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Author Topic: Nikon D300, Capture NX2 and Picture Control Utility preferences  (Read 18579 times)
syncrasy
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« on: February 25, 2012, 09:38:05 AM »
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Currently I use the "DX2MODE2" Picture Control on my D300 to achieve the most balanced/natural tones in my raw NEF images when editing in Capture NX2. If I recall, the "DX2MODE2" Picture Control is a custom Picture Control that I installed based on other photographers' recommendations because the D300's "Standard" Picture Control appears over-saturated, contrasty and unnatural in Capture NX2.

I just learned that recent versions of Picture Control Utility (part of Capture NX2) now include a preference setting, “Always use the Latest Color Reproduction Process”, which does not support "DX2MODE2". But apparently the “Always use the Latest Color Reproduction Process” preference setting includes a new "Standard" picture control that appears to be much better than the old "Standard" Picture Control.

Do I understand this correctly?

I am considering changing my Picture Control Utility preference to “Always use the Latest Color Reproduction Process”. If I were to do this . . .

1. Is there any reason to leave my D300's Picture Control set to "DX2MODE2"?
2. If I change my D300's Picture Control to "Standard", will Capture NX2 interpret this to mean the old "Standard" (bad) or the new "Standard" (good)?
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Camera & Computer: Nikon D300 • Mac Pro • Mac OS 10.6.8
Software: Nikon Capture NX 2 • Photoshop CS2 • Expression Media 2
syncrasy
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« Reply #1 on: February 25, 2012, 10:45:54 AM »
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I just conducted a test shooting with the "Standard" picture control. If I open the NEF in Capture NX2, with the new “Always use the Latest Color Reproduction Process” preference enabled, the NEF preview has the original "Standard" color tones, and "Recorded Value ([SD] Standard)" is selected by default in the Picture Control drop down menu. If I open the Picture Control menu and choose the new "[SD] Standard" picture control, the color tones change (to the new, "better" Standard tones). But -- and this is interesting -- if I toggle back to "Recorded Value ([SD] Standard)", the tones do not change back to the original Standard tones. So, once you go to the new Standard picture control, you can't go back to the recorded Standard picture control.

Even more interesting, if I open an image shot in "DX2MODE2", and change it to "Standard", I can't go back to the recorded "DX2MODE2" tones. When I select the "Recorded Value", the resulting tones are different -- darker and more saturated than even the original Standard style. My only recourse now is to change it back to the new Standard (unless I change the Picture Control preference back to "Use the Color Reproduction Process applied in camera")

So I guess I've answered my own questions.

1. Leaving the D300 set to "DX2MODE2" will still record "DX2MODE2" images, and they will look like "DX2MODE2" in the “Always use the Latest Color Reproduction Process” environment. But if I change the picture control to Standard, I can't go back to "DX2MODE2"*. So I think this means that I should always shoot in "DX2MODE2" if I ever want to use that picture control. If I want to enjoy both worlds, I would have to make a copy of the NEF first, one for "DX2MODE2" and another for Standard.

2. In the “Always use the Latest Color Reproduction Process” environment, Capture NX2 interprets the original Standard picture control as the original Standard, but only if I don't change the picture control. Once I change it, I can't go back*.

* Technically, I can go back to the original camera picture controls if I change the Picture Control preference back to "Use the Color Reproduction Process applied in camera", but this would be tedious -- and it would remove the ability to use the new "better" Standard picture control. I don't understand why Nikon did not allow for backwards compatibility here (e.g., why not allow the "DX2MODE2" control to coexist with their newer algorithms?). There's a good discussion about this problem on Flickr.

I'm still undecided if I will change my preferences, but I'm leaning toward it.

Anyone have an opinion on the Standard picture control in the “Always use the Latest Color Reproduction Process” environment?
« Last Edit: March 05, 2012, 09:24:17 PM by syncrasy » Logged

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Camera & Computer: Nikon D300 • Mac Pro • Mac OS 10.6.8
Software: Nikon Capture NX 2 • Photoshop CS2 • Expression Media 2
RobSaecker
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« Reply #2 on: February 25, 2012, 05:45:19 PM »
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This topic would be more appropriate in the Other Raw Converters forum, IMO.
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Rob
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syncrasy
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« Reply #3 on: February 25, 2012, 06:06:38 PM »
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You're probably right. I can't move the thread myself. I've asked an administrator to move it if possible.
« Last Edit: February 25, 2012, 06:15:34 PM by syncrasy » Logged

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Camera & Computer: Nikon D300 • Mac Pro • Mac OS 10.6.8
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syncrasy
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« Reply #4 on: March 05, 2012, 09:33:08 PM »
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Update: I have started to use the new Standard picture control (in Capture NX2). If I'm not mistaken, this picture control appears to be the "Goldilocks" setting I've been hoping for. It's not too punchy (like the original Standard control) and not as dull as the "DX2MODE2" control. Of the three controls, the new Standard control appears to reproduce reds most accurately.

Is my reaction a subjective response to the new Standard control? Or has Nikon actually done something nice here?
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Camera & Computer: Nikon D300 • Mac Pro • Mac OS 10.6.8
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ebowles
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« Reply #5 on: April 11, 2012, 08:15:51 AM »
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I've moved to the Standard Picture Control setting as well.  It is much better than earlier versions. 

I have created a Neutral No Sharp picture control in Capture so I can quickly remove all sharpening, contrast, and color enhancements for images that need a full edit.  Even the Neutral picture control has a little sharpening applied globally - not terrible but I tend to selectively sharpen.
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Eric Bowles
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syncrasy
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« Reply #6 on: April 11, 2012, 09:55:27 AM »
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I've moved to the Standard Picture Control setting as well.  It is much better than earlier versions.  

I have created a Neutral No Sharp picture control in Capture so I can quickly remove all sharpening, contrast, and color enhancements for images that need a full edit.  Even the Neutral picture control has a little sharpening applied globally - not terrible but I tend to selectively sharpen.

That's a great idea (the neutral picture control). Just curious, what camera are you using, and is its native Standard p.c. the older version or the newer version? (I'm assuming that newer cameras' picture controls have the newer Standard.)

For my D300 NEFs shot with its native (old) Standard, in Capture NX2 I have to convert the NEF to the new Standard, a five-step process: 1) open Camera Settings, 2) open the picture control drop-down menu, 3) select the new Standard p.c, 4) close the drop down menu, then 5) close Camera Settings. If I shoot NEFs with the "DX2MODE2" picture control, Capture NX2 displays a popup advising me that it will open it with the new Standard. I simply click "OK". Just one click! At the moment, I prefer the latter (quicker) method, so I'm continuing to shoot in "DX2MODE2". The drawback is that, if I don't make any changes to the NEF, I have to dismiss the popup each time I open the file. I wonder if I should adopt the longer method so that the p.c. is remembered.
« Last Edit: April 11, 2012, 09:57:29 AM by syncrasy » Logged

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ebowles
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« Reply #7 on: April 11, 2012, 10:12:03 AM »
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I'm using the new version of Standard where possible.  I shoot a D7000, D300, and D200 IR with a D800E on order.

One option for applying a picture control to images is to use View NX2.  In View you can select a group of images and apply a picture control as a single step.  You probably don't want to do that for hundreds of images, but for the ones you will edit in Capture the picture control can be changed in a few seconds.
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Eric Bowles
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syncrasy
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« Reply #8 on: April 17, 2012, 10:47:58 AM »
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One option for applying a picture control to images is to use View NX2.  In View you can select a group of images and apply a picture control as a single step.  You probably don't want to do that for hundreds of images, but for the ones you will edit in Capture the picture control can be changed in a few seconds.

Fantastic suggestion. Works perfectly. Thank you.
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-- Mark

Camera & Computer: Nikon D300 • Mac Pro • Mac OS 10.6.8
Software: Nikon Capture NX 2 • Photoshop CS2 • Expression Media 2
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