Another Picture Control Question...

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John Retsal Regular Member • Posts: 259
Another Picture Control Question...
1

I've asked a couple questions here and got, for the most part, some good replies.  I've also been reading many other threads and I think I've just about closed in on what I need to to.

I want to run this by you folks first though.

OK, so, I'm not a heavy post-processing guy.  I've got a couple custom Picture Controls that I like and would likely be applying to 90+% of the raw images I shoot.  My question is this...

As I understand it, using a neutral or better, flat, Picture Control set in the camera, would allow me to better see whether or not, at the time of taking the shot, I need to adjust exposure.  If I were to use a different one, say Standard or Auto, I may see in the EVF an image that I might think I need to bump the exposure on whereas in reality it didn't need that but rather it was the Picture Control that was using too much contrast and making it look that way.

Does that make sense?

ANSWER:
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john isaacs Veteran Member • Posts: 8,133
Re: Another Picture Control Question...
5

John Retsal wrote:

I've asked a couple questions here and got, for the most part, some good replies. I've also been reading many other threads and I think I've just about closed in on what I need to to.

I want to run this by you folks first though.

OK, so, I'm not a heavy post-processing guy. I've got a couple custom Picture Controls that I like and would likely be applying to 90+% of the raw images I shoot. My question is this...

As I understand it, using a neutral or better, flat, Picture Control set in the camera, would allow me to better see whether or not, at the time of taking the shot, I need to adjust exposure. If I were to use a different one, say Standard or Auto, I may see in the EVF an image that I might think I need to bump the exposure on whereas in reality it didn't need that but rather it was the Picture Control that was using too much contrast and making it look that way.

Does that make sense?

No sense at all.  Picture controls are for JPG.  If you shoot RAW, then why bother?

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OP John Retsal Regular Member • Posts: 259
Re: Another Picture Control Question...
1

john isaacs wrote:

John Retsal wrote:

I've asked a couple questions here and got, for the most part, some good replies. I've also been reading many other threads and I think I've just about closed in on what I need to to.

I want to run this by you folks first though.

OK, so, I'm not a heavy post-processing guy. I've got a couple custom Picture Controls that I like and would likely be applying to 90+% of the raw images I shoot. My question is this...

As I understand it, using a neutral or better, flat, Picture Control set in the camera, would allow me to better see whether or not, at the time of taking the shot, I need to adjust exposure. If I were to use a different one, say Standard or Auto, I may see in the EVF an image that I might think I need to bump the exposure on whereas in reality it didn't need that but rather it was the Picture Control that was using too much contrast and making it look that way.

Does that make sense?

No sense at all. Picture controls are for JPG. If you shoot RAW, then why bother?

Quoting myself (perhaps you missed it)...

"As I understand it, using a neutral or better, flat, Picture Control set in the camera, would allow me to better see whether or not, at the time of taking the shot, I need to adjust exposure."

TheWillRogers
TheWillRogers Regular Member • Posts: 470
Re: Another Picture Control Question...

john isaacs wrote:

John Retsal wrote:

I've asked a couple questions here and got, for the most part, some good replies. I've also been reading many other threads and I think I've just about closed in on what I need to to.

I want to run this by you folks first though.

OK, so, I'm not a heavy post-processing guy. I've got a couple custom Picture Controls that I like and would likely be applying to 90+% of the raw images I shoot. My question is this...

As I understand it, using a neutral or better, flat, Picture Control set in the camera, would allow me to better see whether or not, at the time of taking the shot, I need to adjust exposure. If I were to use a different one, say Standard or Auto, I may see in the EVF an image that I might think I need to bump the exposure on whereas in reality it didn't need that but rather it was the Picture Control that was using too much contrast and making it look that way.

Does that make sense?

No sense at all. Picture controls are for JPG. If you shoot RAW, then why bother?

Because the histogram is generated using the applied picture control. Though, if you're not editing the raws and just using PC then you don't really need to worry about this.

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Paul Pasco
Paul Pasco Veteran Member • Posts: 9,539
Re: Another Picture Control Question...

Don't picture controls mostly alter tone, color contrast, etc.? And don't they only apply to jpegs? I am a jpeg only shooter and I assumed that if you shoot raw you can change most things in post so I have to ask, if you have presets you want to use, and you don't like to post process, why do you shoot raw?

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Regards, Paul
Lili's Dad
WSSA Member #450

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OP John Retsal Regular Member • Posts: 259
Re: Another Picture Control Question...

John Retsal wrote:

I've asked a couple questions here and got, for the most part, some good replies. I've also been reading many other threads and I think I've just about closed in on what I need to to.

I want to run this by you folks first though.

OK, so, I'm not a heavy post-processing guy. I've got a couple custom Picture Controls that I like and would likely be applying to 90+% of the raw images I shoot. My question is this...

As I understand it, using a neutral or better, flat, Picture Control set in the camera, would allow me to better see whether or not, at the time of taking the shot, I need to adjust exposure. If I were to use a different one, say Standard or Auto, I may see in the EVF an image that I might think I need to bump the exposure on whereas in reality it didn't need that but rather it was the Picture Control that was using too much contrast and making it look that way.

Does that make sense?

Wow. OK, so I'm quoting myself because the replies so far have missed what I've said. Note what I've highlighted from my original post.

My question is based on what I've been able to gather in my research but I want to make sure I've got it right. So, again, my question...

As I understand it, using a neutral or better, flat, Picture Control set in the camera, would allow me to better see whether or not, at the time of taking the shot, I need to adjust exposure. If I were to use a different one, say Standard or Auto, I may see in the EVF an image that I might think I need to bump the exposure on whereas in reality it didn't need that but rather it was the Picture Control that was using too much contrast and making it look that way.

Is this accurate?

OP John Retsal Regular Member • Posts: 259
Re: Another Picture Control Question...

Paul Pasco wrote:

Don't picture controls mostly alter tone, color contrast, etc.? And don't they only apply to jpegs? I am a jpeg only shooter and I assumed that if you shoot raw you can change most things in post so I have to ask, if you have presets you want to use, and you don't like to post process, why do you shoot raw?

Quoting myself (again)...

OK, so, I'm not a heavy post-processing guy. I've got a couple custom Picture Controls that I like and would likely be applying to 90+% of the raw images I shoot.

I shoot raw because not every photo will fit neatly into one of my saved Picture Controls (that's the <10%) and there are things like white balance and D lighting that are not part of Picture Controls, that might need adjusting.

john isaacs Veteran Member • Posts: 8,133
Re: Another Picture Control Question...
1

John Retsal wrote:

Paul Pasco wrote:

Don't picture controls mostly alter tone, color contrast, etc.? And don't they only apply to jpegs? I am a jpeg only shooter and I assumed that if you shoot raw you can change most things in post so I have to ask, if you have presets you want to use, and you don't like to post process, why do you shoot raw?

Quoting myself (again)...

OK, so, I'm not a heavy post-processing guy. I've got a couple custom Picture Controls that I like and would likely be applying to 90+% of the raw images I shoot.

I shoot raw because not every photo will fit neatly into one of my saved Picture Controls (that's the <10%) and there are things like white balance and D lighting that are not part of Picture Controls, that might need adjusting.

I think Vivid works better, because of increased contrast.

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OP John Retsal Regular Member • Posts: 259
Re: Another Picture Control Question...
1

john isaacs wrote:

John Retsal wrote:

Paul Pasco wrote:

Don't picture controls mostly alter tone, color contrast, etc.? And don't they only apply to jpegs? I am a jpeg only shooter and I assumed that if you shoot raw you can change most things in post so I have to ask, if you have presets you want to use, and you don't like to post process, why do you shoot raw?

Quoting myself (again)...

OK, so, I'm not a heavy post-processing guy. I've got a couple custom Picture Controls that I like and would likely be applying to 90+% of the raw images I shoot.

I shoot raw because not every photo will fit neatly into one of my saved Picture Controls (that's the <10%) and there are things like white balance and D lighting that are not part of Picture Controls, that might need adjusting.

I think Vivid works better, because of increased contrast.

That seems counter intuitive to what I'm asking (unless you meant that in jest).

Higher contrast will produce a scene that, in shadows for instance, would be dark to the point that looking through the EVF one might think that they needed to underexpose to get better shadow detail when in reality they might have the correct exposure.  That's why I'm asking about using a more neutral or flat profile so that I'm not "fooled" into thinking I need to over or underexpose.

john isaacs Veteran Member • Posts: 8,133
Re: Another Picture Control Question...
1

John Retsal wrote:

john isaacs wrote:

John Retsal wrote:

Paul Pasco wrote:

Don't picture controls mostly alter tone, color contrast, etc.? And don't they only apply to jpegs? I am a jpeg only shooter and I assumed that if you shoot raw you can change most things in post so I have to ask, if you have presets you want to use, and you don't like to post process, why do you shoot raw?

Quoting myself (again)...

OK, so, I'm not a heavy post-processing guy. I've got a couple custom Picture Controls that I like and would likely be applying to 90+% of the raw images I shoot.

I shoot raw because not every photo will fit neatly into one of my saved Picture Controls (that's the <10%) and there are things like white balance and D lighting that are not part of Picture Controls, that might need adjusting.

I think Vivid works better, because of increased contrast.

That seems counter intuitive to what I'm asking (unless you meant that in jest).

Higher contrast will produce a scene that, in shadows for instance, would be dark to the point that looking through the EVF one might think that they needed to underexpose to get better shadow detail when in reality they might have the correct exposure. That's why I'm asking about using a more neutral or flat profile so that I'm not "fooled" into thinking I need to over or underexpose.

Higher contrast helps with contrast detect auto focus, which is used by most mirrorless cameras.

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OP John Retsal Regular Member • Posts: 259
Re: Another Picture Control Question...
1

john isaacs wrote:

John Retsal wrote:

john isaacs wrote:

John Retsal wrote:

Paul Pasco wrote:

Don't picture controls mostly alter tone, color contrast, etc.? And don't they only apply to jpegs? I am a jpeg only shooter and I assumed that if you shoot raw you can change most things in post so I have to ask, if you have presets you want to use, and you don't like to post process, why do you shoot raw?

Quoting myself (again)...

OK, so, I'm not a heavy post-processing guy. I've got a couple custom Picture Controls that I like and would likely be applying to 90+% of the raw images I shoot.

I shoot raw because not every photo will fit neatly into one of my saved Picture Controls (that's the <10%) and there are things like white balance and D lighting that are not part of Picture Controls, that might need adjusting.

I think Vivid works better, because of increased contrast.

That seems counter intuitive to what I'm asking (unless you meant that in jest).

Higher contrast will produce a scene that, in shadows for instance, would be dark to the point that looking through the EVF one might think that they needed to underexpose to get better shadow detail when in reality they might have the correct exposure. That's why I'm asking about using a more neutral or flat profile so that I'm not "fooled" into thinking I need to over or underexpose.

Higher contrast helps with contrast detect auto focus, which is used by most mirrorless cameras.

So Picture Control choice affects auto focus?

Samosadude Forum Member • Posts: 75
Re: Another Picture Control Question...
3

John Retsal wrote:

I've asked a couple questions here and got, for the most part, some good replies. I've also been reading many other threads and I think I've just about closed in on what I need to to.

I want to run this by you folks first though.

OK, so, I'm not a heavy post-processing guy. I've got a couple custom Picture Controls that I like and would likely be applying to 90+% of the raw images I shoot. My question is this...

As I understand it, using a neutral or better, flat, Picture Control set in the camera, would allow me to better see whether or not, at the time of taking the shot, I need to adjust exposure. If I were to use a different one, say Standard or Auto, I may see in the EVF an image that I might think I need to bump the exposure on whereas in reality it didn't need that but rather it was the Picture Control that was using too much contrast and making it look that way.

Does that make sense?

In nikonpc.com, there's a picture control by the name of BeatlogIIMaxDR. It's a flat profile which is suitable for RAW shooters. Pretty sure that's what you are looking for.

RBIV Senior Member • Posts: 1,231
Re: Another Picture Control Question...

John Retsal wrote:

As I understand it, using a neutral or better, flat, Picture Control set in the camera, would allow me to better see whether or not, at the time of taking the shot, I need to adjust exposure. If I were to use a different one, say Standard or Auto, I may see in the EVF an image that I might think I need to bump the exposure on whereas in reality it didn't need that but rather it was the Picture Control that was using too much contrast and making it look that way.

Is this accurate?

Well. Regarding Electronic Viewfinders yes, I see differences in the EVF when I change exposure compensation plus or minus --  but when I bracket the exposures and then look at the RAW files after the shoot, what I thought looked better in the EVF isn't always what looks better in post.  It hasn't mattered much how I set picture control.

What I have found works nicely is setting picture control at all the neutral settings, shooting RAW, and use Nikon NXStudio as a RAW processor.  Then I can add or subtract the picture control choices via the software to see what changes they make in my leisure after the shoot.

I suspect if you are mainly shooting JPEG, this is a good way to figure out how to set picture control.  But when shooting RAW in difficult lighting situations, I find the answer is to bracket.

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Gangster Chicken
Gangster Chicken Regular Member • Posts: 393
Re: Another Picture Control Question...

It's like this :

Neutral

It's created to give you a more already finished result that's as close to being good enough from the start with as little brightness, contrast and saturation adjustment as possible needed. Shadow detail suffers a bit more and highlights can be clipped a bit but overall it looks good. This is the best option if you can't be bothered to do much or really any colour, brightness and contrast adjustments.

Flat

Very muted colours, lack of contrast and toned down brightness designed to give you more control over what you want the end photo to look lkike with regards to contrast, brightness and colour saturation. This is the best option if you want a lot more control over how bright, contrasty and saturated you want the end photo to be.

Simple as that. Personally I use flat most of the time even though I only shoot RAW, I want to do as little processing as possible and i'm happy with the results.

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Sagittarius Veteran Member • Posts: 8,562
Re: Another Picture Control Question...

John Retsal wrote:

I've asked a couple questions here and got, for the most part, some good replies. I've also been reading many other threads and I think I've just about closed in on what I need to to.

I want to run this by you folks first though.

OK, so, I'm not a heavy post-processing guy. I've got a couple custom Picture Controls that I like and would likely be applying to 90+% of the raw images I shoot. My question is this...

As I understand it, using a neutral or better, flat, Picture Control set in the camera, would allow me to better see whether or not, at the time of taking the shot, I need to adjust exposure. If I were to use a different one, say Standard or Auto, I may see in the EVF an image that I might think I need to bump the exposure on whereas in reality it didn't need that but rather it was the Picture Control that was using too much contrast and making it look that way.

Does that make sense?

Flat picture control preserves details over a wide tone range from highlights to shadows. It is best for the photographs that will later to be extensively processed  or retouched.

Neutral picture control has minimal processing. Chose it for photographs that will be later processed or retouched.

So both of the PCs you mentioned are for the images that will be later post processed what you want to be minimal.

Exposure has to be right no matter what PC you use. And you can evaluate it based on histogram. If you shoot RAW you can recover highlights and/or shadows which might look clipped.

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Best regards

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tundracamper Senior Member • Posts: 1,971
Re: Another Picture Control Question...

Based on what the LCD is displaying, I am thinking it may not be possible to understand how the underlying RAW image is exposed without using a relatively neutral picture control - though that won’t show you an end result. Of course, if the JPG is not over/under exposed, then clearly the RAW isn’t either. So, maybe try to get your final histogram as centered or left-of-center as possible (in an average sense) without too many blown highlights hope for the best? Here is a lengthy discussion on the Canon side….

https://photo.stackexchange.com/questions/55825/how-to-make-camera-lcd-show-true-raw-data-in-jpg-preview-and-histogram

ghostfox_1 Contributing Member • Posts: 699
Re: Another Picture Control Question...

tundracamper wrote:

Based on what the LCD is displaying, I am thinking it may not be possible to understand how the underlying RAW image is exposed without using a relatively neutral picture control - though that won’t show you an end result. Of course, if the JPG is not over/under exposed, then clearly the RAW isn’t either. So, maybe try to get your final histogram as centered or left-of-center as possible (in an average sense) without too many blown highlights hope for the best? Here is a lengthy discussion on the Canon side….

https://photo.stackexchange.com/questions/55825/how-to-make-camera-lcd-show-true-raw-data-in-jpg-preview-and-histogram

You generally want to do what's called expose to the right, which is expose as much to the right as you can without blowing highlights (especially ones you care about) in the image to preserve shadow detail.

I tend to do centerweighted or spot metering doing a lot of wildlife, so my view on how far to the right I have to go is different than someone doing landscapes, etc. But that's something you learn as you go. The histogram is a pretty good tool, though I'd rather it go off the raw and not the jpg

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Patrick McMahon
Patrick McMahon Senior Member • Posts: 1,572
Re: Another Picture Control Question...

I cannot imagine a senario where a selected picture control would blow out exposure, unless you were to go into the camera's menu system and tinker with the brightness in the picture control.

Equally confusing to me is that you believe a contrast setting on a picture control would be so strong as to blow out exposure. I would recommend placing a photo into your raw processor and swinging the contrast slider back and forth- and then do the same for the exposure slider so that you can train your eye to see the difference between the two adjustments. Contrast and exposure are different- at the extremes they may impact one another, but absolutley not on a picture control.

Really, this seems like a solution in search of a problem.

There is no reason whatsoever that you can't sit down for an hour (really much less) and create your own "picture control" profiles to be applie on import (on either Capture One or LR) - shoot standard and apply. You will actually find it quite fun.

Please use the controls on your camers! namely ISO, metering (spot, matrix, etc.) and EV.

If your picture controls are throwing off your exposure somethng is wrong.

The more you get to know your camera and your processing software the more you will appreciate all of the data a photo contains that may otherwise be technically under or over exposed in a viewfinder.

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tundracamper Senior Member • Posts: 1,971
Re: Another Picture Control Question...

Have you thought about trying to use the NEF Processing option under the image Retouch Menu in-camera? Here’s what I’m thinking. Take the photo using your desired picture control. Then, use the in-camera retouch tool to create a JPG with a neutral picture control. I would think the latter would have a more accurate histogram. Note that I have never done this and it does involve several button presses. However, I would think that would be about the only option in-camera. Then, just ignore the neutral jpgs when transferring your final images. 🤔

j_photo Veteran Member • Posts: 6,065
Re: Another Picture Control Question...
3

John Retsal wrote:

I've asked a couple questions here and got, for the most part, some good replies. I've also been reading many other threads and I think I've just about closed in on what I need to to.

I want to run this by you folks first though.

OK, so, I'm not a heavy post-processing guy. I've got a couple custom Picture Controls that I like and would likely be applying to 90+% of the raw images I shoot. My question is this...

As I understand it, using a neutral or better, flat, Picture Control set in the camera, would allow me to better see whether or not, at the time of taking the shot, I need to adjust exposure. If I were to use a different one, say Standard or Auto, I may see in the EVF an image that I might think I need to bump the exposure on whereas in reality it didn't need that but rather it was the Picture Control that was using too much contrast and making it look that way.

Does that make sense?

Wow, there are a lot of confusing replies in this thread.

Changing picture control changes what you see in the viewfinder, and along with that, changes the histogram that is displayed. You are looking at a jpeg file, with the picture control settings baked in, even when shooting raw.

This can lead to changes in how you or the camera adjusts exposure. For example, with the same actual settings (aperture, shutter speed, and iso), an image taken with the Vivid pc might appear to blow out highlights when the same image taken with the Flat or Neutral pc might not. Generally, the Flat or Neutral pc images will more closely reflect the raw histogram than will the Vivd pc image. So if you are trying to take full advantage of the dynamic range of the raw file, it's easier to evaluate exposure with a flatter, lower contrast pc than with a punchier, higher contrast pc.

I hope that's helpful!

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