15 Replies Latest reply on Jul 31, 2008 4:06 AM by MadManChan2000

    Nikon support frustration

    Yammer Level 4
      I've been using Camera Raw for about a year now. I learned fairly quickly that ACR's default rendition of my Nikon raw files was quite wide of the mark in terms of hue and saturation calibration, and this seemed to be a common phenomenon (judging by my research).

      I set about learning how to best use ACR (countless websites, discussions and two Adobe books, including the Real World book everyone goes on about). I bought a Munsell ColorChecker and downloaded the Fors, Rags and Tindemans scripts - which seem to produce a different result every time, despite my careful preparation.

      I asked in the Nikonians forums about this problem, but most of them seem to have given up on Camera Raw, and instead use the rather terrible Nikon CaptureNX program, which gives a more accurate (although slightly over-cooked) default rendition, supports all the proprietary Nikon metadata, but runs like a dog on a Pentium 4. Many Nikon users don't seem to understand that their 'Picture Controls' have no effect on raw data, and are only used to direct the raw conversion process, and coupled with the poor default color calibration, this causes many of them to drop ACR like a hot brick almost straight away.

      I've just bought a D300. Annoyingly I discover that even more Nikon metadata are responsible for features I cannot use in ACR (Automatic Chromatic Aberration Correction being one of them).

      I love using Adobe software. It's fast, it's ingenious, it's fab. So, I hate to see Abobe drive away photographers (I can only speak for Nikon users) to an inferior product, when a few tweaks and additions will win them over. Fixing Nikon reds would be a good start - they are almost always far too desaturated and orange. Maybe a selection of presets would help.

      I may be overstretching to suggest that Adobe attempts to support more Nikon metadata. I don't know how much cooperation there is between Adobe and Nikon, but, even if there is very little, it can't be rocket science to decode the Picture Controls and correction data, unless Nikon REALLY don't want other people reading it. Maybe get some bored script kiddies on the job - they'll have it sussed in no time ;-)

      Anyway, I hope Adobe keeps up the good job with Camera Raw, which is an excellent product, but could be even better with minimum effort.
        • 1. Re: Nikon support frustration
          MadManChan2000 Adobe Employee
          Keith,

          > unless Nikon REALLY don't want other people reading it

          That is most definitely the case, unfortunately. This is part of Nikon's "secret sauce," if you will.

          We are actively working on improving color. Thanks for your patience.
          • 2. Re: Nikon support frustration
            Yammer Level 4
            Well, that's good to know. Thanks for the response.
            It's a shame about Nikon's attitude. I would have though p***ing off Photoshop users would be bad for business.
            I've just sent a letter to Nikon asking how I'm supposed to use all my new camera's features at a reasonable speed with my PC spec (which is better than the recommended spec for their software), and asking why I can't use all these features with my favoured software. No doubt I'll get a prepared statement, but I'll report back here if it's interesting enough.
            • 3. Re: Nikon support frustration
              Level 1
              Don't think it is just Nikon, Canon and just about every other camera
              company is the same way. That is why I use Pentax. Direct in camera DNG
              support.
              • 4. Re: Nikon support frustration
                Keith:

                Your comments about CR are really appreciated. My current (tenth) Nikon is a D300 (like yours) and I've used Camera Raw about six months, starting with a version 2, on a Windows XP pro platform. Though I've enjoyed a limited understanding of every Photoshop since version 3.0, Camera Raw (4.4.1) now promises even greater powers and resources. However, I miss access to the kind of HELP categories that assist my use of Photoshop. What do you think is likely to happen with Camera Raw HELP? Or am I just looking in the wrong place for clues on how to use the system better? Following forums strikes me as a little like pre-civilized (broadcast) farming, compared to a technologically-oriented help system with logical categories and indexes to boot.

                What are your insights here?
                • 5. Re: Nikon support frustration
                  Yammer Level 4
                  I can't say I've ever thought about the help system in ACR. But now you bring it to my attention, I have opinions (doesn't everyone?).

                  The first valuable lesson I learned is that there are *no defaults*. By this, I mean that (unlike other software) you SHOULD change the defaults to what YOU want, as soon as reasonably possible.

                  The second valuable lesson I learned is what the heck all those sliders *really* do. This I learned from books, rather than from the software.

                  I'm not even aware if there is F1 help available in ACR. I'll feel pretty foolish if there is! Being a plug-in, I suppose it's not historically required, but now it's become such a big piece of work, it would certainly benefit from a short tutorial (accessed by a ? icon) and a few strategically placed tooltips explaining the practical effects and uses of each slider.
                  • 6. Re: Nikon support frustration
                    Level 1
                    Considering Adobe is very much a media company I wish they would start doing
                    podcast like videos on their products. I know there are some (not from
                    Adobe) on Lightroom and Photoshop, but one on ACR and others that had some
                    really useful information on workflow and how-to's would be nice.

                    Otherwise, my suggestion is look to books. There are a lot of books on ACR
                    from companies like Peach Pit Press, O'Reilly, and others. Most are quite
                    good. I would go to a book store and browse them to find the one with the
                    format you like.

                    Also, download and install Apple iTunes. Even if you don't have an iPod,
                    iPhone or AppleTV unit you can still subscribe to the free podcasts and view
                    them on your computer. Photoshop User TV is a good choice for not only the
                    occasional ACR stuff but for Photoshop as well. You just need to get past
                    the antics of the three hosts. Antics that I might add get old really fast.
                    But, the tutorials are very nice. Layers TV is another one that is worth
                    checking out. They cover nearly everything Adobe.
                    • 7. Re: Nikon support frustration
                      JimHess-8IPblY Level 3
                      You may have already seen these tutorials. But just in case, or for the benefit of others, check out this link. Scroll down and choose Photoshop, then scroll the titles. There are at least a couple of tutorials for Camera Raw.

                      Adobe Video Workshop
                      • 8. Re: Nikon support frustration
                        Yammer Level 4
                        One thing that puzzles me is Nikon's Chromatic Aberration Correction.

                        I know that it can do this in-camera, when creating a JPEG, and its Capture NX software can also do this with Nikon raw files, but how does it do this?

                        Is there some information passed in the raw file, instructing Capture NX what to do? Does Nikon use lens look-up tables to predict the aberration? Or does Capture NX just perform the correction based on the raw data?

                        If it's the latter, then presumably there's no reason why a future version of Camera Raw can't do this either.
                        • 9. Re: Nikon support frustration
                          MadManChan2000 Adobe Employee
                          Nikon uses some (proprietary) data stored in the image's metadata as well as internal tables not stored with the raw file. Other developers (e.g., Adobe) cannot directly make use of any of this information for raw conversion.
                          • 10. Re: Nikon support frustration
                            Yammer Level 4
                            Is it possible to do some auto-correction of CA without this data?
                            • 11. Re: Nikon support frustration
                              Yammer Level 4
                              I'd like to give credit where it's due. I've just installed the new CR 4.5 and beta camera calibrations, and it's a big improvement on the old ones. I've already abandoned my custom calibration settings and adopted the default Adobe Standard beta ones as my D300 defaults.

                              I had a quick play with the beta Profile Editor and an old ColorChecker NEF, but I didn't understand what was going on. I'll have to read the instructions. Hopefully, I won't need it anyway.

                              I headed down to the Nikonians forum to spread the news. There are a lot of people disillusioned with ACR there. Maybe this will change a few opinions.

                              Well done CR developers!
                              • 12. Re: Nikon support frustration
                                MadManChan2000 Adobe Employee
                                Cool, Keith. Thanks for the feedback. If you do want to play with the DNG Profile Editor, check out Tutorial 5 on this page:

                                http://labs.adobe.com/wiki/index.php/DNG_Profiles:Editor#tutorial_cc1

                                It walks you through the process of doing the auto-profile-building using the ColorChecker.
                                • 13. Re: Nikon support frustration
                                  John_Cornicello_Photo Level 2
                                  The forum doesn't seem to like the colon in the URL. Let me try another way...

                                  Profile Editor Tutorial
                                  • 14. Re: Nikon support frustration
                                    Yammer Level 4
                                    Thanks, Eric. The tutorials helped a lot. The calibration is easier and quicker than I expected - I didn't realise that the base profile drop-down was for preview purposes. Once you get your head around a few concepts, it's easier to use.

                                    I ran the chart profiler on a couple of old CC shots, and there was a very noticeable shift in skin and sky, compared with the Adobe Standard. Everything else stayed put. So it was well worth doing.

                                    I think I'll have to take a few more CC shots to make sure. I was stunned to see the process end in a couple of seconds, after watching scripts take 20+ minutes in the past.

                                    One question: how critical is the CC exposure? Does a small variance in exposure have a significant impact on the Chart calibration routine?
                                    • 15. Re: Nikon support frustration
                                      MadManChan2000 Adobe Employee
                                      Hi Keith, generally small variance in exposure won't affect the results much, if any. PE does check for overexposure and underexposure, color casts, etc. (i.e., some basic sanity checking) and won't let you proceed unless it thinks your CC test shot is decent.