RAW in LR vs. Nikon ViewNX2 vs. Irfanview

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by kevin_beretta, Aug 28, 2016.

  1. Greetings,
    I am playing with a D700 and a 1.4 85 AF-S lens. I was trying to see how sharp things were still, whether the camera and/or lens was not focusing correctly. I surmised all is well with body and lens. However, taking a few test shots, I notice a distinct sharpness difference when I look at the same photo in RAW through Nikon ViewNX2 or Lightroom 5.7 or Irfanview 4.38. The NX2 shot is clearly sharper, the other two are equal. Does the Nikon product sharpen things out of the box more? All three tools are zeroed out.
    Has anyone else noticed this? Or what am I doing wrong?
  2. Many people and some cameras choose to turn on lots of sharpening for a jpg image, for example; but in that case you'd expect the RAW to be less sharp looking.
    Could you have some noise reduction or other "cleaning" function turned on in the non-NX2 software that is blurring the image on purpose??
  3. Hi JDM,

    As far as I can see, there is nothing set that would indicate it would vary from straight RAW. Interesting ... I use LR for everything but to ensure I had the focus spots right, I used ViewNX to check the focus location and that is when I noticed the difference.

  4. Quite likely that NikonView applies the in-camera sharpening setting to the processed RAW image, whereas LR and Irfanview don't.
  5. Dieter is correct: Nikon's raw processing programs by default use whatever sharpening settings you have set in the
    canera's setting. Keep in mind that setting is a global unsharp masking algorithm based on the jpeg (size and
    compression) you have the set the camera for.
  6. Thanks all for the responses. The camera is not adding sharpening. I shoot RAW without JPG. Still not sure what is going on ... it's odd for sure. I am try some of the other RAW tools out there to see what happens with them.
  7. I shoot RAW without JPG​
    There is always a JPEG embedded in the RAW file. That's what you see on the back LCD. And that's also what is displayed, at least initially, in most post processing programs (like LR, which displays it briefly before replacing it with a JPEG created from the RAW file based on the programs own parameters). A RAW file cannot be displayed, it is just a list of brightness values for each sensor pixel, it needs demosaicing (Bayer Interpolation) before it can be displayed as a color JPEG or TIFF.
    Nikon's programs are the only ones that can read and apply the in-camera settings - so that the converted RAW image on your monitor looks the same as the JPEG that was displayed on the back of the camera. Searching for another RAW program that does the same things is futile - all you are seeing is the difference between a RAW file converted with a Nikon program vs one that can't read and apply the in-camera settings. And, of course, whatever difference there is between third party RAW converters to begin with.
    You can easily test this - just change the in-camera JPEG settings (like sharpening, saturation, contrast) and then run them through your three post processing programs. LR and Irfanview will be unaffected, NikonView will faithfully apply those in-camera settings and give you the same image as the one you see on the back of the camera. Just go ahead and go crazy with the parameters to make the differences obvious.
    For example, set the picture control to monochrome and watch the monochrome JPEG on the camera LCD. Now import the RAW file into LR and Irfanview - you will get a color image. Do the same in NikonView and you get a monochrome output.
  8. The camera is not adding sharpening.​
    As with all digital cameras that shoot Raw the manufacturer provided Raw converter builds its default preview using the incamera's settings that it applies to jpegs as a starting point for further edits.
    Unless you know for sure (doubtful) you can turn incamera sharpening completely off AND noise reduction as well then you will always get different sharpening results from third party converters and even then there's no way to know if any Raw converter does or doesn't apply a bit of sharpening as a default setting. And there's also demosaicing algorithms that can affect the look of sharpness among Raw converters that the manufacturer will add their secret sauce to to make it look sharper.
    Again, go with what Dieter has said.
  9. I used CaptureOne alongside NX-2, and Capture1
    applied noticeably more sharpening by default. So
    no, all RAW converters aren't created equal in their
    default settings.
  10. Different processing programs will produce different results, color, sharpening, etc. Rather than obsess on the differences, concentrate on producing an end product which distorts in a way that pleases you.
    You can always add sharpening, but you can't take it away, nor reduce its side effects (e.g., halos). There is nothing magical about Nikon NX except that it is free and observes in-camera settings more closely than non-Nikon software. Lightroom or Photoshop are able to do what is needed to get good images or prints, and the former is completely non-destructive to any format, not just the RAW images.
  11. Something I've always noticed with third party Raw converters (especially ACR/LR) is that even white balance adjustments will add a bit of clarity and sharpness to the overall image.
    Just working on an image last night that had a slight greenish haze in "As Shot" WB in ACR so I dragged the green/magenta Tint slider to the right toward magenta and the image just seemed to pop with depth, clarity and sharpness. Switching camera profiles from the default ACR 4.4 to a custom DNG profile afterward messed that up.
  12. Are you using Picture Control?
    If you go to NX2's Camera Settings, click on to activate Picture Control section what's there as "recorded value"?
    Goings further down to Advanced, which value you get as default?
    And the same as default for sharpening when you activate "noise reduction"?
    Besides you shoot only RAW, NX2 gets the settings in your menus and the converter itself will make the referred adjustment if positive values are registered as default.
  13. Antonio,
    Thanks for that. Indeed, in Picture Control, the sharpness value is default to higher than neutral. That make the difference ....\

Share This Page