D300 and noise with TIFF convertions

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by ann_overland, Feb 4, 2013.

  1. I just found out something that I have never noticed before. (Banging head against wall a couple of times...) I am using Nikon ViewNX2 to convert NEF files to TIFF files. Now I can see that a lot of noice is added to the files in the convertion process, and that goes for both the 8 bits and the 16 bits convertions. It is particularly noticeable at high ISO's in for example dark clothing.
    So there is the reason for my complaint about D300 not being so good at high ISO values.....what do you know...
    I hope someone can do something about this quite quickly. It can't just be my files that are being affected. Nikon, please?
     
  2. If there's noise it's because it's already there. If you're using the occasion of writing out a TIF file to also boost the exposure (or otherwise impact the shadows, especially), you could of course be increasing the visibility of the noise. You are not creating any noise during the conversion process.

    More to the point, this has nothing whatsoever to do with TIFF files, except that it's possible you're using lossless (or no) compression, so you're preserving all of the details, including the noise that's already there. When you write out to a JPG, you're introducing smoothing and compression that can mask details (noise and "real" details alike).

    Remember that when you're looking at a RAW/NEF file in View NX (or anything else), you're never looking at the RAW data. You're looking at rendering based on it, generally in the form of the embedded (and thus smoothed, compressed) JPG - just like the JPG you're seeing on the camera's LCD. You can't actually look at the RAW file, per se.

    All of this is true of the D300 and every other digital camera. If you like the way JPGs look (because they've had noise reduction routines, smoothing, and compression applied), stick with those. Or, if you really want to work with TIFF files, do your own noise reduction after the fact when you render the final JPG you're going to actually display, print, etc.
    So there is the reason for my complaint about D300 not being so good at high ISO values.....what do you know...​
    You've said before that you think Nikon could have made the D300 better. Leaving aside that strange take on on things, relative to financial reality, any conclusion you've come to about high-gain shooting with cameras of that vintage aren't connected to TIFF rendering one way or the other.
    I hope someone can do something about this quite quickly​
    Nikon and dozens of third party software authors already have done something about it. It's called noise reduction. You already see it being applied to your JPGs, and you just have to do the same to your TIF-format files if you want to see it there, too.
     
  3. You've said before that you think Nikon could have made the D300 better.​
    No, I am very satisfied with my D300. Always have been. It is a good camera.
    You already see it being applied to your JPGs, and you just have to do the same to your TIF-format files if you want to see it there, too.​
    Everything else in the TIFF files is the same as in my corrected NEF files. Why would they suddenly introduce the noise in this step of the process? Maybe the sharpness is not the same, I have now noticed that the files loose sharpness too. I am not sure if this happens every time. What is the point of having a RAW converter if you suddenly loose some of the data in the convertion process? Is it technical impossible to get the same result?
     
  4. In ViewNX2, click the RAW button in the upper left corner to preview how the actual rendered output will look. Until you press that button, you're actually looking at the in-camera stored preview JPEG, not the processed RAW (if you edit in ViewNX, it will automatically update, though). So, in case you do not edit in ViewNX2, that should help assessing the noise level.
    And for somebody who complains excessively about noise, it is remarkable you spell the word wrong every single time you use it ;-)
     
  5. Which RAW button? I don't have any in the upper left corner as far as I can tell? Noise it is :)
     
  6. I do have the button that shows the jpegs and the nefs separately, if that is what you mean. It is not located in the upper left corner, though.
     
  7. I'm referring, Ann, to just the other day when you said you thought Nikon could have (but by implication, chose not to) made the the D300 "have had better high ISO properties (IMO)." You never did explain what you thought they should have done differently, or why that was your opinion of the decisions they made when they released that generation of camera.

    Regardless, Wouter is referring to this:
     
  8. Woops, better screen shot:
    00bJb2-517905684.jpg
     
  9. You never did explain what you thought they should have done differently, or why that was your opinion of the decisions they made when they released that generation of camera.​
    I wanted to upgrade to a camera with better high ISO properties, that is all, Matt. That sentence there does not make sense to me.
    No such button here.
     
  10. I found the button. It is not in the 'thumbnail grid' viewing. It shows in the 'image viewer' viewing.
     
  11. It is not in the 'thumbnail grid' viewing.​
    Right, because its while you're viewing the larger image that you have to decide if you want to see the JPG that's embedded in the RAW file, or a new on-the-fly rendering based on your current edits/changes.
    That sentence there does not make sense to me.​
    It didn't make sense to me, either, which is why I asked how you came to form the opinion that they (Nikon) could have done better "IMO" (I presume you're using "IMO" to mean "in my opinion" - perhaps it means something else, and that's where the problem is).
     
  12. View NX2 isn't particularly useful, even as a freebie. I use it only as an image viewer to check my Nikon photos against other viewers and editors, not for editing. It's slightly more convenient than Irfanview because meta data is visible in the sidebar.
    If you want cleaner files, download trial versions of Noiseware, Noise Ninja or other utilities with good noise reduction capabilities. Better yet, download the trial version of Lightroom and try it for a month. You may not want to bother again with any other program, other than for extensive manipulations. Lightroom 4 offers excellent noise reduction and can faithfully render typical Nikon files as well as Nikon's own software.
    And if you're seeing significant noise at anything below ISO 800, your monitor probably needs to be recalibrated.
    Also, there's no particular need to convert to TIFF unless you're using an editing utility that cannot directly handle raw files, or as a lossless output file for printing. I stopped converting Nikon raw files to TIFF after switching from Noise Ninja's original standalone utility, which couldn't handle raw files.
     
  13. Right, because its while you're viewing the larger image that you have to decide if you want to see the JPG that's embedded in the RAW file, or a new on-the-fly rendering based on your current edits/changes.​
    I use the combined raw+jpeg viewing. I open a file, correct it and save it. I then convert it to TIFF. It is the NEF file that is being changed. Automatically. (Or to put it more correctly, it is not being changed, but it appears to be changed...)
    I'm referring, Ann, to just the other day when you said you thought Nikon could have (but by implication, chose not to) made the the D300 "have had better high ISO properties (IMO)." You never did explain what you thought they should have done differently, or why that was your opinion of the decisions they made when they released that generation of camera.​
    In which discussion did I say that, Matt?
     
  14. It is the NEF file that is being changed.​
    But while you're working with it, the embedded JPG (which is part of the NEF file, and the only way to "see" the NEF file) isn't updated - and you're usually just seeing the JPG that the viewer/editor has cached, anyway. So by explicitly hitting that toggle in ViewNX, you're telling the software that you don't mind making the trade-off between the speed of the cached/embedded preview file, and the more faithful, but CPU-intensive real-time rendering of the RAW file.

    Mostly, remember that you never really change the NEF file (other than by updating the embedded JPG and some rendering instructions that ride along, and some IP data). The RAW file's image data is never changed/edited, in the way that a TIFF or JPG is.
    In which discussion did I say that, Matt?​
    Just on the 30th. http://www.photo.net/nikon-camera-forum/00bHOe
     
  15. There is nothing wrong with the D300/D300s, except that they could have had better high ISO properties (IMO). They are capable of nailing fast action with good colors, and they use the current CLS system.​
    This sentence was written in the context of whether or not to buy a D300/D300s today as opposed to a new camera. Newer cameras do have better high ISO properties, well most of them, as far as I know.
    The context being that Shun said the following:
    I would say the D300s is still using electronics that are two generations behind.​
    Just to make myself clear again:
    I AM VERY HAPPY WITH MY D300! LOL
     
  16. That being said, I still want a newer FX body :)
     
  17. If you want cleaner files, download trial versions of Noiseware, Noise Ninja or other utilities with good noise reduction capabilities.​
    Do they work with TIFF files, Lex? I still will have the problem that my TIFF files are softer than my NEF files, though.
    Better yet, download the trial version of Lightroom and try it for a month. You may not want to bother again with any other program, other than for extensive manipulations.​
    I don't know what Lightroom is capable of now, it is a long time since I have tried it. Does it do levels, curves, layers and filters?
    And if you're seeing significant noise at anything below ISO 800, your monitor probably needs to be recalibrated.​
    No, don't think I do. But I will look out for it.
    Also, there's no particular need to convert to TIFF unless you're using an editing utility that cannot directly handle raw files, or as a lossless output file for printing.​
    I don't print much. I need the TIFF files to be able to use Gimp. Nikon ViewNX2 isn't enough for the processing.
     
  18. Noiseware and the standalone version of Noise Ninja work with TIFFs. I tried a Photoshop compatible plug-in version of Noise Ninja which worked with raw files, but I didn't care for the Photoshop workflow enough to buy it after the trial version expired. I haven't used either in over a year and don't recall whether the current versions work with camera raw files.
    Lightroom 4 handles all basic one-layer photo editing tasks very well: curves or sliders, whichever you prefer; highlight and shadow clipping and levels; easy HSL adjustments for hue, saturation and luminance; noise reduction; sharpening; basic retouching using heal or clone brushes; and a few basic special effects, such as vignetting and faux film grain.
    While LR4 doesn't do layers, it does offer very good selectively customizable control of brushs and graduated filters. These can all be re-edited or undone completely without affecting the global image adjustments underneath the brush/grad filter overlays.
    If you prefer working with free or more affordable software like Gimp, but want more control over converting raw files to TIFF, try Raw Therapee as well. It's free/share/donor ware. Very powerful, maybe a bit more complex than it needs to be due to the large number of fine tuning controls. It could use an easy/quick mode for new users, but many of the advanced features can be ignored. The noise reduction utility in Raw Therapee is as good as Lightroom 4, with lots of room for fine tuning as desired. RT is a bit more resource intensive than Lightroom, but works okay on my low end laptop with some occasional lags.
     
  19. Ann, you have to remember that the D300 came out in 2007 and the D300s which I have came out in 2009. When the D300 hit the market the high iso was as good as it gets for high end DX cameras. Cameras today have better high iso's, that's because of improvements to the imaging sensor and the cameras ability to process files better. I love my D300s but iso 3200 looks terrible compared to my D700. Is the D300s a dog? Absolutely not, it's as good and iso 100 -800 as the D700 and iso 1600 - 3200 and higher isn't that bad, it's just not as good as FX or newer DX camera bodies.
     
  20. Mark, I agree with what you are saying, exept that I don't own a D700 (yet?). But you are confirming what I have been reading about it. That being said, the TIFF convertion makes the noise considerably worse than it appears to be on the NEF files. So I would have to try out another TIFF converter. Maybe I should give Raw Therapee a go. I wonder if that was the one I tried some years ago. I am not sure. If it is the one I tried, I couldn't figure out all the controls at that time. They were too complex for me. I didn't find the user interface to be self explanatory. And everything about a DSLR and post processing was new to me then. Maybe I would do better today.
    It sounds like LR4 is basically doing the same things as it did when I tried it out, Lex. Is LR4 working with the NEFs, and can I convert the files to TIFFs from LR4?
     
  21. That being said, the TIFF convertion makes the noise considerably worse than it appears to be on the NEF files.​
    Ann: you're not listening. You cannot see the NEF file. Ever. You are either seeing the embedded JPG (which has been subject to in-camera processing, including noise reduction routines), or you're seeing your editing program's on-the-fly rendering of the NEF's data, using (again) considerable processing. The TIFF file is also a rendering of the RAW data, and either does, or doesn't have noise reduction applied (that part is up to you). And again, remember that the JPGs you're seeing - especially the embedded ones that are what you're thinking of as the NEF file when you go to look at it - have been subject to detail-suppressing lossy compression.

    If you're looking at these things using Nikon's software, remember that the default display is of the embedded JPG, and the default rendering is based on your in-camera settings, including the noise reduction settings you've chosen.
     
  22. This is funny hehehehe!
     
  23. I highly recommend Imagenomic's Noiseware. It is very good and they just came out with Version 5.
    I only paid once several years ago. So far, the upgrades are free.
     
  24. I highly recommend Imagenomic's Noiseware. It is very good and they just came out with Version 5.
    I only paid once several years ago. So far, the upgrades are free.
     
  25. "Is LR4 working with the NEFs, and can I convert the files to TIFFs from LR4?"​
    Yes. So can Raw Therapee, 8 or 16 bit.
    However there are disadvantages to converting from raw to TIFF, primarily in terms of a smooth workflow for multiple photos per session. This may not be a hindrance if you work only on one photo at a time and do extensive editing in a pixel level editor.
    Regarding Gimp, I may be incorrect but check to see whether the Ufraw plug-in will enable working with DNG or other raw format. If so, it may be worth your while to convert your D300 NEFs to DNG rather than TIFF, especially if you foresee ever switching to Photoshop. Be sure to archive the NEFs, though, as some contests and most news media outlets may require the original camera raw files to determine whether edits were in conformance with their standards.
     
  26. Amazing patience, Matt and Lex. Wonderful.
     
  27. GIMP with UFRaw can open NEFs directly. I tried it and it worked. The results from UFRaw I got, however, were impressively lacking. I do not think I ever saw anything worse. And sloooowwwww.
    Ann, ViewNX2 is too limited for everything except the most basic use (for editing, as a 'workflow' tool for sorting and culling, it's nice, as an editor... well, it isn't an editor). So do yourself a favour and get a proper tool for working with your RAW files and invest time in learning to use them properly - and when you're proficient in using that, then we can talk noise and softness. But now, it just makes no sense; your workflow is too much of a mess to be able to say anything realistic about the noise abilities of the camera.
    Lightroom 4 is the usual suspect, but I'd recommend to download trials of several programs and see which one works best for you, in terms of User Interface and available editing options. Besides Lightroom and RAWTherapee, I'd also recommend Corel Aftershot (previously Bibble), CaptureOne Express, CaptureNX 2 - all these are capable of getting really good quality from D300 files (at least, when I tried them), and all are certainly worth considering. I ran ISO1600 D300 files through all of them (except Lightroom), and with a bit of tweaking, they all could deliver results good enough for quite large prints. With Capture NX2, I can squeeze really decent files out of a D300 with ISO3200 (if exposed well); files that are perfectly fine for web display, and could still be printed with good results to more or less A4 size. Without using any specific tool for noise reduction - those can work even better but I'm happy enough with what I can done this way.
    All this, of course, judging the whole image - not viewing at 100% pixelpeep level. Sure there is noise in that case; it's just not relevant in real world usage.
     
  28. Wouter, I have had this workflow for many years, and I like both programs. (ViewNX2 and Gimp). I was hoping I could continue using them, because they are fine for my needs. If I can't find a better TIFF converter, I would have to look into other software. At least I would like to check out if another converter would give a TIFF file that is more like the 'adjusted' NEF file.
    Matt, there is no noise reduction applied to my files. The NEF files are quite fine and the TIFFs are not, regarding noise. I have known for many years that the NEF files do not change. That is why I wrote that they 'appear' to be changed.
     
  29. At least I would like to check out if another converter would give a TIFF file that is more like the 'adjusted' NEF file.​
    Sorry Ann, this phrase shows you really have no idea what you're talking about. And also why ViewNX2 is not as fine a tool as you give it credit for. A proper RAW converter does exactly show you, on screen, the TIFF as you are about to export from it. It's exactly what the proper tools are designed to do. If it doesn't, the tool isn't right. RAW conversion is not a guessing game.
    there is no noise reduction applied to my files. The NEF files are quite fine and the TIFFs are not, regarding noise. I have known for many years that the NEF files do not change.​
    Exhibit number 2 that you do not understand what Matt said all along (or you refuse to understand). The "NEF" you look at is the embedded JPEG from the camera, by default has some NR applied (the amount set in-camera, which on the D300 is active from ISO800 on). If you manually next disable the noise reduction in ViewNX2, then the resulting output file will indeed have more noise - and at ISO1600 that indeed will look ugly.
    So, if the original NEF is quite fine, DO NOT change any setting in ViewNX2 at all, and just export it directly. The output file should be identical to what you saw on screen, and practically identical to what the camera would have written if you set it to TIFF. Little bit of noise reduction and sharpening applied, problem solved.
     
  30. So, if the original NEF is quite fine, DO NOT change any setting in ViewNX2 at all, and just export it directly.​
    Why is that, Wouter?
    Are 'the changes' I make to the NEF files supposed to be included in the TIFF convertion or not?
    Does the D300 apply noise reduction in-camera when I have turned it off?
    There in no noise reduction feature in ViewNX2, as far as I can tell.
     
  31. Are 'the changes' I make to the NEF files supposed to be included in the TIFF convertion or not?​
    Yes, obviously. It is the one and only reason to make those changes.
    Does the D300 apply noise reduction in-camera when I have turned it off?​
    No, if High ISO NR is set to OFF in camera, it should not apply any.
    There in no noise reduction feature in ViewNX2, as far as I can tell.​
    And another reason to get a real RAW converter.
     
  32. Wouter, I thought that those would be the answers. And that is why I don't understand why more noise in showing up in the TIFF files than in the NEF files.
    The changes I make to the files in ViewNX2 is better/easier done in ViewNX2 than in Gimp. That is why I do them there.
    So, I still have the same understanding of how things are working as when I started this thread. If there is a missing link somewhere, it is still missing. Is anyone able to explain that to me in one sentence?
     
  33. If there is a missing link somewhere, it is still missing.​
    This missing link: you still don't seem to understand that when you open the NEF file, you're seeing an embedded JPG. That file has lossy compression that noticeably reduces the appearance of noise (and of other details, sometimes, as it happens). That embedded JPG will look "quieter," with less high-ISO noise, than will a no-noise-reduction rendering from the NEF to a no compression, no smoothing JPG or to a TIFF.

    Just say you are reading that key information: the embedded JPG you first see as a working proxy for the NEF file has lossy compression that masks noise. Simple as that.
     
  34. So if I open a given NEF file in LR4, let's say shot at ISO 2000, I would see more noise in the file as oposed to if I opened the same file in ViewNX2?
     
  35. You never actually open an NEF file. You either open the small, compressed JPG that's embedded in the NEF file, or you're displaying your editing software's rendering of the NEF file into something you can see. In the case of Nikon software, the default way in which that's done is for the software to follow the same processing rules that were present in the camera at the time you shot the image. You can change those (far more easily in Capture NX2 than in the deliberately simple View NX2, of course), but that's what you start with.

    If you ask LR4 to show you its default idea of how to interpret that NEF file, it's going to do so based on whatever profile you have selected for the display of NEFs from that camera. That may, or may not involve noise reduction - it's up to you.

    Either way, the noise present in the NEF file is the same no matter what program you use to "open" the NEF. Whether that noise is still there when you get done processing that NEF data and displaying it on your screen in the editor or exporting it to some other format depends on how you have things set up. The first thing to do is to stop pixel peeping - because that doesn't convey any sort of real use of the image - either on-screen, or in print.
     
  36. How can you apply noise reduction to a NEF file if what you are looking at on the screen is not the actual noise in the file?
    Am I looking at a lossy compressed imbedded jpeg file when I open the file in LR4 too?
     
  37. Ann, at this point the best advice I can offer is to stop using Gimp and View NX2 for a month. Download the trial version of Lightroom 4 and use it exclusively for the 30 day trial period. You will immediately see the advantages to using well designed software and the disadvantages to using only Gimp and View NX2.
    Also, Lightroom is well supported with plenty of free illustrated and video tutorials. I recommend Julieanne Kost's videos.
    Lightroom's editing tools are very straightforward and easy to grasp. That's why I recommend trying it first.
    After that 30 day free trial, you may wish to revisit certain photos for more extensive manipulation in Gimp. If you output your files edited in Lightroom to DNG, and get the Ufraw plugin for Gimp, you may be able to pick up in Gimp where Lightroom left off.
    The advantages to LR are so distinct that I'm going back to re-edit many of my D2H NEFs taken since 2005. While I was satisfied with Noise Ninja and Noiseware as standalone noise reduction utilities, I find that in retrospect the rest of the editing was inconsistent even within photos from a single session. LR presets help ensure better consistency and more cohesive look.
     
  38. Ann, the raw-image file stores data about the image that need to be interpreted and converted into an actual image that one can see visually. I think if you see noise in LR's rendition (or ViewNX2), the image has noise for sure. LR uses Adobe's Camara Raw (if you do use LR, do select "Camara Raw V7.1 or later" under "Edit/Preferences/File Handling/Compatibility)).
    Then, if you would like to make the noise less noticeable, you may tweak the image using LR's "Develop/Detail" - it works pretty well, though personally I like to use Imagenomic's Noiseware as a quick-and-easy way out. I mentioned Noiseware in a prior post too. Think Imagenomic should pay me now. ;-)
    Good luck Ann. I think you can get much info by Googling too.
     
  39. Lex, LR4 is not enough. I need Gimp too. Layers and filters and all the other things I can do in Gimp. Would the convertion to DNG give less loss than convertion to TIFF you think?
     
  40. DNG is Adobe's "raw format". Now this throws a new round of confusion, doesn't it. I choose to convert my raw files to DNG during import to LR4. It will take too long to explain here. LOL!
    Just Googled and found this article which I think does a decent job in explaining DNG and RAW. Hope it helps.
    DNG vs RAW.
    Just read the entire DNG vs RAW article. The only bone I would pick is the assertion that it takes longer to process DNG. I believe it does not.
     
  41. The reason why I left LR when the trial period was over (several years ago), was that ViewNX did a much better job than I did to get a decent result from a NEF file. Without me having to do all the work in LR. I would spend maybe half an hour on a file in LR just to find out that the NEF file shown in ViewNX was 'already there'. Just a few tweaks were necessary and I was done (if I had nailed the exposure, that is). Now I do more fine tuning in Gimp compared to what I did back then (in addition to the adjustments I do in ViewNX2).
     
  42. Remember that Gimp only can work with 8 bits files today. They are working on the 16 bits file version.
     
  43. I am still confused by the same fact as when I started out. Because if the file convertion to TIFF is supposed to include the changes I make to the NEF file (appear to make), which Wouter said it should, then there is just something missing in that convertion. I get the colors and 'exposures', but not the same sharpness and much more noise. So this embedded, lossy compressed jpeg that I am watching in ViewNX2, is not included in the same way in the TIFF file (converted to the same appearance). Maybe it is not possible to get this better. But I think this has gotten worse. Since I haven't noticed it before. I only recently noticed the sharpness issue too.
    I believe I have the option to shoot TIFFs with my D300. Maybe I should do that instead :)
    Mary, I hope I don't have to use DNG convertions to get a better result.
     
  44. "LR4 is not enough. I need Gimp too. Layers and filters and all the other things I can do in Gimp."​
    You're not limited to LR4. It can be used as an intermediary step in prepping a file for additional manipulations in a pixel level editor.
    "The reason why I left LR when the trial period was over (several years ago), was that ViewNX did a much better job than I did to get a decent result from a NEF file."​
    That seems to contradict what you've been saying throughout this thread: that you're *not* getting satisfactory results from View NX, at least in terms of noise reduction.
    Lightroom 4 is far better than the earlier versions. Even Lightroom 3.6 is very good (not sure it's still available for free trial or purchase).
    "I would spend maybe half an hour on a file in LR just to find out that the NEF file shown in ViewNX was 'already there'."​
    LR4.3 has camera calibration/profile presets that neatly emulate Nikon's own in-camera settings. If that's what you prefer, it takes only one click. I'm getting better results from my old D2H NEFs in LR4 than in ViewNX 2, while retaining the characteristic "Nikon look". And the workflow is far more efficient. It doesn't take half an hour unless I'm obsessing over tiny incremental fiddling with every single tool - and I'll admit I'm prone to that sort of OCD editing at times.
    If you're doing extensive manipulations in an 8-bit program like the currently stable version of Gimp, it's likely you'll eventually end up redoing those photos anyway.
    At this point, only you can understand why you're determined to work with such limited editing tools, while also complaining about those limits. There are better affordable alternatives. Or wait until the 16-bit version of Gimp is considered stable.
     
  45. Ann, if you can upload a sample Nikon NEF from your camera somewhere online I'll be glad to tackle it in Lightroom and provide a DNG and 16-bit TIFF. I have a couple of online files hosts for that purpose.
    Be sure it's a file that shows the sort of noise that you're describing having difficulties with. I'll use only the minimum LR4 settings that emulate the typical Nikon look that you'd get from ViewNX 2.
     
  46. You're not limited to LR4. It can be used as an intermediary step in prepping a file for additional manipulations in a pixel level editor.​
    I know that, Lex. But you would have the convertion process there too.
    That seems to contradict what you've been saying throughout this thread: that you're *not* getting satisfactory results from View NX, at least in terms of noise reduction.​
    There is no noise reduction going on in ViewNX2. If Matt's explanation is correct. Just noise 'hiding'. The NEF files doesn't look any different regarding noise, just the TIFFs.
    LR4.3 has camera calibration/profile presets that neatly emulate Nikon's own in-camera settings.​
    Does it come with that, or do you have to make your own preset?
     
  47. Thank you for your suggestion, Lex. But I can do that with the trial version myself. I kind of don't want to, though. I shouldn't have to buy a whole new RAW converter just to get a better TIFF convertion. I think Nikon should be able to fix that in ViewNX2. Can it be that hard to get it right? Or at least better than it is today?
     
  48. << I hope I don't have to use DNG convertions to get a better result. >>
    Ann, DNG does not provide a "better result" as far as the noise in the images is concerned.
    I have been reading your input in this thread and I think it would be simpler and more effective if the effort is concentrated on making an image better (e.g., less noisy) at this time, rather than trying to understand everything at once by reading a few posts. If I am not mistaken, the problem at hand is you are not satisfied with the noise level, right? If so, trying some noise reduction tool such as those mentioned above would be a good start, I think. :)
     
  49. The LR4.3 camera calibration/profile settings are not presets, per se, but profiles that include ACR 4.4, 2.4, Adobe Standard, and a variety of other profile options that vary depending on which camera raw file we're working with.
    For example, with my D2H NEFs I have a larger selection of profiles than with my V1, including three that emulate the D2X in-camera JPEG modes. I find the three D2X profiles a bit too contrasty for my taste - I tend to prefer lower contrast and saturation than some photographers, especially for my photos of people. The "Camera Portait" and "Camera Neutral" settings suit my preferences as starting points.
    The camera calibration settings can also be tweaked to adjust shadow tints and RGB hue/saturation. I don't bother with these because the defaults suit me.
    These profiles may be incorporated into LR presets, as desired, which is helpful for an efficient workflow and consistent look throughout a batch of photos from a single session.
    "I shouldn't have to buy a whole new RAW converter just to get a better TIFF convertion. I think Nikon should be able to fix that in ViewNX2. Can it be that hard to get it right? Or at least better than it is today?"​
    I've been saying that for years. But Nikon's strength is making excellent equipment, not in their software (or even in their service and support, although that's a whole 'nuther gripe).
    From 2005-2008 I used the original version of Nikon View that came with my D2H because Nikon's own NEF rendering to TIFF was the most faithful. I'd then open the TIFFs in Noise Ninja (and, later, Noiseware) for noise reduction. Then I'd save those TIFFs and edit them further in Paint Shop Pro or other software.
    In retrospect, it was a huge waste of time. I'm having to re-edit hundreds of D2H NEFs to get better results. Fortunately with Lightroom I can automate most of that within batches of photos taken in various sessions where the lighting was fairly consistent - mostly in hospital settings.
    While I don't often use a pixel level editor if I did need one now I'd probably get Photoshop Elements or Corel Paint Shop Pro, using Lightroom as the first step to export the NEFs to DNG.
     
  50. Lex, thank you for that explanation. I think that if you do a lot of shooting under similar lighting conditions, LR wouldn't be much more time consuming than ViewNX2. I usually don't have sets of photos with similiar ligthing conditions. So presets wouldn't be of much help to me. (I would have to make too many of them for it to be of any practical use. I think.)
    I'm having to re-edit hundreds of D2H NEFs to get better results.​
    Do you think that that is caused by the software? Not you being better at post processing now?
    ....rather than trying to understand everything at once by reading a few posts.​
    I like to know what is going on, Mary. Hopefully it will result in informed decision making :)
     
  51. Ann, I suggested that only because it appears the questions and answers are going to various directions, which seem confusing to you - and I can understand that. I guess perhaps I am more result-oriented than process-oriented. ;) Having said that, I agree with Lex that using the right and "final" program selection is important. I have been intensively learning and using LR in the last two months after deciding that, finally, THAT is the program (in conjunction with Photoshop) for my complete workflow - and half-heartedness is no longer acceptable. And I wanted to "do it right" from now on.
     
  52. If I were to make the leap to Photoshop, I wouldn't have continued using ViewNX2 (I couldn't have done it either, since it has got no DNG converter) . What did you use before LR and Photoshop, Mary?
     
  53. "Do you think that that is caused by the software? Not you being better at post processing now?"​
    A little of both.
    At the time, 2005-2008, I tried everything available for Windows PCs - Nikon Capture (dreadful noise reduction and sharpening tools), Photoshop (full version and Elements), Corel PSP 10, Bibble, several specialty packages developed specifically for wedding and portrait photographers (all long since defunct) - but nothing combined all of the better tools and an efficient workflow into a single package. Bibble came close but looking back now at a batch of photos from one session involving a hospital documentary project the skin colors are a little too happy for my taste and the noise reduction tended to produce a plasticky appearance. It was a variation of Noise Ninja incorporated in that version of Bibble, but lacked the full controls of the standalone version of NN. Aperture was promising but Mac only.
     
  54. Ann, I have always used Photoshop, and Adobe Bridge along with it - well, when I felt like to; and also Lightroom to import a bit here and there. No concerted effort and never really good at it. I did not have a determined effort to learn LR until a few months ago, when I realized there are hundreds and thousands of uncatalogued and unprocessed images from my past travels (many of which are damned good), and I won't want to redo them 100 times in the future when I "know better", I decided I must learn LR well to get off on the right foot.
    Like Lex, I also have Bibble, but it cannot compare to LR.
    A number of people I know who are good photographers use Photoshop Elements instead of Photoshop. It gets the job done as well. Elements is an excellent value, and it works with LR as well.
     
  55. This might be a dumb question, but I am under the impression that I can get the same results with ViewNX2/Gimp that any of you can get with LR4. Except that ViewNX2 hasn't got a noise reduction, and neither do Gimp.
    Isn't it just adjustment of exposure, colors, colortemperature, color balance, tint, hue/saturation and levels? The end result you would be getting would be the same, wouldn't it? I find the sharpening in Gimp to be decent too, at least if the image is not too soft to begin with.
     
  56. You can't use ViewNX2 as a user-controllable noise-reduction tool. Nikon's full-on edit software (Capture NX2) does that - and a lot more - very well.

    You might, Ann, also try a free trial of a couple of Corel's products. Some of them are very powerful, and very cheap compared to Adobe's.
     
  57. You can't use ViewNX2 as a user-controllable noise-reduction tool.​
    I know, Matt. But until the TIFFs started looking so noisy, I have never felt the need for noise reduction software. Actually I have never had any noise reduction software. But I don't use high ISO values very often, and that is because I want to avoid the noise rather than having to clean up the photos. (I understand that it is easy to do if you have LR4.)
    You might, Ann, also try a free trial of a couple of Corel's products.​
    Thanks for the tip. I'll look into that if I would want to buy imaging software. Gimp is fine for now. I am looking forward to seeing how the effects of the 16 bits files will be.
     
  58. << This might be a dumb question, but I am under the impression that I can get the same results with ViewNX2/Gimp that any of you can get with LR4...>>

    No, not dumb. Coupled with a good image to begin with, you can get good results using any image-processing program - or even without using any image-processing software. We used to do that with slide film, didn't we? (I do miss those days somewhat!)
    However, LR is not just an image-enhancing software. It is a complete workflow program, beginning from cataloguing images, ranking, key-wording, grouping, developing/enhancing,...through publishing to books, pdf, slideshow, social media, email... It is end-to-end.
    LR has some enhancing capability that Photoshop lacks, and lacks some capability that Photoshop possesses, such as layering, stitching, HDR, text graphic.
    No you don't need it of course. No one absolutes needs any particular software. I haven't "really" used it until now.
     
  59. This is one of the most comical posts I have read in my ten year here on PN. Why do you worry about TIFF files?
     

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