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Thread: Nikon 'Picture Control'

  1. #1
    crisscross's Avatar
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    Nikon 'Picture Control'

    This was partly answered in no 6 of Nikon's Picture Control, is it best to set In-camera or post processing? , but a little bit more please anyone?

    I have had a Nikon D80 for a few years and just wondering about upgrading to a D7000

    When it comes to RAW/NEF processing using Capture NX2, with my D80 I have a choice of using "Picture Control" or "Non Picture Control" and have used the latter 95% of the time. Recently friends with D300s & D700 have given me sample images from joint shoots.

    The "Non Picture Control" (which just gives a range of settings for colour mode, contrast and saturation etc.) is no longer included, Instead "Picture Control" gives what appear to be pre-sets for some processing. Oh no I gasp, a throwback to when I had a canon 350D, the 'landscape' usually being about the least suitable for a landscape etc.

    Fortunately there is a 'neutral setting' defined in the manual:

    Neutral: Minimal processing for natural results. Choose for photographs that will later
    be extensively processed or retouched.

    The question is whether this is indeed the ONLY really unprocessed RAW? When dabbling with the other settings, including 'standard' on D80 shots it is evident that (a) they immediately move about .3 to .5 EV brighter and (b) they have lost some of the sort of elasticity I take for granted in further processing.

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    Goldcoastgolfer's Avatar
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    Re: Nikon 'Picture Control'

    Hi Chris,

    Call me a bit thick but I got a bit lost as to whether your question is about the settings in the camera or in NX2.

    I'm not using NX2 (had it on my computer for a little while) - I use Lightroom now and the D7000 which imports everything in unprocessed Raw, not matter what the settings in the camera are. I have jpegs being saved on the second memory card for those times when I need a quick image and am happy for the camera's post processing functions to do their thing.

    I think Nikon's software takes more into account what the camera does. Other third party post processing programs just take the Raw files as they are.

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    crisscross's Avatar
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    Re: Nikon 'Picture Control'

    Quote Originally Posted by Goldcoastgolfer View Post
    Hi Chris,

    ... I got a bit lost as to whether your question is about the settings in the camera or in NX2.

    I'm not using NX2 (had it on my computer for a little while) - I use Lightroom now and the D7000 which imports everything in unprocessed Raw, not matter what the settings in the camera are. I have jpegs being saved on the second memory card for those times when I need a quick image and am happy for the camera's post processing functions to do their thing.

    I think Nikon's software takes more into account what the camera does. Other third party post processing programs just take the Raw files as they are.
    Malcolm: as I understand it before owning a camera with 'Picture Control' facility is that (a) the camera settings are an analogue of settings in 'Picture Control' software, which is embedded in Nikon View & Capture NX2. If you set up in camera, those are the settings that come through when you open the image. (b) Picture Control software also has custom curves and settings that you can transfer back to the camera; say if you know you are going to do a horse race next day, you can set your camera to the ones you used on a horse race last week. (c) I imagine Picture Control needs a 'host', but don't know & that is not my main interest.

    A NEF from D300s and/or D700 opened in mac GraphicConverter, the only other prog I have that can (without upgrade) comes through converted & comes out significantly darker and no longer RAW. I suspect this is what you get in Lightroom or ACR 'as they are'..because, as I said, if using Capture NX2, turning on the 'picture control' immediately raises the apparent EV. (It could be that it intuitively found that is what is needed; an over-exposed shot on the contrary goes darker; (my test image set from D700 is actually 3 taken deliberately bracketted).

    So back to the question: is the true RAW equivalent of a NEF, the NEF with the 'Picture Control' set to 'Neutral' or turned off altogether? As most non-Nikon software is probably unable to 'host' 'Picture Control', possibly the latter. I am however trying to upgrade my DxO v5 (which won't handle D700 or D300s) to v6. I like DxO as with older cameras it did, precisely, take the manufacturers' settings 'in house', ie on a canon image you have different edit panes from a nikon image. Wow, they co-operate.

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    Goldcoastgolfer's Avatar
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    Re: Nikon 'Picture Control'

    I have to go with the 'Picture Control' turned off altogether. I just looked at the 'Neutral' setting on my D7000 and in "Neutral" the factory default is to have +1 sharpening. You can adjust brightness there but I don't know that it actually impacts Ev.

    On the D7000 there's a function called 'D-Lighting' which I think has the effect of doing semi-HDR in the camera. I'm pretty sure that definitely plays around with the Ev and impacts the NEF output - making it darker than with D-Lighting turned off.

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    Re: Nikon 'Picture Control'

    Quote Originally Posted by Goldcoastgolfer View Post
    I have to go with the 'Picture Control' turned off altogether. I just looked at the 'Neutral' setting on my D7000 and in "Neutral" the factory default is to have +1 sharpening. You can adjust brightness there but I don't know that it actually impacts Ev.

    On the D7000 there's a function called 'D-Lighting' which I think has the effect of doing semi-HDR in the camera. I'm pretty sure that definitely plays around with the Ev and impacts the NEF output - making it darker than with D-Lighting turned off.
    Thank you Malcolm - I think that puts me on the right lines. I have downloaded the D7000 manual & can study it more with your indications.

    The 'D-Lighting' function in Capture NX2 is a very powerful shadow recovery tool allowing one to shoot so as not to blow highlights but get pretty well all there is out of the shadows, yes, so effectively giving one access to the whole dynamic range in 1 shot. I expect the built in function is similar, but possibly without the benefit of an adjustment slider

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    Goldcoastgolfer's Avatar
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    Re: Nikon 'Picture Control'

    Quote Originally Posted by crisscross View Post
    The 'D-Lighting' function in Capture NX2 is a very powerful shadow recovery tool allowing one to shoot so as not to blow highlights but get pretty well all there is out of the shadows, yes, so effectively giving one access to the whole dynamic range in 1 shot. I expect the built in function is similar, but possibly without the benefit of an adjustment slider
    Unfortunately it's one of those features that doesn't get translated into Light room unless I'm shooting in Jpeg

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    Re: Nikon 'Picture Control'

    Imo any adjustments are better done on a computer. A typical monitor is about 20 inches or larger compared with a LCD of 3 inches that some people try to judge their settings. The neutral in picture control is definitely not neutral. You can Google for a neutral setting that can be loaded into your camera . ACR settings aren't neutral either. They have a contrast boost in the setting that can be zerod. Anyone interested in shooting without picture controls - best IMO - should buy this book and follow it's suggestions. It applies to ACR too.

    http://www.amazon.co.uk/Vision-Voice.../dp/0321670094

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    Re: Nikon 'Picture Control'

    Quote Originally Posted by bobrobert View Post
    Imo any adjustments are better done on a computer. A typical monitor is about 20 inches or larger compared with a LCD of 3 inches that some people try to judge their settings. The neutral in picture control is definitely not neutral. You can Google for a neutral setting that can be loaded into your camera . ACR settings aren't neutral either. They have a contrast boost in the setting that can be zerod. Anyone interested in shooting without picture controls - best IMO - should buy this book and follow it's suggestions. It applies to ACR too.
    [/url]
    Thank you Bob

    It took a little while for me to do the counter-intuitive thing, ie not feel forced to choose between enigmatic things, but turn the whole thing off! (working in Nikon Capture NX2, which is probably the only software where it matters)

    Having said that, when I look at the really raw raw, I can see there is potential benefit in using the Picture Control pre-sets, not in camera, but on computer.

    I have a gallery explaining Capture NX2 for beginners at http://www.pbase.com/crisscross/nx2

    Unlike in most other software, in NX2 the RAW settings remain available throughout editing and on return trips (in PS using 'smart object' is similar). If an image started at raw is proving tiresome, I often go back to the raw section (camera settings) and often alter colour temperature; less often also look at PC/non-PC options and one will 'do the trick'. I am talking about landscape work where there are rarely bright primary colours for the camera to latch onto and 'landscape' presets are totally counter-productive.

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    Re: Nikon 'Picture Control'

    I tried the picture controls using my Nikon DSLRS and decided that the images I wanted to process would be be better done wholly by myself rather than by an arbitrary setting that Nikon suggested. The problem is that some photographers make the initial settings and use them on all of their images thus treating their raw images as jpegs. I only process the "winners" therefore there isn't a lot of work. I have read about some who batch process all of their images with the same settings despite every image being different. Flexible thinking is the way to go IMO.

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    Re: Nikon 'Picture Control'

    I am not disagreeing with you Robert except to say that I can see a minority of occasions where use of the Picture Control software might be beneficial

    There may also be types of photography where some pre-sets of your own making, not Nikon's starter bundle could save an awful of time later. NX2 allows you to set up on the big monitor and transfer to the camera instead of having to mess with menus and graphs on a diddy screen.....and tweak later aswell. I think it may also be possible to do it via free View NX, but that is mostly a prog useful for preview & 1st cull but probably flaky beyond that

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    Re: Nikon 'Picture Control'

    Just in case anyone else looks in on this, I am updating it after getting a D7000 and also upgrading DxO optics for a comparison. I have also opened a test file with GraphicConverter (mac); my CS4 doesn't want to know, so I can't speak for Adobery

    I conclude that there isn't such a thing as a definitive and unadulterated NEF!!!!

    DxO is a 3rd party app that certainly shows no trace of Picture Control, but nevertheless applies a touch of its own 'Lighting Correction' and I think 'Lens softness' as its whole rationale is to analyse real output from camera+lens combinations and offer you the chance to apply it in conversion.

    GraphicConverter doesn't have pretensions to be a RAW converter and just comes up with something still .nef and similar to the DxO version except for a tad less contrast.

    In Capture NX2 the in-camera Picture Control pre-set is applied whether the Picture Control button is checked or not. It doesn't look particularly like either of the others as it does take account of the Picture Control pre-set in the camera. The huge difference though is that the pre-set can be altered ad-lib all within the RAW section; that remains open to revisit and revise for ever, a bit like Smart Object in CS4, ie after all kinds of manipulation have been carried out.

    If there is a way of turning off PIcture Control altogether in the camera, I haven't found it.

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    Re: Nikon 'Picture Control'

    You can certainly turn it off. A look in the manual will tell you how.

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    Re: Nikon 'Picture Control'

    Quote Originally Posted by bobrobert View Post
    You can certainly turn it off. A look in the manual will tell you how.
    Nope, not for D5000 - I just looked (p106-113).

    The camera gives a choice of 6 presets (which can be modified and added to as Ian says).

    Best it seems you can do is select Neutral (NL).
    That said, Picture Control presets are not used in the Scene modes, which effectively do the same thing, but few use scene modes on DSLR.

    Since I use ViewNX for the first review/cull and ACR (in Elements or CS5) subsequently and do each picture by eye, it has never worried me. Up until now, I have used Landscape (LS) as the effects are applied to the embedded jpg in nef file, for what I thought was a better look (given what I shoot mainly) on the LCD and during that first review/cull process.

    I have now switched to Neutral (as a test) and will report back if this has any noticeable effect when I open the file in ACR.

    Cheers,
    Last edited by Dave Humphries; 8th January 2012 at 09:26 AM.

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    Re: Nikon 'Picture Control'

    Read this link

    http://www.malch.com/nikon/UniWB.html

    and scroll to the bottom for ....And extract the file "linear.ntc".
    If you load this into your camera it "switches off" the picture control. You will need to carefully read what it states because there are various versions specific to each camera. This is for the D300. On my D700 there is a neutral flat setting in picture control that does the same. When using ACR it isn't obvious that the settings aren't neutral. If you look you will see a contrast boost and other settings that aren't neutral. You can zero all the settings and save it as a preset for a starting point.

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    crisscross's Avatar
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    Re: Nikon 'Picture Control'

    Quote Originally Posted by bobrobert View Post
    You can certainly turn it off. A look in the manual will tell you how.
    Likewise for D7000 there are p131-138 on customising, but no total 'off'. Maybe for D700 which is ranked 'professional' there is.

    I am not that bothered; the 'neutral' setting with one's experienced 'best bet' setting for sharpness is quite useful and can easily be adjusted in NX2 'Camera settings'

    As far as I can see there is no ACR for D7000/CS4. I would only be using it for idle curiosity. Even less interested in converting to DNG after all the trouble Nikon take to make NEF 'the whole works' and free upgrades for every single camera introduced. About 20-25MB for the whole original+converted+edited (and fully tweakable for re-edits) file in 14bit lossless.

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    Re: Nikon 'Picture Control'

    I had thought that Capture NX2 reads additional information recorded with the .NEF raw images, but that this isn't read / accessible by other PP software like LR and PS... some of the Picture Control settings would be applied only to JPEGs (e.g. D-Lighting) in-camera, while some would be recorded to be applied to .NEF files too, but would only be applied by software which can read them, e.g Active D-Lighting in Capture NX2..?

    Picture Controls (sharpening, contrast, brightness, saturation, hue) can certainly all be set to 0 on a D7000, meaning no adjustment information is added to RAW files, nor applied to JPEGs (if shooting JPEG) for processing in-camera.

    So I had thought LR, PS and ACR don't 'see' any Picture Control information recorded with RAW (.NEF) files,, but Capture NX2 does? Thought I'd check that by applying a monochrome adjustment. Took a raw shot, imported to LR. Hmm... no colour recorded in the raw file! Maybe the sharpening, contrast and brightness settings aren't recorded for ACR, LR and PS to see, but the monochrome setting sets saturation and/or hue to 0..? I need to check this out more.
    Sorry... that's rambling and no help at all..!

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    Re: Nikon 'Picture Control'

    D7000 manual, p 304:
    "Computer displays NEF (RAW) images differently from camera: Third party software does not display effects of Picture Controls or Active D-Lighting. Use ViewNX 2 (supplied) or optional Nikon software such as Capture NX 2 (available separately)."

    I need to check situation re monochrome (BW) in LR3 but it seems that adjustments to sharpening, contrast and brightness in Picture Controls have no effect on RAW (NEF) images when they're opened in third-party software.
    Ian

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    Re: Nikon 'Picture Control'

    [QUOTE=IanCD;175626]I had thought that Capture NX2 reads additional information recorded with the .NEF raw images, but that this isn't read / accessible by other PP software like LR and PS...

    ACR/Lightroom reads the WB but not the other settings.

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    Re: Nikon 'Picture Control'

    Quote Originally Posted by IanCD View Post

    I need to check situation re monochrome (BW) in LR3 but it seems that adjustments to sharpening, contrast and brightness in Picture Controls have no effect on RAW (NEF) images when they're opened in third-party software.
    Ian
    The mono set in camera does not show up in DxO & therefore probably not in any other 3rd party software. However View NX 2.2 does pick it up, does convert to 8 or 16 bit tif and is free. It does also host picture control, so I imagine you can change your mind as in NX2 and reset PC in-camera settings as required as part of conversion sequence prior to continuing in PS or Lightroom but avoiding adobe raw conversion (if it exists for PS version and camera)

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