and more experienced than those of Nikon and Canon combined.

The size of their programming staff doesn't mean anything, given that ACR is only a tiny blip in Adobe's software lineup. You don't know how many developers are working on ACR, therefore your point is pointless.

I have made extensive tests of Adobe CS3 Camera Raw, Nikon's latest
Capture NX, and numerous 3rd party software packages. Camera Raw is
by the far the best 95% of the time. Capture NX is sometimes better
for deeply under-exposed images, due to lower mid-tone gamma
defaults, but this can be adjusted easily. Overall, Adobe wins hands
down, but it is quite expensive.

Nikon conversion software has traditionally been one of the better raw converters for NEF files. Not in terms of interface, speed, etc., but in terms of total image quality. Other's have preferred ACR or other third party software. That was then.

All that has changed with the introduction of the new cameras. NX is it if you want to get the quaility the new cameras are capable of. ACR may catch up at some point. It would depend, I guess, on Nikon and how much technology they're willing to share with third party developers.

Photobug Veteran Member • Posts: 5,561
Here's a note to Phil!

Don't compare D300's RAW to others with ACR!!! Instead, use the best converter for each camera (Capture NX for D300, DPP for 40D, etc.) for a fair comparison.

mink70 wrote:

Hi folks--

I just got the D300 after nearly four years with an Olympus E-1,
(which was and is a wonderful camera in its way) and I'm thrilled
with the quality of the images. I have one question specifically
about noise: the JPEGs straight from the camera shot at ISO3200, with
high ISO NR set to "low," look very detailed and sharp with extremely
mild and unobtrusive noise. But when I open the NEF file of the same
image (I am shooting RAW+JPEG) in Photoshop CS3 with ACR, the noise
is overwhelming. All the noise reduction available in ACR could not
get the image to look as good and smooth as the JPEG. I tried the
same experiment in RAW Developer, which produced better tonality and
color but still couldn't touch the out-of-the-camera JPEG. Finally, I
fired it up in Capture NX, but found that I hate the interface and,
on my dual G4 Mac with a gig of RAM, the software ran unbearably
slow, slower, in fact, than any program I have tried. Sadly, the
image looked great in NX, just as it did out of the camera. Does
anyone know of any other RAW developer except for Nikon's that
retains the D300's in-camera settings and allows for the same kind of
low-noise yet sharp images? I suppose there's a connected questions
about color accuracy that's being asked, too.

Thanks in advance,
mink70

attilacs Regular Member • Posts: 169
Re: D300 and RAW (Karl)

I agree with you. It is not easy to decide based on opinions from fresh D300 owners.

I think, I will walk up to a store with a CF card in my hand and make a few dozend of shots, go home and compare. This is the only way.
--
aTTilacS

D70s; Tokina 12-24 F/4; Nikkor 35 F/2; 50 F/1.4; 60 F/2.8 Micro; 85 F/1.4; 55-200 DX

Some of the keepers:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/attilacs/

 attilacs's gear list:attilacs's gear list
Ricoh GR Nikon D850 Nikon D3400 Nikon AF-S Nikkor 24-85mm F3.5-4.5G ED VR Nikon AF Micro-Nikkor 60mm f/2.8D +9 more
Bill Heiser
Bill Heiser Regular Member • Posts: 415
Re: D300 noise and Capture NX

LSR wrote:

therefore your point is pointless.

I love it, LOL :-). I want to print this quote and frame it, he he he

But to a more serious reply:

Nikon conversion software has traditionally been one of the better
raw converters for NEF files. Not in terms of interface, speed, etc.,
but in terms of total image quality. Other's have preferred ACR or
other third party software. That was then.

All that has changed with the introduction of the new cameras. NX is
it if you want to get the quaility the new cameras are capable of.
ACR may catch up at some point. It would depend, I guess, on Nikon
and how much technology they're willing to share with third party
developers.

Threads like this are very interesting to people like me who are new to PP. In my own experimentation I have seen a dramatic difference between my D300 NEFs viewed in Capture NX vs ACR. However I'm not sure yet how much of that difference is just because ACR ignores the in-camera settings (Picture Control, Active D-Lighting, etc).

I'm very interested in knowing more specifically "how" NX is "better" than ACR at processing NEFs from the new cameras. Note, I'm not questioning your statement, just wanting to learn :).

Are there any specific examples I can look for, aside from just causally eyeballing the images, to see the differences you mention?

MTT Veteran Member • Posts: 4,954
This goes back to the D70 & 50.

mink70 wrote:

CS3s amazing upsampling algorithm that kicks a 5MB file
up to 20MB with only minimal losses in quality.

Agree, PS does a great job upsampling.

Is that
the way it's been with previous NIkon models like D200 and the D80?

Yes and the same with my D70. I won't use PS ACR to PP my D70 NEFs. I think they look like cr@p in ACR compare to viewing my NEFs in NC or NX. Also, using NC I can right click and send the image to PS to finish processing. But for some reason you can't do that with NX. It feels like Nikon goes out of their way to make their software very un-user friendly. They had something good with NC, but screwed it up with NX. I'm sure NX will improve, but not fast enough. Man, were did that rant come from?

Mark

Thanks again!!!

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Church Event Photographer

Full time auto tech, part time photographer. Mark Thompson/MTT
Louisville, KY. USA

Why do you have to 'put your two cents in'.. but it's only a 'penny for your thoughts'? Where's that extra penny going to?

http://markthompsonphotos.com

nimix Forum Member • Posts: 87
Re: This is the reason...

I mean Capture NX. Nikon Software safes settings that you have made into the NEF (RAW) file. So you can move or rename the file without loosing the settings that you made.

It can also save different variants, so you can esasily restore previous setting if you have nothing but the NEF file...
--
nimix

Iliah Borg Forum Pro • Posts: 25,824
Re: D300 noise and Capture NX

Why is it so difficult to retain or mimic Nikon's in-camera settings
in a third-party program?

In-camera settings are the problem. Problem is interpretation of raw data itself.

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Iliah Borg Forum Pro • Posts: 25,824
should read"

In-camera settings are the problem.

In-camera settings are NOT the problem.

Sorry.

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OP mink70 New Member • Posts: 12
Re: should read"

Iliah Borg wrote:

In-camera settings are the problem.

In-camera settings are NOT the problem.

Sorry.

I thought the big difference between Nikon's software and everyone else's was the fact that third party raw converters can't take advantage of the "tags" that indicate in-camera settings? Or am I wrong in this?

Iliah Borg Forum Pro • Posts: 25,824
Re: should read"

I thought the big difference between Nikon's software and everyone
else's was the fact that third party raw converters can't take
advantage of the "tags" that indicate in-camera settings?

That is the least of a problem.

Spectral sensor response is much more of a problem.

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JasonOdell Senior Member • Posts: 2,282
Re: D300 noise and Capture NX

ACR can't reproduce red from Nikon DSLRs without some serious tweaking.

-Jason

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Author, 'The Photographer's Guide to Capture NX'
Visit my website at: http://www.luminescentphoto.com

JasonOdell Senior Member • Posts: 2,282
Mark- try "Open With"

In Capture NX choose File--> Open With...

You need to set the "open with" application in preferences. NX then sends a 16-bit TIFF to PS or whatever application you've chosen as the "open with" program.

Just be sure the application you choose supports 16-bit color.

-Jason

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SverreE Contributing Member • Posts: 519
This makes me angry!

I've tried using Capture 4.x for a long time with my D70. Then RSP and now Lightroom. I think Lightroom is a very good program and I don't want to go back to Capture.

I think Nikon makes fantastic cameras but have a very silly strategy making life difficult for the customer who don't think they make the best software.

Why not help Adobe and other RAW converters making better conversions then the competition?
Why not be the first major company supporting a open RAW format?

I think they would make more money with this strategy!

Sverre

Iliah Borg Forum Pro • Posts: 25,824
Re: This makes me angry!

Why not help Adobe and other RAW converters making better conversions
then the competition?

Mostly because they don't share Nikons' aesthetics and don't want to be helped.

Why not be the first major company supporting a open RAW format?

Define Open RAW format please. Does it include algorithms and full disclosure of sensor characteristics? If not, it is useless.

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LSR Regular Member • Posts: 204
Re: D300 noise and Capture NX

Threads like this are very interesting to people like me who are new
to PP. In my own experimentation I have seen a dramatic difference
between my D300 NEFs viewed in Capture NX vs ACR. However I'm not
sure yet how much of that difference is just because ACR ignores the
in-camera settings (Picture Control, Active D-Lighting, etc).

I'm very interested in knowing more specifically "how" NX is "better"
than ACR at processing NEFs from the new cameras. Note, I'm not
questioning your statement, just wanting to learn :).

I'd like to learn more too, as so much has changed with the new cameras. All you need to do is take a look at some D3/D300 raw files before conversion. There's a lot of noise visible and some lenses, like the 14-24, show disturbing amounts of CA. The NX converted files or JPEGs look completely different; pristine and clean. ACR converted images are lacking in comparison. It's obvious that Nikon is doing some pretty sophisticated image correction in hardware (JPEGs) or in software (via NX), that goes far beyond simple raw conversion and noise control.

I think Nikon has just introduced the next evolutionary step in digital camera image correction and I would imagine other camera manufacturers will follow suit soon. Sort of like DSP technology for image correction.

The only concern I have is that this new image-correction technology will be proprietary to camera manufacturers, which in turn means a reluctance or refusal to share their technology with third party raw converter developers. It may mean that in the future we'll have to use the camera maker's software if we want to get the most out of our images.

montereyphoto Senior Member • Posts: 1,386
Dfine 2.0

The new Dfine 2.0 from Nik Multimedia is far superior to anything else available. It reduces noise with zero loss of image sharpness. Well worth the money.

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