Camera presets and postprocessing

Discussion in 'Digital Darkroom' started by Jean-Claude, Aug 28, 2018.

  1. Good morning,

    I am new in the digital world and I am wondering if I should use some of my Nikon D610 presetings like sharpening, vivid colors, white balance ....etc or leave those presets alone and just shoot in RAW format with a postproduction later on?

    If an image is sharpened by the camera settings, will be be even sharper with the postprocessing?

    Thank you.
  2. digitaldog

    digitaldog Andrew Rodney

  3. If you shoot in RAW, the general answer is to set very little in the camera and make the "settings" decisions in post processing. If you shoot in JPEG, you need to make as many of the settings in your camera just as if you were shooting slide film.

    I shoot mostly nature subjects and I set minimal sharpening in the camera and add what additional sharpening is needed in post processing. If it is a picture of a bird or an animal, I often just sharpen the face or the body. If I were shooting landscapes, I might apply sharpening differently.

    When I teach grade school students I often use materials found at Cambridge In Colour Tutorials. Here is a link to their master list of tutorials. Start with something basic and then go from there. I have found that many like the way they approach various photo topics.

    Digital Photography Tutorials
    Jochen likes this.
  4. AFAIK a RAW file is a RAW file. No matter what you dial into the camera, it will get applied to JPEGs. Sorry I can't come up with great advice for your camera. The general answer is (probably):
    If you have a chance to shoot RAW and (not "or"!) JPEG, use it! If you are new, you probably can't predict in which mood you'll deal with your pictures later. A RAW workflow means "work". Some pictures will justify it others maybe not.

    I have cameras that need(!) RAW workflows. After picking those up (over a decade ago) I stopped thinking and am still shooting everything & the kitchen sink in RAW, if I can. I must confess: I never edited any RAW file from my Fujis. Their JPEGs look good enough and cut my cake. A recent Canon's are "not bad" and much easier to handle for my poor PC than huge RAWs.

    Shooting both at once will cost you buffer flushing time sequence length and space but I guess usually its worth it. YMMV if you have capable image organizing software on a half decent PC and won't ever face time pressure to share something. - In that case shooting just RAW is of course unlikely to be wrong.

    Maybe dive into dpreview's review of your camera. Those guys seem capable of putting what they see into a bigger picture.
    Basically: cameras have small batteries internal processors that need to stay somewhat affordable and close to no time. For those reasons they are limited in processing quality. A huge domestic PC should do better.
    OTOH: Cameras might have gotten their firmware tweaked by skilled experts to outshine competition and are for that reason sometimes able to compensate lens flaws internally.
    Anyhow: sharpening is critical and usually a final step. - Your PC can't undo the sloppy job of a camera and make a better result without loosing something compared to starting from scratch. I am not sure what sharpening methods exist in total but they all must be based on pixel content guessing.
  5. If you use Nikon's software to process your raw (NEF) files, your camera settings will persist - so if you set the sharpening, white balance etc. in-camera, the software will use the same settings as departure point for your post-processing. This means: if you do no editing, the image will look just like a JPEG out of the camera would have looked.
    Other software will not do this, and use their own profiles for your camera as a starting point - this means it disregards picture profiles, sharpening, white balance set in camera completely. The Nikon software is free, so it's easy to try for yourself, but many users ultimately move on to other software with more capabilities, such as Lightroom or CaptureOne. And arguably, it's worth investing time from the start in a good, solid, program that will work for you for some time to come (learning to use software does cost time, after all), and frankly, I wouldn't recommend Nikon Capture NX-D as a long-term solution, but as said, it's free so it's always worth the try.

    As mentioned above, in most cases, using raw is prefered, as it ensures you keep as much data as possible at the time of capture. Other format will cause some loss of information, and once lost, it won't come back. Just to be very clear: a raw file isn't sharpened, has no white balance correction applied or anything: it is, as the name implies, raw data. So those camera settings have no influence on the raw file that is produced (only on the embedded preview you see in camera and in some programs).

    Whether there is benefit in shooting also JPEG is a personal choice - the amount of work to convert a raw file to JPEG isn't a big effort once you're familiar with the software you're using. Good programs can do batch operations (meaning you can clone your edits from one image to another). So the effort needed to convert a raw to a JPEG or TIFF file shouldn't be exegerated, you can make it as simple or complicated as you like. Again, investing time to learn your software of choice properly is time well spent.
    digitaldog likes this.
  6. digitaldog

    digitaldog Andrew Rodney

    For the OP, admitting he's new to this, it's critical to point out that the only attributes that affect the raw data is exposure and that means only the photons striking the sensor: Aperture and shutter. All the other settings such as white balance, picture styles, sharpening and so ONLY affect the camera generated JPEG. They do not affect the raw data whatsoever. And, for optimal exposure, one has to treat raw differently than JPEG. The LCD feedback in terms of the results of exposure (histogram, clipping values) are based on the JPEG, not the raw.
    I will only comment on their 'tutorials' and writings on the subject of color management: they are rather poor and technically wrong in many areas! We can go into detail on those specifics and their other tutorials may indeed be good and accurate. Not the case in multiple areas on the subject of color. So a beware to the OP and others going there, at least on that area of tutorials.
  7. RAW is RAW, so the only settings that count are the ISO and image size. However settings do affect the in-camera preview, which is JPEG, and any JPEGs you capture on the side. Settings also affect video directly, so choose carefully. PP1 is the closest to cinematic color, S-Log X captures a wider dynamice range, but must be graded in post, and tends to be noisy.
  8. Dear all,

    You have all been very fast and very accurate in your explanations, thank you so much:)!

    With kind regards from Brussels, Belgium.


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