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Gary Braasch
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How ACR works with in-camera controls and ADR (Nikon D-lighting)

Jan 10, 2012 2:26 AM

After using Bridge for years, exploring more intense in-camera color and ADR controls in my D700 has revealed something I did not know and wonder if there is a solution:  Seen in the Bridge thumbnails, the photos show the effects of the in-camera settings, but when I click through to camera raw, the photos lose it, no color effects.  How can I retain the in-camera choices in Camera Raw and thus in the save files in tiff which I prefer for working files.  Thanks for answering what must be a very basic question.

 
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Jan 10, 2012 4:02 AM   in reply to Gary Braasch

    The simple answer is: you can't. This shouldn't be a big deal, because you might choose to shoot in raw because you want to process images your own way. If you want to keep Nikon's conversion, you can shoot Raw+JPG, or process your images in CaptureNX.

     

    The more complicated answer is: you can emulate standard Picture Controls, but it won't happen automatically. Adobe provides emulations of Nikon's Picture Controls, which you can select in the Camera Calibration tab of Camera Raw when hosted in CS. Active D-Lighting is trickier. I've never used it, but I understand that it underexposes the scene and boosts the shadows, effectively compressing the dynamic range. You might be able to create a Camera Raw preset which reverses this effect, and apply this to your ADL raws.

     
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    Jan 10, 2012 5:14 AM   in reply to Gary Braasch

    The answer is actually very simple, Gary:  What you are seeing is perfectly normal, expected behavior.  It is as designed, and you cannot change that.

     

    Those in-camera settings you reference apply exclusively to JPEG images, not to raw image captures.

     

    What Bridge is showing you is not a rendering (conversion) of the raw image data, but rather the JPEG preview that is embedded by the camera at the time of recording the image and to which the camera does apply the camera settings.  Depending on your Bridge preference settings, a new preview will be created once you apply your changes to the file.

     

    Adobe Camera Raw is not designed to emulate the conversion performed by the camera manufacturer's software, whether in-camera or otherwise, but to preserve the entire range of characteristics of the image and offer you absolute control over the entire rendering process as well as to give you certain canned camera profiles to automate and/or speed the process.

     

    Camera manufacturers design their raw conversion, in-camera  and otherwise, to compress the shadows in order to hide digital chroma noise, and to provide an over-contrasty, over-saturated and over-sharpened look that appeals to the majority of consumers.  Any savvy, experienced Adobe Camera Raw user can easily emulate said camera manufacturer's software and produce an identical result to the in-camera JPEG.

     

    If you want to "retain the in-camera choices in Camera Raw and thus in the save files in tiff which [you] prefer for working files" you can either (a) shoot straight JPEGs, or (b) come up with your own Camera Raw presets that mimic the conversion of the camera manufacturer.

     

    Raw means raw, uncooked, unsalted and unseasoned.  The in-camera JPEG has already been cooked, salted and seasoned with pepper according to the camera manufacturer's criteria of what constitutes a good rendering of the image.  A good, experienced cook can produce a much better, finer, more sophisticated cooked, salted and seasoned with a myriad herbs image from the raw capture with Adobe Camera Raw, in accordance with the skill, intention of the artist that produced the shot.

     

    Adobe Camera raw gives you complete control, and it allows you to mimic or reproduce whatever look you want including the above described over-contrasty, over-saturated and over-sharpened look that appeals to the majority of consumers, once you learn how to use Adobe Camera Raw to its full extent.  Here's an excellent place to start:

     

    Real World Camera Raw with Adobe Photoshop CS5

     

     

    ____________

    Wo Tai Lao Le

    我太老了     (   No connection to Adobe or to guru Schewe, author of THE book.  )

     

     

    EDITED formatting only.

     

    Message was edited by: Tai Lao

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Jan 10, 2012 5:56 AM   in reply to Gary Braasch

    The 8 Camera profiles version 4 (Camera Standard v4, Camera Neutral v4, Camera Portrait v4, etc) are an excellent match to Nikon Picture control profiles with all in camera settings set to nominal values and Active D Lighting off.  You can select these on an image by image basis in ACR/Lightroom or if you use just one of these in most cases you can change the Default in ACR/Lightroom to use that profile instead of Adobe Standard.  I have my D700 set to Neutral and ACR default camera profile set to Camera Neutral v4.  You can also develop presets to emulate the Picture Control settings available in the camera and NX2 - Contrast, Saturation, Hue, Sharpness.  These won't be exact, but it gives you a starting point that is close to in camera and as soom as you make an adjustment it's different anyway.  I have not located a set of presets to do this, but maybe I will find them in the futrue.  For example if you change the contrast of the Picture Control Neutral profile to +1, you get close in ACR to the same with Camera Neutral v4 and contrast set to +45 and Saturation to -5. 

     

    I think Adobe could automate something like this where Camera RAW would read the Picture Control Profile used and automatically select the same Camera Profile and also set the ACR sliders to give results very close to in camera processing for users that want that as the strating point for adjustments.  This could be user selectable - turn this capability on or off. 

     
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    Jun 4, 2012 7:35 AM   in reply to b2martin_a

    b2martin_a wrote:

     

    I think Adobe could automate something like this where Camera RAW would read the Picture Control Profile used and automatically select the same Camera Profile and also set the ACR sliders to give results very close to in camera processing for users that want that as the strating point for adjustments.  This could be user selectable - turn this capability on or off.

    Excellent suggestion. 100 % agreed.

     

    It's true we choose RAW because we want control but losing those at-the-time-of-shooting decisions (Picture Controls, ADR Nikon D-Lighting) is frustrating and confusing at worst. I mean, we do look at the picture behind our cameras at the location to evaluate good settings for a shoot. When those settings are ingored previewing those photos at computer is not as straight forward as it could, as we need to evaluate good starting settings, again.

     

    The 8 Camera profiles version 4 (Camera Standard v4, Camera Neutral v4, Camera Portrait v4, etc) are an excellent match to Nikon Picture control profiles with all in camera settings set to nominal values and Active D Lighting off.

    This is probably the best work around. Leave Picture Controls at nominal values and Active D-Lighting off to have as close match on computer screen as it was in-camera at the location. But anyway that still means more work at post.

     
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    Jun 4, 2012 11:00 AM   in reply to anssikumpula

    Please bear in mind that proprietary image data like Picture Controls, Active D-Lighting, etc. are not made available to Adobe, so they can't do what you ask. The manufacturer's raw file format actually encodes all their proprietary data, which can only be decoded by the manufacturer's own software. All Adobe can do is provide approximate Camera Profiles to simulate these settings.

     

    As far as I know, Adobe usually only has unrestricted access to IPTC, EXIF, sensor and white balance data.

     

    In an ideal world, manufacturers would provide an uncoded open raw format, like DNG, on their cameras. Indeed, some cameras made by Pentax/Samsung, Leica, Ricoh and Casio already do this. Not only would this allow access to the proprietary image data, but it would mean that you wouldn't need to wait 3 months for Adobe to update its raw converter software for every new camera.

     

    It's crazy but it's true.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Jun 4, 2012 12:24 PM   in reply to Yammer

    It's not a problem of reading metadata. Exiftool utility will display active d-light settings used, pictuire style, contrast, saturation etc Using dng instead of nef or cr2 wouldn't change a thing

     

    However, ACR is universal software and it's impossible to emulate different workflows of different manufacturers with it. So you have ACR's own workflow, which is getting better and better in every version, several profiles to emulate in-camera rendering and that's it. It's enough to make a decent photo

     
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    Jun 4, 2012 3:07 PM   in reply to Vit Novak

    Vit Novak wrote:

     

    It's not a problem of reading metadata. Exiftool utility will display active d-light settings used, pictuire style, contrast, saturation etc Using dng instead of nef or cr2 wouldn't change a thing

    Well, I didn't know that! I was told that Adobe had no access to proprietary raw metadata. So, it would be perfectly feesable for Adobe to apply a preset Picture Control, and a ADL tone curve, if it was requested enough?

     
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    Jun 4, 2012 3:20 PM   in reply to Yammer

    It's a common misconception, perpetrated by some DNG advocates, that the requisite info is somehow hard to get at - it's not.

     

    It's also not standard EXIF.

     

    And it does vary from model to model.

     

    Adobe has just not wanted to deal with it, yet, and I doubt they ever will, since there is a format war going on, and to do so would be to shoot their own DNG format in the foot.

     

    If you use Lightroom, you can access the requisite info via a plugin, and assign custom presets to smart collections that are based on any proprietary exif/camera info you want, including Active D-Lighting, custom picture-styles, ...

     

    Rob

     
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    Jun 4, 2012 8:58 PM   in reply to Yammer

    Yammer P wrote:

     

    I was told that Adobe had no access to proprietary raw metadata. So, it would be perfectly feesable for Adobe to apply a preset Picture Control, and a ADL tone curve, if it was requested enough?

     

    Don't know who said that Adobe "couldn't" access camera specific proprietary metadata, obviously they could...but there's no interest in Adobe's part of going down that particular rabbit hole.

     

    Parsing the ISO and White Balance is all Adobe is interested in doing. Trying to take the camera maker's proprietary settings from their SDK and trying to encode that in ACR/LR adjustments is a rabbit hole (if you know what I mean) that Adobe has no interest in doing. It's not only manufacturer specific but model specific and personally, I don't want to see the engineers wasting their time trying to duplicate in-camera settings (short of vender matching DNG profiles which I still don't use nor care about) rather than advancing the image adjustments and quality. Seriously, this kinda stuff would be a waste and cut down on the research that lead to PV 2012.

     
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    Jun 5, 2012 12:49 AM   in reply to Jeff Schewe

    Jeff Schewe wrote:

     

    Don't know who said that Adobe "couldn't" access camera specific proprietary metadata, obviously they could...but there's no interest in Adobe's part of going down that particular rabbit hole.

     

    Parsing the ISO and White Balance is all Adobe is interested in doing. Trying to take the camera maker's proprietary settings from their SDK and trying to encode that in ACR/LR adjustments is a rabbit hole (if you know what I mean) that Adobe has no interest in doing. It's not only manufacturer specific but model specific and personally, I don't want to see the engineers wasting their time trying to duplicate in-camera settings (short of vender matching DNG profiles which I still don't use nor care about) rather than advancing the image adjustments and quality.

    No, neither do I now. I vaguely remember the discussion when I first joined this forum about 4 years ago. I remember doing the standard "Adobe doesn't do a good enough job of the default conversion" moan, which was prevalent at the time (before ACR 4.5's colour profile update), and I'm sure I was told that they had no access to the metadata as the manufacturers encrypted it. I even remember suggesting that providing alternative conversions would make people less likely to run off to CaptureNX for this very reason.

     

    Anyway, seems I've been mistaken all these years. So, my first thought, now that I've been put straight (speaking as someone who's done programming) is that HYPOTHETICALLY it shouldn't be that difficult for Adobe to use that camera metadata to select a Camera X profile, amongst other things. I suppose the biggest part would be building in the camera metadata extraction routine. Personally, I have no interest—this isn't a request—but lots of people have come here over the years to lament how "Canon/Nikon's default rendering is better", and "ACR's default doesn't look like the camera JPEG", blah blah, etc. I suppose I'm just thinking out loud.

     
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    Jun 5, 2012 2:19 AM   in reply to Rob Cole

    Rob Cole wrote:

     

    If you use Lightroom, you can access the requisite info via a plugin, and assign custom presets to smart collections that are based on any proprietary exif/camera info you want, including Active D-Lighting, custom picture-styles, ...

    What is this plugin? I'd like it.

     
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    Jun 5, 2012 2:37 AM   in reply to anssikumpula

    ExifMeta for smart collections based on proprietary metadata.

    CollectionPreseter to assign presets to those collections.

     
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    Jun 5, 2012 6:36 AM   in reply to Yammer

    Yammer P wrote:

     

    So, my first thought, now that I've been put straight (speaking as someone who's done programming) is that HYPOTHETICALLY it shouldn't be that difficult for Adobe to use that camera metadata to select a Camera X profile, amongst other things.

     

    No, it wouldn't be that difficult to do it for a given camera model but multiply that by how many camera models ACR/LR support by how many in-camera settings a given camera can be set to and it would very quickly become a monumental task with little real benefit to most users.

     

    I personally couldn't care less about using in-camera settings for anything other than getting a well exposed and properly focused image. Futzing around with menus on the back of the camera really only makes sense if you are shooting JPEGs and to need to nail the "look" in-camera. If you are shooting raw, who cares? I have some presets I use for various things but I'll generally make image adjustments to optimize the tone and color in ACR/LR in pst processing.

     

    Trying to set various settings in-camera seems like a sure way to miss a shot while you're trying to navigate menus and make selections. It's hard enough to set the aperture/shutter speed and ISO and focus while shooting...mucking about with in-camera "looks" is simply something I would never do.

     

    And considering those in-camera settings don't actually impact the raw image in any way, they wouldn't really do anything other than point ACR/LR to a given set of parameters which I'm perfectly happy to do myself. I would much rather than the engineers spend their time advancing the art of raw processing than waste their time trying to mimic so in-camera look which is, well meaningless.

     
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    Jun 5, 2012 6:59 AM   in reply to Jeff Schewe

    Jeff Schewe wrote:

     

    I personally couldn't care less about using in-camera settings for anything other than getting a well exposed and properly focused image.

    No, neither could I. I shoot with a totally flat Picture Control and processing settings designed to produce the best histogram for judging ETTR. I wouldn't want these settings to influence my raw processing—it would look awful. I'm in complete agreement.

     

    The people I'm thinking about are those who complain about Camera Raw, and prefer other processors, like DPP, CaptureNX, etc. because of their default renditions. Adobe might be missing a trick by ignoring this regular complaint. Then again they might not. I don't know. I'm just pointing it out.

     
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    Jun 5, 2012 7:49 AM   in reply to Jeff Schewe

    Jeff Schewe wrote:

     

    I personally couldn't care less about using in-camera settings [...] futzing around with menus on the back of the camera really only makes sense if you are shooting JPEGs [...] Trying to set various settings in-camera seems like a sure way to miss a shot [...] mucking about with in-camera "looks" is simply something I would never do. [...] those in-camera settings don't actually impact the raw image in any way [...]

    I show pictures I shoot to subjects right on the spot. It's beneficial to have photos look as intended right there. This might not matter to you. Guys shooting black and white could benefit too from seeing their photos in b&w with all their Nikon settings and having them like that even after moving them out of camera.

     

    I believe most of people who buy a DSLR like Nikon D3100 should be able to shoot RAW without need to study and learn what happens when their photos look different in camera and in Lightroom. I know many professionals disagree.

     
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    Jun 5, 2012 7:51 AM   in reply to Rob Cole

    Rob Cole wrote:

     

    ExifMeta for smart collections based on proprietary metadata.

    CollectionPreseter to assign presets to those collections.

    Thanks!

     
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    Jun 5, 2012 8:32 AM   in reply to anssikumpula

    Turn off Active D-Lighting in the camera and exposure your shots, properly.  It’ll avoid confusion for all involved.

     
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    Jun 5, 2012 8:36 AM   in reply to ssprengel

    Active D-Lightning is useful in protecting highlights: http://blog.alex-kunz.de/2012/03/highlight-protection-with-nikons-acti ve.html

     
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    Jun 5, 2012 8:51 AM   in reply to anssikumpula

    heikkipekka wrote:

     

    I believe most of people who buy a DSLR like Nikon D3100 should be able to shoot RAW without need to study and learn what happens when their photos look different in camera and in Lightroom. I know many professionals disagree.

     

    Take a look at the list of cameras ACR/LR currently supports at the Camera Raw page...(I was going to count them but decided that was too much work as there are hundreds).

     

    Take just Nikon, 43 cameras, so which cameras should ACR/LR support with which camera settings? All of them? If you go down that road, you'll have the engineers spending all their time trying to mimic the camera settings with little time for other things. I seriously doubt PV 2012 would have happened if the engineers had to spend their time mimicking the camera settings for just the most recent round of new cameras (with new cameras coming all the time).

     

    It's simply not feasible to spend the time to do that. The engineers must already decode the raw file formats and the camera colors and do baseline default adjustments. That by itself is a lot of work...expecting ACR/LR to mimic the in-camera settings is an unreasonable expectation.

     
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    Jun 5, 2012 11:37 AM   in reply to Jeff Schewe

    You must have good sources to know that stuff. In that case consumers should be warned Lightroom can never replicate in-camera results, and they should never use any in-camera settings when shooting RAW. I didn't see that mentioned anywhere in Lightroom marketing.

     
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    Jun 5, 2012 12:39 PM   in reply to anssikumpula

    heikkipekka wrote:

     

    You must have good sources to know that stuff.

    http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_i_0_7?url=search-alias%3Dstripboo ks&field-keywords=jeff+schewe&sprefix=jeff+sc%2Cstripbooks%2C169

     

    And....

    http://www.amazon.com/Jeff-Schewe/e/B001I9Q7XG/ref=sr_tc_ep?qid=133892 5024

     

     

    I think that it is fair to say that Jeff is a very good source. 

     
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    Jun 5, 2012 2:50 PM   in reply to anssikumpula

    You don’t know what you don’t know and neither does Adobe, that is one reason there are 30-day trials for Lightroom and Photoshop among many others, to experiment and discover and understand.

     
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    Jun 5, 2012 6:05 PM   in reply to anssikumpula

    heikkipekka wrote:

     

    I show pictures I shoot to subjects right on the spot. It's beneficial to have photos look as intended right there. This might not matter to you. Guys shooting black and white could benefit too from seeing their photos in b&w with all their Nikon settings and having them like that even after moving them out of camera.

     

    I believe most of people who buy a DSLR like Nikon D3100 should be able to shoot RAW without need to study and learn what happens when their photos look different in camera and in Lightroom. I know many professionals disagree.

     

    Consider shooting raw+jpeg, and import separately in Lightroom. Unfortunately, you can't auto-stack the jpeg above the raw, but you can sort or filter by extension. That way the pictures look like the jpeg, initially, but you can process the raw and then stack it above (or delete) the jpeg at your leisure.

     

    I always shoots neutral contrast, +saturation, so I can see shadow/highlight detail and color in camera lcd. But, I don't show them to anyone until they're finished ;-}

     

    I mean, ExifMeta & CollectionPreseter will get you most of the way there with the raws, but just using the jpegs until it's time to process the raws is less work ;-}

     

    PS - I agree Active-D-Lighting is a useful feature for helping to prevent overexposure in case you aren't able to take the time to perfectly expose each shot..., even if ignored in Lightroom.

     

    Rob

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Jun 8, 2012 7:27 AM   in reply to Jeff Schewe

    Jeff Schewe wrote:

     

    heikkipekka wrote:

     

    I believe most of people who buy a DSLR like Nikon D3100 should be able to shoot RAW without need to study and learn what happens when their photos look different in camera and in Lightroom. I know many professionals disagree.

     

    Take a look at the list of cameras ACR/LR currently supports at the Camera Raw page...(I was going to count them but decided that was too much work as there are hundreds).

     

    Take just Nikon, 43 cameras, so which cameras should ACR/LR support with which camera settings? All of them? If you go down that road, you'll have the engineers spending all their time trying to mimic the camera settings with little time for other things. I seriously doubt PV 2012 would have happened if the engineers had to spend their time mimicking the camera settings for just the most recent round of new cameras (with new cameras coming all the time).

     

    It's simply not feasible to spend the time to do that. The engineers must already decode the raw file formats and the camera colors and do baseline default adjustments. That by itself is a lot of work...expecting ACR/LR to mimic the in-camera settings is an unreasonable expectation.

    There are other ways to help people who want RAW to match JPEG features. Here is one:

     

     

    a) I download from Adobe and print a color chart, or buy a printed one from Adobe.

    b) I download (and pay for?) DNG Profile Creator app from Adobe.

    c) I take photos of the color chart with all of my JPEG settings the way I want them. I take one RAW and one JPEG photo.

    d) I convert the RAW to DNG and open it up in DNG Profile Creator.

    e) I feed the JPEG to DNG Profile Creator.

    f) It makes a camera profile that matches the DNG to the JPEG.

     

     

    This won't work for Active D-Lighting but it will for many other in-camera settings. It would go a long way towards making many users happy. I'm thinking Olympus and Pentax in particular.

     
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    Jun 8, 2012 11:39 PM   in reply to BruceMcL

    Yeah, point "f" is usually misunderstood

     

    It makes a profile where those 18 patches from ACR are matching those from JPG, while other millions of colors are not

     

    Purpose of DNG PE is to make smaller adjustments of existing profiles, to compensate for slight differences in lenses and sensors, or to recalibrate existing profiles to specific kind of lighting etc. You can't make a camera profile that way, no chance (that's why I made my own profile generator). This was also stated several times by the people from Adobe in this forum

     
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    Jun 9, 2012 7:33 AM   in reply to Vit Novak

    Thank you for restating this. It clears up a lot of things for me.

     
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