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Author Topic: Nikon Users - Which RAW converter do you use and why?  (Read 4882 times)
Aaron Burdick Photography
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« on: May 03, 2009, 11:04:51 PM »
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I was just wondering what RAW converter Nikon landscape/nature photographers use and why?

I have been using Lightroom because it is so easy to use.  I have been getting good results with the DNG profiles but am considering using another alternative (likely Capture NX 2 or Phase One Capture One 4).

Would I be able to reimport my photos into my Lightroom catalog for viewing and organizing?

If you use another RAW converter (NOT lightroom), what program do you use to keep track of/rate/etc. all your photos?

Thanks!
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Mike Arst
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« Reply #1 on: May 04, 2009, 01:46:53 AM »
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When I've replaced my current system with something much faster and with more memory, I'll start using NX2. Despite its kind of weird user interface, one thing's for sure: the u-point technology is remarkably effective and lives up to Nik Software's claims about it. The HSL-like controls and the mysterious but effective 'double threshold' feature are also great features. Not much of a contender for batch processing, though.

I've been getting reasonable results from Lightroom as well, though I'm not yet using a version that can make use of DNG profiles. I have my quarrels with its UI, but some of the features are outstanding, including the unusually well designed curve controls and the HSL adjustment panel (especially with 'targeted adjustments'). Pretty good highlight recovery, too.

Capture One is a mixed bag. I find that it sometimes provides the best possible rendition of fine image detail and it too has a good highlight-recovery feature. It does a poor job with Nikon D3 high-ISO shots, and I can't use it for those. There are some dumb flaws in the overall design, the user-selectable program options are laughably crude, and the color correction feature is extremely crude considering 1) the price; 2) how much better developed competing products' color-correction controls have become; 3) how long it took Phase One to develop this update and how much hype surrounded its introduction. IOW: after all that, all they could provide is a simplistic little 1990s-style color wheel whose tiny control point you drag around with the mouse? That's tedious (and tiring to use).

I suspect I'll be dividing my time between Lightroom and NX2 (once I have the more powerful machine set up). I have never found one converter alone to be sufficient for every possible image. I don't see why you couldn't do something in one raw processor and then import and process the same image in another. But even if you've saved your edits in 'sidecar' files, I don't think the second RAW converter would use those settings in the way the first one had used them.

As for sorting/rating images: in my world, Photo Mechanic wins that one hands down.
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BernardLanguillier
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« Reply #2 on: May 04, 2009, 03:37:48 AM »
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C1.

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KeithR
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« Reply #3 on: May 04, 2009, 08:44:18 AM »
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Lightroom 2
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Czornyj
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« Reply #4 on: May 04, 2009, 09:15:06 AM »
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NC 4 -> C1 3.7 -> ACR

I can't stand NX2 interface.
« Last Edit: May 04, 2009, 09:15:39 AM by Czornyj » Logged

kers
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« Reply #5 on: May 04, 2009, 09:22:41 AM »
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NX2.2  bad interface (everything else is better) but best raw conversion- most photographic -3D
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Pieter Kers
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« Reply #6 on: May 04, 2009, 10:00:27 AM »
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Quote from: kers
NX2.2  bad interface (everything else is better) but best raw conversion- most photographic -3D

Here's a riddle - I've converted the NEF file with ACR and NX. Apart from opening it, I didn't even touch it - just choosed the "Vivid" profile in both converters. So - which one is the "most photographic 3D" one?

1)

2)
« Last Edit: May 04, 2009, 10:02:10 AM by Czornyj » Logged

Czornyj
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« Reply #7 on: May 04, 2009, 10:01:35 AM »
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[...]
« Last Edit: May 04, 2009, 10:02:33 AM by Czornyj » Logged

kers
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« Reply #8 on: May 04, 2009, 11:26:44 AM »
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[quote name='Czornyj' post='281167' date='May 4 2009, 05:00 PM']Here's a riddle - I've converted the NEF file with ACR and NX. Apart from opening it, I didn't even touch it - just choosed the "Vivid" profile in both converters. So - which one is the "most photographic 3D" one?
/quote]


a bit false , but i have adjusted picture one with unsharp mask in photoshop- so now it looks even more 3D-

I can see you choose vivid- the colours are too much- i choose neutral- even the standard conversion already adds too much sharpness

 more serious: i mean when you look at the details at 100% - smaller pictures are a different story- I am currently using a d3x so that might differ as well- i find the Nx22 the better performer also because it has a good automatic chromatic aberration reduction that you will find improve the sides and corner sharpness of your photograph
« Last Edit: May 04, 2009, 04:45:31 PM by kers » Logged

Pieter Kers
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Aaron Burdick Photography
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« Reply #9 on: May 06, 2009, 05:45:11 PM »
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I downloaded the Capture One trial.  I also want to try NX but my trial ran out before I could use it and I've heard horror stories.  I'm getting great results with Capture One.  I'm reimporting TIFFs back into LR after working on them.
« Last Edit: May 06, 2009, 05:45:37 PM by Aaron Burdick Photography » Logged
David Hufford
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« Reply #10 on: May 06, 2009, 07:50:19 PM »
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I currently use Capture NX 2.1.1 for most of mine. I have used Capture One which was much better for batch processing, but I abandoned it when I switched to Mac and found that I could not change w/o buying another license. I have used ACR which works well. I mainly stay with NX now because it is so flexible and I can do so much more with it than the others. The problem is that it is buggy and won't work on every computer regardless of specs in my experience. It was so slow on my other computer that I hardly ever used it.  Even updates can introduce new bugs---I had to uninstall the latest 2.2 version because of repeated crashes and hangs.

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Dan Wells
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« Reply #11 on: May 12, 2009, 09:08:02 AM »
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C1 - seems to do better with D3x files than anything except possibly Capture NX, and unlike NX, it's actually stable and reasonably fast.


        -Dan

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happyman
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« Reply #12 on: May 12, 2009, 09:28:17 AM »
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c1 pro - LightZone - RD - NX2 - RPP

For all technical studio stuff C1 with D3x.
For personal and pictures that have the time i check what of the Converters do the best. And it varies a lot.
There is no favourite for these kind of picts.
But one thing i avoid: PS CS3/4. It has the swamp look compared to the others.
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MichaelAlanBielat
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« Reply #13 on: May 13, 2009, 12:19:54 PM »
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I choose Lightroom for weddings and event coverage where there are lots of photos to go through... This year may be Aperture simply because of their album design interface. That is too cool to pass up and would make my workflow a dream. For albums I was using Fotofusion and ran Parallels on my Mac but it crashes too much and ends up being a step backwards rather than forwards.

For portraits it is Capture 1 for me. The skin tones that it generates are amazing without any real finesse to the images.
I use C1 or NX2 for landscapes and my fine art photography.

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MarkL
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« Reply #14 on: May 13, 2009, 02:11:56 PM »
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NX2 continues to deliver by far the sharpest and best colour out of the converters I have tried. I hate that this is the case because it's slow, the user interface is horrible and batch processing is out of the question. The way it works also takes a bit of figuring out.

Lightroom is the opposite, great workflow but the results just aren't that great.

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BernardLanguillier
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« Reply #15 on: May 13, 2009, 08:38:44 PM »
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Quote from: MarkL
NX2 continues to deliver by far the sharpest and best colour out of the converters I have tried.

If I may ask, which have you tried?

Cheers,
Bernard
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MarkL
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« Reply #16 on: May 15, 2009, 06:41:00 AM »
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Quote from: BernardLanguillier
If I may ask, which have you tried?

Cheers,
Bernard

So far: RAW Therapee, ACR/LR, DxO and NX2

On my list is captureone and RAW developer. Can't find a demo for RAW developer though.

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Gemmtech
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« Reply #17 on: May 15, 2009, 10:18:30 PM »
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Lightroom is the greatest, I really like that program, however for converting the files from my D300 and D700 I use Capture NX2.2, slow, buggy, crashes, but it does a great job on my files.  I have to learn lightroom better in order to get the same results, I'm sure you can I just haven't figured it out yet.  I was having problems with a photo in Lightroom and I took it to NX and BAM, image was perfect.  I know I was doing something wrong in LR but I couldn't get it there.  I'm sure if NX were any better than LR Michael would use it.
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