Post Sunset Pre Dawn Banding D700 & D300

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by peter_kervarec, May 7, 2010.

  1. Hi All
    I use a D700 and D300, both Adobe RGB 1998 color space, both shooting highest bit NEFs available and I get slight color banding in the sky when there are really nice gradations of color at the above times. This is pre editing and it only gets worse if edits are heavy. Should I be using a smaller color space eg sRGB ? When I used film there was never an issue as film smoothly captured the natural gradient of the sky.
    Is there a solution or is it genetic? Id like to hear some measured responses to this and am interested if anyone else has experienced this?
  2. Post an example please. How do you know it's not just your monitor?
  3. One reason Nikon gives you a choice: if you are into printing press output of your images, Adobe RGB 1998 is good.
    For general viewing (i.e., on the Internet) -- Abobe RGB 1998 might not be so good.
    The D700 has so many choices for setting the color (Standard, Neutral, Vivid, etc.) and one cannot tell what you have set the camera to do.
  4. This image has what I think is banding between the tree and the moon. D700.
  5. Peter,
    i don't see a disturbing banding in the area you've mentioned.
    I use also D700 and shooting RAW processing in CS3, my setting in camera is Abobe RGB always but when i start editing i immediately turn it to sRGB and process it in 16bit and i have no problems at all, i hope what i do helps you.
  6. Peter,
    I don't see any banding issues, at least not with the jpeg posted. I'm on a calibrated s-ips monitor.
  7. You should be using Adobe RGB. Banding might be due to the monitor unless you specifically look at the pixel values with a color picker to determine how they change. But I'm kind of inclined to believe that the problem lies in the monitor...
  8. Thanks everyone. Hi Uzay I'll give that a try and look at my monitor which is an LCD.
  9. Interesting. On my garden variety HP monitor (HP w22, calibratd) I see the banding quite clearly. I've also seen it in some of my own pictures with deep blue skies.
    Do better monitors not have this problem because they can display finer color gradations? Is this the reason/excuse I've been looking for to buy a better monitor?
  10. I see it on my MacBook just a little. And yes, better monitors do a better job with this stuff. Do a test print, see if it's really there.
  11. I see only slight banding on my old Dell CRT monitor. I probably wouldn't have noticed if I wasn't looking for it. The small amount I see could very well be due to either my old monitor or the jpeg compression.
  12. I see it on my monitor (NEC Multisync aperture grille). It's not too bad, pretty much what I'd expect for a sky with a compressed JPEG.
    The subtle gradations of skies, no matter what the color - blues, sunsets with many hues - are very difficult to render flawlessly in a resampled, compressed JPEG. But you shouldn't be seeing this in the raw file or a TIFF from that raw file.
    Try some other JPEG options, see what happens. Occasionally when I get undesirable artifacts with JPEG resampling/compression in one editor, I'll try another with more options for JPEGs and that usually cleans it up. To render skies with more subtle gradation you may need to settle for a finished file size closer to 200-300 kb for a typical 800x600 or so JPEG for web viewing. Other subjects can withstand a lot more compression but skies are pretty unforgiving.
  13. "When I used film there was never an issue as film smoothly captured the natural gradient of the sky."
    How many of those pictures did you look at on a computer monitor? Try printing a picture at a lab.
  14. An IPS LCD panel will not show banding. These cost nearly $1000, I have one on my 24" iMac. A lower cost, more commonly used TFT LCD panel will show banding where there really isn't any. I have a 17" Samsung LCD panel that I used to use before I got my 24" iMac. The Samsung LCD monitor showed banding all the time on shots I took with my D700. Drove me batty. Elliot hit it on the head. Try printing the image at a lab. You'll see continuous tones most likely.
  15. dont see banding on my dell LCD monitor.
  16. I downloaded the picture and increased the contrast. I got the following image which shows posterizing. Is this what you're calling banding? It's due to the jpg having only 8 bits to define the color gradients.
  17. Fair point Elliott however I have had many film based pictures printed out over the years with never a problem but with digital at this particular time of day, at morn and evening, the likelihood of getting a smooth result seems like a toss of the coin. I am careful at the editing end not to over PS anything.
    Lex, the vague artifact that you mention is also visible in the RAW file. I am glad that others have seen what I have on their monitors.On a previous monitor that i had I also had the same result.
    To Kent, you say that you have also seen this on some of your images. Did you print these out and if so was what you saw on the print?
  18. Thanks Dwight as mentioned , its also visible in the NEF file. Maybe it has more to do with underexposure? The dynamic range in this image alone would be huge. The typical makeup of an evening or morning sky is a bright horizon rapidly fading out to a dark sky. If this is the reason then it shows that film is way ahead of digital in this particular scenario. I am very keen to hear comments on this - and keep it friendly ! Any ideas out there ?
  19. I should note that you can't look at a NEF file. It's not an image. It's raw sensor data. It has to be converted to something else in order to see it on a monitor. Having said that, the NEF file does have an image embedded in it, but it's a basic jpg image, 8 bit range.
    If possible, use whatever raw converter you are using to produce a 16 bit TIFF file instead of a jpg. See if that has the same issue. Or maybe just do the contrast enhancement directly in the conversion instead of after the fact on the jpg file.
  20. On my own images where banding showed up on the screen, it showed in the 16-bit .psd file in Photoshop so it wasn't caused by the JPEG conversion. I made adjustments in Photoshop until it disappeared, reducing contrast and saturation. It never occurred to me that the banding was caused by the monitor. (I would have expected a better monitor to reveal problems more clearly rather than eliminating them, but I understand the logic of what others are saying on this point.)
    I just found one of my pictures that still showed some banding on the screen, printed it, and can't see banding in the print.
  21. Peter,
    Do you still see banding when you print? What monitor are you using?
    Inexpensive LCD monitors often have a 6 bit processor - a mere 64 steps per channel. These are likely to show banding in sunsets, particularly if the the dithering algorithm (which emulates 8 bits from 6 bits) is not up to snuff. Most inkjet (and dye-sub) printers are capable of 8 bits/channel resolution or better (256 steps per channel), which is capable of rendering smooth gradients even in high-dynamic range images.
    Also, be sure your graphics card is set to deliver at least 24-bit resolution (8 bits/channel), and 32-bit is even better. You can get a pretty good, 8 or 10 bit monitor for under $500 if you can settle for 22" and 1050x1620 resolution (e.g., NEC P221), designed for graphics and photography.
  22. Peter, if you're seeing this banding when viewing the NEFs I'd be inclined to agree with Edward Ingold's comments. You may need to check your entire editing system to be sure it's set appropriately for photo editing.
    "If this is the reason then it shows that film is way ahead of digital in this particular scenario."​
    I'm a lifelong film fanatic and still am. But there's no reason to believe that the banding is inherent to digital. You should be able to get the same subtle gradations with your digital cameras that you could with any film.
    It might help to provide a link to a NEF file. It might help to reduce the guesswork if we can look at a raw file straight from the camera.
  23. Yes Lex, thanks, and I tend to agree with Edward also. My monitor is a Samsung Syncmaster 23.5 inch, 1920 x 1080 32 bit. Video card is a NVIDIA GeForce 9400GT.
    Edward i dont want to waste your time, but no I havent printed this particular image or one that presents on screen with banding. I will do that this week and see what happens.
    I am happy to post the NEF file not quite sure where or how to.
  24. TN panels will have issues with color; banding is common because the processor is often cheap because the panels won't display great color anyway. The big TN panels will suffer from the color tint changing based on viewing angle so severely that the entire panel can't hold the same tint when viewed from one point (i.e. without moving one's head).
    In practical terms, it's better to buy a small and good than a large and poor; the large TN panels are intended for applications like gaming.
    JPEG compression introduces banding, better to be aware of that.
  25. "JPEG compression introduces banding, better to be aware of that."​
    It doesn't have to. But in some cases I've found it necessary to save at 95%-100% quality to preserve the subtleties of skies. Makes for some rather large JPEGs and there's some loss of subtle gradation, but not the type of banding visible in the sample Peter provided.

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