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foofoo5年前
There's really not a lot of info out there for using Nikon Capture, which is unfortunate. Nikon puts as much effort into their image processing algorithms as they put into their hardware, so to really get the most out of a Nikon camera you should use Nikon Capture. It lets you use lots of features like Active D-Lighting, automatic distortion correction, CA correction, lens vignette compensation (for Nikon lenses), and most importantly, Nikon Picture Controls. Plus the RAW conversions are just gorgeous.

It's also free!


Getting Started

Step 1: take a photo with a Nikon camera as RAW. You’ll get a NEF file.

Step 2: Launch NX-D and navigate to the imported NEF file on your computer.

Step 3 There's no step 3, you've started.

I took a shot of Melty as an example. I decided to use my Nikon 1 J1 instead of my DSLR to get more of a challenge, which worked because the photo turned out very underexposed. I could have retaken it with a proper exposure, but where's the fun in that? :3

http://sfoop.dreamhosters.com/images/mfc/blog/nxd-1-open.jpg

Oh, I've closed the extra panels in NX-D so it's just showing the photo and the edit panel.

This is the edit panel's stuff,

http://sfoop.dreamhosters.com/images/mfc/blog/nxd-2-select-exposure.jpg

The icons on the left, from the top: Snapshots (versions, so you can save settings/history), Exposure Compensation, White Balance, Picture Control, uh, the next one is actually two buttons side by side, Tone and Tone (Detail), and... ignore the rest for now.

I've clicked Exposure Compensation, which brings up the corresponding panel. Then I just moved the slider until I was happy.

http://sfoop.dreamhosters.com/images/mfc/blog/nxd-3-increased-exposure.jpg

That was actually a lot easier than I expected.


Picture Controls

Using Picture Controls are like choosing a type of film to shoot with. There's Standard, Neutral, Vivid, Monochrome, Portrait, and Landscape. Some Nikons have a couple more. Nikon has an overview of the different types & stuff, but I'll quickly summarize some.

Standard is good for just about everything. It gives you decent contrast and saturation in most situations. Neutral is actually desaturated. If you're going to do some extreme colour manipulations later, you might pick this so you have something plain to work with. Landscape is GREAT for the outdoors. But we're most interested in Portrait, which is meant for human subjects & skin tones.

You can set Picture Controls on the camera (see the Shooting menu) and the JPEGs will use them. If you shoot RAW though, it'll only make a difference if you convert the RAW to JPEG using Nikon Capture. In this case I actually had the camera already set to Portrait with some tweaks in the photos above, but here's how the image looks like with Standard at default settings,

http://sfoop.dreamhosters.com/images/mfc/blog/nxd-4-pc-standard.jpg

Alright, that's nice. Here's how it is with Portrait at default settings,

http://sfoop.dreamhosters.com/images/mfc/blog/nxd-5-pc-portrait.jpg

Notice how the contrast has been reduced a little, and the saturation is more subdued. However, it's also much smoother overall, and the changes in the Portrait Picture Control's contrast curve makes her face brighter (er, actually these mfc images are kind of small).

Things get interesting though when we adjust the Picture Control's saturation. Here's Standard with saturation set to max,

http://sfoop.dreamhosters.com/images/mfc/blog/nxd-6-pc-standard-saturation.jpg

Yuck, that's no good. The colours are pretty extreme and that skin tone & blush doesn't look natural at all. Although if she was a car she'd look great.

Here's Portrait with saturation maxed out,

http://sfoop.dreamhosters.com/images/mfc/blog/nxd-7-pc-portrait-saturation.jpg

Niiiice. The colour in the clothes have more punch, but her skin tone hasn't freaked out. A couple more tweaks, with a little more contrast & sharpness, and bringing down the saturation a touch,

http://sfoop.dreamhosters.com/images/mfc/blog/nxd-8-pc-tweak.jpg

I have to say that's pretty awesome for a $250 camera. Although I'm not using the kit lens, I'm using the 18.5 mm.

I took a quick shot with the D810 + 50 mm @ f/1.8 (so same effective focal length & same aperture as the J1) for comparison. This is it with no adjustments,

http://sfoop.dreamhosters.com/images/mfc/blog/nxd-9-d810.jpg

You get a lot more bokeh at 50mm....


Other Features

Click this button to get camera & lens corrections,

http://sfoop.dreamhosters.com/images/mfc/blog/nxd-10-corrections.jpg

Vignette Control & Lateral Color Aberration are on by default. If you have really funky chromatic aberrations, you can try turning on the axial color aberrations, but the default usually takes care of the common stuff.

Click this button to get the LCH palette, my favourite tool,

http://sfoop.dreamhosters.com/images/mfc/blog/nxd-11-lch.jpg

Here I have the submenu selected. The Master Lightness thing looks like a typical Levels control, but it's actually controlling the luminance (lightness) data only, independent* of colour. Typically that's what you always want, but if you want to do that in Photoshop you have to switch from RGB to L*a*b* mode and fry your brain.

If you select Chroma from the menu, you can control the intensity of colour saturation without affecting lightness. Here I've increased the blue that's part of Melty's hat,

http://sfoop.dreamhosters.com/images/mfc/blog/nxd-12-chroma.jpg


*this 'independent' stuff might be confusing, but think about it this way. When you view your photo as a bunch of red, green, & blue color values, if you want to make something brighter, or more white, you have to increase red, green, and blue to be larger values (closer to 1.0 than 0.0). This is changing colour information, when you just want to control lightness. If instead you view your photo as luminance (L*) and chroma (a*b*), you change the lightness of any pixel without changing what colour it is. Color science is fun.


Epilogue (for lack of a better title)

Nikon Capture NX-D has other useful features that I didn't bother talking about, like Active D-Lighting, Astro Noise Reduction (most software thinks faint stars = noise), Image Dust Off (if you have dust on your DSLR sensor, this can compensate). Plus you can copy & paste adjustments you've made from one photo to another, do batch processing with those, and make your own picture controls. But hopefully this will help people get started using it. It's "clunky" software but the control it gives you, and the results you get with it are just great.
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Hmm, I might have to mess around with this. I have been using the copy of Adobe Lightroom that came bundled with my refurbished D3200 and have been avoiding shooting RAW so far for several reasons, not really knowing how to process it being one of them. Thanks for the tutorial. It might be enough to get me to take the leap and start playing around.
5年前
foo woomy!
carbon19035年前#3259195But DxO Prime noise removal too good :3
Does it have an astrophotography mode (・・?) Pretty much any noise reduction software will see faint stars as noise and remove them.
5年前
Thanks for the encouragement, i will take a look at this next time i process my photo. But DxO Prime noise removal too good :3 although it's been crashing alot on Window 10
5年前