15 Replies Latest reply on Nov 19, 2012 7:58 AM by Jonathan Palfrey

    Why does the Adobe Standard profile make a mess of old NEF files?

    Jonathan Palfrey

      Recently I've been reprocessing some old NEF files taken with the Nikon D50 camera years ago, and I was startled to find that the Adobe Standard camera profile does a bad job on them: the photos come out muddy-looking, really unacceptable, with too much yellow and magenta. I can fix the problem by choosing the Camera Standard profile, which gives acceptable results. However, I believe that Adobe Standard is generally recommended by Adobe, and I wonder what the problem is here. Does anyone know?

       

      I currently use a Nikon D7000, and Adobe Standard seems to work well enough with that camera.

       

      Later: After checking and comparing more carefully, I think that perhaps I prefer Camera Standard with the D7000 too. Adobe Standard is certainly acceptable with the D7000, but Camera Standard gives blue skies of clearer blue, and less exaggerated reds. So the best fix for me is probably to make Camera Standard my default for all cameras.

       

      Looking around the Web, I see various people complaining about too much magenta with Adobe Standard, although other people are happy with it.

       

      Message was edited by: Jonathan Palfrey

        • 1. Re: Why does the Adobe Standard profile make a mess of old NEF files?
          Vit Novak Level 3

          Didn't had a time to check final 7.2 version yet, but it seems that there is a difference in interpretation of Adobe standard (and other old style profiles) in shadow region, when PV 2012 is used. I already described it in one post, but didn't get any answer from Adobe people. With PV 2010/2003, it is behaving as on older ACR version, so try it

           

          As about magenta tones using Adobe standard, it's very broad topic which was already discussed. In short, both Nikon and Canon are using considerably different workflow for color management, and the biggest differences are visible in blue-violet-magenta region. It's not possible to give definitive answer which approach is better, but I prefer camera profiles for several reasons ...

          • 2. Re: Why does the Adobe Standard profile make a mess of old NEF files?
            Yammer Level 4

            If you have too much magenta, are you shooting scenes with a lot of green, like fields or vegetation? I often find that this fools cameras' white balance, and the Tint slider is way off to the right. What are your typical AutoWB tint values?

            • 3. Re: Why does the Adobe Standard profile make a mess of old NEF files?
              Jonathan Palfrey Level 1

              Thanks for the replies.

               

              In fact, I don't see much difference when I change the Process from 2012 to 2010 or 2003. There's a much bigger difference when changing to Camera Standard with the Nikon D50 NEF files.

               

              Although I sometimes shoot scenes with a lot of green, as it happens the photos I've been working with recently have had little green in them.

               

              With the D50 NEF files, I get the same temperature and tint values with As Shot and Auto. This doesn't happen with D7000 NEF files: As Shot and Auto give different results.

              • 4. Re: Why does the Adobe Standard profile make a mess of old NEF files?
                Vit Novak Level 3

                As shot and Auto shouldn't be exactly the same - As shot is WB as measured by the camera and written in raw file, while Auto is WB determined by ACR from the image, and there will be generally some difference (although on some photos the can be equal anyway)

                 

                Of course there is a difference between Adobe standard and all camera profiles - camera profiles are emulating color rendering of the manufacturer, which is considerably different

                • 5. Re: Why does the Adobe Standard profile make a mess of old NEF files?
                  Jonathan Palfrey Level 1

                  I realize that As Shot and Auto shouldn't give the same results, but the fact is that they do, for all of my D50 NEF files.

                  • 6. Re: Why does the Adobe Standard profile make a mess of old NEF files?
                    b2martin_a Level 2

                    I agree with your comments about Adobe Standard, I find the Camera profiles much better.  I like Camera Neutral with added contrast the best.  I generated Camera Neutral profiles with a custom tone curve for both the camera and Adobe Camera RAW, which I use as the default in ACR.  Camera D2X Mode 2 is my second choice.  I find Camera Portrait has a little too much Red. 

                    • 7. Re: Why does the Adobe Standard profile make a mess of old NEF files?
                      Yammer Level 4

                      Well, I think you're all wrong

                      A custom profile, made with DNG Profile Editor looks best to me!

                      • 8. Re: Why does the Adobe Standard profile make a mess of old NEF files?
                        Jonathan Palfrey Level 1

                        Yes, I suppose a custom profile is best, if you have the skill to do it well. However, we're getting into the area of small tweaks that are maybe not too important, given that I'm likely to do further processing of the photo in any case, and the further processing varies from one photo to another.

                         

                        The problem with Adobe Standard and my D50 NEF files is that the results are so bad that they need major colour adjustment every time, whereas Camera Standard provides results that are more or less acceptable as they come, as least for colour balance.

                         

                        I've tried Camera Neutral and it looks slightly washed-out. OK if you add contrast, but I think I'll stick with Camera Standard for now.

                        • 9. Re: Why does the Adobe Standard profile make a mess of old NEF files?
                          b2martin_a Level 2

                          I have tried a lot of custom profiles generated using the DNG Profile Editor and Passport software.  I agree that the custom profiles are better than Adobe Standard, but Camera Neutral with added contrast is very good. 

                           

                          When you generate a custom profile using the DNG Profile Editor what procedure do you use?  Do you select a base profile as the starting point (which one), do you use the ColorChecker as you reference colors and how do you adjust them.  Do you use the Chart tab?

                           

                          I am interested in how you use the DNG Profile Editor to generate the profile you like. 

                          • 10. Re: Why does the Adobe Standard profile make a mess of old NEF files?
                            Yammer Level 4

                            It's taken a bit of trial and error, but I'm fairly happy with my custom profile. Half of the battle for me was getting a decent ColorChecker capture. Direct sun at 45 degrees, partly cloudy, pointing slightly upwards - towards sky only, neutral clothing, not too big in the frame, slightly out of focus, spot meter for patch 22, f/11. This will all help to get consistent saturation readings. I find that hue shifts are pretty reliable, regardless of conditions.

                             

                            I convert my NEF file to DNG, and load it into DNG PE. I set Adobe Standard as the base profile*, and right-click the grey patches until I get a good average WB setting. Then I use the Chart Wizard (match up 4 corners and press Go). I have done this several times in different natural lighting conditions over several months, and tabulated the hue/saturation shifts (18 at a time). The hue shifts were pretty close to each other, but the saturation shifts vary quite a bit, so I calculated averages and created a new recipe with by best guesses. The latest version of DNG PE seems to produce better skin and foliage results, so I've factored this in. I have also started using the Lightness settings on one or two patches with the largest saturation shifts.

                             

                            (* I tried Camera Standard in the past, but I didn't like the built-in tone curve)

                            • 11. Re: Why does the Adobe Standard profile make a mess of old NEF files?
                              b2martin_a Level 2

                              Yammer P, thanks for the input.  I have been working with the DNG Profile Editor since the first version was available.  I also started using the Passport software when it was first available.  I first worked on a profile for the D200 and after many attempts I finally have one that works great.  The Camera profiles did not exist at that time and the D200 does not have Picture Control Profiles, I believe that was first available with the D300.  Adobe did generate Picture Control Profiles for the D200 and they are also available in Nikon Capture NX2. 

                               

                              I currently have a D700, and have spent a lot of time working on profiles for this camera.  I have used the DNG Profile Editor's Chart Tab to generate profiles for most of the Camera Profiles and Adobe Standard.  I find that Adobe Standard profile is brighter than the Camera profiles by about 0.25 stop.  After working on this for about 2 years I have decided to use the Camera Neutral with a modified tone curve and slight reduction in saturation as my starting point and no changes in hue.  I also generated a modified Picture Control profile for Neutral using the Nikon Picture Control software that has the same characteristics and loaded it into the camera.  I get good agreement between jpg's from the camera and the nef file that opens in ACR without adjustments.   The tone curve I used only has three points - the In/out values are 27/22, 127/127, 228/233 and saturation was set to -5. 

                               

                              I don't understand what Adobe changed when they genrated the Adobe Standard Profile instead of the ACR4.x versions, but I like the ACR4.x version better.  

                              • 12. Re: Why does the Adobe Standard profile make a mess of old NEF files?
                                Yammer Level 4

                                b2martin_a wrote:

                                 

                                I don't understand what Adobe changed when they genrated the Adobe Standard Profile instead of the ACR4.x versions, but I like the ACR4.x version better.  

                                At the end of the day it's a matter of taste as much as anything.

                                 

                                For me, ACR4.3/4 versions were poor, especially the reds (which were almost orange), and I wasted many hours with Fors/Tindemans scripts. ACR4.5+ beta Camera Profiles and DNG PE were a welcome revolution for me. Of course, it's easy to forget that the name 'Adobe Standard' is actually many different profiles, depending on the camera, and some may seem better than others.

                                 

                                It's possible that my main camera (a D300) is quite different to the sample Adobe used, because some of the Chart Wizard hue shifts are (consistently) quite big. The Adobe Standard profile looks tonally well-balanced to me, but some of the colours are just wrong (especially skin and sky) and look almost cross-processed. So my custom profile fixes these shifts nicely. The Camera Standard (etc) profile is slightly worse to my eyes, with a harsher tone curve, and slightly weirder colour, hence my using Adobe as base profile.

                                 

                                So, I don't think we can generalise. As far as I'm concerned, DNG PE is great for getting the best colour from MY camera, as long as I train the data it produces. YMMV.

                                • 13. Re: Why does the Adobe Standard profile make a mess of old NEF files?
                                  b2martin_a Level 2

                                  I forgot about the scripts, started using those in 2003.  The DNG Profile Editor was a welcome addition to the tools and it runs very fast compared to the scripts. 

                                  • 14. Re: Why does the Adobe Standard profile make a mess of old NEF files?
                                    MadManChan2000 Adobe Employee

                                    This is exactly why we made a DNG Profile Editor.  We got feedback from (many) people who said they liked Adobe Standard (much) better, and we also got some feedback from people who said they liked the older ACR x.y profiles better.  We realized no single profile would meet everybody's tastes, so we gave users the ability to make/edit their own profiles.  So, even if you don't like the Adobe Standard profiles you can (hopefully) use the DNG PE to come up with a color rendition you do like.

                                    • 15. Re: Why does the Adobe Standard profile make a mess of old NEF files?
                                      Jonathan Palfrey Level 1

                                      I'm not as fussy as some people, and the Adobe Standard profile when used with the Nikon D7000 doesn't offend me, I just think I slightly prefer Camera Standard.

                                       

                                      However, the Adobe Standard profile when used with the Nikon D50 is really awful: something is going badly wrong there. It could even be the camera's fault for all I know; but the Camera Standard profile is much better, so I use that now.

                                       

                                      I don't think I feel sufficiently motivated to mess around with the Profile Editor, for now. Camera Standard gets close enough, and I quite often edit the colour balance while processing anyway.