Nikon Capture vs RawShooter Essentials vs ACR

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by Alex Berry, Sep 15, 2005.

  1. Alex Berry

    Alex Berry Guest

    I recently acquired a Nikon D70s and have been fortunate enough to have had
    the chance to travel round Slovenia with it taking a large number of NEF Raw

    Now I'm home, I'm experimenting with the various options as far as
    processing the RAW NEF files into Tiffs, or whatever...

    I own Photoshop Elements 3, which comes with a knocked down version of Adobe
    Camera RAW built in. I've tinkered with it, and decided it doesn't offer
    quite the range of options of other software. In particular, it always uses
    the Adobe RGB colour space - which although good, doesn't suit my modest
    equipment, I feel (not least my printer - Canon Pixma iP4000). So, I'm
    discounting ACR from the list.

    Then there's Rawshooter Essentials. It's free, which is a bonus! It's also
    capable of producing some great results, with good controls. But - it
    doesn't come with white balance presets (something I find useful), and
    doesn't allow my to retain the imbedded colour profile of the original NEF

    I tend to do landscape photography, and to date I've been impressed with the
    Nikon sRGB IIIa colour profile for the punchy colours it produces. All the
    shots taken directly with the camera as jpegs are using this profile.
    (Although, when I view them in PSE editor, it says they're the basic sRGB

    So, that seems to lead to Nikon's own Capture Software. Now it does seem to
    offer everything in terms of white balance presets, RAW adjustments, and the
    ability to save as a Tiff file using Nikon's own sRGB IIIa profile. Maybe
    the controls aren't quite a nice as RawShooter, but otherwise it stacks up
    pretty well. But, it costs over £100... It's also really good to be able
    to see all the embedded data within the NEF file and exactly how the shot
    was taken - focus points, etc.

    Are there any other options? Is Nikon Capture really worth the extra, or am
    I missing something? What about the RawShooter colour profile limitation -
    is this a red herring and something not worth worrying about?

    Thanks for you help,

    Alex Berry, Sep 15, 2005
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  2. Alex Berry

    Arthur Small Guest

    Arthur Small, Sep 15, 2005
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  3. Alex Berry

    DoN. Nichols Guest

    You don't say what your computing platform is, so I'll presume
    Windows. If you were using a Mac, or anything else, you would probably
    have stated. It is only Windows users who seem to feel that everybody
    uses the same platform. :)
    Well -- since I use a unix system, none of those are options for
    me. What I use is a combination of dcraw (free) and "the GIMP" (also
    free). dcraw is what processes the images on their way into the
    computer, and "the GIMP" is what you use to manipulate the images as you
    desire. The combination has capabilities equivalent to PhotoShop, but
    does not have the unfortunate effect on the wallet.

    I'm sure that "the GIMP" has been ported to Windows, and I
    believe that the same applies to dcraw -- each by third parties.
    "dcraw" comes as pure source code, and it easy to compile on unix
    systems at least. But Windows tends to come without a compiler, so you
    are stuck with needing a pre-compiled package.

    There are other image processing packages available for Windows,
    but as a non-Windows user I tend not to know them.

    I hope that this helps.
    DoN. Nichols, Sep 15, 2005
  4. Alex,

    Have you tried the trial version of capture???? You can see for
    yourself whether it is what you want.. I know I am rationalizing,
    but I think it stinks, when you pay a thousand for a camera, then they
    try to hit you for another Benjamin to get the FULL use from the camera,
    by selling you software that should be included..
    Wolfgang Schmittenhammer, Sep 16, 2005
  5. Alex Berry

    bmoag Guest

    The sad truth is that your problem is you have invested too much in hardware
    and software and not enough in learning how to use them. That is an
    affliction common to many people on this newsgroup. To some extent the
    manufacturers are at fault for promising a level of effortless automation
    that does not exist.

    Continue to shoot in RAW/Adobe RGB so that one day, if you actually learn
    more about what you are doing, you will have the most usable form of your
    original image. To do otherwise would be the equivalent of making a copy of
    your 4x5 sheet film original on 35mm film and throwing away the orginal.

    If you do not want to learn how to use what you have you will probably be
    happier using your D70 as an oversized jpeg point and shoot camera.

    The RAW converter in Elements 3 can do more than you will ever need but
    cannot do anything if you do not bother to spend the time to learn what the
    various adjustment parameters do to your image and how to use them to
    optimize your image.

    Although you now have a consumer level printer you may one day want to go on
    to a better photoprinter. All printers have their own color space which is
    coded into the printer driver. The printer driver will convert your image
    into its particular color space. If you want that conversion to occur with
    some reliably predicable relationship to what you see on your monitor you
    must learn color management. If you learn to use color management, and
    understand what a color space really is, you will understand why you want to
    shoot in Adobe RGB and nothing else regardless of what printer you have. If
    you stick with Canon printers you will learn that they eternally repackage
    printers as new that use the same inks as last month's models: ergo they are
    the same printer with the same color gamut.

    Do not rely on a color space to "punch up" your colors. Adobe Elements can
    do a far better and more controlled job. In fact, that is one purpose of a
    photo imaging program.

    Do not bother with Gimp, which is an aptly named piece or crippleware. In
    Elements 3 you have just about the most sophisticated image processing
    program this side of CS2. Learn to use it and you will likely not need to
    learn any other programs.
    bmoag, Sep 16, 2005
  6. Alex Berry

    Jeremy Nixon Guest

    Is that a limitation in Elements? Because ACR can certainly render to other
    color spaces, at least in Photoshop proper.

    Anyway, I would be very surprised if your printer can't exceed sRGB's gamut.
    Almost all photo printers can.
    If simply using an sRGB profile produces "punchy" colors, you're doing
    something wrong. I suspect Nikon's software is mapping the colors a bit
    differently in the IIIa mode to increase the saturation, and is probably
    increasing contrast and clipping shadows as well.
    NEF files don't have an ICC color profile; that's an illusion perpetuated
    by Nikon's software, which simply looks at some metadata, sees that you
    had sRGB IIIa selected in-camera, and goes with that. So, I'd call it a
    red herring. That setting has no effect on your RAW image other than the
    camera noting in the metadata that it was selected.
    Jeremy Nixon, Sep 16, 2005
  7. Alex Berry

    Ed Ruf Guest

    If you want to use and save sRGB then set PSE3 for limited, not full color
    management. Edit => Color Settings => Choose Limited Color Management.
    Ed Ruf, Sep 16, 2005
  8. Alex Berry

    larrylook Guest

    Some people don't realize that Nikon View (which is totally free and easily
    downloaded from Nikon site) contains a raw editor which allows many
    adjustments on photos. It contains nikon editor which does the raw
    conversion. Make fure "show tools palette 1 is showing. You can change WB
    and exposure etc. It will open nef files with all incamera settings, and
    they will resemble the jpeg you would have gotten if you had shot jpeg. PS
    and PSE won't open photo looking like that jpeg. View allows conversion of
    nef's to HQ jpegs (not basic jpegs) and conversion to 16 (maybe 12) bit
    tiffs. You can save these edits and open with any program of your choosing,
    and theres even a open with PS command there I use all the time. Please try
    this and let me know how you like it.
    larrylook, Sep 17, 2005
  9. Alex Berry

    Ed Ruf Guest

    It's available on the Nikon Tech Support web site*&p_li=&p_topview=1
    and I would highly recommend it as substitute for the braindead Picture
    Project app shipped with all Nikon cameras these day. However, in terms of
    raw conversion exposure and WB are the only controls one has. Better than
    nothing, but I would thing at that point Pixmantec's free Raw Shooter
    Essentials is a better choice.
    Ed Ruf, Sep 17, 2005
  10. Alex Berry

    McLeod Guest

    Actually, the only thing it's good for is to edit the IPTC
    information. Once the IPTC is saved then Photoshop can see it and
    includes it in the file info, Portfolio sees it and you can set
    Portfolio up to turn that metadata into the fields and keywords you
    archive your images with.
    Everything else is much easier to do in Photoshop, and Raw Shooter
    doesn't let you edit the IPTC.
    I need my caption info and keywords and file number in the metadata
    for my editors.
    McLeod, Sep 18, 2005
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