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Author Topic: Nikon Capture NX forum?  (Read 16099 times)
ghervey
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« on: April 23, 2008, 03:39:56 PM »
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I was delighted to see Mr. Reichmann giving the new Nikons a try.  I would love it if he and his talented colleagues could give Capture NX a try, too.  To that end, I would like to suggest that the forum selections under the RAW Processing section be expanded to include a discussion of NX.  I find it to be a powerful tool that has not received the credit that it deserves.  

After 30 years as a film photographer and working in B&W and color darkrooms, I made the jump to digital SLRs about 4 years ago.  I selected Nikon only because a friend had one and we wanted to be able to trade lenses (which we still do).  

Since then, I have devoted countless hours to learning Photoshop.  While I can definitely use it, I still find it a monster of a program that overwhelms me with features and settings, many of which I really don't need or understand.

Nikon Capture NX appeals to me because it reminds me of being in the darkroom.  It has a manageable number of controls, and I can get it to do what I want quickly.  I get great results out of NX in a short amount of time.  And, the file size stays pretty close to the original NEF size.  About 20-25MB (for the D200) rather than the 300+MB files PS often produces.  Moreover, in a side-by-side comparison of a NEF image processed by NX and one processed by ACR, the NX one looks better, at least to me.  

Nikon Capture NX has received very little professional treatment.  I am aware of only one book on it (RealWorld Capture NX), one eBook (by Jason Odell), and one DVD (by Vincent Versace).  These resources are all good, especially when read together.  But, I would love to see more attention devoted to it.  I have really enjoyed the videos that Michael Richmann and Jeff Schewe have made available with respect to PS and Lightroom, and it would be great to see something like that for NX.  But, that is almost certainly asking too much for now.  

Maybe we could at least start small.  I would like to suggest a new forum under the RAW Processing section of this site devoted to NX.  While there are other places that have some discussions devoted to Capture (such as Nikonians, but even that site does not have a dedicated forum), I have always found the tenor and professionalism of this site to be several notches higher than most others out there.  I believe that a forum on this site devoted to NX would prompt a serious exchange of ideas that would benefit the many Nikon users who enjoy this site.  

Anyway, just my suggestion.  Anyone else interested?

Geoffrey Hervey
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Geoffrey Hervey
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« Reply #1 on: April 23, 2008, 04:18:19 PM »
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I believe that a forum on this site devoted to NX would prompt a serious exchange of ideas that would benefit the many Nikon users who enjoy this site. 

Anyway, just my suggestion.  Anyone else interested?

Geoffrey Hervey
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=191466\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]


Yes, please. The user interface of Capture NX ioperates in a different world from ACR, offering a completely different approach to colour correction, yet apparently as-good or better results from NEFs.  I can use all the help I can get with this software.
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ghervey
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« Reply #2 on: April 23, 2008, 04:28:55 PM »
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Yes, please. The user interface of Capture NX ioperates in a different world from ACR, offering a completely different approach to colour correction, yet apparently as-good or better results from NEFs.  I can use all the help I can get with this software.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=191472\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

I agree.  It took me several tries to get used to the interface and controls, but once I did I really started to enjoy them.  I also think I am getting terrific results from this program, and much faster than I am able in PS and ACR.
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Geoffrey Hervey
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« Reply #3 on: April 23, 2008, 05:41:40 PM »
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Hey go for it - done!
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Christopher Sanderson
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Daniel Arnaldi
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« Reply #4 on: April 23, 2008, 07:03:25 PM »
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I have really enjoyed the videos that Michael Richmann and Jeff Schewe have made available with respect to PS and Lightroom, and it would be great to see something like that for NX.

I agree that NX is the best tool for converting NEFs, it gives better results than ACR/LR, but as for tutorials from the this site covering it the as they do for ACR and LR I'm not so sure that's such a realistic hope.

There are several RAW converters out there, a few of which support RAW formats from more than one camera manufacturer, when you consider that NX only works for Nikon files then any tutorial will have limited appeal. When you also consider that most users that shoot RAW will use ACR/LR as their primary converters the market for manufacturer specific tools becomes very small.

Nikon are not unique among camera makers for underselling their RAW converters, but Nikon have a very unique product, one that even Adobe can't match. For those of you who don't know about NX and shoot NEFs, get into it!!!

I love the fact that you can use layers with layer masks and different blending options even targeting specific channels on an individual layer basis, and all while saving your non destructive changes in the NEF meta data, to the best of my knowledge Adobe DNG only support global adjustments in it's meta data, with NX you can store your layers with masks, all adjustments and different versions of the same image in the one NEF. I only wish it performed faster, LR is a lot quicker with large batch conversions so I use that for my paid work, the quality that LR/ACR produces is good enough for this, but for my personal work it's NX all the way.

I love the idea of a dedicated forum for NX.
« Last Edit: April 23, 2008, 07:12:15 PM by Daniel Arnaldi » Logged

ghervey
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« Reply #5 on: April 24, 2008, 11:23:03 AM »
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Hey go for it - done!
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=191492\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Wow, that was fast!  Cool!

Now I just need to think of something to say...

Many thanks.
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Geoffrey Hervey
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« Reply #6 on: April 24, 2008, 03:47:38 PM »
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Thank you LL for creating this forum. As a RAW newbie I am trying to decide what to use. I have just bought my first RAW camera a Nikon D40. Major trauma - since I have been a 30+ year Canon user 35mm and Digital P&S. I have been using ACDSee Pro to to my cataloging and some batch conversions. They now have a new version that does RAW processing. I use CS2 (infrequently) for post-processing. I also have DxO V5 and notice it has RAW processing.

My question is what should I buy for my new RAW workflow and cataloging? NX? Lightroom? Camera RAW? Capture One?

Help! I could spend a fortune and gobs of time that I don't have trying to find the right combo. I really would like to find the right combo to get the "best" image and fast processing with easy record keeping. Any advice would be very valued.

Jon
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Jon

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ghervey
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« Reply #7 on: April 24, 2008, 04:07:17 PM »
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My question is what should I buy for my new RAW workflow and cataloging? NX? Lightroom? Camera RAW? Capture One?

Help! I could spend a fortune and gobs of time that I don't have trying to find the right combo. I really would like to find the right combo to get the "best" image and fast processing with easy record keeping. Any advice would be very valued.


[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=191669\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Jon,

There is no one answer.  You will get as many recommendations as you get responses.  

Fortunately, these days you can generally download trial versions of most programs, so you can at least try them out for 10 or even 30 days for free.  My own combo is that I use PhotoMechanic by Camera Bits for "ingesting" images from cards and sorting and organizing them, I use NX for the vast bulk of image processing and printing, and I use Photoshop CS3 for complex image manipulation and "pixel twiddling."  

One consideration is how complex the program is and how long it might take you to master it. Trying the free trial versions of the programs is a good way to get a feel for that.  Photoshop is a bear of a program that will take a long time to learn to control well (although you may want to consider Photoshop Elements as an interim step), while NX is much simpler (but the interfaces are very different.)  Many people really like Lightroom, which is easy to use compared with Photoshop CS3.

Another consideration is cost.  CS3 costs a bundle, and I believe that CaptureOne is pricey, too (but I have not looked in quite a while).  NX is, relatively speaking, pretty affordable, and so is PhotoMechanic.

A third consideration is how much "after market" support is out there for a given product.  You can fill a library with books about Photoshop, and there are tons of online resources for that product, and not as many but still plenty of similar resources for Lightroom, Aperture, and Adobe Camera RAW.  This Luminous Landscape website has lots of great resources regarding Photoshop.  

In contrast, the resources for Capture NX are pretty limited, which is why I was very pleased when this forum was added.  

Finally, who you are, what you do, how much time you have, and what you intend to do with your images all play into which programs will work best for you.  

So, I can't give you an opinion that will be worth much.  If you have friends who use any programs, have them show you how they work.  You should also try the trial versions.  It is going to take time; there is no way around that.
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Geoffrey Hervey
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« Reply #8 on: April 24, 2008, 06:34:24 PM »
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...I use NX for the vast bulk of image processing and printing, and I use Photoshop CS3 for complex image manipulation and "pixel twiddling." 
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=191678\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Geoffrey,

Thank you for your thoughtful reply. I guess I can zero in on one of my greatest concerns - processing the RAW image. I am trying to understand if one package does a better job than another. In this forum it appears that there is a inclination to say that NX does a better job than others. Are there any resources (reviews, etc.) or forum members' tests that can guide me to understanding the relative quality?

Jon
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Jon

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ghervey
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« Reply #9 on: April 24, 2008, 07:00:47 PM »
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I guess I can zero in on one of my greatest concerns - processing the RAW image. I am trying to understand if one package does a better job than another. In this forum it appears that there is a inclination to say that NX does a better job than others. Are there any resources (reviews, etc.) or forum members' tests that can guide me to understanding the relative quality?

[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=191714\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Your use of the phrase "relative quality" is appropriate, because a lot of it is subjective.

Let me start by noting that this forum is brand new, so there is not much in the way of information to be a useful guide, at least not yet.

Also, I have really only use Adobe Camera Raw, Lightroom, and NX for RAW conversion.  I have not tried CaptureOne, Bibble, or others.

From my experience, limited as noted above, NX produces better results from original NEF files than the Adobe products.  This is not surprising, since Nikon knows what is embedded in their files and Adobe is guessing and reverse engineering.  That being said, for an all-in-all, end-to-end solution, PS CS3 and Bridge, with ACR, do a great job.  Even though ACR is a third-party product, the Adobe engineers are tops, and they deliver great results.  The conversions are really first-rate, and organizing files with Bridge is very good.  

For me, the programs offer more features than I can use or understand, and they cost too much for me (of course, I keep paying for upgrades, too, because I don't want to be without them, either...)

Personally, comparing RAW conversions of the same image on the same color managed screen side by side converted from ACR and NX, I can tell the difference, and I personally think NX does a better job.  But, if you were to show me them one at a time, I probably could not tell the difference.  Try it yourself.  Download CS3 or Lightroom for a trial and NX for a trial, and see if you like one more than another.  If you have time, try CaptureOne, too.  

I find NX to be more of a photographer's tool, while CS3 is a tool for serious graphic artists.  I spent years in the darkroom, and NX appeals to me because it reminds me of darkroom work.  Note that you cannot manipulate pixels in NX; NX is an IMAGE editing program, it is not a pixel editing program.  So, there is no clone stamp, no cutting and moving things around.  If you want to do that, go with CS3.  

Sorry for the run on, but there really is not a simple answer to your question.  So much of it is personal preference.  My suggestion, if you want one: if you are committed to Nikon equipment, download NX for a free trial and try it out.  Get two books for now: RealWorld Capture NX by Ben Long, which you can get at a bookstore or from Amazon, and Jason Odell's NX Guide, which you download (find it with Google).  You will have to read both to get the hang of the program.  Start with Long's book.  (Actually, get the books first then download the trial).

After you had played with NX for a few weeks, download a trial version of Lightroom and see how you like that.  I don't have recommendations for books on that because I don't use it.  

For organizing your photos, try PhotoMechanic from Camera Bits, which also offers a free trial period.  

If you want someone to tell you what to do, compare the combination of NX and PhotoMechanic with Lightroom (by itself).  

And let us know what you think!
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Geoffrey Hervey
jmaxim
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« Reply #10 on: April 24, 2008, 08:49:50 PM »
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If you want someone to tell you what to do, compare the combination of NX and PhotoMechanic with Lightroom (by itself). 

And let us know what you think!
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=191722\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Geoffrey,

Once again thank you for your careful reply. Your suggestion makes a lot of sense and I will definitely do it. My work comes in fits and spurts so it may take me a while but I will definitely contribute to the community by reporting back what I experience.

Jon
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Jon

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« Reply #11 on: April 25, 2008, 07:55:45 AM »
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Your use of the phrase "relative quality" is appropriate, because a lot of it is subjective.

  Try it yourself.  Download CS3 or Lightroom for a trial and NX for a trial, and see if you like one more than another.  If you have time, try CaptureOne, too. 

[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=191722\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

I agree. It is mostly subjective. I find that NX NEF conversions are not as good as Capture One, and I am no great fan of Capture One. And when processing speed is added in the mix, NX comes in at about 4th in this group.

But it is something that everyone has to decide for themselves and the only way to do so is, as mentioned, download the trial versions and try them. There ain't no refund on some of these if you buy and find it isn't for you or won't run well on you computer.
« Last Edit: April 25, 2008, 07:56:30 AM by drichi » Logged

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