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If you want your raw converter to pay attention to your camera settings, I'm afraid you'll have to use Nikon's converter -- ACR just doesn't know about these things.
You don't seem to understand the benefit of RAW or how to use it.
If you looking for the camera preview settings just stay at jpeg, to understand RAW do a search on the adobe site for white papers about RAW, better is to buy a book about RAW.
Real World Camera RAW written by Bruce Fraser is a good start but you might wait a couple of weeks for the updated version for CS3, written by Jeff Schewe
I don't know what about my post implies that I don't understand RAW or it's benefits. I was referring to Bridge's image preview (where it seems to both see and apply my in camera setting to my NEF image), not my camera's LCD preview. Moreover, I understand that it is indeed "RAW" and very much just what my sensor captures, nothing more and nothing less. However, it doesn't seem to me that shooting RAW format and maintaining my in-camera settings in post processing are mutually exclusive concepts. In my mind, and correct me if I am wrong, but RAW's biggest benefit is that its 12-14 bits of information are vastly superior to JPEG, particularly in how highlights and lowlights are handled. However, I believe having more "control" over and image in post processing is only a benefit if viewed in the context of the image that came out of the camera. Get it right in the field, and then make minor corrections in the digital darkroom. We are photographers, and not graphic designers, after all.
Thanks for the insight on Nikon's software. You seem to understand my original question better than Omke. I've given Capture NX a try and it just seems clumsy, but perhaps no worse than ACR. Seems strange that such robust software can't make heads or tails of the images metadata.
The original preview you see in Bridge is from the embedded jpeg inside your raw file. Then ACR applies its defaults. That's the change you see. But ACR can't know about Nikon settings -- Nikon doesn't share that info with Adobe. That's why only Nikon's software will do what you want. You have to make the files look the way you want them to if you use ACR/Bridge (or Lightroom for that matter).
There is a thread in here with example calibration settings to emulate closer Nikon's in-camera look. perform a search.
tomrock is right - the "no work" solution is to use Nikon software.
However there is a "little work involved" solution. This solution is to spend a few hours to set up a few profiles for typical shooting conditions like bright sunshine on a clear day, rainy day , preferred studio light etc. You can apply these pre-defined settings in ACR to a large number of files.
I use such settings (actually different sets for different cameras) and for me this ends up less work for the final image on the long run because ACR fits better into my workflow. I also prefer the controls of ACR over the Nikon user interface - but this is a matter of personal taste.
So if a few hours of work is too much of n time investment you got your answer.
sorry that you find my answer offending, it just isn't.
I still suggest you buy the book and learn how to create your own settings and that is just a very minor thing to apply the whole bunch to a large set of images that have same light conditions.
And no I am not a graphic designer but yes, I'm a photographer and as so in this digital era I like to know the parts of software that can make my life easier and my images of better quality :-)
I agree. My NEF files also looked dull when opened with ACR 4/4.1/4.2...so after MUCH trial and error I simply settled on swapping the NEF plugin for the ACR plugin, in the CS3/plugins/file formats folder.
Sure, you can only adjust exposure on the conversion, but what a difference. Goodbye muddy images you have to beat back into shape. I like working on my photos, not "working them over".
These issues have been covered here before many times. Just do a forum search.
In a nutshell:
This has been covered ad nauseam here. Please do a forum search.
Camera manufacturers, Canon and Nikon in particular, perform in-camera RAW to JPEG conversions designed to generate the over-saturated, over-contrasty and over-sharpened images that appeal to most amateurs.
Their stand-alone RAW conversion software also performs the same conversion to your RAW images.
Noise is also hidden by compressing the shadows so you don't see much of the noise inherent in the image.
Adobe Camera Raw, ACR, on the other hand, comes with default settings designed to give you the most detail possible (even if this sometimes means revealing some of the noise hidden by the camera manufacturers in their RAW conversion software), as well as the most natural images.
That being said, you can calibrate your camera to ACR and come up with your own settings to produce exactly what you want, including the JPEG-look of the camera manufacturer, and save that as your profile.
The key is to learn how to use ACR properly and to calibrate your camera to ACR.
CLICK HERE for some essential reading. (Revised edition for ACR 4.x by Jeff Schewe shipping soon.)
The ACR defaults are nothing more than a suggested starting point.
The color temperature won't necessarily match either.
>Camera manufacturers, Canon and Nikon in particular, perform in-camera RAW to JPEG conversions designed to generate the over-saturated, over-contrasty and over-sharpened images that appeal to most amateurs
Ramón, you posted this quite a few times. You are ignoring, that the cameras offer selections for these settings. Your image will be over-saturated, over-sharpened and over-contrasted only if you elect to do so.
>Their stand-alone RAW conversion software also performs the same conversion to your RAW images
Their stand-alone raw conversions perform the very same (well, almost the very same) functions, which the user has opted for on the camera.
>you posted this quite a few times.
Yes, and I will continue to do so. It's a three keystrokes macro. :)
Feel free to skip it next time you see it. :D
Nevertheless, I'm NOT "ignoring" anything. In my experience, even the nominally "natural" default settings in these cameras and in the manufacturer's software perform these adjustments to the images, to a lesser but very real degree.
I stand by my opinion, especialy as it relates to the different results produced by ACR.
>In my experience, even the nominally "natural" default settings in these cameras and in the manufacturer's software perform these adjustments to the images, to a lesser but very real degree.
I think I will add this to my macro. :)