Which Picture Controls are you using in the camera settings (vivid, standard, neutral, etc)?
Have you made any adjustments to them (added brightness, added sharpness, etc)?
The catch is that all that Picture Control data is proprietary info that only Nikon's software reads.
Windows Picture Viewer is probably displaying the JPG preview which has all that data baked into the picture.
Adobe and other third party raw converters ignore that proprietary data and may supply their own versions of those picture controls.
In LR's Develop module, Camera Calibration panel, you can pick some presets to start with. The default is "adobe standard" which is similar to -- but not the same as -- "camera standard".
I have my Nikon cameras set to the "neutral" Picture Control and use a LR preset during import to set the default state to "camera neutral" so that the image on the back of my camera and LR initial view look mostly the same.
Thank you for your response. I am shooting with the vivid camera setting however I have not adjusted the default in-camera settings at all in camera.
I don't really have a color or tone issue regarding how the imported image appears in LR. I understand that every software program interprets RAW data differently and I have no issue with that. My issue is only with sharpness of the imported image. I may be completely wrong but I wouldn't think that in-camera setting would have an effect on raw image sharpness but I'm also a newbie.
Under the camera calibration module I played around with the different settings but saw no change in image sharpness.
I'm not sure what windows viewer is displaying. I downloaded a Windows plugin from Microsoft to view raw thumbnails in Windows 7 and also to be able to open them in the viewer.
The camera settings affect the camera-produced JPG, not the raw data, which is directly from the sensor and not modified. Adobe products don’t care what you have for camera settings, they use whatever their defaults are.
Your camera is probably over-sharpening its JPGs, so you’ll just need to learn how to do the sharpening in the LR Detail panel area.
If you want an opinion of whether LR is working as expected, please post screenshots at 100% zoom or 1:1 so we can see what you see.
Windows Picture viewer is looking at, Displaying, the JPG image and not the RAW image. The In Camera settings affect how the JPG is processed and will look slightly different from the RAW data expressed as an image.
What you are seeing is completely normal and happens with 99.99999% of cameras when looking at the JPG images compared to the RAW data.
All Raw files are inherently soft. If you shoot jpg, the camera adds capture sharpening based on the opinion of some Engineer in Japan. By shooting Raw, you are telling LR that you want to be in control and that you will add the capture sharpening yourself. As stated by Just Shoot Me , this is normal.
From the other posts you should be now aware that Lightroom is not capable of applying your cameras "Vivid" settings. However there should be be some Camera profile choices in the Camera Calibration tab in the develop module where you can apply Lightroom's matching profile. See the screen capture, this is for my Olympus M1 camera but there should also be options for your camera model.
I agree Joe, however the Vivid profile will also give the perception of the image being sharper with the enhanced tone and contrast. I also apply one of the Lightroom's sharpening presets at import.
Thank you all so much for your help! I really appreciate your support.
I wondered if this was normal and thanks to those who have chimed in to let me know that it is in fact normal. I guess I have incorrectly assumed that the images I was viewing in the windows picture viewer was of the actual RAW image.
ssprengel - I am very willing to learn regarding using the sharpening controls in LR. I have included two screens of exactly what I see. The image is tack sharp and has low noise in windows picture viewer and nikon software. I am using the camera calibration "vivid" in LR but it does not appear to change the sharpness when using that profile. As you can see, the sharpening slider is set to 0. As you can see in the history, I played around with the camera calibration looking at other profiles. All other settings are set to default. One interesting note- when I first opened this particular image, the sharpen slider was set to 25. I had not opened the image prior or made any adjustment to it in any program. It was straight off of my SD card imported as a .NEF file.
Thank you all again for your patience!!
The 25 sharpen is the LR default capture sharpening, which is usually not enough for my images.
JoeKostoss Thanks for reassuring me. I went through a short tutorial on sharpening/noise reduction in LR and I have MUCH better results. I have a much better understanding of how LR handles RAW images and displays them now. You all have been a huge help! Thanks again!!
The other thing to change about your image is to enable Chromatic Aberration correction in Lens Corrections area. This should reduce the red/blue false color along high contrast edges.