Nikon Capture 3.0

Nikon Capture 3.0 is the latest version of Nikon's RAW conversion application which started life with the D1 back in 1999. Nikon Capture has always been an optional purchase, and remains so with the D100 (although you can at least perform some RAW manipulation in Nikon View Editor).

Nikon Capture Major Features

  • Open JPEG, TIFF and NEF (Nikon RAW) files (understands image colour space)
  • Save as JPEG (EXIF or JFIF), TIFF (RGB or CMYK) re-save NEF with 'image adjustments'
  • Process images in batches, can be set up as a batch conversion 'server'
  • Full view, zoom (up to 1600%) and scroll images
  • Detailed shooting information (general, lens used, exposure, camera settings etc.)
  • Selectable colour spaces for monitor, printer and CMYK separation
  • Edit IPTC information (see previous page) including load/save IPTC info
  • Print single image
  • Copy & Paste Image Adjustments between images (single adjustments or the 'set')
  • Load & Save Image Adjustments
  • Flip (horizontal / vertical) and rotate (-90, 90 or 180 degrees) image
  • Image resize (including ppi)
  • Select image area and save selection
  • Create camera tone curves
  • 'Receive' images directly from Camera Control
  • Image adjustments
    • Brightness
    • Contrast
    • Red / Green / Blue balance
    • Digital exposure compensation (+/-2.0 EV in 0.01 EV steps) *
    • Sharpening (Unchanged, None, Low, Normal, High) *
    • Tone compensation (Unchanged, Less Contrast, Normal, More Contrast, Custom) *
    • Colour mode (Unchanged, I sRGB, II Adobe RGB, III sRGB) *
    • Hue Adjustment (+/-9° in 3° steps) *
    • Saturation compensation (0 - 9) *
    • White balance (Recorded, Gray Point, Auto, Incandescent, Fluorescent, Fluorescent High, Direct Sunlight, Shade, Cloudy, Flash) - fine tunable *
    • Unsharp mask (mulitple masks can be overlaid)
    • Color Noise reduction (Low, Medium, High)
    • Edge Noise reduction

* Nikon RAW (NEF) files only

Nikon Capture Preferences

The Preferences dialog allows you to control various default settings such as the 'user default' set of image adjustments, temporary files, grid lines and colour management settings (colour space used for monitor, local print and CMYK output.

Nikon Capture Tool Palettes

Nikon Capture 3 now supports the concept of tool palettes. You can have two palettes and you can simply drag and drop tools between the palettes. This is useful as it allows you to build up a palette of tools you use most often. Other new features include the ability to copy and paste tool settings (either one by one or as a 'set') between one image and another.

Nikon Capture Tools

When working with TIFF or JPEG images the settings below are applied to the image at the time it is saved, the original 'state' of the image can not be retrieved (unless you save as a different filename). However, for Nikon RAW (NEF) files these settings are simply recorded in the header of the RAW file, you can always revert back to the RAW file as it was when the shot was taken.

The Bird's Eye tool gives you an overview of the image along with a movable rectangle which indicates the current viewing window.
The Information tool provides information about the current colour space, cursor position and RGB value at that position
The Size/Resolution tool allows you to choose the output size for the image, this allows you to create a smaller or larger image and also 'mark' the image with the output PPI (pixels per inch) for printing.
The Color Balance tool allows you to adjust the tone and colour balance of the image.
The Curves tool provides a 'Photoshop like' combined curves and levels function. You can adjust high / medium / low grey levels, drag a new brightness curve or adjust individual levels. You can also perform automatic adjustments by picking high / medium / low grey points or click on the fully automatic adjustment button.
The Unsharp Mask tool allows you to create multiple unsharp mask elements. An unsharp mask sharpens the image by applying a 'tweaked' S-curve to the tonal balance of the image.
The Noise Reduction tool can be used to eliminate the noise we would expect to see in an image shot at high sensitivity (ISO). Color Noise reduction introduces a 'watercolor-like' noise reduction algorithm. Edge Noise reduction is probably the most interesting as it manages to enhance the sharpness of edges while removing and jaggedness due to noise or interpolation issues.
The White Balance tool is only available for Nikon RAW (NEF) files. It allows you to select an alternative white balance than that which was used at the time of exposure. You can select from a wide range of pre-programmed white balance settings (which can be fine tuned) as well as automatically calculated or gray point white balance.
The Advanced RAW tool is only available for Nikon RAW (NEF) files. It allows you to change certain image settings which are only available for RAW files. You can 'shift' the exposure digitally with the exposure compensation slider (+/-2.0 EV in 0.01 EV steps). You can also change the sharpening, tone compensation, colour mode, hue and saturation settings from those which were used at the time the image was shot.

Nikon Capture Batch processing

You can easily set Nikon Capture to process a batch of images, either a single folder or multiple folders. You can even leave it checking for images and converting them automatically, this would be useful in a multi-user office network environment where RAW files could be 'dropped' into a standard shared directory and automatically processed by the Nikon Capture server.