16 Replies Latest reply on Feb 14, 2014 8:28 AM by areohbee

    Incorporating Active D-lighting in Lightroom or Bridge?

    DavePinMinn Level 1

      I would like to have the capability of using the Nikon 800 Active D-Lighting when I want it.

       

      My organizing and basic (gross) adjustments happen in Lightroom 5.3.  Lightroom, and as near as I can find, NO Adobe products (Lightroom, Bridge, Photoshop) can read the ADL information from a Nikon D800 .NEF, so apparently I have to go outside my normal workflow to incorporate the ADL data.

       

      I'm looking for the simplest and most efficient way to get from a NEF that has information Adobe won't read to some kind of raw file (a .dng?)  WITH the ADL data. So far, the only path I've found is to open the images in View NX2 and convert them to 16-bit tiff files because View NX2 doesn't have any "convert to dng" that I can find. 

       

      Then, I have to open the tiff files in Bridge (or LR), shove them into ACR, and save them as .dng files.  Aside from being clumsy, the .dng files are HUGE...  a 48MB .NEF becomes a 42MB (approximately) .dng file.  BUT, if I go through View NX2 and generate .tiff files, the tiff conversion to .dng generates a file between 110 and 120MB - almost THREE TIMES larger than a .dng created directly from the .nef.

       

      Is there a reasonable way of getting a source file into Bridge orLightroom that incorporates the data in the Nikon .NEF?

        • 1. Re: Incorporating Active D-lighting in Lightroom or Bridge?
          areohbee Level 5

          This is what your camera does when ADL is enabled:

           

          * assesses highlight clipping, and based on assessment, drops exposure to some extent.

           

          So, net result raw-data-wise: possibly reduced exposure (nothing else, except ADL setting jotted down in the metadata).

           

          It (your camera) then proceeds to boost exposure in conjunction with intelligent contrast reduction and bakes that into the jpeg preview - making for nice jpegs, and one of the reasons people sometimes prefer in-camera jpegs to ACR's default processing, which doesn't do stuff like that automatically, by default...

           

          (note: ViewNX and NX2 can replicate what your camera does, after the fact, when shooting raw).

           

          So, you can still take full advantage of ADL in a raw-only ACR-centric workflow simply by applying a preset, e.g.

           

          +exposure -highlights +shadows

           

          In other words, you get the benefit of in-camera intelligence which judicially reduces exposure to preserve highlights, but you have to do the compensatory processing in ACR somehow.

           

          Most people just turn ADL off, and keep an eye on their exposure, but I hear ya: ADL still has value even if raw-converter/processor ignores it.

           

          I have implemented camera emulation in Ottomanic Importer (for ND300-like cameras only: respects in-camera profile, ADL, ... ), but I don't use it m'self - not sure how many people do use it.

           

          Another option (post-import) is to use ExifMeta to smart-collect on various ADL settings, then use CollectionPreseter to auto-apply the compensatory settings.

           

          Personally, I don't think it's worth the trouble, but you might.

           

          That's probably the best you'll be able to do for now.

           

          To be clear: it makes very little sense (in my opinion) in a ACR-centric workflow to save tiffs in Nikon software, in order to take advantage of ADL - ACR's highlight & shadow controls are better than what Nikon does for intelligent contrast reduction, and it's easy enough to boost exposure when under-exposed - ya gotta do that anyway, when called for, regardless of ADL...

           

          Rob

          • 2. Re: Incorporating Active D-lighting in Lightroom or Bridge?
            DavePinMinn Level 1

            Thanks Rob.  I've seen arguments both ways, and as I've rummaged around, I'm realizing how ignorant I was as far as some of the things Adobe won't read from a Nikon D800 .NEF

             

            Picture Controls - similar results from calibrations in ACR?

            Active D-Lighting - maybe sort-of doable in ACR although from what I understand it there's no substitute for the in-camera shadow curve applied

            Vignette Control - I presume ACR does something similar in effects?

            Auto Distortion Control - don't know whether the loss of this is a problem or not

            High ISO NR - does ACR do a better job with this than the camera can do?  seems like this one would be nice to have from the camera

            All Settings from “Custom Setting Menu” - I'm not sure what other settings there may be

            Focus Point Location in the frame - interesting to have but most times not critical

             

            I understand better now why there are people in other forums swearing by the Nikon software...  I STILL don't want to have to drag in yet ANOTHER processing step and another RAW converter.  It sounds like if I'm going to continue using ACR, I may as well shut off most of the unique settings the D800 can adjust 'cause they won't be read anyhow.

            • 3. Re: Incorporating Active D-lighting in Lightroom or Bridge?
              ssprengel Adobe Community Professional & MVP

              It’s not gonna happen.

               

              Nikon and Adobe are distinct corporations with their own proprietary knowledge and methods.  The only camera setting that Adobe usually uses is white-balance and that is because it is stored in a standard way and the numbers apply to standard pixel math operations so Adobe doesn’t have to guess what the numbers mean.

               

              On the other hand, only Nikon knows what ADL does, and Adobe doesn’t not.  Since ADL is variable per image there’s no way to Adobe to even reverse-engineer and simulate something close on a consistent basis. 

               

              Adobe has its own guess-what-might-look-better function called Auto Tone in the Basic panel.  Use that if you’re not sure how to set your exposure in camera.  You might just as easily be complaining to Nikon, demanding they put Adobe’s Auto Tone function into their cameras so you can shoot camera JPGs that look as good as LR Auto Tone files. 

               

              The problem with converting to TIFs in Nikon products is that you’ve now locked in the WB and cannot adjust it using absolute color temperature values, anymore.   If you’re careful to convert groups of photos in the same light to the same WB in the TIFs, then you can synchronize them via relative WB adjustments but that can be iffy compared to working with the raw data.

              • 4. Re: Incorporating Active D-lighting in Lightroom or Bridge?
                areohbee Level 5

                DavePinMinn wrote:

                 

                I've seen arguments both ways

                Many are made by people who don't know what they're talking about, even some proclaimed to be "experts" .

                 

                 

                DavePinMinn wrote:

                 

                Picture Controls - similar results from calibrations in ACR?

                Active D-Lighting - maybe sort-of doable in ACR although from what I understand it there's no substitute for the in-camera shadow curve applied

                Vignette Control - I presume ACR does something similar in effects?

                Auto Distortion Control - don't know whether the loss of this is a problem or not

                High ISO NR - does ACR do a better job with this than the camera can do?  seems like this one would be nice to have from the camera

                All Settings from “Custom Setting Menu” - I'm not sure what other settings there may be

                Focus Point Location in the frame - interesting to have but most times not critical

                Only thing Lr reads is white balance and in a few cases some other thing.

                 

                 

                My biggest complaint about Nikon manuals, is nothing talks about which settings affect raw data and which don't.

                 

                Turns out, other than a possible reduction in exposure via ADL, none of them affect the raw data - they only affect the creation of the jpeg(s) by camera firmware or Nikon software. (I mean, basic exposure settings affect raw data too, but none of the others do).

                 

                To me, this is a really good thing - shooting raw means all you have to worry about when shooting is getting the exposure right - yippee!: the rest you can worry about in post.

                 

                DavePinMinn wrote:

                 

                I may as well shut off most of the unique settings the D800 can adjust 'cause they won't be read anyhow.

                Or just forget about them. Personally, I shoot with a contrast reduced & saturation increased neutral profile - all the time. This allows me to better assess raw exposure, highlight/shadow detail, and captured color.

                 

                DavePinMinn wrote:

                 

                I understand better now why there are people in other forums swearing by the Nikon software...

                Yeah - they haven't mastered ACR! Seriously, ACR's lens corrections are very good, and color handling, and sharpening, and noise reduction, and ...

                 

                Nikon's editing toolset is far more extensive than ACR, but in terms of the basics, I think ACR is better.

                 

                DavePinMinn wrote:

                 

                Focus Point Location in the frame..

                Yep - a point in favor of Nikon software to be sure.

                 

                ExifMeta can show focus point(s), in custom-friendly (text) format, but not on the image itself, so ya still gotta use your powers of visualization...

                 

                 

                Rob

                • 5. Re: Incorporating Active D-lighting in Lightroom or Bridge?
                  DavePinMinn Level 1

                  Thanks for the replies...  Yes, going to tiffs is a pretty dreadful way to get the things Adobe won't read incorporated into the images.  On top of everything else, they're 5-6 TIMES larger than the .NEF files. 

                   

                  I think I'll just shut everything off.  I can create a custom bank for times when I want/need what the Nikon settings provide and know I'll have to do the RAW processing in VNX2.  I saw a reference in another discussion to ufraw...  Does it read the Nikon settings?

                  • 6. Re: Incorporating Active D-lighting in Lightroom or Bridge?
                    areohbee Level 5

                    ssprengel wrote:

                     

                    ... only Nikon knows what ADL does, and Adobe doesn’t not.  Since ADL is variable per image there’s no way to Adobe to even reverse-engineer and simulate something close on a consistent basis.

                    You may have over-stated the complexity of ADL, still - Adobe has been clear: they have no intention of doing such stuff in the foreseeable future - and that's OK with me, as long as they continue to improve their processing in their way...

                     

                    Rob

                    • 7. Re: Incorporating Active D-lighting in Lightroom or Bridge?
                      areohbee Level 5

                      DavePinMinn wrote:

                       

                      Yes, going to tiffs is a pretty dreadful way to get the things Adobe won't read incorporated into the images.

                      And going to tiffs is really unnecessary (and in my opinion: undesirable - see ssprengels post above). I mean, Lr has lens corrections - it DOES read lens info and find the proper profile-based lens corrections to apply - if lens is supported I mean, and ACR supports way more lenses for Nikon cameras than Nikon does (e.g. Sigma, Tokina, ... ).

                       

                      Seriously, ADL is not magic - you can (or should I say "I do") get better results in Lr by taking advantage of PV2012's basic processing (granted they don't happen automatically, but you're going to be editing your images with ACR, so even if it did do compensations automatically, you'd still edit your images with ACR...).

                       

                      I think you are seeing "Adobe's refusal to read camera settings" in too negative a light - most of them are not read because they have no value in ACR - Adobe has (almost) all those things covered, via ACR settings (right: no focus points).

                       

                       

                      DavePinMinn wrote:

                       

                      I can create a custom bank for times when I want/need what the Nikon settings provide and know I'll have to do the RAW processing in VNX2.

                      Which settings are you talking about? I mean, DNG Profile Editor is more sophisticated then Nikon's in-camera custom picture styles. For example, it allows you to set up color mapping (HS&L) based on hue and saturation (not luminance). And contrary to what the name might suggest, NEFs can use DNG profiles!

                       

                       

                      DavePinMinn wrote:

                       

                      ...ufraw...

                      Dunno...

                       

                       

                      Rob

                      • 8. Re: Incorporating Active D-lighting in Lightroom or Bridge?
                        DavePinMinn Level 1

                        It sounds like ACR can do pretty much what's needed.  Is the noise reduction in ACR as good as the High ISO NR in-camera?

                        • 9. Re: Incorporating Active D-lighting in Lightroom or Bridge?
                          areohbee Level 5

                          DavePinMinn wrote:

                           

                          It sounds like ACR can do pretty much what's needed.

                          As far as raw conversion / basic editing - I think so. I still use NX2 sometimes for editing cooked files (primarily to take advantage of U-points), but not for raw conversion.

                           

                          DavePinMinn wrote:

                           

                          Is the noise reduction in ACR as good as the High ISO NR in-camera?

                          Better. But don't take my word for it - shoot a few pics and compare..

                           

                          NX2 (and in-camera NR) was way better than PV2003, but PV2012 is way better than NX2... - NR-wise.

                           

                          Rob

                          • 10. Re: Incorporating Active D-lighting in Lightroom or Bridge?
                            b2martin_a Level 2

                            You can also make ACR and Lightroom's default ASA and/or serial number specific.  I have mine set to be ASA specific and have a default for each ASA that automatically set the noise and sharpening settings when you first open the image.  I have a default  (41) for each ASA that my camera (D700) can select when it is set for Auto ASA.  I find this saves a lot of time. 

                            • 11. Re: Incorporating Active D-lighting in Lightroom or Bridge?
                              DavePinMinn Level 1

                              I think I have this turned on, but I"ll check.....  It would be really convenient to have LR know the difference between a D300 image and a D800 image so it could pick the right import settings, but I don't think that's there yet, is it?

                              • 12. Re: Incorporating Active D-lighting in Lightroom or Bridge?
                                ssprengel Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                                LR defaults are always per camera model.  What was mentioned was the ability to set the defaults by serial number (per camera body within the same model) and by ISO setting so ISO100 has different defaults than ISO6400 for example.

                                • 13. Re: Incorporating Active D-lighting in Lightroom or Bridge?
                                  b2martin_a Level 2

                                  I have a folder of images at each ISO setting the camera can select when in Auto ASA mode, this is more ASA values than you can set on the camera.  I select each image and make the adjustments I want for a default for that ASA value and then have Camera RAW or Lightroom save that as a new default.  If you don't have a default for all ASA values the camera can select, it will use the Adobe default or what you have saved for a default that is not ASA dependent. 

                                  • 14. Re: Incorporating Active D-lighting in Lightroom or Bridge?
                                    areohbee Level 5

                                    b2martin_a wrote:

                                     

                                    I have a folder of images at each ISO setting the camera can select when in Auto ASA mode, this is more ASA values than you can set on the camera.  I select each image and make the adjustments I want for a default for that ASA value and then have Camera RAW or Lightroom save that as a new default.  If you don't have a default for all ASA values the camera can select, it will use the Adobe default or what you have saved for a default that is not ASA dependent. 

                                    I just use a plugin that interpolates settings based on two or more "anchor" points.

                                     

                                    Adobe: ya gotta remedy this one - having default settings for discreet ISO values only is a real pain! - I mean:

                                     

                                    * How can you be sure you haven't missed one of the auto-ISO possibilities??

                                    * Changing default settings means re-doing *all* of them - argh!!

                                     

                                    Adobe: let plugin authors hook into the import process so we can more easily facilitate this kinda thing upon import...

                                     

                                    PS - Please don't patronize me by reminding me where to submit feature requests - I already know (and already have)... - thanks.

                                     

                                    Rob

                                    • 15. Re: Incorporating Active D-lighting in Lightroom or Bridge?
                                      b2martin_a Level 2

                                      Rob, that's a good question relative to knowing you have not missed one of the auto-ISO possibilities. 

                                       

                                      I set this up using Camerea RAW in Photoshop CS6.  The default for the D700 was not changed, so it still used Adobe Standard for the camera profile.  The ISO defaults for the D700 used Camera Neutral v4 for it's default.  Each time I started to process new images in Camera RAW I would select all the images in the folder and see what camera profile was selected.  If one or more of the images in the group selected had a different camera profile the camera profile would be blank.  It was easy to find which image had a different profile, so I would then add that image to my folder of images I used to set the ASA defaults, over time I captured all of them.  I don't think this works in Lightroom, so I need to find a new method or just use Camera RAW in CS6 for this selection. 

                                      • 16. Re: Incorporating Active D-lighting in Lightroom or Bridge?
                                        areohbee Level 5

                                        In case you aren't completely hell-bent on doing without plugins:

                                         

                                        ISO Detailer (a plugin by yours-truly/me).

                                         

                                        Makes it simple...

                                         

                                        ~R.