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Nikon D3X DNG profile to match Nikon Picture Control under Capture NX

Oct 16, 2011 10:42 AM

Hi Guys,

I guess this is probably a "neverending" story but...does anybody know if there's a way to create (or find) a good DNG profile able to match Nikon Picture Control under Lightroom?

 

I am a very happy user of Lightroom. But some weeks ago I decided to give a try to Capture NX with my D3X files. Whow....another world in terms of RAW file already "half" developed thanks to a good in camera setting!

 

I am seriously considering to move to NX because there's no way to have a "starting point" as in NX when I import my NEF files in Lightroom....

 

Any suggestion maybe??

 

Thanks so much

Cristiano

 
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  • Noel Carboni
    23,455 posts
    Dec 23, 2006
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    Oct 16, 2011 10:50 AM   in reply to Cristiano_Palazzini

    Adobe Camera Raw (which is the focus of this forum) allows you to set up your own default "starting point", both by saving the default positions of all the controls, and also (for advanced users) by defining your own camera profile. 

     

    I don't have Lightroom, but knowing it shares a lot of internals with Camera Raw, I find it hard to imagine it doesn't provide similar "set your own default starting point" capabilities.

     

    -Noel

     
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    Oct 16, 2011 3:57 PM   in reply to Cristiano_Palazzini

    Creating your own profiles ranges from easy to hard.

     

    I do it the "medium-easy" way using DNG Profile editor. Vit Novak has created his own software to do it (the "hard" way). (the easiest way is to use X-rite software)

     

    But, it helps to understand how things work and what you are aiming for...

     

    I've found the camera-emulation profiles to be quite close color-wise (D300), but differ tone-wise due in large part to Active D-Lighting. So part of the problem may be solved by learning to use fill-light and recovery effectively (and other tone controls to go with them). But to the extent that colors are off, you can use DNG Profile Editor to "tune" the camera-emulation profiles for your camera (and/or your preferred taste) with the help of a color-chart and/or a wet finger in the air.

     

    PS - If you use Lightroom (and especially if you do not convert to DNG), Advanced Color Editor may be of some help.

     

    The other option is to figure out exactly what you want, and then if you haven't solved the problem in the process, plead with Vit Novak to create a profile for you ;-} - he's my new hero in the profile-guru category...

     

    Rob

     
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    Oct 17, 2011 6:58 AM   in reply to Cristiano_Palazzini

    Cristiano, I am guessing you have different in-camera settings enabled (like Auto Lighting Optimizer) that are preventing the Adobe-built Camera Matching color profiles (like Camera Landscape) from matching the results from the Nikon software.

     
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    Oct 17, 2011 1:59 PM   in reply to Cristiano_Palazzini

    Cristiano, keep in mind there is a lot of flexibility in Lightroom/ACR post-processing with regards to using presets, and establishing your own custom defaults (for your camera model, e.g., D3X).  Just because LR/ACR (deliberately) doesn't process your in-camera customizations doesn't mean you can't establish similar customizations using LR/ACR.  Saving these customizations as presets/defaults simplifies the workflow (automatically gets applied to your images during import) and you still have the flexibility for per-image tweaks as needed.

     
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    Oct 17, 2011 3:47 PM   in reply to Cristiano_Palazzini

    My .02:

     

    One of the great things about shooting raw is the ability to forget about in-camera settings and just shoot.

     

    Its easy enough to set up camera calibration profiles and presets in Lightroom, to get different looks - it has a lot more flexibility than your camera has.

     

    In my opinion, what's missing in Lightroom in this regard is sophisticated auto(intelligent) styles, although the auto-tone feature is next best thing.

     

    My advice: Learn to use Lightroom and forget about your in-camera settings.

     

    More free advice: I set up my camera settings to optimize my ability to assess inherent color and tone at the endpoints of the histogram (basically, neutral profile with pumped saturation).

    More often than not, my pictures look better in Lightroom after just the default settings are applied. I never change camera settings anymore (other than for basic exposure...).

     

    Rob

     
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    Oct 18, 2011 4:47 AM   in reply to Cristiano_Palazzini

    What modifications did you do in the camera to the Nikon Profiles that you can't duplicate in ACR?

     
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    Oct 18, 2011 7:13 AM   in reply to Cristiano_Palazzini

    Try Camera Landscape with saturation to +12, sharpening - Amount = 70, Radius = 1.6, Detail = 25, Masking = 30.  For D Lighting you will have to adjust Fill and/or Exposure/Brightness.   These are just suggested starting points.  I am playing around with these for my D700.

     
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    Oct 18, 2011 7:28 AM   in reply to b2martin_a

    In addition to the above try clicking the Auto button in the ACR basic panel,  then reset contrast to 25 and adjust brightness to the value you need for the image - leave the sharpening and saturation as listed above. 

     
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    Oct 18, 2011 1:57 PM   in reply to Cristiano_Palazzini

    You need to determine the correct noise corrections for your camera for each ISO that the camera can select.  Nikon is automatically using some noise correction, but ACR does not read these settings, so you need to determine the correct settings for each ISO - these are under the detail tab for ACR.  I have a set of images that I use to set defaults for my camera (D700) - 40 images, one for each ISO that the camera can select.  I spent time to adjust the Noise settings (under the Detail tab for ACR) for each image and then set ACR preferences to make defaults specific to camera ISO - this results in 40 different defaults for the camera.  I also have the default set to automatically correct the lens distortion, chromatic aberrations, and viginetting - Adobe has characterized the lens I use so the data is already there.  With ACR setup this way it automatically sets these parameters based on the ISO used to shoot the image.  I then make adjustments on each image in the Basic tab - other tabs ususlly don't require any adjustments. 

     
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    Oct 18, 2011 5:50 PM   in reply to Cristiano_Palazzini

    Hard to tell how far off you are without screen shots but screen shots might make it worse since I have confirmed proof many times over that what you see in your browser window is not necessarily what I see in my browser window regardless of who calibrated their monitor how and the theory of how you or I think things are supposed to work and are working versus how they are actually working...

     

    Anyway, if you want to avoid having to figure out all the ISOs your camera is capable of producing in auto-ISO mode, just use a plugin like:

     

    - BulkDevelop: http://regex.info/blog/lightroom-goodies/bulk-develop (to apply luminance noise reduction based on ISO and exposure setting)

    - CollectionPreseter (to apply develop and/or metadata presets based on whatever criteria you can define as a collection)

     

    Rob

     
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    Oct 27, 2011 9:15 AM   in reply to Cristiano_Palazzini

    Maybe you need to take one step at a time to determine the settings required in Lightroom to duplicate NX2.  I have not tried to duplicate D-Lighting of NX2 in ACR (Adobe Camera RAW - I use CS5).  If you like the Nikon Colors, you don't need to use Adobe's DNG Profile Editor or X-Rite Passport software to generate a custom profile.  First shoot an image with the camera paramenters all at nominal, D-Lighting off,  and the Nikon Profile you want - you mentioned Landscape.  Open the NEF file in Lightroom with all parameters set to nominal and select the Camera Landscape profile - you may need to turn off lens correction in Lightroom if the camera did not do any lens correction.  This should be a very close match to what you get from the camera.  You can use this NEF file in both Capture NX2 and Lightroom - modify the Picture Control profile in NX2 and then see what you have to do in Lightroom to match the change.  If you increase saturation in NX2 Picture Control by +1, then increase satruation in Lightroom by +12 to +15.  If you increase contrast in NX2 by +1, change contrast in Lightroom from +25 to +45 and decrease Saturation by -5.  I don't know if anyone has generated a table of settings in Lightroom to match NX2 Picture Control Settings for Contrast, Saturation, Sharpness, and Hue (values of -3, -2, -1, 0, +1, +2, +3) , but that would be very useful in doing what you requested. 

     
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    Oct 27, 2011 2:17 PM   in reply to Cristiano_Palazzini

    Cristiano,

     

    I have no experience with D3X (nor D3), but I have extensive experience with D300 (in both NX2 and Lightroom).

     

    My experience is that NX2 tends to render shadows with less color, and highlights with more color.

     

    Other than that, the color differences between the two are primarily due to differences in handling tone, and of course camera settings that NX2 sees and Lightroom doesn't.

     

    Note: One big thing is active d-lighting. To isolate the more "intrinsic" differences, start by turning active-d-lighting and custom picture settings off - there may be others on the D3X I am not aware of... Also, color noise reduction is always on in NX2 (there is no way to turn it off), and what Nikon calls "Color Noise Reduction" is more like Luminance noise reduction in Lightroom.

     

    PS - I find the NxToo Lightroom plugin helps to straddle the fence.

     

    My opinion: I usually like the Lightroom rendering better because of (in addition to superior noise reduction...) the richer looking shadows, which sometimes need to be tamed using split-toning. However, its one of my ongoing challenges in Lightroom to have rich, saturated, detailed highlights, when desired.

     

    How are things going with the DNG profile editor? - I usually prefer my tweaked versions of the profiles over the Lightroom provided defaults. I wish I could customize based on luminance as well as saturation and hue, but still, 2/3 is better than 0/3...

     

    Good luck,

    Rob

     
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  • Noel Carboni
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    Oct 27, 2011 2:38 PM   in reply to Cristiano_Palazzini

    Cristiano_Palazzini wrote:

     

     

    It iseems it is definitely possible to get very close to "in camera" settings for a Nikon Camera.

    But ther's no way (at least for what I am able to do) to replicate. In my opinion Nikon has for sure "something else" inside its raws and ACR cannot understand that. The result, for my taste, is that every image opened in NX2 is better.

     

     

    I just wanted to mention that up to recently this expressed EXACTLY my sentiment, except substitute the words Canon for Nikon and DPP for NX2 in my case.

     

    Then Vit Novak, here on this forum, made me a custom profile based on the output from the DPP converter, and now I CAN get perfect replication - and even go some better through changes to the Camera Raw sliders.  But the important thing is the images have the magic from the camera maker that I was missing.  I've been trying to convince Vit to market such profiles or the software that can be used to create them.  I hope he sees this.

     

    -Noel

     
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    Oct 27, 2011 2:45 PM   in reply to Noel Carboni

    I *think* one of the driving forces in Vit's profile creation software was the need to adjust color based on luminance that is missing from the DPE (and X-rite), and may be one of the key differences in NX2 vs. Lightroom rendering.

     
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    Oct 28, 2011 2:55 AM   in reply to Cristiano_Palazzini

    Hi Cristiano,

     

    Thanks for reporting.

     

    People use NxToo in a wide variety of ways. I use it mostly to put finishing touches on Lightroom processed images, but some people use it so they can take advantage of Lightroom's DAM and other features yet process raws exclusively with NX2, still others use it just to extract previews for Lightroom instead of shooting raw+jpeg...

     

    If you have found the limits of the DPE then you are well on your way... - I shot a 24 color chart and applied it to my favorite Lightroom profiles to get started, then I refined them over time (still am refining them) by loading various images into DPE and tweaking. I have also created a couple variations with different tone curves...

     

    Vit is my hero (Noel's too I think). He sent me a profile so I can process Canon S5 raws (with the help of the CHDK firmware hack) in Lightroom and have right colors. He is truly "the man" when it comes to profiles.

     

    I don't think Adobe is planning to attend much more to camera settings in Lr4 (paraphrasing Eric Chan), but there will no doubt be other compelling features. Dunno if there will be an NX3 to compete.

     

    Cheers and all,

    Rob

     
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    Oct 28, 2011 3:51 AM   in reply to Rob Cole

    Rob,

     

    Adobe is still working on improving color management in ACR. So some issues that were reported here by some of us will be addressed in the future (for some recent cameras a part of theme is already addressed).

     

    However, I don't know when and in which version. And also, I don't know will older cameras get better profiles or not - hava in mind that number of cameras supported by ACR is huge and each camera has several profiles / picture styles, so this isn't an easy job

     

    Noel, as I said, I have no intention to sell this. My intention was to make this program freeware for CHDK users, but since almost nobody was interested in CHDK forum, I left the program at half-finished state (although from time to time I'm still experimenting with it)

     

    Cristiano, I've been quite busy these days and I can make profiles only for part of Canon and Nikon cameras, but will see what I can do. Stand by

     
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  • Noel Carboni
    23,455 posts
    Dec 23, 2006
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    Oct 28, 2011 5:41 AM   in reply to Vit Novak

    Vit Novak wrote:

     


    Noel, as I said, I have no intention to sell this.

     

    Fair enough.  It's pretty clear it has value.

     

    -Noel

     
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    Oct 28, 2011 10:30 AM   in reply to Cristiano_Palazzini

    Cristiano, take a look at these images

     

    http://www.megaupload.com/?d=RL8EN3L0

     

    I downloaded a raw test image from www.imaging-resource.com site and developed it with both NX2 and ACR using Camera Standard profile from Adobe

    Files in this archive are:

     

    D3XhSLI0100.thumb.jpg - jpeg image embeded in the nef file (standard picture style, sRGB)

    D3XhSLI0100_NX2_Standard.jpg - image developed with NX2

    D3XhSLI0100_ACR_CS.jpg - image developed with ACR

     

    For me, all of them look very similar. Indeed, there is less diference between ACR and NX2 image than between NX2 an in-camera image !

     
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    Oct 29, 2011 2:03 AM   in reply to Cristiano_Palazzini

    Hm ...

     

    I'm a Canon user (and not a serious photographer like you), and I'm confused with Active D-Light settings in NX2

     

    So, when I open mentioned test image from imaging-resource site with NX2, I have no Active D-lighting option under Camera settings in the Edit list. Exif tag in nef says Active D-Lighting was off

    When I open your _DX30026.NEF, I have Active D-lighting option under Camera settings in the Edit list. And the file has 2 exif tags connected with this:  Active D-Lighting off and Active D-Lighting mode unchanged

     

    And here is the interesting thing: when I select Active D-lighting off in NX2, shadows are darker than when I select Unchanged. And setting Low gives the same shadows as Unchanged. Do you know whay is this? I presume that you had Active D-Lighting in camera set to low, then you opened this nef with NX2, changed active d-lighting to off and saved it

     

    However, developing this nef with NX2 and ACR gives me similar result under this conditions:

     

    - NX2: everything at default, except Active D-Lighting changed to Off and Camera & Lens Correction turned off

    - ACR: default settings - exposure 0, blacks 5, brightness 50, contrast 25, medium contrast tone curve (as it was described several times), profile Camera landscape ...

     

    However, there are some differences - shadows are slightly brighter with ACR than with NX2. It's a known issue that with this profile type and size shadows can't be matched very accurately. That said, there is nothing specially wrong with it - if you use different settings for D-Lighting or change some other parameter, you also get different result - there is nothing 'correct' or 'wrong' with that ... Another thing - upper 0.25 EV of histogram is cut off with this profile, that can lead to highlights blown slightly earlier, which is also known issue. These issues are known to people from Adobe and will be fixed in the future. But the rest of this picture looks very similar in NX2 and ACR

     
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    Oct 29, 2011 6:14 AM   in reply to Vit Novak

    About another picture, similar thing, just it looks like you had D-Lighting normal selected in the camera (or it was auto and camera selected it ?). Besides that, you have to set exposure to -0.33 in ACR to match the photo from NX2 (with active D-Lighting off), because ACR is using different baseline exposure here, probably expecting that camera underexposed the photo by that value because D-Lighting was used, which didn't seem to happen .... at least it looks to me so after a brief check

     

    To compensate for shadows being slightly inaccurate in Camera landscape, slightly raise blacks - from 5 to 6-8 to get better match (if you find it really necessary)

     

    To simulate active d-lighting in the ACR, use fill-in slider. You won't get the same result, but it's similar tool,. Alternatively, you have highlights & Shadows in PS with much more options

     
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    Oct 29, 2011 9:46 AM   in reply to Cristiano_Palazzini

    Yes, I understand what is active d-lighting, just that I didn't understand why exif tags were telling me that it was off, while it was actually enabled in camera. It was pointed out several times that profiles are calibrated to the state where this and similar options are disabled, as it works dynamically, while profile is static table

     

    To simulate this tool, you have shadows and highlights in PS, so you can boost shadow details with one slider and highlight details (and saturation) with another slider. It's common technique in all HDR programs to enhance local contrast, essentially based on unsharp masking with wide radius. However, in ACR you can only enhance shadows with fill-in slider, but there is no similar slider for highlights. But you can put it on the feature whish list (a separate thread in this forum) and maybe it will appear in some future version

     
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