Do Image Settings Matter When Shooting RAW?

Started Jan 4, 2008 | Discussions
AWBoy Forum Member • Posts: 51
Do Image Settings Matter When Shooting RAW?

Hello everyone!

I see everyone here talking about using different image settings such as standard, neutral, vivid, and the D2 modes. Now, as I understand it, shooting in these modes doesn't mean anything if you're shooting and editing RAW files. Am I right?

Mind you, I'm using Lightroom for everything, not CaptureNX.

So will the modes still affect the images I get or do they have no effect? And if they don't, why is everyone here so concerned about them? Why not just do the work later in LR or CS3?

Thanks!
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SoCalSteve Regular Member • Posts: 128
Re: Do Image Settings Matter When Shooting RAW?

They are added to the RAW file as additional tags. CaptureNX sees them and interprets them as the camera would, LightRoom strips them out so you have just the RAW.

I was wondering this too last night so did some tests. The interesting thing is that there is apparently an embedded JPEG in the RAW file, and this JPEG is affected by the settings, however, you can't get at the jpeg. You can see it when LR first displays the thumbnail: it'll look processed. Once LR gets around to creating an actual preview image though, it will change to straight RAW.

I'm now trying out CaptureNX to see if it will work well as an external editor to LR for those times when I want to modify an image after the camera has PP'd it.

Also, from some other threads in this forum, it appears that CaptureNX does a better job, and produces better output (without additional human intervention) than LR/ACR. I'm still experimenting with that myself though.

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Steve
Nikon D300 (D80, CP8700)
Nikkor 18-200 f/3.5-5.6G
Nikkor 50 f/1.8D
Canon 500D Close-up
SB-600

OP AWBoy Forum Member • Posts: 51
Re: Do Image Settings Matter When Shooting RAW?

Thanks! That's what I figured....LightRoom's simplicity and library capabilities still make it my choice for editing though and I don't actually want to bother with settings on the camera while I'm taking the shots. If it's a good shot, I'll take good time later to edit it. I don't want to worry about another thing while shooting.

Also, I've seen exactly what you were talking about with the LightRoom previews....it originally confused me a lot! Somehow, LR seems the camera's preview and then uses that as its initial preview.
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Tonik Contributing Member • Posts: 558
Re: Do Image Settings Matter When Shooting RAW?

SoCalSteve wrote:

They are added to the RAW file as additional tags. CaptureNX sees
them and interprets them as the camera would, LightRoom strips them
out so you have just the RAW.

I was wondering this too last night so did some tests. The
interesting thing is that there is apparently an embedded JPEG in the
RAW file, and this JPEG is affected by the settings, however, you
can't get at the jpeg.

You can extract those jpg's if you want. BreezeBrowser does it I believe.

http://www.breezesys.com

On this part I could be wrong but I am pretty sure the image you see on the back of your camera is actually the imbedded jpg. So that is something to keep in mind if you shoot RAW, the image settings will change your perception of what you shot when you see it on the screen.

SoCalSteve Regular Member • Posts: 128
Re: Do Image Settings Matter When Shooting RAW?

I think you are correct - I could see the difference in the shots on the LCD after taking them, in RAW.
--
Steve
Nikon D300 (D80, CP8700)
Nikkor 18-200 f/3.5-5.6G
Nikkor 50 f/1.8D
Canon 500D Close-up
SB-600

MLKimages Junior Member • Posts: 49
Re: Do Image Settings Matter When Shooting RAW?

Correct,
1. When shooting RAW, what you see on the cameras display is the jpeg file.

2. Lightroom will not read any of your in camera settings except White Balance and exposure settings (shutter speed + f-stop = exposure)

3. IF you want software to read your in camera (jpeg) seting to convert thru the software - your ONLY choice is Capture.

4. You can develop PRESETS in Lightroom to match in camera settings for easy conversions.

Michael

SoCalSteve wrote:

I think you are correct - I could see the difference in the shots on
the LCD after taking them, in RAW.
--
Steve
Nikon D300 (D80, CP8700)
Nikkor 18-200 f/3.5-5.6G
Nikkor 50 f/1.8D
Canon 500D Close-up
SB-600

-- hide signature --

Michael L. kirk

Thomas Comerford Veteran Member • Posts: 9,745
Re: Do Image Settings Matter When Shooting RAW?

Tonik wrote:

SoCalSteve wrote:

They are added to the RAW file as additional tags. CaptureNX sees
them and interprets them as the camera would, LightRoom strips them
out so you have just the RAW.

I was wondering this too last night so did some tests. The
interesting thing is that there is apparently an embedded JPEG in the
RAW file, and this JPEG is affected by the settings, however, you
can't get at the jpeg.

You can extract those jpg's if you want. BreezeBrowser does it I
believe.

http://www.breezesys.com

I wrote a free program which can also be used to do this: http://www.pixelfixer.org

On this part I could be wrong but I am pretty sure the image you see
on the back of your camera is actually the imbedded jpg. So that is
something to keep in mind if you shoot RAW, the image settings will
change your perception of what you shot when you see it on the screen.

If you zoom in on the image the camera shows you the embedded full-size JPEG. For everything else (including histograms, highlights, etc) it uses a 570 x 375 pixel JPEG which is also embedded in the NEF. Your choice of WB, sharpening, tone curve, etc. has no impact on the raw data but since they affect the embedded JPEGs (and therefore, the histograms) you can end up being mislead by the camera.

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SoCalSteve Regular Member • Posts: 128
Re: Do Image Settings Matter When Shooting RAW?

Do you know anywhere offhand that has these matching presets already defined?
--
Steve
Nikon D300 (D80, CP8700)
Nikkor 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6G ED-IF AF-S DX VR II
Nikkor 50 f/1.8D AF
Canon 500D Close-up
Nikon SB-600
Lightroom/Photoshop/OnOne Suite

RomanJohnston
RomanJohnston Forum Pro • Posts: 18,806
Absolutly...

Just becaue you can adjust the settings dosnt mean you can't dial in what you want in camera.....which seriously reduces your work flow.

And For all but the most discriminating photographer...it is in your best interest to upgrade the ram in your PC so ram hungry Capture NX runs at a pace that is tolerable...because it is excellent at processing RAW captures.

Roman
--
'Miles to go before I sleep.'
--Robert Frost
http://www.pbase.com/romansphotos/

Jim VeNard Regular Member • Posts: 114
Re: Do Image Settings Matter When Shooting RAW?

Mind you, I'm using Lightroom for everything, not CaptureNX.

This is my philosophy regarding RAW. I shoot Large Fine Raw and JPG at the same time. I adjust the camera for what I am shooting. I try to consider RAW as a safety net just incase.

I bought Capture and upgraded to Capture NX for my D200. I have Lightroom, I have CS3 and don't get me wrong they are nice programs, but, I think your first steps in PP should be with Capture NX. That is not to say that you cant import using Lightroom and use Lightroom for those shots that look good, but if you really want to spped up PP for shots that need a bit of help, NX is the tool that you should initially rely upon.

Also, with the abilities of the D3/300 if you find an adjustment to your photos that you really like, save it and upload it into your camera for future use.

Good shots

Thomas Comerford Veteran Member • Posts: 9,745
Re: Do Image Settings Matter When Shooting RAW?

SoCalSteve wrote:

They are added to the RAW file as additional tags. CaptureNX sees
them and interprets them as the camera would, LightRoom strips them
out so you have just the RAW.

I was wondering this too last night so did some tests. The
interesting thing is that there is apparently an embedded JPEG in the
RAW file, and this JPEG is affected by the settings, however, you
can't get at the jpeg. You can see it when LR first displays the
thumbnail: it'll look processed. Once LR gets around to creating an
actual preview image though, it will change to straight RAW.

Just one minor point: there is no "straight" raw, as such. What you end up seeing is Lightroom's interpretation of the raw data. Other 3rd party raw converters will also ignore the in-camera settings but they will still render the image a bit differently to the Lightroom does it.

The actual raw data itself only barely resembles an image, so it has to be processed to make it usable.

I'm now trying out CaptureNX to see if it will work well as an
external editor to LR for those times when I want to modify an image
after the camera has PP'd it.

Also, from some other threads in this forum, it appears that
CaptureNX does a better job, and produces better output (without
additional human intervention) than LR/ACR. I'm still experimenting
with that myself though.

-- hide signature --

Steve
Nikon D300 (D80, CP8700)
Nikkor 18-200 f/3.5-5.6G
Nikkor 50 f/1.8D
Canon 500D Close-up
SB-600

-- hide signature --
raymondox Veteran Member • Posts: 3,680
Re: Do Image Settings Matter When Shooting RAW?

The main advantage of NX is that it uses Nikons algorithms and camera settings. Assuming Nikon designers and software programmes talk to each oither this means they should work best with the hardware in the camera.

As far as I know Nikon does not release its in camera algorithms to anyone else.

In answer to your question though no, image settings do not matter although if you use NX they're a great starter for 10 as NX applies the in camera settings as the default start point rather than starting from the basic raw which other software will have to.

Of course ISO, speed and aperture make a big difference but I assume you don't mean that.

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Bluenose

BDMYSTIFY Regular Member • Posts: 226
Re: Do Image Settings Matter When Shooting RAW?

A lot of the camera settings probably don't matter unless you want to minimize the time you'll spend in post-processing. After spending some major hours doing RAW post-processing myself, now I know I'd rather get the stuff correct within the camera, rather than putting it off later altogether. I'd rather know that it was done the way I wanted on the spot, rather than having to remember and worry about what I'll need to correct when that time comes. Making an educated guess within the camera gives you a great starting point. So I'd say that if you want to reduce your work load and worries, do the best you can to get things the way you want in the camera.

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Brandon

TestEng Contributing Member • Posts: 625
Photo Mechanic can extract the embedded JPEG too (n/t)
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There are 10 kinds of people in the world: Those that understand binary, and those that don't.

glhid Regular Member • Posts: 188
Irfanview apparently does too

Irfanview converts NEF files to JPGs extremely quickly, and they are almost certainly the embedded JPGs, because they tend to have visible differences from the NEFs when viewed in the same program (i.e. NikonView or ViewNX.) Incidentally, this is one thing ViewNX does well (not surprisingly)--its converted JPGs look exactly like the NEFs it displays, even if it takes forever to do it. So it's a handy tool for doing 'plain' (i.e. no-PP-wanted) JPG conversions.

 glhid's gear list:glhid's gear list
Nikon 1 AW1
Rickard Hansson Senior Member • Posts: 2,082
Re: Do Image Settings Matter When Shooting RAW?

MLKimages wrote:

Correct,
1. When shooting RAW, what you see on the cameras display is the
jpeg file.
2. Lightroom will not read any of your in camera settings except
White Balance and exposure settings (shutter speed + f-stop =
exposure)
3. IF you want software to read your in camera (jpeg) seting to
convert thru the software - your ONLY choice is Capture.

I think ToneUp also reads the information. It is built with nikons engine.

It also gives you some other things, like transfer of curves to the camera and stuff like that. It is an cheap software, i have it as well as Capture NX.

4. You can develop PRESETS in Lightroom to match in camera settings
for easy conversions.

Michael

SoCalSteve wrote:

I think you are correct - I could see the difference in the shots on
the LCD after taking them, in RAW.
--
Steve
Nikon D300 (D80, CP8700)
Nikkor 18-200 f/3.5-5.6G
Nikkor 50 f/1.8D
Canon 500D Close-up
SB-600

-- hide signature --

Michael L. kirk

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Rickard Hansson
Sweden

dbvand Senior Member • Posts: 1,915
Roman

RomanJohnston wrote:

And For all but the most discriminating photographer...it is in your
best interest to upgrade the ram in your PC so ram hungry Capture NX
runs at a pace that is tolerable...because it is excellent at
processing RAW captures.

How much ram does it need?

Did you ever use Capture 4? Is Capture NX better than Capture 4 (I know Capture 4 won't open D300 files) ?

-- hide signature --

Bryan V.
P.S. I've had amnesia for as long as I can remember.

Dave Santora Senior Member • Posts: 2,552
Pixel Fixer does not work...

Hi Thomas

Just tried your app and I get no JPEG output from a D300 14-bit NEF.

Not sure about what is supposed to happen...
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http://www.arizonadigitalphotography.com - finally up, give a look

http://www.davidlakephotos.com - wedding site in the works...

BDMYSTIFY Regular Member • Posts: 226
Re: Roman

dbvand wrote:

How much ram does it need?

I have Capture NX installed on two of my computers. On one of my old computers, 512MB RAM just wouldn't cut it for me. It was way too slow for Capture NX. Now, I have a little over 3GB of RAM running on my primary PC. So, I'd estimate that it would take at least 2-3GB for Capture NX to run smoothly. As he said, just max the dang thing out, and you shouldn't have any doubts, haha.

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Brandon

Rotorbug
Rotorbug Contributing Member • Posts: 697
Re: Do Image Settings Matter When Shooting RAW?

Yes, the LCD shows the Jpeg, which is why the image in a raw converter initially looks disapointing compared to the back of the camera.

I find there is a bigger difference between what you see on the LCD, and then in the RAW converter with the D300, compared to the D200. The D300 more often than not needs the shadows lifted alittle - about 10 to 15 in Phase One Capture 4.

Maybe some of this is the improved LCD screen, making the Jpeg look that much better.

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