I have changed my mind.

Started Mar 23, 2008 | Discussions
Steve Bingham
Steve Bingham Forum Pro • Posts: 26,297
I have changed my mind.

For many years I have been an advocate of the latest ACR (Adobe Camera Raw) as a raw converter. However, it seems Adobe simply hasn't kept up with what Nikon has been doing with its DSLR files. Adobe blames it on Nikon, Nikon blames Adobe. I really don't care.

Here is the problem I ran into. ACR, with its Nikon defaults, simply is so far off that each conversion takes considerable effort on my part using all my PP skills to get it where I want it. Example: A recent desert wildflower expedition allowed me to get dozens of wonderful California (and Arizona) Poppy photos. These are tough to photograph without clipping the RED channel. Damn tough for ACR without cutting the exposure 1 to 2 stops in raw conversion and then rescuing the other stuff in PP (PS CS3). I use the channel histogram when converting.

So I tried using Nikon Capture NX 1.3 (which I had used before). Hmmm. The red channel didn't clip! No exposure compensation necessary. Then I noticed, as I had before, that the ACR needed some gentle USM sharpening (.4 at 150% and 0). Layering the two raw conversions in PS CS3 (one on top of the other) I then compared the 3 channels. Hmmm. Capture won! Then I examined the edges where USM can sometimes show .. Capture had slightly less ringing (halo effect) and equal sharpening. What? No way. So I kept messing around trying different curves, sharpening, etc in the two raw converters. Could I get ACR to equal Capture quality? Almost - but no. More importantly, I don't have the time to do that much work on every image.

Looks like I will be switching to Capture NX 1.3. It's hard to teach an old dog new tricks, but in this case Nikon has won me over. (And I am a tough sell!)
--
Steve Bingham
http://www.dustylens.com
http://www.ghost-town-photography.com

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JasonOdell Senior Member • Posts: 2,282
Re: I have changed my mind.

Steve-

One interesting point to note is that by default Capture NX only sharpens in the luminosity channel-- with Photoshop, you have to mess around with other settings to get luminosity sharpening.

-Jason

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Author, 'The Photographer's Guide to Capture NX'
Now Supports Capture NX 1.3
Visit my website at: http://www.luminescentphoto.com

Bob Quinn Senior Member • Posts: 2,204
Re: I have changed my mind.

I gave Capture NX a shot. Aside from it running sloooow, it looks good. I'm sticking with ACR & CS3 until Nikon can come out with a version of Capture NX that runs at a decent speed.

LuvLatins Contributing Member • Posts: 749
Re: I have changed my mind.

I gave Capture NX a shot. Aside from it running sloooow, it looks good. I'm sticking with ACR & CS3 until Nikon can come out with a version of Capture NX that runs at a decent speed.

Fist you can put the cache on a second hard drive to speed up performance and its so unfair to compare it to CS3 and ARC because your not editing the RAW file directly in CS3. NX is slower because your editing directly in the NEF file. I too am angry with Adobe for not improving its ability to edit Nikon NEF files better. NX is far superior in my opinion as well. Not that you can rule out CS3 but now my workflow goes like this.

Camera to NX conversion to TIF to CS3 to Printer.

Long I know

DebraR Contributing Member • Posts: 861
Re: I have changed my mind.

I have been enjoying working with Lightroom (just really spent the time to start learning it). I started going directly to Lightroom, skipping Capture but am concerned that I am not taking advantage of Captures ability to do that initial conversion. If I want to first process my raw files via capture, what is the quickest way (batch processing) to keep the most file info and best raw conversion, before moving into lightroom?

Hope that makes sense, had a bunch of kids over last night for a sleepover (why they call it a "sleep" over, I will never understand).

Thanks in advance!
--
Debra
Nikon D300, D70, D90 Oly C-5050 and an UZI!

Steve Bingham
OP Steve Bingham Forum Pro • Posts: 26,297
Re: I have changed my mind.

And of course this is the best way! (sharpening in luminosity channel only). This would explain the lack of the slight halo effect I saw as I was too lazy to do the routine.

JasonOdell wrote:

Steve-
One interesting point to note is that by default Capture NX only
sharpens in the luminosity channel-- with Photoshop, you have to mess
around with other settings to get luminosity sharpening.

-Jason

 Steve Bingham's gear list:Steve Bingham's gear list
Nikon D810 Nikon D7200 Nikon AF Nikkor 85mm f/1.8D Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 18-140mm F3.5-5.6G ED VR Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 16-80mm F2.8-4E ED VR +20 more
Steve Bingham
OP Steve Bingham Forum Pro • Posts: 26,297
Re: I have changed my mind.

Yep. Looks like I will have to go this way - kicking and screaming. :^)

LuvLatins wrote:

I gave Capture NX a shot. Aside from it running sloooow, it looks good. I'm sticking with ACR & CS3 until Nikon can come out with a version of Capture NX that runs at a decent speed.

Fist you can put the cache on a second hard drive to speed up
performance and its so unfair to compare it to CS3 and ARC because
your not editing the RAW file directly in CS3. NX is slower because
your editing directly in the NEF file. I too am angry with Adobe for
not improving its ability to edit Nikon NEF files better. NX is far
superior in my opinion as well. Not that you can rule out CS3 but
now my workflow goes like this.

Camera to NX conversion to TIF to CS3 to Printer.

Long I know

 Steve Bingham's gear list:Steve Bingham's gear list
Nikon D810 Nikon D7200 Nikon AF Nikkor 85mm f/1.8D Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 18-140mm F3.5-5.6G ED VR Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 16-80mm F2.8-4E ED VR +20 more
MrHughJ Regular Member • Posts: 134
Re: I have changed my mind.

The best part of Capture NX is the Color Control Point(U Point Technology) feature. In the image below, I darkened the entire image using Exposure Compensation. I then placed a Color Control Point(CCP) so that the circle just encompessed the Burrowing Owl. I brightened, satured and added contrast to just the bird, all by working the sliders. No masking, not selections, no nothing. It took about 30 seconds to make the subject pop from the background. This is but one of many features.

The U Point Technology is being offered as a PS plugin for $250 in a program called Viveza. Google that name and watch the demo for the water lily. I called NIK Software and confirmed that the technology in Viveza is identical to Capture NX in regards to CCPs.

Hope that that helps.

Hugh

flbrit Veteran Member • Posts: 4,307
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MrHughJ Regular Member • Posts: 134
Re: I have changed my mind.

Here is the link to the Viveza demo. Remember, you can do all of this in Capture NX using the Color Control Point.

http://www.niksoftware.com/viveza/usa/entry.php?tab=2

Hugh

victorialite Forum Member • Posts: 88
just tagging this thread (nt)
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victorialite

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photoforfun Veteran Member • Posts: 6,084
Finally...

...a respected photographer who discovers that ACR is not an equal RAW converter compared with brand RAW converters... I say this already since I had terribly bad RAW convertions of my Fuji RAW files(a year ago) - more noise and less detail- compared with Fuji HU software. Also highlights seem to be more blown as with brand RAW converter (for sure with Fuji). With my NEF files I saw the same thing happening, less quality, more noise, more blown highlights with ACR... Some people here nearly crusified me for blaming ACR though... because "professionals"use it... Many "professionals" (not all of them of course...) care about speed and money though, not about the ultimate quality...

ACR is good for speed RAW processing and for postprocessing once you're in TIFF or JPEG format, for quality RAW convertion you need to use the brand RAW converter to get the best out of your files. I'm very convinced about this, I am a pixel peeper...

Thanks for posting this Steve, I appreciate.
--
Kindest regards,
Stany
I prefer one really good picture in a day over 10 bad ones in a second...

http://www.fotografie.fr/

RafaelD7
RafaelD7 Senior Member • Posts: 2,033
Re: I have changed my mind.

LuvLatins wrote:

Fist you can put the cache on a second hard drive to speed up
performance and its so unfair to compare it to CS3 and ARC because
your not editing the RAW file directly in CS3. NX is slower because
your editing directly in the NEF file.

What file are you editing (in ACR) if you are not editing the RAW file? I do not follow your statement above.

-- hide signature --

Regards,

Rafael

http://www.pbase.com/aviles
-----------------------------------------
'I only wanted Uncle Vern standing by his new car (a Hudson) on a clear
day. I got him and the car. I also got a bit of Aunt Mary's laundry, and
Beau Jack, the dog, peeing on a fence, and a row of potted tuberous
begonias on the porch and 78 trees and a million pebbles in the driveway
and more. It's a generous medium, photography.' Lee Friedlander

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LilKnytt Veteran Member • Posts: 7,213
Re: I have changed my mind.

Steve,

you know what they say about "old dogs" - not that I'm calling you an old dog. But I know what you mean. It's hard when one is used to one system to give it up for something else. I'm glad I started in NX. I have PS CS3, but only use it for a few things.... Expensive program for so little use. NX is amazing....

Welcome to yet another Nikon product.

Lil
--

The beginning of a gallery, showing my progression with help from caring friends especially on DPR, can be visited by friends & family at

http://lilknytt.zenfolio.com/

breivogel Senior Member • Posts: 2,261
Re: I have changed my mind.

However, the Owl looks like a flash illuminated the center. The control point effect tends to create a "porthole" effect unless you are careful and use quite a few. Still, it is pretty quick and easy.

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Phil_L Veteran Member • Posts: 3,164
Well! Well! .. :-)...

don't be surprised if the elevation of your forehead is questioned.
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Phil_L

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Richard Dong Contributing Member • Posts: 923
Have to agree, NX raw conversion better than ACR (nt)
Kelley Hoffman Senior Member • Posts: 1,285
Re: I have changed my mind.

Steve Bingham wrote:

And of course this is the best way! (sharpening in luminosity channel
only). This would explain the lack of the slight halo effect I saw as
I was too lazy to do the routine.

Uh oh. Another lazy post-processer. Next thing you know you'll be doing everything in CNX.

Kelley
--
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Visit my Belgian Shepherds: http://www.basquelaine.com

DStan
DStan Forum Pro • Posts: 10,726
You can also....

In NX you can apply USM at different setting to different colors. his allows you to, in certain scenes, sharpen even further without halos and other artifacts. Sweet.
--
Stan ;o()

In the spirit of Occam’s Razor one should embrace the less complicated formulation or simply put, less is more.

danp08 Junior Member • Posts: 48
Re: just tagging this thread (nt)

I second that.

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