1 2 3 Previous Next 99 Replies Latest reply on Dec 9, 2007 11:56 PM by (Tony_Blackett)

    ACR 3.7 works better than 4.2 with RAW NEF - Why?

      I've got CS3 with ACR 4.2 on my Mac. When I open RAW camera files in ACR 4.2 they end up desaturated. The reds in particular have mostly disappeared, but all the colors are annoyingly pale and wan. I then have to punch up the saturation, and often go into Camera Calibration to reinstate colors that have gone.

      If I take the same images to my PC and open in CS2 via ACR3.7, the images have proper color saturation. I've checked the preference settings and they don't seem to be any different. And no, I'm not using the NEF plug-in on CS2 (which isn't available for CS3).

      So why do my images end up so much better via 3.7 than via 4.2? Anyone got a theory? Is it because the default camera calibration in 4.2 is narrower than 3.7? I'm shooting with a Nikon D80 and a D200.
        • 1. Re: ACR 3.7 works better than 4.2 with RAW NEF - Why?
          DavidRitch-BPYbxw Level 1
          Check your color management settings. Sounds a bit like you're outputting sRGB with 3.7, and Adobe RGB with 4.2.
          • 2. Re: ACR 3.7 works better than 4.2 with RAW NEF - Why?
            Bill_Janes Level 2
            On my windows machine, I've had no trouble with ACR 4.2 and my D70 and D200. Shown below is an image with strong reds as previewed with default ACR settings. The red is so strong that it results in clipping when rendered into sRGB, though it does fit into ProPhotoRGB.

            Most likely, something is wrong with your setup.

            ACR 4.2
            • 3. Re: ACR 3.7 works better than 4.2 with RAW NEF - Why?
              Level 1
              Thanks Bill & David. I've been hunting for a set-up issue but can't find one. I certainly can't open an image to look like yours with default settings in ACR, Bill.

              Here's a curious thing though. Maybe someone can explain it. I have hunted in Bridge Help and also Martin Evening's book "Adobe Photoshop CS3 for Photographers". Both state that if I go to Bridge Preferences, and then Advanced Preferences, the first box should be "Enable Color Mananagement in Bridge", and that this should be ticked. But when I go to Advanced Preferences this box doesn't exist on my screen. The first offering is "Use Software Rendering" (which is the second box in the illustration in the book). So where did the "Enable Color Management" option go?

              Here's another odd thing. I open an image in ACR with default settings and it is totally de-saturated and bleached. I fiddle with it to get some color back. I open it in PS. I delete the image, not save it. When I later go back and open the original NEF file again in ACR, the color saturation is miraculously there! I haven't altered the original, and I haven't saved the changes. What the heck is going on?
              • 4. Re: ACR 3.7 works better than 4.2 with RAW NEF - Why?
                Ramón G Castañeda Level 4
                The "Enable Color Management in Bridge" box was removed in the last update of Bridge (2.1.0.100). Now color management is ALWAYS ON.

                As for your last paragraph, your adjustments in ACR are automatically applied to your RAW file as Metadata the instant you open the file from ACR into Photoshop. The image itself remains untouched.

                To remove said adjustments from the metadata, go to the Edit menu in Bridge. Edit > Develop Settings > Clear Settings.
                • 5. Re: ACR 3.7 works better than 4.2 with RAW NEF - Why?
                  Level 1
                  Ahh, that explains that Ramon. Thanks.

                  But it still doesn't explain why my images are so desaturated. I've checked David's theory, and both computers are set on Adobe RGB. That's also confirmed by the info at the bottom of the ACR screen. All other color management settings are the same in the Edit - Colour Settings dialog box.

                  So where else should I go hunting for an answer? What other set-up options might be responsible for the problem?
                  • 6. Re: ACR 3.7 works better than 4.2 with RAW NEF - Why?
                    Ramón G Castañeda Level 4
                    >it still doesn't explain why my images are so desaturated.

                    Desaturated as compared to what?

                    See if the following applies to your situation:

                    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.

                    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.

                    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. [New edition for ACR in CS3 by Jeff Schewe coming out in the next several weeks.]

                    The ACR defaults are nothing more than a suggested starting point.

                    The color temperature won't necessarily match either.
                    • 7. Re: ACR 3.7 works better than 4.2 with RAW NEF - Why?
                      Ramón G Castañeda Level 4
                      Incidentally, I would be surprised if the image posted in #2 is not the result of (1) the exposure and (b) the individual, specific camera being calibrated in ACR.

                      If your exposure is off (over or under) and if you have not calibrated your camera, the colors and saturation will be farther off.
                      • 8. Re: ACR 3.7 works better than 4.2 with RAW NEF - Why?
                        Ramón G Castañeda Level 4
                        Also, of course all my comments assume that you have a properly calibrated and profiled monitor.
                        • 9. Re: ACR 3.7 works better than 4.2 with RAW NEF - Why?
                          Level 1
                          Gee thanks for all that Ramon. I'm aware of the issues surrounding ACR and various cameras. My CS2 has the NEF Plug-in (which I've been by-passing to do my comparisons here) which certainly saturates the images, but CS3 will not interface with Nikon's NEF Plug-in - plainly Nikon want everyone to use their NX Capture software, rather than PS.

                          You ask "compared to what?" and my obvious answer is compared to what I see with my eye at the time of taking the photograph. The images are significantly desaturated from what I am seeing. I'm not using any in-camera enhancements, and the same problems of low saturation are present with both the D200 and D80. Also there is this issue of the images looking quite different between my Mac and PC - but then I haven't calibrated my PC screen. Mind you, the lack of reds in particular on my Mac don't appear to be answered by the calibration issue.

                          I do have an ACR Custom Preset saved to try and get my images back to what I am seeing with my eye. It's just that I came across some images where that didn't work so well. Specifically these were shots across a dam, where the water had been tanin-stained a deep red in foreground. When I opened the pics in ACR (CS3), there was next to no red in the water in foreground - but the red was quite striking in the Bridge jpegs. I couldn't reclaim the red effectively in the ACR Basic settings, so I had to go into the Camera Calibration settings to get the color back.

                          I guess there are a couple of issues here. First, the thumbnails in Bridge are "enhanced" jpegs and not a true indication of the original image. The second is that ACR's default isn't necessarily calibrated correctly for the NEF images I'm exporting out of the camera. Thirdly, if the colors aren't being read by ACR, doesn't that mean there is less basic information to work with when I go to enhance the images? Thus the problem I was having getting the red into my water shots.

                          The "natural" default settings in the cameras and their attendant software (Picture Project, NX etc) may not be designed to actually over-saturate images, but rather to restore them to correct color saturation, something which ACR cannot do?

                          I agree that the image of the flower above is a product of good exposure, and I would be interested to hear from Bill whether he has tweaked his Camera Calibration settings for his Nikon cameras, as you imply Ramon. I certainly couldn't get that sort of color density if I just imported such an image straight into ACR's default setting.

                          Whew, sorry that was so long. Thanks so much for your help!
                          • 10. Re: ACR 3.7 works better than 4.2 with RAW NEF - Why?
                            Ramón G Castañeda Level 4
                            >if the colors aren't being read by ACR

                            ???? What leads you to such a patently absurd conclusion?

                            >First, the thumbnails in Bridge are "enhanced" jpegs

                            That depends entirely on your various preference settings in Bridge.

                            >The "natural" default settings in the cameras and their attendant software (Picture Project, NX etc) may not be designed to actually over-saturate images,

                            With all respect, I disagree. I maintain that they are designed to and indeed do over-saturate the image and compress the shadows, even at their most "natural" settings, to compensate for the characteristics of the sensor and to appeal to the vast masses.

                            >I would be interested to hear from Bill whether he has tweaked his Camera Calibration settings for his Nikon cameras

                            Let's just say that I would be extremely surprised to learn that Bill Janes has not calibrated his camera.

                            >The second is that ACR's default isn't necessarily calibrated correctly for the NEF images I'm exporting out of the camera.

                            Have you actually shot a Gretag Macbeth Color Checker and then ran one of the calibrator scripts?

                            You can bet your bottom dollar that ACR has indeed been properly calibrated to an average of the camera units available to the ACR team. Calibrating your individual camera unit will bring you even closer (unless your camera just happens to perform as the average of the camera units of the same make and model used by Adobe). However, as I said before "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. "

                            If you have the Nikon plug-in installed and Nikon software has a history of installing it behind your back all bets are off. The Nikon plug-in interferes with and overrides ACR. If you want to use ACR, you MUST remove the Nikon plug-in, no ifs or buts.
                            • 11. Re: ACR 3.7 works better than 4.2 with RAW NEF - Why?
                              Level 1
                              Thanks yet again, Ramon. Let's work backwards. No, I don't have any Nikon Plug-ins installed on my CS3. Anyway, as I said earlier, the Nikon NEF Plug-in doesn't work on CS3.

                              I haven't shot a Color Checker, no.

                              My Bridge is at default settings. I haven't checked to see whether this means the thumbnail jpegs are enhanced or not. I just figured they were because they are so very different to the look of the images I open as RAW files - in terms of color saturation, that is.

                              if the colors aren't being read by ACR
                              ???? What leads you to such a patently absurd conclusion?

                              What I mean is, when I open RAW NEF images in ACR I am getting a highly desaturated look - which is the very problem I started with and what I'm struggling to understand. It's not that the images look real, it's that the color is completely drained. Surely the whole point of trying to get a good photograph - re exposure etc - is to have the maximum base information to work with. If you're trying to boost colors that aren't there in the original, that makes it much harder. I guess you're suggesting that the information is there, I'm just not seeing it on my screen?
                              • 12. Re: ACR 3.7 works better than 4.2 with RAW NEF - Why?
                                Ramón G Castañeda Level 4
                                >No, I don't have any Nikon Plug-ins installed on my CS3. Anyway, as I said earlier, the Nikon NEF Plug-in doesn't work on CS3.

                                Then double check. The Nikon software has a habit of installing things without your knowledge and permission.

                                >I haven't shot a Color Checker, no.


                                OK, then we have established that you have not calibrated your camera.

                                >My Bridge is at default settings.

                                Ouch! There are lots and lots of things to tend to. In the Bridge menu > Camera RAW preferences, make sure that "Apply Auto Tone Adjustment" is NOT checked.

                                In Bridge > Preferences > Thumbnails make sure you are set to High Quality Thumbnails.

                                Something that is new in CS3 is that Bridge makes extensive use of the GPU on your video display card. Enable "Use Software Rendering" and see if that makes a difference. (This helps if the video display card is underpowered.)

                                >I guess you're suggesting that the information is there, I'm just not seeing it on my screen?

                                If your exposure is reasonably within appropriate range, that is precisely what I'm suggesting.

                                Is there a RAW image you wouldn't mind sharing? I'd be willing to open it on my Mac and share the results with you. For very large files you can use the free service of http://s5.yousendit.com/, upload the file there and have it sent to yourself and/or to me, then you can decide whether to post the link publicly here or not. Click on my name on any of my posts for my email info.
                                • 13. Re: ACR 3.7 works better than 4.2 with RAW NEF - Why?
                                  Ramón G Castañeda Level 4
                                  What about your monitor? Do you calibrate and profile it often and regularly?
                                  • 14. Re: ACR 3.7 works better than 4.2 with RAW NEF - Why?
                                    Ramón G Castañeda Level 4
                                    Tony,

                                    Sorry for having lost track of this, but it just hit me that you are not only comparing two different versions of ACR, but that these are on two different computers, a Mac and a Windows box.

                                    The question of monitor calibration and profiling is even more relevant. Let me ask again: do you calibrate and profile your monitor often and regularly?
                                    • 15. Re: ACR 3.7 works better than 4.2 with RAW NEF - Why?
                                      Bill_Janes Level 2
                                      >Incidentally, I would be surprised if the image posted in #2 is not the result of (1) the exposure and (b) the individual, specific camera being calibrated in ACR.

                                      Well, Ramon, get ready to be surprised. Exposure was nominal and, since default ACR settings were used as I had stated, there was no custom calibration. The blown red channel is due to limitations of the sRGB color space and not to exposure. Of course, one could decrease the exposure in the convesion to sRGB until there was no red clipping, but this would darken the image; an exposure of -0.35 EV eliminates most of the red clipping in sRGB.

                                      To see if the monitor calibration on the PC Windows box is affecting the image or the problem lies in the ACR setup, the OP could view the image in some other viewer such as Nikon View.

                                      The screen shots shown below demonstrate the ACR settings.
                                      Png2

                                      Png3
                                      • 16. Re: ACR 3.7 works better than 4.2 with RAW NEF - Why?
                                        Level 1
                                        Thanks again folks. OK, now I do not calibrate my screen as regularly as I should. However, using Bill's idea, if I open the same image in Picture Project (I don't have Nikon View loaded) and compare it with the image in CS3 after going through ACR without any tweaking (i.e. using default settings), the images are chalk and cheese. All the colors are down in the PS version, with the reds almost completely lost. There is no programmed enhancement in either PProject (or is there an automatic enhancement, as Ramon suggests, in all camera-based software?) or PShop, so why are they so remarkably different? At least this points to the fact that it is not a screen issue, no?

                                        So I'm not just comparing two different computers and versions of ACR, I'm also comparing them to Picture Project versions (on both machines). On CS2 and the older version of ACR, both on the PC, the images opened in PShop look pretty close to the images opened on the same machine in PProject. Not so on my new big-screen Mac.

                                        WRT what I say are default settings on ACR. Yes the Auto Tone Adjustment is not checked, and the Thumbnails are set to High Quality. (Like I said, I do have a custom setting, but it is still struggling to replace colors that are not visible - which takes me back to the old issue of what it is that ACR is reading from original NEF files.)

                                        By the way, I couldn't find the "Use Software Rendering" thingy - even in Help. But it does sound like a long shot.

                                        I did also check the Clear Settings box, by the way.

                                        If I can find the time, I'll try uploading an image via Ramon - thanks for the offer. Even still, unless you guys know what to compare it to, I'm not sure that it's going to be much help.

                                        Cheers
                                        • 17. Re: ACR 3.7 works better than 4.2 with RAW NEF - Why?
                                          Bill_Janes Level 2
                                          Tony,

                                          Some will say that your experiment with Picture Project merely demonstrates the difference in rendering by Adobe and Nikon software (Allegedly, 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). Of course, sharpening can be set in the camera or turned off completely.

                                          Contrary to what some say, the default ACR rendering of images is similar to the default rendering of the same image by Nikon Capture. Nikon Capture simulates what the in camera JPG would look like. In fact in a recent test, I found that default ACR rendering is more saturated then the default rendering by Nikon Capture NX.

                                          Here is a Macbeth Color Checker as rendered by ACR default and Nikon Capture NX default (normal contrast, normal saturation).

                                          ACR Rendering:
                                          ACR

                                          Nikon NX rendering:
                                          Nikon NX


                                          Here is an objective analysis of the color rendering done by Imatest. Note the overall saturation (chroma) at the top right of the images. The ACR is slightly more saturated than the Nikon NX (113.7% mean saturation versus 106%). For details about interpreting the analysis, refer to the Imatest documentation on the Imatest web site. In summary, the further from the center of the graph, the more saturated is the color. Overall contrast (not shown) is also similar.

                                          ACR rendering analysis:
                                          ACR

                                          NX rendering analysis:
                                          NX
                                          • 18. Re: ACR 3.7 works better than 4.2 with RAW NEF - Why?
                                            Level 1
                                            Thanks Bill. You and Ramon might have to battle it out over the issue of Canon/Nikon software Vs ACR w.r.t. saturation. (Ramon's not the first to suggest that camera-based software makes automatic enhancements, but I tend to agree with you Bill, that it's something of an urban myth. There is an enhance function on Picture Project to do that anyway.) In the meantime, I'm left wondering why it is that my CS3 ACR 4.2 images are so awful (cf CS2 ACR 3.7).

                                            I could post two versions of the same image - one that has gone through the Mac CS3 ACR 4.2 set on default, and one through the PC CS2 ACR 3.7 also on default? If I do that via Ramon, what size/format is ideal to ouput out of PS and upload? 700megapixel jpegs? (Or I could output the same image from Picture Project and CS3 on my Mac to show the difference?)

                                            Or is there something really basic that I'm missing here? Is there some setting in my CS3 that is causing the problem? I've been trying to work this out for months - ever since I bought my Mac and CS3 actually - and I'm just about ready to dump CS3 and buy CS2 for my Mac to solve the issue. (I also have problems with the healing/patch tools on CS3 not operating as effectively as on my old CS2.)

                                            I need to work on PS because I sell photos on canvas, and both my printers use PS. I did dowload a trial version of NX, but I didn't like it cf Photoshop. It certainly wasn't as sophisticated. I have since discarded it. I only shoot NEF RAW and I save all my original files in that format. By the way, I like Picture Project to view and sort my original files, simply because of its full screen viewing function and ease of use. But I don't make any adjustments to the files. It's simply a sorting tool.

                                            Any other ideas folks? Thanks again.
                                            • 19. Re: ACR 3.7 works better than 4.2 with RAW NEF - Why?
                                              Bill_Janes Level 2
                                              >Thanks Bill. You and Ramon might have to battle it out over the issue of Canon/Nikon software Vs ACR w.r.t. saturation. (Ramon's not the first to suggest that camera-based software makes automatic enhancements, but I tend to agree with you Bill, that it's something of an urban myth. There is an enhance function on Picture Project to do that anyway.) In the meantime, I'm left wondering why it is that my CS3 ACR 4.2 images are so awful (cf CS2 ACR 3.7).

                                              That statement may be true for the P&S cameras, but not for the Nikon D200 as shown by my tests. For Canon 5D output, you can check the DP Review on that camera where they post images of a Color Checker as rendered in camera and by various raw converters. Of course, ACR ignores the Canon Picture Styles and the various Nikon camera settings. In looking at the review for the Nikon D40 , they show some other color checker images. Default for the D40 is Mode IIIa, sometimes called the Velvia mode. If you want less saturation, you can use mode Ia.

                                              >I could post two versions of the same image - one that has gone through the Mac CS3 ACR 4.2 set on default, and one through the PC CS2 ACR 3.7 also on default? If I do that via Ramon, what size/format is ideal to ouput out of PS and upload? 700megapixel jpegs? (Or I could output the same image from Picture Project and CS3 on my Mac to show the difference?)

                                              For color balance, it is not necessary to post full sized images. You can downsize them to a more convenient size. If something is wrong with your monitor calibration, what happens when you view the "bad" conversion on the other computer, where the conversion looks OK and conversely?

                                              >I need to work on PS because I sell photos on canvas, and both my printers use PS. I did dowload a trial version of NX, but I didn't like it cf Photoshop. It certainly wasn't as sophisticated. I have since discarded it. I only shoot NEF RAW and I save all my original files in that format. By the way, I like Picture Project to view and sort my original files, simply because of its full screen viewing function and ease of use. But I don't make any adjustments to the files. It's simply a sorting tool.

                                              Have you looked at Nikon View NX? It is available for free download. I too prefer ACR to Nikon Capture NX, but NX is occasionally useful.
                                              • 20. Re: ACR 3.7 works better than 4.2 with RAW NEF - Why?
                                                Ramón G Castañeda Level 4
                                                For starters, I am indeed surprised that Bill Janes doesn't bother with calibrating his camera, and I frankly have no idea what the colored graphs are supposed to show me about the very real, substantial compression in the shadows that I see in Canon RAW images processed by the Canon software or the JPEGs generated in camera by Canon.

                                                This shadows compression is the easiest of the Canon raw conversion characteristics to see and observe, but the oversaturation and oversharpening can also be detected, MOST ESPECIALLY when compared to the conversion by ACR into 16-bit ProPhoto RGB. (I haven't used Adobe RGB for ages.)
                                                • 21. Re: ACR 3.7 works better than 4.2 with RAW NEF - Why?
                                                  Ramón G Castañeda Level 4
                                                  I wouldn't spend waste 5 seconds with anything that references dpreview.
                                                  • 22. Re: ACR 3.7 works better than 4.2 with RAW NEF - Why?
                                                    Ramón G Castañeda Level 4
                                                    Tony,

                                                    I'm not sure what you're asking me (re file sizes, output, etc.), but on the matter of the difference you're seeing between the two computers, until you address the issue of monitor calibration, there's no point of commenting.

                                                    What I suggested is that you send (upload) a RAW file through yousendit.com so that we can make a valid comparison.

                                                    I have Photoshop 7.0.1, 8, 9.0.2 and 10 installed on my Mac, so I can easily convert your file in ACR 4.2 and in ACR 3.7 on the same machine. On the Mac, I can even run two different versions of Photoshop simultaneously. All I have to do is launch the older version first. Their respective scratch disks are on physically separate, dedicated internal drives.
                                                    • 23. Re: ACR 3.7 works better than 4.2 with RAW NEF - Why?
                                                      Bill_Janes Level 2
                                                      >For starters, I am indeed surprised that Bill Janes doesn't bother with calibrating his camera, and I frankly have no idea what the colored graphs are supposed to show me about the very real, substantial compression in the shadows that I see in Canon RAW images processed by the Canon software or the JPEGs generated in camera by Canon.

                                                      I have indeed calibrated my camera with the Fors scritpt and have posted my on The Luminous Landscape Forum. The calibration can yield excessive contrast. The intent was to show the default rendering.

                                                      The Imatest plots for the Color Checker do not show shadow compression, as I noted in my post; they show saturation and color error. Both ACR default and Nikon D200 default roll off the shadows, the Nikon more so than the D200 as you suggested as shown by the graph shown below:

                                                      TRCs
                                                      • 24. Re: ACR 3.7 works better than 4.2 with RAW NEF - Why?
                                                        Ramón G Castañeda Level 4
                                                        >By the way, I couldn't find the "Use Software Rendering" thingy

                                                        Bridge > Preferences > Advanced > Miscellaneous > Use Software Rendering
                                                        • 25. Re: ACR 3.7 works better than 4.2 with RAW NEF - Why?
                                                          Ramón G Castañeda Level 4
                                                          >Nikon Capture simulates what the in camera JPG would look like.

                                                          Yes, I'm in full agreement with that

                                                          >In fact in a recent test, I found that default ACR rendering is more saturated then the default rendering by Nikon Capture NX.

                                                          That is a surprise. It has been a while since I last tested Canon or Nikon software.
                                                          • 26. Re: ACR 3.7 works better than 4.2 with RAW NEF - Why?
                                                            Level 1
                                                            Ramon says: I can easily convert your file in ACR 4.2 and in ACR 3.7 on the same machine

                                                            I'm not sure that would help me resolve the problem. It might tell us if there is definitely a difference between 4.2 and 3.7 in the way they render the same RAW NEF files. But if the images end up the same - as you suggest they will - then I am no further advanced. I'm still left trying to determine why my particular 4.2 desaturates the images.

                                                            If I can work out how - and I confess to being a bit of a computer Luddite - I'd rather upload the same image from my Mac and PC to compare. I can do that by putting them through ACR at default settings and outputting straight from Photoshop with nil adjustments.

                                                            As for the screen issue. I've been using PShop on both computers and printing many images outputted from both computers, and there's no way the screen calibration issue can explain the very different results I'm getting between the default ACRs. Of course if I load the same finished, enhanced TIF image into each computer the screens look virtually identical. So it's NOT a screen calibration problem that's causing the differences.

                                                            As I said, the SAME image on my Mac when imported into Picture Project looks very different to when it's imported into ACR at default settings. Screen calibration aside, if PProject doesn't make drastic adjustments to images that are imported, why should PProject show me a saturated image and ACR deliver me a totally desaturated one on the same screen using the same source material?

                                                            I'll have a look at Nikon View NX. I'm not familiar with the program. Can one import a RAW file into View NX, and export as a 16-bit TIF or DNG, and therefore by-pass ACR in PShop? Is this a sensible workflow?
                                                            • 27. Re: ACR 3.7 works better than 4.2 with RAW NEF - Why?
                                                              Level 1
                                                              OK, so I downloaded View NX. I took a RAW NEF shot from my D80 and imported it into ViewNX, converted it to a 16-bit TIF, and opened it in CS3. I then took the same image direct from my camera into Bridge as a RAW NEF file and opened it in ACR 4.2 (using default settings). I put the two images on the screen side-by-side. The TIF exported from View had more saturation, more density (particularly in the blacks) and was actually sharper (no enhancements performed).

                                                              This was just a quick test (it's weekend down here in Australia, and I'm really trying not to do any work this weekend!) using an image of the moon setting over a mountain, shot pre-sunrise. It just happened to be in my camera. The differences weren't extreme, but they were quite noticeable.

                                                              Then I went back to those same images I was having trouble with. You remember, the ones with the reddish, tannin-stained water. I again took the RAW NEF image through View, and exported as a TIF. Opened in Photoshop, the colors were all there, including the nice red water. I used the same source and opened the same image via ACR, and lo and behold, no red in the water. Default settings were as per normal default in ACR. The two images, side-by-side on the screen look like one is heavily filtered with a red grad filter and the other is not. They're completely different.

                                                              So maybe that's what I now must do? Unless anyone has a theory as to why my ACR is not reading the reds, I might as well do my sorting and exporting in View? I've always saved my images as NEF files in the past, but View doesn't seem to want to export them as NEFs. That means saving everything as 16-it TIFs. Hmmmm.
                                                              • 28. Re: ACR 3.7 works better than 4.2 with RAW NEF - Why?
                                                                Ramón G Castañeda Level 4
                                                                Tony,

                                                                Maybe Bill Janes and/or other users can help you further. You've ignored my suggestions, so I'm out of here.

                                                                As a last tip, I urge you to read the white papers on RAW that are linked in the FAQs of this forum.
                                                                • 29. Re: ACR 3.7 works better than 4.2 with RAW NEF - Why?
                                                                  Bill_Janes Level 2
                                                                  Tony,

                                                                  If you want to get help on your problem, you will have to upload some images to illustrate the problem. I would start with JPEGs of the problem image converted with the two versions of ACR on the two different machines. They should be in sRGB for web viewing and sized at about 800 by 640 pixels for convenient viewing. If there is something wrong with the images, it will be apparent when they are viewed by others.

                                                                  To do this, you have to upload them to a photo sharing site and then include a link to them in your message as shown Here. The Adobe forums use HTML and you can read a bit more on other links at this site.

                                                                  If you do not have such a file sharing site, eSnips.com is one such service that is free and allows JPEGs as well as NEFs and other files to be uploaded and shared.

                                                                  As a test, here is an image I just uploaded to eSnips:

                                                                  MyPicture

                                                                  Well, it didn't work as intended. You have to include a link to the site, and the picture can be viewed from there:

                                                                  http://www.esnips.com/doc/f449c995-1fdf-45df-8a84-3637fa011b52/DSC_0056
                                                                  • 30. Re: ACR 3.7 works better than 4.2 with RAW NEF - Why?
                                                                    Level 1
                                                                    Thanks for sticking by me Bill.

                                                                    Hey Ramon, I have done everything you suggested except for calibrating my monitor, which I cannot do because I don't have a working spyder at the moment. In any event, as I've tried to explain, there are a number of reasons why I believe (feel free to disagree) that this is not the issue here. At the very least it can't explain why the images on THE SAME SCREEN appear so VERY different when imported into Picture Project/View NX sans adjustments and ACR 4.2 at default settings. Also, when I put my PC screen next to my Mac screen, and import images into Photoshop without going through ACR (e.g. TIF adjusted images) they look virtually identical. Ergo the screens are not so far out of whack to explain what I'm seeing. Nor does it explain why the same image on my Mac, imported into Picture Project, looks so very similar to when it goes through ACR 3.7 with default settings on my PC. What I am doing my best to explain is that: 1. I cannot calibrate my monitor right now, and anyway 2. the extreme problem I am perceiving cannot be related to monitor calibration anyway.

                                                                    I'll try to get my head around your uploading info Bill. I might upload the same image from 1) View NX, 2) ACR4.2 at default (both via Mac), and 3) ACR 3.7 via PC. I've just got to find the time to do it. My workload is massive at the moment.

                                                                    I'm not a techno boffin. I admit that I tend to operate on a need to know basis. So I'm well behind you guys on statistics and research in the camera/software field.
                                                                    • 31. Re: ACR 3.7 works better than 4.2 with RAW NEF - Why?
                                                                      Ramón G Castañeda Level 4
                                                                      >Hey Ramon, I have done everything you suggested except for calibrating my monitor,

                                                                      Sure, like posting a screen shot, sharing a RAW file add an uncalibrated non-profiled monitor to the equation and no one can guess what your problem could be.

                                                                      >At the very least it can't explain why the images on THE SAME SCREEN appear so VERY different when imported into Picture Project/View NX sans adjustments and ACR 4.2 at default settings.

                                                                      For the last time: ACR is NOT designed to emulate the Nikon RAW software conversion nor any other RAW converter. The image WILL look different; it's supposed to. [Read post #6 again.] Whether this is within normal parameters it's impossible to tell without seeing both screen shots and the RAW file itself.
                                                                      • 32. Re: ACR 3.7 works better than 4.2 with RAW NEF - Why?
                                                                        Ramón G Castañeda Level 4
                                                                        Read the white papers on RAW referenced in the FAQs to understand what a RAW file is. A RAW file contains no colors, it's just a very, very dark grayscale image with color information for the RAW converter's algorithms to create the colors during the demosaicing process.

                                                                        Each RAW converter uses its own, proprietary algorithms.

                                                                        The default ACR settings are NOTHING but a starting point. Once you learn to use ACR, you can emulate the results of whatever other RAW converters you want. You do need to know how to use ACR.
                                                                        • 33. Re: ACR 3.7 works better than 4.2 with RAW NEF - Why?
                                                                          Bill_Janes Level 2
                                                                          >The default ACR settings are NOTHING but a starting point. Once you learn to use ACR, you can emulate the results of whatever other RAW converters you want. You do need to know how to use ACR.

                                                                          Ramon is entirely correct here. However, both Nikon Capture and Adobe Camera Raw should produce good results. ACR ignores the camera settings except white balance, whereas Nikon Capture applies all the camera settings.

                                                                          The image shown was taken with the D200 set to Mode 1a, which is normal contrast. The ACR settings were default, i.e. normal. The differences are relatively subtle. If Tony is seeing a marked difference between the Nikon View NX conversion and the ACR conversion, then his camera settings (read and applied by the Nikon software) may not be normal. Tony, what were the settings on the camera (they can be seen in View NX) and what were the ACR settings?

                                                                          Butterfly<br />
                                                                          • 34. Re: ACR 3.7 works better than 4.2 with RAW NEF - Why?
                                                                            Ramón G Castañeda Level 4
                                                                            Of course one should get good results from the two converters. Since we haven't seen screenshots or the RAW image, we can't tell Tony if what he's seeing is within expected parameters or not.

                                                                            I suppose the in-camera settings could make a big difference, depending on what they were.

                                                                            [Unfortunately (for me) I can't observe the two images in the last post in detail, as I've suffered from severe, debilitating lepidopteraphobia since early childhood.]
                                                                            • 35. Re: ACR 3.7 works better than 4.2 with RAW NEF - Why?
                                                                              Ramón G Castañeda Level 4
                                                                              OK. I found a way of observing at least part of the images in detail. <br /> <br />c <a href="http://www.pixentral.com/show.php?picture=1LmBhT6bLOta5l8ya5gg4zMiKRYlz" /></a> <img alt="Picture hosted by Pixentral" src="http://www.pixentral.com/hosted/1LmBhT6bLOta5l8ya5gg4zMiKRYlz_thumb.jpg" border="0" /> <br /> <br /> Yes, the difference in the reds can be called subtle, more or less well: kind of subtle, but noticeable still. <br /> <br /> But the difference in saturation of the greens, especially in the green areas to which the arrows point to, seems anything but <i>"subtle"</i> to me. Look at the leaf on the left! It looks like <b> <font size="+1">the Nikon software does over-saturate after all</font> </b>, at least with respect to ACR. <br /> <br /> That's all I've been saying all along. <br /> <br /> The heavier compression of the shadows I have also been referencing is sufficiently documented in the graph posted by Bill Janes: <br /> <br />c <a href="http://www.pixentral.com/show.php?picture=1lYg4ayquzFwufphPETg6mRnUa50" /></a> <img alt="Picture hosted by Pixentral" src="http://www.pixentral.com/hosted/1lYg4ayquzFwufphPETg6mRnUa50_thumb.jpg" border="0" />
                                                                              • 36. Re: ACR 3.7 works better than 4.2 with RAW NEF - Why?
                                                                                Ramón G Castañeda Level 4
                                                                                If you look closely at the tips of the two highest petals on the images, you'll see the Nikon Capture conversion does sharpen more than ACR.

                                                                                So going back to my remarks:


                                                                                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.

                                                                                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.


                                                                                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.


                                                                                The ACR defaults are nothing more than a suggested starting point.

                                                                                The color temperature won't necessarily match either.

                                                                                [emphasis added]


                                                                                I see no reason to change anything in those remarks.
                                                                                • 37. Re: ACR 3.7 works better than 4.2 with RAW NEF - Why?
                                                                                  Level 1
                                                                                  OK folks. I am quite aware that ACR does not read in-camera settings, which is why I don't use them. I haven't posted images because 1) I am a luddite and 2) I don't pay the big bucks as a gold/platinum/plutonium subscriber, or whatever. I shall today try to get my head around Bill's suggestion for posting images. If that doesn't work, maybe I can send them to either of you chap's fine up-standing websites/emails and you can put them up for me? We'll see how I go ...
                                                                                  • 38. Re: ACR 3.7 works better than 4.2 with RAW NEF - Why?
                                                                                    Level 1
                                                                                    I've sent some jpegs to long-suffering Ramon. Hope he doesn't mind uploading them for me. Meanwhile, I'm trying to create a new custom preset in ACR - which I've done before, by the way - but now the Presets panel won't open because Preset Settings isn't highlighted and is therefore not available. I'm attempting to create a new preset that matches the image outputted (hmmm, I don't think that's a real word?) from View NX.

                                                                                    I know I seem like an absolute novice (because I am!), but any ideas as to why I can't access presets in ACR now?

                                                                                    Tony
                                                                                    www.tonywellington.com
                                                                                    • 39. Re: ACR 3.7 works better than 4.2 with RAW NEF - Why?
                                                                                      Ramón G Castañeda Level 4
                                                                                      Tony, Tony, Tony <br /> <br /> Got your four images. <br /> <br /> First, there's the issue of the one you <b>erroneously</b> claim to have converted in ACR 3.7 on your PC, especially since the metadata reveals it to be a NIKON SOFTWARE conversion and it has a NIKON profile embedded (Nikon sRGB 4.0.0.3001) as does the one specifically named Nikon View NX.JPG, yet the ones converted in ACR have sRGB IEC61966-2.1. embedded. <br /> <br /> The truth is that that image was NOT converted in ACR 3.7 at all. <br /> <br /> There can only be two reasons for that egregious error: <br /> <br /> 1. you are being disingenuous, which I do not want to believe; or <br /> <br /> <b>2. you had the Nikon plug-in installed on your PC, which overrides ACR, and you were using the Nikon plug-in all the time without realizing it. Even though you thought you were using ACR, you were using the Nikon software all the time in Photoshop CS2. <br /> <br /> That has happened to many, many Nikon users. The Nikon plug-in sort of looks like ACR with a "simplified" interface, as users have described it.</b> Nikon software installs that plug-in behind your back. <br /> <br /> In any event, without the RAW image as I've been suggesting from the beginning, all I can tell you is that your images look a lot more natural to me in the ACR conversion, and the oversaturated two developed in Nikon View NX (again no Raw Converter metadata) are within the parameters I would expect. <br /> <br />c <a href="http://www.pixentral.com/show.php?picture=1JtzFpfaH0PbDPPUd3skXfpZuxP2Rg1" /></a> <img alt="Picture hosted by Pixentral" src="http://www.pixentral.com/hosted/1JtzFpfaH0PbDPPUd3skXfpZuxP2Rg1_thumb.jpg" border="0" /> <br /> <br /> <br />c <a href="http://www.pixentral.com/show.php?picture=1WIr6Milnyj71JfyFEz2SB3ilq072" /></a> <img alt="Picture hosted by Pixentral" src="http://www.pixentral.com/hosted/1WIr6Milnyj71JfyFEz2SB3ilq072_thumb.jpg" border="0" /> <br /> <br /> <br /> In short, Tony, you are NOT seeing a difference between two different versions of ACR (as the title of this thread suggests) but ONLY between "the over-saturated, over-contrasty and over-sharpened images that appeal to most amateurs generated by the camera manufacturer's software", as I've been saying all along, and ACR's more natural rendition. Noise is also hidden by compressing the shadows so you don't see much of the noise inherent in the image. <br /> <br /> 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. <br /> <br /> 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. <br /> <br /> The key is to learn how to use ACR properly and to calibrate your camera to ACR. <br /> <br /> <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Real-World-Camera-Raw-/dp/0321334094/sr=8-1/qid=1156891468/re f=pd_bbs_1/104-7285664-9941543?ie=UTF8" style="padding: 4px; background-color: #00caff; color: #eeeeee; font: bold 10px Verdana, san serif;" target="_blank">CLICK HERE</a> for some essential reading. [Get the rervised version for CS3 by Jeff Schewe coming out soon.] <br /> <br /> The ACR defaults are nothing more than a suggested starting point. <br /> <br /> The color temperature won't necessarily match either.
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