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Forums Lobby MASTER YOUR TOOLS - Hardware & Software Digital postprocessing & workflow (Public) topic #66239
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Subject: "A Workflow question (again?)" Previous topic | Next topic
Zevi Silver Member Nikonian since 20th Feb 2008Mon 28-Nov-11 05:29 AM
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"A Workflow question (again?)"


Ann Arbor, US
          

Greetings!

My apologies if this has been discussed and answered; my search led me to some results that were close, but no cigar...

As a new D700 owner, I am busy reading the manual and the Mastering The D700 Nikonians book. From this reading, I am quite impressed with the in-camera processing and image enhancement capabilities of the D700. However, one of the things that I learned from this forum as well as from using my old D80, is that if I don't use Nikon software -- all the in-camera processing is lost when I import my raw images into Lightroom. So I lived with that limitation, and I operated the D80 practically at factory settings, because "why bother?" It all gets lost during upload anyway, right? (again, that is when shooting and importing raw files).

However, now, I really feel that it will be a shame and a waste not to take advantage of the versatility and power of the in-camera processing power of the D700 with all its settings and "memory banks". Furthermore, I am told that using Active-D Lighting can totally mess up my images when I bring them into LR.

Since I also like to cook, I understand that sometimes you just have to break some eggs to make a good dish.... In other words, I realize that I may have to change my workflow. But how? My images are catalogued in LR, where I do processing as well as in CS5. I don't want to lose this, as I also use various plugins (Photomatix HDR, Noise Ninja, Topaz, etc.). I'd like to avoid having to learn how to use NX, not to mention the limited availability of plugins for this software.

Ideally, there will be some official plugin (or unofficial cheat-sheet like some spreadsheet with settings) for LR, so that all the in-camera settings and processing will be brought into LR and CS5. But we don't have that (or maybe we do?)

Alternatively, what can I do? Is there a way to use Nikon's software to read the raw files, apply the in-camera adjustments, and then save these in a (different?) raw format that retains those changes, and then I import these into LR? Or once I go through Nikon's software - am I now limited to jpg and tiff as far as followup processing in LR and/or CS5?

I don't want to lose the in-camera capabilities of the D700, but I also want to keep doing (most of) my cataloguing and PP in LR/CS5; and I want to retain highest image quality without losing it to compression in the process. Am I asking too much? What do you do: scrap all in-camera image settings? Not using LR (or using it with jpg/tiff only)?

Looking forward for your advice!
Zevi

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Subject Author Message Date ID
Reply message RE: A Workflow question (again?)
wmarkle Silver Member
28th Nov 2011
1
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Zevi Silver Member
28th Nov 2011
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wmarkle Silver Member
28th Nov 2011
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duncanrichards Silver Member
28th Nov 2011
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Zevi Silver Member
28th Nov 2011
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jacsr Silver Member
29th Nov 2011
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Zevi Silver Member
29th Nov 2011
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Reply message RE: A Workflow question (again?)
esantos Moderator Nikonians Resources Writer. Recognized for his outstanding reviews on printers and printing articles. Awarded for his high level of expertise in various areas, including Landscape Photography Awarded for his extraordinary accomplishments in Landscape Photography. His work has been exhibited at the Smithsonian.
28th Nov 2011
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Zevi Silver Member
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Pouncer Silver Member
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Zevi Silver Member
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hujiie Silver Member
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Zevi Silver Member
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wmarkle Silver Member Nikonian since 24th Feb 2009Mon 28-Nov-11 03:28 PM
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#1. "RE: A Workflow question (again?)"
In response to Reply # 0


King City ON, CA
          

Zevi;

When I purchased the D700 with the 24-70mm f2.8 kit over 2 years ago, it only took a couple of months of shooting to convince me that it was the right choice. Same for Adobe Lightroom.

I generally shoot 14bit RAW, one stop under exposed, auto ISO, auto White Balance, aperture priority and a set minimum shutter speed of 1/15 for bounce flash (SB-900 +85 filter to better match the ambient light) interiors, and about 1/60 for exteriors.

When I need 8 fps for sport shooting, the MB-D10 is required, small jpeg files, and minimal in camera processing is used to maintain shooting speed/duration.

During the selected nef import into Lr, the nef files are converted to dng and the nef files are then archived. What is not possible in Lr, is done in CS5, then saved and auto imported into Lr.

This workflow maintains IQ, provides the required flexibility, minimises blown highlights and there are only a few exceptions to this flow; for me.

Wilson

  

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Zevi Silver Member Nikonian since 20th Feb 2008Mon 28-Nov-11 04:19 PM
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#2. "RE: A Workflow question (again?)"
In response to Reply # 1


Ann Arbor, US
          

Wilson, so if I understand you correctly -- you use none of the in-camera image adjustments when shooting raw (sharpening, colors, Active-D lighting, etc.). Is that correct?
Also, out of curiosity -- why do convert to dng when importing to LR?

Thanks,
Zevi

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wmarkle Silver Member Nikonian since 24th Feb 2009Mon 28-Nov-11 05:41 PM
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#4. "RE: A Workflow question (again?)"
In response to Reply # 2


King City ON, CA
          

Zevi, I prefer to shoot first in raw, then use the appropriate adjustments in post where the viewing environment supports much better judgement, for me. When shooting, there are decisions for; menu banks, lighting, composition, focus, depth of field, and etc., all requiring careful consideration. Now; sharpening, colours, tone curve adjustments, etc are a not a necessary shooting function, it is a post opportunity.

The D700 is smart and the in camera processing is excellent, but not perfect. And if I used it, there would be my changes in post anyway.

The conversion of nef to dng files is lossless, eliminates side car files, is a non proprietary format and 10% smaller.

When I decided on the dng format, I converted all my nef files in Lr, all the edits were preserved.

Wilson

  

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duncanrichards Silver Member Nikonian since 03rd Jul 2011Mon 28-Nov-11 09:06 PM
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#5. "RE: A Workflow question (again?)"
In response to Reply # 4


Worthing, UK
          

Zevi

Congrats on purchasing the D700, you made the right choice.
I agree with Wilson, leave all the post processing to when you get home. Shoot RAW NEF, all camera post capture controls to neutral/off and then worry about the desired final image state when you get home. Having said that I have started using the Standard picture control setting on the D700 (as opposed to Neutral) which gives a slightly richer and more colorful image file. Personally, Ive always used Photoshop for processing, importing/cataloging files in LR first, adding keywords etc, then doing tonal adjustments in Adobe Camera Raw and opening in CS5 for any more involved layer work, selections etc and adding an output sharpen for print or screen use.
Works for me, and I have no desire how to learn processing in LR, good though it may be.

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Zevi Silver Member Nikonian since 20th Feb 2008Mon 28-Nov-11 11:56 PM
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#7. "RE: A Workflow question (again?)"
In response to Reply # 4
Mon 28-Nov-11 11:57 PM by Zevi

Ann Arbor, US
          

Thank you, Duncan and Wilson!
At some point I was also converting to dng for the same reason, but I started to doubt whether it was justified and dropped this habit. I think that I will renew this practice.

"Menu Banks" -- there are 4 on the D700; Anyone care to share how they configure the 4 banks? (maybe this belongs to separate post...)

Cheers,
Zevi

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jacsr Silver Member Nikonian since 09th Apr 2006Tue 29-Nov-11 12:40 AM
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#9. "RE: A Workflow question (again?)"
In response to Reply # 7


Texas City, US
          


>"Menu Banks" -- there are 4 on the D700; Anyone care
>to share how they configure the 4 banks? (maybe this belongs
>to separate post...)

Check the D700 forum, there is a spreadsheet with suggested settings pinned at the top.

Joe

  

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Zevi Silver Member Nikonian since 20th Feb 2008Tue 29-Nov-11 12:51 AM
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#11. "RE: A Workflow question (again?)"
In response to Reply # 9


Ann Arbor, US
          

Ouch - my bad, Joe. Sorry for a dumb question...
Of course, I downloaded the sheet first thing after I got the camera, but I did not pay attention to the fact that the columns on the right are labeled as the banks...

Thanks,
Zevi.

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esantos Moderator Nikonians Resources Writer. Recognized for his outstanding reviews on printers and printing articles. Awarded for his high level of expertise in various areas, including Landscape Photography Awarded for his extraordinary accomplishments in Landscape Photography. His work has been exhibited at the Smithsonian. Nikonian since 10th Nov 2002Mon 28-Nov-11 05:32 PM
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#3. "RE: A Workflow question (again?)"
In response to Reply # 0
Mon 28-Nov-11 05:37 PM by esantos

McAllen, US
          

Zevi,

It seems to me that one of the main reasons Nikon started to include camera controls in their digital cameras is to address the issue of people who do not want to spend a lot of time post processing on a computer. A few years ago, as digital took hold and overran film, this was one of the biggest points of contention amongst a lot of folks converting from film. I mention this because I think you will agree that your question, although relevant, tends to pit two divergent approaches when it really doesn't need to. What I think needs to be put in focus is that it would be less complicated to determine how you want to shoot and how much you are willing to post process and then build your workflow from there.

If you want to use the camera controls then I would either, one, shoot in NEF and adopt Capture as your main processing tool and possibly export TIFs into PS for further processing, or two, shoot in TIF and then send these images to LR or PS. Option one gives you the most flexibility, while two is the most streamlined. By no means would I use JPG. With today's incredible image quality coming from the latest Nikons I think JPG as an image source format is for the most part obsolete. Unless you must hand over your shots to some bureau on the fly or you need to go straight to the web I see no benefit and a lot of limitations. All you need to do is critically look at a well exposed D700 image seeing the incredible quality in that capture and understand that shooting in JPG and then post processing in 8-bit color would be a real crime.

Now, if you are willing to post process then simply shoot in NEF with the camera controls turned off and then ingest in either LR or PS. If you develop good PP skills there is no reason why you can't get equal or better results than using the camera controls. The important thing here is to not only gain good PP skills but to also develop a personal vision for your work, your statement, your style. The sooner you can develop this the sooner your distance yourself from the pack.

Ideally, there will be some official plugin (or unofficial cheat-sheet like some spreadsheet with settings) for LR, so that all the in-camera settings and processing will be brought into LR and CS5. But we don't have that (or maybe we do?)

I wouldn't hold my breath on this one. A cheat sheet maybe, there are already recipes out there on how to replicate certain looks and Adobe has developed their own camera profiles (camera controls) but I don't think Nikon will open up their proprietary code that makes up their NEF format. As it is Adobe and Nikon have locked horns on this issue before, why should that change now.

Ernesto Santos
esartprints.com Ernesto Santos Photography

  

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Zevi Silver Member Nikonian since 20th Feb 2008Tue 29-Nov-11 12:35 AM
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#8. "RE: A Workflow question (again?)"
In response to Reply # 3


Ann Arbor, US
          

Ernesto, thank you for the detailed reply.

The more I read the responses here (as well as digging through some older posts), I feel that in fact there's probably only one item on the "in-camera processing" list that I really wish I didn't have to lose (by not using Nikon's software, that is): Active D Lighting. Not that I used it before, but from what I read, in the D700 it's a rather capable tool in preventing blown highlights while brightening underexposed areas in those images that are likely to suffer from this problem.

I also totally agree that anything more than snapshot-level images that are to be given away straight from the camera, shooting JPGs will be an insult to the D700...

Cheers,
Zevi



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Pouncer Silver Member Nikonian since 22nd Jan 2009Mon 28-Nov-11 11:44 PM
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#6. "RE: A Workflow question (again?)"
In response to Reply # 0


Memphis, US
          

I shoot raw + jpeg normal on both my D700 and D300. The in-camera adjustments (contrast, saturation, sharpening) that I set up are identical in both cameras. Obviously the adjustments apply to the jpegs only. For most casual snapshots (birthday parties, kids sports, etc) the jpegs are good enough. And if there is a problem with a jpeg I can use the raw file to correct it. Once I have a set of satisfactory jpegs to distribute to the family, I usually delete most of the raw files. I have little to no post-processing time in LR 3.

For "serious" photos I post-process the raw files in LR 3 and ignore the jpegs. In that case I prefer the fine adjustments that can be made in LR versus the somewhat generic in-camera settings.

Garrett

stuff: D700, D300, AF-S 17-35 f/2.8, AF-S 24-120 f/4, AF-S 80-200 f/2.8, AF 85 f/1.8D, AF 180 f/2.8

and: Ai-S 20 f/3.5, Ai 28 f/2, Nikkor-O 35 f/2 Ai'd, Ai-S 50 f/1.8, Nikkor-K 105 f/2.5 Ai'd, Ai-S 75-150 f/3.5

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Zevi Silver Member Nikonian since 20th Feb 2008Tue 29-Nov-11 12:42 AM
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#10. "RE: A Workflow question (again?)"
In response to Reply # 6


Ann Arbor, US
          

Thank you, Garret. I guess instead of the in-camera adjustments, I will try to develop a few pre-sets in LR (of color, sharpening, etc.) that I can quickly apply upon import.

Similar to the settings spreadsheet (sticky post at the top of the D700 forum), perhaps someone would care to share such pre-sets? Speaking of sharing settings (I also mentioned it above) -- I would be very interested to learn how people set their 4 menu banks.

Cheers,
Zevi

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hujiie Silver Member Nikonian since 10th Apr 2009Tue 29-Nov-11 02:14 AM
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#12. "RE: A Workflow question (again?)"
In response to Reply # 10


US
          

I think you might be struggling with something unnecessary.

You should read this on going form: http://www.nikonians.org/forums/dcboard.php?az=show_topic&forum=226&topic_id=34509&mesg_id=34509&page=

As long as you are shooting in RAW, you can alter so much in post processing, though the focus has to be sharp and this is something post processing cannot do. Personally, (many might disagree) I have only one bank set up with Standard profile and I turn off Active D lighting and the some of the rest. I do not care so much about it, because again post processing can adjust any of these. My use of D700 is to record optimal image information including dim light conditions. Off course, your image needs to be in "Certain Range". I believe this is what this camera does more than others (except for D3 series).

Additionally, I purchased second unit of D700 2 days ago, since I need to have a reliable second body.

www.hitoshiujiie.com/photography.html

  

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Zevi Silver Member Nikonian since 20th Feb 2008Wed 30-Nov-11 04:25 AM
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#14. "RE: A Workflow question (again?)"
In response to Reply # 12


Ann Arbor, US
          

Hitoshi,

Yes, the thread you pointed to is one that I follow quite closely. From the information that I found there, as well as the very valid points members are making here, I am now "in peace" with the notion that I will use practically none of the in-camera picture control settings, including Active D Lighting. All will be done in LR/CS5 during and/or after import (I do shoot RAW). I am now trying to see how to create a "family" of import presets in LR that will each apply to certain types of images. Sort of "bring into Lightroom" what the D700 would have done in the camera.

Thanks,
Zevi

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MrsNikon Silver Member Nikonian since 06th Mar 2009Tue 29-Nov-11 05:17 PM
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#13. "RE: A Workflow question (again?)"
In response to Reply # 0


Connecticut, US
          

Alternatively, what can I do? Is there a way to use Nikon's software to read the raw files, apply the in-camera adjustments, and then save these in a (different?) raw format that retains those changes, and then I import these into LR? Or once I go through Nikon's software - am I now limited to jpg and tiff as far as follow-up processing in LR and/or CS5?

I don't want to lose the in-camera capabilities of the D700, >but I also want to keep doing (most of) my cataloguing and PP in LR/CS5; and I want to retain highest image quality without losing it to compression in the process. Am I asking too much? What do you do: scrap all in-camera image settings? Not using LR (or using it with jpg/tiff only)?


Hi Zevi, congratulations on your new purchase. I'll be hitting the one year mark in January with my D700. Your questions above sounds exactly like the questions I was asking almost a year ago.

I was excited about the fact that I could utilize all offerings of Nikon Picture Controls - then I discovered that one must use Nikon software. I absolutely love the flexibility of Lightroom 3. I love the features of having a superb digital asset management software program along with a great non-destructive editor. I loaded in some of the camera profiles that "mimic" some of the Nikon Picture Controls and have been pleased although I have no major complaints with the Adobe Camera Raw profile, it is nice to have options.

You are in the same decision making mode I was in a year ago. I tried Capture, Aperture 3, Lightroom 3 and after one year of trials and testing, I settled on Lightroom 3 and it was a difficult decision to make because I found Aperture 3 to be a wonderful asset management software program too. The thing that put me over the fence with Lightroom was the fact that I found there was more available training.

There is not doubt that using NX2 will squeeze every bit of info from the NEF (raw) file and take advantage of Nikon Picture Controls but for me, I have found a great balance with LR3, utilizing CS5 and Nik Software products from the Lightroom 3 interface.

Getting back to your original question as to whether or not you can grab the (in-camera) Nikon Picture Control settings and get them into Lightroom? The answer I am afraid is no.

You certainly could utilize Nikon software and Lightroom but I think you may find yourself with a complex post-processing methodology. Not saying that it is wrong – there is no wrong workflow however I wanted to strike a balance and not make it more complicated than it needed to be.

I generally shoot raw 14-bit and keep the Nikon Picture Control settings at the Neutral setting. Picture Control Settings affect the histogram on the back of the camera because that is generated from a jpeg but it doesn’t affect the raw file data. If I am wrong about that, someone please correct me.

If I found myself shooting say some sort of fast action, sporting event, I probably would switch over to jpeg shooting – to get faster writing to my digital media but for the most part I stay in raw. I try to shoot the lowest ISO possible and like to utilize Auto ISO.

Lastly, I don't convert to dng. What's my reason? I don't have one other than I just don't do it. One less step I suppose in my workflow. You aren't losing anything in the conversion - but you will save on some file storage space. I have my Lightroom library backed up to two 2TB drives via RAID. I swap out the drives after a major data dump (new shoot) and keep one of the drives at my office. So I have an off-site storage copy, and two 2TB mirrored drives via the G-Safe.

Hope this helps!

Tammy


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Zevi Silver Member Nikonian since 20th Feb 2008Wed 30-Nov-11 04:58 AM
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#15. "RE: A Workflow question (again?)"
In response to Reply # 13


Ann Arbor, US
          

Tammy,

Thanks for the detailed input and the congrats! Misery likes company, so I'm glad not being the only one going through these "labor" pains with the new camera... I am very excited about the D700, and every feature I find that I can't use - I feel it's a waste (even though I can achieve the same thing and even better in Lightroom...) However, at this point, as I mentioned above, I am now quite content with the notion not to use the in-camera picture control settings, including Active D Lighting, and to do these in LR/CS5 during and/or after import instead (I do shoot RAW).

You said that you "loaded in some of the camera profiles that "mimic" some of the Nikon Picture Controls": could you please elaborate on that? Are these some import presets in LR that get automatically applied to certain types of images? Like you would apply certain image control settings in the camera? If so, I'll be very interested to know how you set these up, since I am in the process of trying to do exactly that. (A year behind, right?... )

Thanks,
Zevi

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