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Author Topic: Capture NX is THE best NEF convertor...in my opinion  (Read 32018 times)
sperera
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« on: November 18, 2008, 06:05:16 AM »
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Hi there....I'm new here...forgive me if this has been flogged to death but i'm still witnessing debate where for me, there is definately no debate.....

....a good friend of mine, photographer most of his life and absolute technician....yes, he actually understands MTF curves for example (heh heh heh) told me point blank....Nikon are bast***s....they have kept their technology for RAW conversion on their NEF's to themselves and there's no way to get the best colour from your shots unless you use Capture NX.

.....he says Lightroom, Photoshop and its RAW convertors are no match....

Scoffing at his remarks I set about downloading the trial version and installed it into my Macs.....works fine on G5 Intels but NOT on my G5 pre-intel....just doesnt even open up....any ideas why???? anyway, I digress.....I opened up the programme and started opening my images on NX.

In summary: WOW....Capture NX is DEFINATELY the best programme for NEF (RAW) files....there is no question.....I hope NX3 when it happens works as fast as Lightroom and THEN we'd have a winner in our hands....it's not fast enough as many people have said.....but what a difference...and what great features it has!!!


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Stephen Perera
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Schewe
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« Reply #1 on: November 19, 2008, 12:32:42 AM »
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Quote from: sperera
....a good friend of mine, photographer most of his life and absolute technician....yes, he actually understands MTF curves for example (heh heh heh) told me point blank....Nikon are bast***s....they have kept their technology for RAW conversion on their NEF's to themselves and there's no way to get the best colour from your shots unless you use Capture NX.

Uh, Capture NX is written by Nik Software for Nikon...so Nikon doesn't even code NX...as for the "best color" perhaps at default, but I suspect if you are only using the demo of, what, exactly? Lightroom 2? If so, you prolly haven't downloaded the free betas of the new DNG Profiles from labs.adobe.com, right? You should and then spend a bit of time learning how to use Lightroom before proclaiming anybody a champ...
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sperera
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« Reply #2 on: November 19, 2008, 02:12:34 AM »
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Quote from: Schewe
Uh, Capture NX is written by Nik Software for Nikon...so Nikon doesn't even code NX...as for the "best color" perhaps at default, but I suspect if you are only using the demo of, what, exactly? Lightroom 2? If so, you prolly haven't downloaded the free betas of the new DNG Profiles from labs.adobe.com, right? You should and then spend a bit of time learning how to use Lightroom before proclaiming anybody a champ...

I'm using full, registered version of Lightroom 2 actually......what i meant to say, albeit untechnically is that Nikon have not given whatever 'information' they have to to enable the Adobe RAW conversions to work as well as they do in NX2......I see proof of that in every image i open......Lightroom and Photoshop does NOT give me the colour NX2 gives me......you misunderstood me......

Regardless I would welcome your advice as I dont presume to know other than what i see on the scrren in front of me.....
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Stephen Perera
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Schewe
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« Reply #3 on: November 19, 2008, 02:29:36 AM »
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Quote from: sperera
Lightroom and Photoshop does NOT give me the colour NX2 gives me......


Then do to labs.adobe.com and download the DNG Profiles and then report back...
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sperera
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« Reply #4 on: November 19, 2008, 05:41:40 AM »
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Quote from: Schewe
Then do to labs.adobe.com and download the DNG Profiles and then report back...
Hey Schewe....I got the labs.adobe.com DNG profiles as you said and I must admit its way better.....way better......as a user of Lightroom 2 this is fantastic news as I'm using a trial NX2 and would have to purchase the full version as well if I still feel NX2 is better...Lightroom is the programme i most want to use trust me...'cos I bought it!!!!!!

...as a first impression I think Adobe has done its homework and the gap is a lot less perceptible than it was.....I will work with it for a few days and report back.....I'm designing a magazine spread as we speak and have opened some fots and find myself the 'Camera Neutral beta 2' profile most as the baseline for further enhancements....it seems to be giving me a larger tonal range across the board......

So yes, i take back my sweeping statement in the light of this new release by Adode and will promptly lash myself 25 times times with my Apple mouse chord in penance!! heh heh heh....although you can 'feel' my frustration when I'm dying to use Lightroom for the biggest chunk of my workflow and to me there was no comparison with the colour it was throwing up compared to NX2....so imagine the workflow timescales involved when having to batch images.....

ideally im looking for a shoot RAW - upload to Lightroom, sort all the shoot out - send to print or as TIFFs for inclusion in my design work oin Photoshop......I didnt want to include another programme in that...esp. slow yet exquisite NX2.....

The U Point technology in NX2 is still a seller for me though....but tell me, what's your conclusion Schewe.....forgive me, I'm new here and doing this as i work so i dont have time to read many posts.....
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Stephen Perera
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JeffKohn
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« Reply #5 on: November 19, 2008, 05:05:57 PM »
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I'll concede that Capture NX can extract a tiny bit more micro-detail from NEF's than ACR can (though this gap has gotten narrower a new releases of ACR have come out). And when it comes to noise reduction there's no contest, the Nikon software is clearly superior. But I've never understood people who say Capture/NX has better color. I've never liked the "Nikon" color, going all the way back to when I first got my D70. Too much cyan in blue skies, not to mention blue/purple and orange/red problems.

I guess if some people think the Nikon colors are more pleasing to them, that's great. But they're not more accurate. Take a shot of a color checker chart, and process it with both Capture NX and ACR. The ACR version will be more accurate. The only real problem with ACR's default color rendering is that the white balance presets have too much magenta in them. But this can easily be rectified by using custom WB or creating your own presets.

And that's before getting into ACR calibration and the new custom profile capabilities, which open up a lot of possibilties. I've used Color Checker chart to create my own custom profile, and then I've used that as a starting point to create a second profile for landscape/nature work that tweaks the greens for more pleasing foliage.
« Last Edit: November 19, 2008, 05:07:52 PM by JeffKohn » Logged

madmanchan
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« Reply #6 on: November 19, 2008, 06:40:58 PM »
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sperera, it is true that one reason more folks aren't aware of the profiles for LR is that currently they're a separate download from the Adobe Labs site. That is the current situation, because the profiles are new and hence still in beta. This will change quite soon, i.e., the profiles will be bundled with LR so that folks won't have to go hunting on a separate web site to find them.

Jeff K, well said. As has been discussed in the L-L forums quite a few times, color is very subjective and it all depends on what the goals are. As long as you can get the colors you're after using the tools available (without too much struggle), that's what counts.
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sperera
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« Reply #7 on: November 19, 2008, 08:14:35 PM »
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Thanks guys....yes, colour is indeed subjective and I did shoot a colour testcard (now I've downloaded the DNG profiles as was suggested) and placed the colour pickers on the white and 'M' mid grey etc and am very pleased at the results Lightroom is now giving me....to  me LR was quite a bit off before I added the 'beta' profiles.....

....would be great for everyone if these were part of a Lightroom 'upgrade' for users who still aren't aware of this like I was....and for these people here's the link to the profiles as it does take a while to find them....

http://www.adobe.com/cfusion/entitlement/i...Fcameraprofiles
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Stephen Perera
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GregW
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« Reply #8 on: November 20, 2008, 07:36:19 AM »
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It's not a highlighted feature, but as a Nikon shooter I really apreciate the Nikon DNG Profiles. Adobe have been pretty responsive to the needs of most LR users. This is another example, one I honestly didn't expect.

Nikon's color modes were only ever supposed to be a temporary workaround but as is so often the case, they stuck around and have become important parts of the Nikon lexicon. Mode I for portraits and skin tones, Mode II for maximum gamut and post processing and Mode III for landscapes and nature. I and II were particularly useful when you needed to get a JPEG out very quickly.

Despite using the Tom Fors profile generator, It's great to have these Nikon looks as starting points.

Now, if there were a way to crow bar control points and soft-proofing in to LR

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sperera
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« Reply #9 on: November 20, 2008, 08:37:55 AM »
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...tell me about the Tom Fors profile generator then.....
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Stephen Perera
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« Reply #10 on: November 20, 2008, 11:06:32 AM »
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Quote from: sperera
...tell me about the Tom Fors profile generator then.....

Enjoy the delights of self service... http://www.fors.net/chromoholics/support/?w=GettingStarted
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JeffKohn
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« Reply #11 on: November 20, 2008, 02:01:20 PM »
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The Fors profile generator and its derivatives are IMHO obsolete now that we have the DNG Profile Editor. I get better results with the latter, and it's much faster and easier to generate a custom profile.
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GregW
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« Reply #12 on: November 20, 2008, 05:47:53 PM »
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Quote from: JeffKohn
The Fors profile generator and its derivatives are IMHO obsolete now that we have the DNG Profile Editor. I get better results with the latter, and it's much faster and easier to generate a custom profile.

I agree.
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Tony Beach
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« Reply #13 on: November 23, 2008, 11:48:04 AM »
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I use uni-WB with my D300 and I have the hardest time getting the colors to look "right" with ACR; in fact, it's almost impossible.  So for quick and easy conversions with a minimum of fiddling, NX works much better for me -- in part because I spent some time developing the adjustments and work flow to get the most from my files (there is a learning curve with all converters); with ACR I spent about a year fiddling with the adjustments without much success, and when I bought Capture One LE it took about a day to start getting consistently better colors with my D200, plus Capture One LE delivered more detail than ACR.

Another consideration for me is that I got my version of NX free when I bought my D300 and upgrading ACR requires me to spend $300, so it actually costs me more to use ACR than it does to use NX.  Likewise, Capture One LE was upgraded for free so I still spent less than $100 for that converter.

I'm not wedded to NX and will consider using whatever converter delivers the best image, but I have never seen the best image for my Nikon DSLRs coming from ACR; sometimes I prefer Capture One, but almost always it's now NX.  I was using Raw Magick Lite with my D200 which only cost $35, but unfortunately that program was never upgraded to handle D300 files.  I would probably jump on Raw Photo Processor if I had a Mac, but right now I'm still using a PC.
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Tklimek
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« Reply #14 on: November 23, 2008, 04:03:50 PM »
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Hi Tony.....

In another forum, someone came up with a neat idea.  A RAW image would be posted with a few "ground rules" and experts with the use of various RAW converters then take the photo and process with the program they have the expertise in and then images are re-posted back to the forum.

This would seem to allow each "expert" to start with the same RAW image and post their processing results for all to see and judge for themselves.  In the end, is any RAW converter categorically better than another or does it really come down to workflow or personal preference?  I'm not sure but an interesting experiment for sure!  Maybe someone could do something like that in this forum.

Cheers...

Todd in Chicago


Quote from: Tony Beach
I use uni-WB with my D300 and I have the hardest time getting the colors to look "right" with ACR; in fact, it's almost impossible.  So for quick and easy conversions with a minimum of fiddling, NX works much better for me -- in part because I spent some time developing the adjustments and work flow to get the most from my files (there is a learning curve with all converters); with ACR I spent about a year fiddling with the adjustments without much success, and when I bought Capture One LE it took about a day to start getting consistently better colors with my D200, plus Capture One LE delivered more detail than ACR.

Another consideration for me is that I got my version of NX free when I bought my D300 and upgrading ACR requires me to spend $300, so it actually costs me more to use ACR than it does to use NX.  Likewise, Capture One LE was upgraded for free so I still spent less than $100 for that converter.

I'm not wedded to NX and will consider using whatever converter delivers the best image, but I have never seen the best image for my Nikon DSLRs coming from ACR; sometimes I prefer Capture One, but almost always it's now NX.  I was using Raw Magick Lite with my D200 which only cost $35, but unfortunately that program was never upgraded to handle D300 files.  I would probably jump on Raw Photo Processor if I had a Mac, but right now I'm still using a PC.
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sperera
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« Reply #15 on: November 24, 2008, 02:24:33 AM »
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Quote from: Tklimek
Hi Tony.....

In another forum, someone came up with a neat idea.  A RAW image would be posted with a few "ground rules" and experts with the use of various RAW converters then take the photo and process with the program they have the expertise in and then images are re-posted back to the forum.

This would seem to allow each "expert" to start with the same RAW image and post their processing results for all to see and judge for themselves.  In the end, is any RAW converter categorically better than another or does it really come down to workflow or personal preference?  I'm not sure but an interesting experiment for sure!  Maybe someone could do something like that in this forum.

Cheers...

Todd in Chicago

EXCELLENT IDEA ACTUALLY.....

I'm back to thinking Capture NX2 is quite a bit better even with the improvements Adobe managed to create with the DNG profiles.....the tests with the colour chart were great but then real life kicked in and im still getting better images with NX2

So im back with saying Capture NX2 is my preferred RAW convertor.
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Stephen Perera
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sperera
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« Reply #16 on: November 24, 2008, 03:36:22 AM »
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Quote from: sperera
EXCELLENT IDEA ACTUALLY.....

I'm back to thinking Capture NX2 is quite a bit better even with the improvements Adobe managed to create with the DNG profiles.....the tests with the colour chart were great but then real life kicked in and im still getting better images with NX2

So im back with saying Capture NX2 is my preferred RAW convertor.

what were the results from this other forum then?Huh? and can we have links?
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Stephen Perera
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« Reply #17 on: November 25, 2008, 01:04:51 PM »
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While I generally agree I can get better results with NX than ACR, NX is so excruciatingly slow on my G4 Mac as to actually be unusable. And coupled with the slowness is the stunningly cumbersome palette scheme. Consequently, I so rarely use it I forget it's even on my drive.
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« Reply #18 on: November 26, 2008, 03:06:00 AM »
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Hi,

I thought I'd add this real world example...

This first image is using Lightroom 2 and the ACR 4.4 profile. The areas surrounding the castle (yellow in the other two images) are clipped in this image.
[attachment=9872:MG081117_30_ACR4.4.jpg]

This one is Lightroom 2 and the new beta profile.
[attachment=9873:MG081117...d_beta_2.jpg]

And this last one is using Capture NX2.
[attachment=9874:MG_081117_30.jpg]

You'll have to enlarge these images and put them all side by side to see the differences, but the differences should be very obvious!

Thanks Jeff for pointing out the beta profiles. All of these images are unedited (I have also minimized the defaults applied by the software as far as I know how!). I think they do highlight some of the improvements Adobe say they have been working on (in the yellows/oranges). The image was made with a Nikon D300.

Unfortunately I don't think there is any 'best' piece of software as even if one defines 'best' as most accurate (please don't shout 'subjective' at me!), it seems that the best is constantly changing (one of the things you can't see in these images is the extra shadow detail in the Capture NX 2 image), so I guess we'll have to keep reevaluating :-)

Regards,

Mark.
« Last Edit: November 26, 2008, 05:01:34 AM by gouldm » Logged

BernardLanguillier
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« Reply #19 on: December 15, 2008, 03:17:30 AM »
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Quote from: gouldm
Thanks Jeff for pointing out the beta profiles. All of these images are unedited (I have also minimized the defaults applied by the software as far as I know how!). I think they do highlight some of the improvements Adobe say they have been working on (in the yellows/oranges). The image was made with a Nikon D300.

Unfortunately I don't think there is any 'best' piece of software as even if one defines 'best' as most accurate (please don't shout 'subjective' at me!), it seems that the best is constantly changing (one of the things you can't see in these images is the extra shadow detail in the Capture NX 2 image), so I guess we'll have to keep reevaluating :-)

NX2 is a real gem once you have learned how to use the U-Points as a way to mask curves adjustment layers... it really is much faster than PS, and all these modifications have less impact since they are applied before raw conversion.

I still prefer PS mask approach for final tuning, but NX2 allows you to get quickly a start point of very high quality.

Detail is good, but probably still not quite as good as Raw Developper or C-1 4.1.

Cheers,
Bernard
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A few images online here!
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