Have you tried the different Camera Profiles Adobe includes for your camera. Have you tried setting camera raw defaults you may like better for your camera. If Nikon RAW converter defaults meet your expectations I feel the detail are there in your raw file and that ACR can bring out the details you want. You may want to start the conversion process with a different set of ACR defaults for you camera.
Thanks for the tips. I'll try them and see how it goes from there.
Okay, I tried different profiles, to no avail.
Your hunch that the sharpness data are embedded in the NEF file is, of course, absolutely logical: how would NX-D show a sharp image without them?
So, the problem is simple: why is ACR not using the full data from the NEF file?
I tried the latest codecs straight from Nikon, but there is no change. I'll keep looking.
ACR has very good sharpening and noise reduction you can set you own default setting for these features have you tried setting your own personal defaults for your camera(s) profile? I feel you should be able to create camera profiles for your cameras that meet your expectations..
Nikon has a raw conversion software in their camera and computer-based applications which consists of algorithms and parameters that guide the application of the algorithms to render a JPG.
Adobe has a raw conversion software which consists of algorithms and parameters that guide the application of the algorithms to render the raw data as an RGB image that you see, and eventually save as some file format.
The raw conversion algorithms are proprietary within each company and Nikon parameters that may be embedded in the NEF file are only relevant to Nikon software. Let’s say the sharpening parameters in the NEF file are +3. What does that mean to Adobe which has an Amount slider of 0 to 150? So Adobe ignores the Nikon-specific sharpness parameters. Until Adobe and Nikon are the same company (as well as Canon and Sony and Panasonic and Olympus and Leica, etc) Adobe will have different algorithms and parameters to guide the raw conversion than the camera manufacturers. Some day we may live in a society where the state provides all photography hardware and software and everything is the same, but until then, there is competition between various companies and intellectual property rights and patent laws that keep each from knowing exactly what the other is doing.
Adobe converts raw files from many models and brands of cameras. For the most part they use the same algorithms and parameters for each of these models and brands.
Suppose you work for a photography company with many photographers where some use Nikon and some use Canon and some use Sony, etc, and it is your job to work on each of those raw files. If Adobe had one set of sliders for Nikon files and another set for Canon files and another set for Sony files, in other words if Adobe tried to do the things as specific to the camera manufacturer as possible, then it would be difficult to work on the raw files across the various camera manufacturers. If you use Adobe software it shouldn’t matter what brand or model of camera you’re working with, the workflow should be similar and the results similar to the extent the raw data, itself, is similar.
You talk of comparing the sharpness in the two converters "when opening" the images. Does that mean before or after you make adjustments? Can you make adjustments in ACR that rival the Nikon software? If you can, then make those sharpening adjustments and save new defaults in Camera Raw.
Yes, your evaluation of the whole situation is correct.
I feel that this could eventually lead to some kind of compatibility crisis in the future; it would be as if almost everybody (for software purposes) spoke different languages.
I suppose that unified standards would be of help, and that this ecosystem of codecs and algorithms does nothing to muddle our perception of the relative qualities and merits of different cameras and lenses: Suppose we have an excelent camera with superb lenses which has poor software support, versus a so-so camera with excelent compatibility...
Anyhow, my work is based on web and screen-based applications, the reason why I'm so set on correcting this issue. I'll keep fiddling with the ACR paramenters or else I'll have to find a way to integrate such a stiff bit of software as NX-D in my workflow.
I mean that just opening the images in NX-D and ACR, before any adjustments, yield significant visual differences.
And it is hard to use ACR to achive the look I get in NX-D.