D300 High ISO Pics...

Started Jun 10, 2008 | Discussions
OP Jan Anne Offereins Regular Member • Posts: 253
Original file...

Oliver reid wrote:

Please post the original raw file of the Meerkat. I'd like to see how
it does with Lightroom

Dave asked this as well, the "problem" with NX is that it saves all the changes in the NEF itself so I don't have the original out of the camera NEF file anymore....

The new file grew 4MB and can't be opened with Preview or iPhoto anymore and PhotoMatix looks really funny:-( When I select the file it shows the new imbedded preview but it can't open the NEF.

Aperture is fine though and shows the original version and not the updated version, don't know how Lightroom will handle this....

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lwiley
lwiley Senior Member • Posts: 1,269
Re: Original file...

Jan Anne Offereins wrote:

Oliver reid wrote:

Please post the original raw file of the Meerkat. I'd like to see how
it does with Lightroom

Dave asked this as well, the "problem" with NX is that it saves all
the changes in the NEF itself so I don't have the original out of the
camera NEF file anymore....

I don't think that would be a problem. Other RAW converters ignore any edits you've done with NX.

Leroy

OP Jan Anne Offereins Regular Member • Posts: 253
Re: Original file...

I found the original, it was still on the second memory card used that day.

The funny thing is that Preview won't open it also, very strange since OSX has the RAW codecs imbedded in the OS (so Aperture shouldn't be able to open them as well), somethings fishy....

Tried to upload it to YouSendIt but after 4 failed attempts I gave up, I really have to go to work now:-)

I'll try again tonight (11 hours from now).

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cayzi Contributing Member • Posts: 559
Re: My Workflow with NX2...

Jan Anne Offereins wrote:

With the ISO 6400 pic I did the following (all from the default
editing list):

  • Camera Settings> Noise Reduction:

  • Method: Better Quality

  • Edge Noise Reduction: On

But when you select noise reduction settings under NX there is much more parameters to set than just method, edge NR.

Did you change them as well? What was the value?

Brian_Downunda Regular Member • Posts: 457
Re: Original file...

Most people here seem to use either NX(2) or LR(2) or perhaps ACR.

I regard the Bibble-NN combination the champion for this type of image. Bibble uses Noise Ninja to perform NR at the time of conversion, and the results have to be seen to be believed. I've good good A4 prints from D200 images shot at ISO3200 in the most diabolical lighting conditions. It's not magic, but by golly it's very, very close.

Brian D.

Dave Santora Senior Member • Posts: 2,552
Just email me the original, please!

I'm really curious to see what I can get with Lightroom.

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Michael Czeiszperger Regular Member • Posts: 143
Re: Just email me the original, please!

Dave Santora wrote:

I'm really curious to see what I can get with Lightroom.

Absolutely! Please make the RAW file available so a Lightroom user can compare the output-- then we'd have Lightroom vs. NX vs. Aperture.

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OP Jan Anne Offereins Regular Member • Posts: 253
Re: My Workflow with NX2...

cayzi wrote:

But when you select noise reduction settings under NX there is much
more parameters to set than just method, edge NR.

Did you change them as well? What was the value?

No, the were and still are:
Intensity: 21%
Sharpness: 7

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OP Jan Anne Offereins Regular Member • Posts: 253
Donwload the original file for processing here....

Ok here we go, the original NEF can be downloaded here for educational purposes only:
https://download.yousendit.com/0F0B725036486086

Let's make this a contest, show us your best NR skills with this ISO 6400 picture and describe the tools and workflow you used to get there.

So this isn't about manipulating the picture in some sort of art form but just getting the best IQ possible from a D300 ISO 6400 pic and sharing your knwowledge with your fellow Nikonians.

Good luck:-)

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Dave Santora Senior Member • Posts: 2,552
Here is my quick LR & CS3 attempt

Close but the skin tone is better in yours. Mine is also a bit too sharp in the crop, but would print well this way. Many ways to skin a kat - haha couldn't resist

Thanks for uploading BTW
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DezM
DezM Forum Pro • Posts: 34,964
Re: D300 High ISO Pics...

Impressive Jan. I wonder if these can be reproduced in NX 1.3.3.
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GaborSch Veteran Member • Posts: 7,203
NCX adjusted

The new file grew 4MB and can't be opened with Preview or iPhoto anymore and PhotoMatix looks really funny:-( When I select the file it shows the new imbedded preview but it can't open the NEF

If you upload the Nikon Capture processed raw file as well, I take a look at it. I know of a particular error created by Capture X in the TIFF structure. If that is, whuich prevents other programs from opening it, then I create a small program to repair it.

OleThorsen Veteran Member • Posts: 3,111
Here is my NX2+Dfine attempt

These are very impressive high ISO pictures Jan.

I downloaded your original NEF using my usual workflow with high ISO NEFs. Here is my attempt:

Resized

Link to full size JPEG: http://www.pbase.com/ole_thorsen/image/98585793

100% crop

My usual Capture NX2 (CNX2) workflow for high ISO NEFs (taken from an earlier description, but added relevant info for this picture):

0. For wildlife/nature photos I prefer to use D2XMODE3 as basis for the conversion, and since you used Standard, I changed the Picture Control to D2XMODE3.

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 noise.

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 30/100).

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.

Regards
Ole Thorsen
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OleThorsen Veteran Member • Posts: 3,111
You forgot to link to the original 100%crop

Dave Santora wrote:

Close but the skin tone is better in yours. Mine is also a bit too
sharp in the crop, but would print well this way. Many ways to skin
a kat - haha couldn't resist

Very good attempt Dave.

I changed the link to your 100% crop so it's the original size and not a resized crop.

Regards
Ole Thorsen
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TrekSF6 Veteran Member • Posts: 4,090
Re: Here is my NX2+Dfine attempt

Excellent Ole! I thought the picture was excellent to begin with, but you definitely improved it. And thank you for posting your work flow. (although I would never put that much work into a photo)

I am still amazed at this ISO 6400 picture though. I wonder if the fact that the animal is practically grayscale in color has anything to do with it. I don't care how many ways I would expose a high ISO picture with my D300, I would never get this kind of result. I want Jans camera! lol
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OleThorsen Veteran Member • Posts: 3,111
The exposure and the light source

S.A. wrote:

Excellent Ole! I thought the picture was excellent to begin with, but
you definitely improved it. And thank you for posting your work flow.
(although I would never put that much work into a photo)
I am still amazed at this ISO 6400 picture though. I wonder if the
fact that the animal is practically grayscale in color has anything
to do with it. I don't care how many ways I would expose a high ISO
picture with my D300, I would never get this kind of result. I want
Jans camera! lol
--
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First of all Jan's exposure is very good to start with.

Then the exposure with 1/500s F9 ISO6400 is not a particularly low light situation, you will often have much less light in many indoor evening situations. Though the exposure indicate it's taken under a dark grey sky, which requires very good noise performance from the camera for moving subjects. I don't know the light source in this picture, but it looks like it's outdoor under a dark grey sky. I typically have 125s F8 ISO1600 under these light conditions.

Typical indoor light like incandescent is much worse for the noise performance.

Regards
Ole Thorsen
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OP Jan Anne Offereins Regular Member • Posts: 253
Arghhh, Pbase is down:-(

Hi Ole,

You made me very curious about the results but PBase is down so I guess I have to wait a bit longer...

Thanks for sharing your workflow though, there is a lot of stuff in NX2 I didn't know about so there's much to learn.

One remark on your workflow, you mention Nik DFine as the preferred NR tool. Isn't there a small change that Nikon included this technology in NX2 since they invested in Nik Software a while back??

Here's a link of the news article I rememberred reading:
http://www.dpreview.com/news/0602/06021501nikonnik.asp

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rlebreiro Regular Member • Posts: 278
Re: ok, but what about low light?!

hi,

first of all very nice noise handling, for sure

anyway, IMHO there's not that much interest in checking high iso noise under good light

as we all know, the noise shows up when under low light

lately i've been disappointed w/ d300 in that respect. Over iso1600, it has significant noise, mainly on shadows and object limits

maybe you can test your d300 in these circumstances

cheers,

OleThorsen Veteran Member • Posts: 3,111
I can send you the NEFs if you wish

Jan Anne Offereins wrote:

Hi Ole,

You made me very curious about the results but PBase is down so I
guess I have to wait a bit longer...

Thanks for sharing your workflow though, there is a lot of stuff in
NX2 I didn't know about so there's much to learn.

One remark on your workflow, you mention Nik DFine as the preferred
NR tool. Isn't there a small change that Nikon included this
technology in NX2 since they invested in Nik Software a while back??

Yes unfortunately Pbase is down again for several hours with the laconic message it will be up again in 10 minuttes.....

For high ISO pictures I always use selective NR with more NR on the background than the main subject, and selective sharpening on the main objects only.

My installation of NX2 unfortunately has a strange fault. NR works fine under Develop/Camera settings, but that functions like a global NR. If I add NR as an editing step under Adjust no NR is performed at all. So I still haven't tried controlling the NX2 NR with the new selection points like Dfine also utilize. Still the advantage with Dfine will be that you can control luminance and chrominance NR for each control point, while in NX2 you can only control luminance and chrominance NR in the opacity setting that works globally for the NR editing step, so you will have to make several NR editing steps if you want to vary the split between the luminance and chrominance NR strength. The Dfine also has a "Keep details" slider which is very good for keeping details.

The advantage with keeping a complete CNX workflow including NR, would be that also the NR would be fully reversible and adjustable later on if you wish to change the settings.

I can send you the two NEFs resulting from my workflow if you're interested.

The first NEF ( JAO4442nx.nef) based on your original, with the following PP

  • changed the Picture Control to D2XMODE3, set the sharpening to 0 and brightness to -1

  • Exposure compensation changed to -0.34EV

  • Cropped the picture

  • Saved as JAO4442nx.nef and JAO4442nx.tif (16bit temporary file)

The second NEF ( JAO4442nx DFselect nx.nef) based on the temporary 16bit TIF with Dfine selective NR applied.

  • Levels & Curves editing step with a weak s-curve for contrast

  • Sharpening editing step with linked selective USM (30-4-1) and High Pass Sharpening (radius 1.2, opacity luminance 55% chrominance 0%)

  • Auto Retouch editing step to eliminate some hot pixels that Dfine selective NR didn't remove.

By the way - was this taken outdoors under a dark grey sky? Your exposure were 1/500s F9 ISO6400, and I get similar exposures for birds under a dark grey sky or in shadows at 1/125s F8 ISO1600, which is my current limit for high ISO.

Regards
Ole Thorsen
http://www.pbase.com/ole_thorsen

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thou knowest not
is in a sense
omniscience.
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egrivel Senior Member • Posts: 1,841
Re: ok, but what about low light?!

rlebreiro wrote:

anyway, IMHO there's not that much interest in checking high iso
noise under good light

as we all know, the noise shows up when under low light

Are you saying that the noise characteristic of the sensor depends on the duration of the exposure? That is, when the same total amount of light falls on the sensor, there will be more noise if that amount falls over a longer time (1/4 second, for instance) than when it falls over a shorter time (1/500 second)? Because apart from the shutter time, there wouldn't be any difference between low light and good light as far as what happens on the sensor. Assuming, of course, you expose "correctly" in either case.

Eric
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