D300 noise and Capture NX

Started Nov 29, 2007 | Discussions
Ron Marquardt New Member • Posts: 13
Re: This makes me angry!

I don't consider myself an expert on RAW formats, and what tags are supported by what converters, but the following site seems to have the best non-biased review of Nikon RAW format from various cameras. It also makes mention of what tags Adobe (for one - but specifically them due to the earlier controversy that Adobe sparked when it claimed Nikon was keeping NEF too proprietary) interprets, and what they do not.

http://www.rags-int-inc.com/PhotoTechStuff/RawStandards/

From this overview, it sounds like Nikon overall tries to support ISO standards as much as possible, but at issue are tags used/added by Nikon. Much of what Nikon has added appears to specifically address the unique characteristics of a particular camera model and sensor. They appear to be doing so within a standard ISO framework, but with tags that others may not chose to read/apply when they do RAW conversions.

Of course, the write-up at this link may be in error, but my sense is that its pretty well-balanced in its review.

-Ron

dealy663 Contributing Member • Posts: 500
Re: D300 noise and Capture NX

I have a lot of experience now with both ACR and Nikon Capture 4.x through NX 1.3.

Both tools have their uses, pros and cons.

The biggest con of Capture is its speed. The program is simply ridiculously slow, as a software developer myself, I can't fathom how the creators of this program can look themselves in the mirror.

I have a dual core 2.8 Ghz machine w/2Gigs of RAM and that simply is not enough to work at a resonable pace w/Capture NX.

Another negative of Capture NX is its goofy UI, the program isn't exactly easy to use and could really stand some improvements from the likes of the guys at Adobe.

But, and its a big but, I have not yet come across any other RAW processing software that is able to do a superior job to converting NEF files than the Nikon Capture programs. I believe that this is simply a result of the software developers having a direct line to the guys who built the Nikon camera hardware. Noise control, white balance and color processing in Capture work very very well.

I have used ACR for upwards of 90% of my RAW conversions though. For non-challenging photos, or things that aren't going to be used as artwork, ACR has done the job for me most of the time. Speed was the main reason for using ACR most of the time. I've only done a few D300 conversions with ACR so far but I didn't notice anything particularly worse about them then when I was converting D200, D40, D1x, or D100 files.

Remember that you can calibrate ACR for your particular camera to give yourself a bit of a head start in converting the RAW images.
--

Derek

http://www.derekealy.com

Marianne Oelund Veteran Member • Posts: 7,766
The new generation is different

SoCalMan wrote:

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.

We're leaving those days behind, Jim.

Your experience with previous Nikon cameras and files doesn't count with the D300. It's just physics: Sensor technology is nearly optimal, and continued progress in the latest cameras relies heavily on their signal processing.

This will be even more true in future generations, and it will be increasingly difficult for third-party RAW converters to keep up with the in-camera processing and manufacturer-supplied applications.
It isn't simple anymore - sorry!

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

It seems like there's some real consensus on the pros and cons of ACR and Nikon's software. What about Aperture and Capture One? Has anyone had any luck converting NEFs with those? (I know that they don't yet support D300 files, but that's just a matter of time.)

Arash Hazeghi Contributing Member • Posts: 967
Re: Here's a note to Phil!

Agree 100%

Different sensors have different characteristics, thus each have an optimized demosaic and NR algorithm which only the manifacturer of the sensor knows. ACR and others use a generic demosaic algorithm and a generic NR/Anti Moire. Thus picrures from most cameras look the same. I think Phil used DPP for some parts of his 40D review, I think he should use Capture for D300. Colors are much better from Capture and Adobe.

Arash

Iliah Borg Forum Pro • Posts: 25,837
Re: Here's a note to Phil!

Arash Hazeghi wrote:

Different sensors have different characteristics,

Agree 100%

thus each have an optimized demosaic

Demosaicing for Bayer sensor does not depend on sensor properties, pre-demosaicing routines depend mostly on the lens, AA filter, sensor pitch, actual geometry of the sensitive element, and well capacity. Demosaicing can be optimized for those parameters based on spec sheets and little experimentation. Nikon demosaicing is far from being state of the art.

and NR algorithm which only the manifacturer of
the sensor knows.

Same, digital part of NR is nothing really tricky.

ACR and others use a generic demosaic algorithm and
a generic NR/Anti Moire. Thus picrures from most cameras look the
same.

Picture look in ACR/LR is due to design decisions: methods of white balance, saturation control, colour conversion, tone curve, fast imprecise demosaicing and clay-producing (for the lack of better term) NR.

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OP mink70 New Member • Posts: 12
Re: Here's a note to Phil!

Iliah, how does your software do with NEFs, particularly those from the D300? I realize that this may sound like an inducement to plug your product, but I'm merely asking because someone here suggested it as a potential solution to the Capture NX/ACR dilemma.

Karld70 Veteran Member • Posts: 3,553
if you do, let me know what you think /nt/

no text

toor Forum Member • Posts: 93
Re: Disagree 100%

mink70 wrote:

I just hate the idea of having to buy a new $2500 computer to
process the images from my new $1800 camera using a crappy
Japanese-designed piece of software. Why can't

Just for the record, Nik is an American company and Capture is jointly developed with Nikon. From Nik's website:

"Nik Software, Inc. (formerly Nik Multimedia, Inc.) is a privately-held American company that develops software solutions for the growing digital-imaging and photography markets. Established in 1995, ..."

What comes to Capture NX being crappy, I cannot disagree: the software certainly has it's drawbacks. My educated guess is that much is to blame for it using the m$ .net framework, at least for it's lousy speed.

jani

russmedia New Member • Posts: 16
Capture NX ......View NX

Sorry, I'm confused. IS Nikon shipping a full version of Capture NX with purchase of a D300, or "ViewNX" which I presume is the lite version of the software?

Iliah Borg Forum Pro • Posts: 25,837
Re: Here's a note to Phil!

mink70 wrote:

Iliah, how does your software do with NEFs, particularly those from
the D300?

We are working on accurate colour transform.

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no text

Arash Hazeghi Contributing Member • Posts: 967
Re: Here's a note to Phil!

Iliah Borg wrote:

Arash Hazeghi wrote:

Different sensors have different characteristics,

Agree 100%

thus each have an optimized demosaic

Demosaicing for Bayer sensor does not depend on sensor properties,
pre-demosaicing routines depend mostly on the lens, AA filter, sensor
pitch, actual geometry of the sensitive element, and well capacity.
Demosaicing can be optimized for those parameters based on spec
sheets and little experimentation. Nikon demosaicing is far from
being state of the art.

yes I was talking about whole demosaic+predemosaic+postdemosaic routines that are applied to data for each pixel location right after ADC. you are right, Bayer demosaic algorithm by itself is a well defined code and is the same for all Bayer cameras, but the pre-demosaic and even poat-demosaic (like sharpening etc.) rountines are not the same and remember no one has the sensor data sheet except for Nikon and Sony.

and NR algorithm which only the manifacturer of
the sensor knows.

Same, digital part of NR is nothing really tricky.

it's not tricky but you could use a more effective NR algorithm if you know more about the corrolation of the samples (i.e. history of the data) which of course you know better if you know what the actual sensor is. NR in Canon DPP or ACR for example create completely different images.

ACR and others use a generic demosaic algorithm and
a generic NR/Anti Moire. Thus picrures from most cameras look the
same.

Picture look in ACR/LR is due to design decisions: methods of white
balance, saturation control, colour conversion, tone curve, fast
imprecise demosaicing and clay-producing (for the lack of better
term) NR.

-- hide signature --

no text

Arash Hazeghi Contributing Member • Posts: 967
Re: Here's a note to Phil!

Iliah Borg wrote:

Arash Hazeghi wrote:

Different sensors have different characteristics,

Agree 100%

thus each have an optimized demosaic

Demosaicing for Bayer sensor does not depend on sensor properties,
pre-demosaicing routines depend mostly on the lens, AA filter, sensor
pitch, actual geometry of the sensitive element, and well capacity.
Demosaicing can be optimized for those parameters based on spec
sheets and little experimentation. Nikon demosaicing is far from
being state of the art.

and NR algorithm which only the manifacturer of
the sensor knows.

Same, digital part of NR is nothing really tricky.

ACR and others use a generic demosaic algorithm and
a generic NR/Anti Moire. Thus picrures from most cameras look the
same.

Picture look in ACR/LR is due to design decisions: methods of white
balance, saturation control, colour conversion, tone curve, fast
imprecise demosaicing and clay-producing (for the lack of better
term) NR.

Do you actually work for Adobe? If so I have one question, will Adobe improve ACR routines for D300 or do they think the current sw is good enoguh by their standrad?

Thanks,
Arash

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no text

mlmusto Senior Member • Posts: 2,109
Re: Capture NX ......View NX

capture nx 1.3 image processing software; has the NEF converter for d300 files.
will be updated to v. 2.0 before you know it (which will not be free).

i like the 1.3, however.

view nx free download - i can't get that to install- is just an image library/organizer. would like to have so as to avoid lightroom but i can't get it to install and many say it is very buggy.

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Iliah Borg Forum Pro • Posts: 25,837
Re: Here's a note to Phil!

Bayer demosaic algorithm by itself is a well
defined code

Oh no, it is not. There are hundreds of methods and algorithms, and they produce very different results in terms of resolution and noise.

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no text

Iliah Borg Forum Pro • Posts: 25,837
Re: Here's a note to Phil!

Do you actually work for Adobe?

I never claimed so, and I never worked for Adobe in any capacity.

-- hide signature --

no text

rhlpetrus Forum Pro • Posts: 25,860
NX is best for NEFs

My guess is that Capture NX will always get you the best from NEF files. If you look carefully (100%), you'll see it's even better than jpeg at same settings (just open it, NX will keep in-camera settings).

Probably in near future other converters will catch up somewhat, but this is the story with NEFs, NX is about the best around. There was a test here which I can't localize, someone tested all converters witha 2DX image, if I'm not wrong, and NX came close to the top, there was one other that was about same, and it wasn't ACR.

Best.

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

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Regards, RHLPetrus
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rhlpetrus Forum Pro • Posts: 25,860
Iliah:

There was a test here once of many RAW converters with, I think, an image from a D2X. NX came about on top, and I think ACR was high but lower. Do you remember that, anybody has the link?

Iliah Borg wrote:

Do you actually work for Adobe?

I never claimed so, and I never worked for Adobe in any capacity.

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Regards, RHLPetrus
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rhlpetrus Forum Pro • Posts: 25,860
thanks for link, very good! n/t
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Regards, RHLPetrus
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Kai-Uwe Och Forum Member • Posts: 74
Re: D300 noise and Capture NX

I can's say much about the quality of the RAW conversion for different software, when it comes to user interfaces I love CaptureOne LE. Mainly if you need to convert a larger number of pics the batch processing is great.

However I can for sure confirm one major drawback of NX: I have also tried running it on a three years old iBook G4, 1.2GHx, 768MB RAM, but it's useless! Takes forever to do any action, but unfortunately this is currently the only RAW software for D300 files, running on OS 10.3.9.

On my PC I have now installed PS Elements 6, which seems to be ok handlingwise, but I really look forward for a Beta3 or final version of CaptureOne 4 with D300 support. Strangely Beta2 allready supports D3 files!

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