I know this has probably been asked a zillion times and the obvious reply is what suits me best, but im torn between lightroom 4.4 and Capture NX2 for my post processing. I love the look of the colours and adjustments within NX2 but prefer the workflow abilities of Lightroom. I really don't want to use both as I want to keep post processing to a minimum and wondering what downsides there are to lightroom in matching what I feel is a better quality output with NX2. What do others use and think?
#1. "RE: Lightroom 4 v NX2" | In response to Reply # 0
walkerr Nikonian since 05th May 2002Fri 31-May-13 07:04 PM
I used NX2 in year's past and switched to LR about five years ago. I don't regret that change, especially due to the workflow advantages you mention. I find the quality of images I get with Lightroom to be at least as good as with NX2, with the key advantages of LR being the additional tonal adjustments and a deeper ability to do local edits. Both programs can produce high quality images, however. It's just a matter of mastering the tool.
#2. "RE: Lightroom 4 v NX2" | In response to Reply # 0
Martin Turner Nikonian since 19th Jun 2006Fri 31-May-13 10:26 PM
Lightroom has moved on a couple of generations, and I would tend to prefer it to NX2.
However, if image quality is most important, Phase One's Capture One or DxO are capable of producing even more refined results.
NX2 has some really interesting features, and it allows you to save back into the Raw file, but Nikon does not seem to have invested in it recently to the extent that Adobe, Phase One and DxO have in their software.
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#3. "RE: Lightroom 4 v NX2" | In response to Reply # 0
mpage Nikonian since 29th Jun 2004Sat 01-Jun-13 01:44 AM | edited Sat 01-Jun-13 02:13 AM by mpage
Before you decide, give DxO Optics Pro a look. There is a free 30-day demo. It has an excellent RAW converter and has automatic presets created by DxO for quick initial editing. The Elite version incorporates camera/lens modules created by DxO that customize corrections to your specific equipment. DxO Optics Pro is the first step in my post processing.
There are also some helpful tutorials to give you an idea of DxO Optics Pro's capabilities:
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#4. "RE: Lightroom 4 v NX2" | In response to Reply # 0
JonK Nikonian since 03rd Jul 2004Sat 01-Jun-13 02:19 AM
I have a similar history to Rick (actually, about three years ago Rick gave me a ten0minute tour of LR and I was hooked). I thought that LR3 and CNX2 were comparable I could process and image as desired with either app.
Lightroom 4 was, to me, a game changer. I find the Develop module controls to be more powerful and more flexible. I can adjust a normal image with more ease; and I can recover more from a tough image. I found the brush and gradient tools to be as effective as control points in CNX2. The tools in Lightroom 5 will be that much more powerful.
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#5. "RE: Lightroom 4 v NX2" | In response to Reply # 0
adangus Nikonian since 02nd Jan 2009Sat 01-Jun-13 03:53 PM
I think it depends very much on what kind of work you're doing. I'd say that the primary advantage that LR has over CNX2 is a work flow for the batch processing of images. If you're doing weddings or events and need to apply some common treatment to hundreds (or thousands, if you're my wife) at a time, then something like LR makes that work a piece of cake. If you're looking for some image that you took 2 years ago, then LR's search capabilities are a godsend.
OTOH, there are a number of things about LR that I really dislike. Its lens correction capabilities were never the equal of CNX2. If you're a Nikon shooter using Nikon lenses, you can count on CNX2 to have your lens/body combination included. Chromatic aberration and distortion disappear practically automagically with CNX2. With LR, it's often a very manual approach for any lens/body combination that they haven't considered, and with my kit, that's a lot of combinations.
Another aspect of LR that I dislike is Adobe's restriction to using ProPhotoRGB as the color space. I do a fair amount of B&W work, and to my way of thinking, the tone curve of ProPhotoRGB is not just wrong, it's dead wrong. CNX2, among other RAW converters, allows you to pick your own working space. ProPhotoRGB proponents like it for the large gamut, and ignore the tone curve. Large gamut is irrelevant for B&W; tone curve is king.
As to color, when I work with LR, I use the X-Rite Color Checker for color accuracy. This can lead to a fairly large number of working camera calibration profiles; one per project in the extreme. The way Adobe has chosen to define color can yield a problem called twist that does not exist in competing systems. This can be an issue if you're looking at serious product photography for tough clients. In more detail, this has to do with the specification for DNG color profiles versus ICC profiles. There are limitations to each approach. Arguably, the difference is mitigated by working on an Apple platform given it's color management scheme being based on the equivalent of an internal ICC LAB color space reference; but there are still some fine points to be concerned about. So, for example, LR uses a DNG color profile model and Capture One uses an ICC model. (See here as a beginning point: http://rawstudio.org/blog/?p=236 or go google the topic about hue twists. Warning: it gets technical quickly.)
As others have mentioned, Capture One and DxO are excellent alternative choices. For my money, I like CO. I found that DxO applies lens corrections slightly differently to bracketed sets of images, which is problematic for HDR. CO deals with chromatic aberration and other lens distortion problems dynamically, using information from within each shot. It also has excellent color accuracy without needing camera calibration like LR. Phase One has been making lots of noise about CO7's cataloging capabilities, but I and many others have found that a very buggy feature. CO's session workflow is a little strange to get used to, but effective once you're accustomed to it. CO was supposed to work well with Phase One's DAM product, Media Pro; but IMHO, Phase One has just about destroyed the functionality of Media Pro in favor of cataloging within CO (which is (1) limited to RAW files and (2) buggy as hell).
However, CO does allow you to choose your own working color space. Its color accuracy is good enough for product photography, and it's much used by pros for that and fashion work. It has the same excellent batch functionality as LR. It also builds in good tools for layers and selective correction. There is a capability for full keystone correction if needed for accurate architectural work, say, with a technical camera.
LR5 includes a new feature for automatic keystone correction. I've tried the beta version on this and it seems to work well. I haven't used it enough to see whether it's the equal of the manual system in CO. The benefit of the manual approach is that you can back off the correction with a slider if the result looks too "flat". With LR5's method, it's either on or off. LR5 still limits you to ProPhotoRGB.
I've been waiting and waiting for the good folks at Camera Bits to release the DAM capabilities for Photo Mechanic v5. This could be "the DAM" for folks who want to use CNX2 as their RAW converter. However, that release is still in the future. It promises to provide the database and search capabilities of LR together with the RAW conversion of CNX2. Camera Bits still has this year for the release of their cataloging functions. One would still be stuck with CNX2's relatively cumbersome batch functionality, but for some subject matter, that would not be a huge limitation; e.g., landscape photography. Right now, if you were very happy with CNX2 as your RAW converter, Photo Mechanic 5 might be your best choice as an image browser and ultimately, a catalog tool.
To summarize: If you were doing weddings & events (no big CA or distortion issues usually) but significant numbers of files to wade through, then LR would be excellent for you. Extreme color accuracy isn't so important, and you can get close with the X-Rite tools anyway. You and your clients probably aren't worried about tone curves.
For myself, I've adopted an "L-Star" workflow. My monitors are calibrated to an L* (as in L*a*b* color space) curve. I use the LStar-RGB working profile in CNX2, CO7 and PS CS6. I admit to being maniacal about this. I use CO as my general go-to converter; but I keep LR around as a DAM. If I can't find something, I hunt for it in LR; then I open the right session in CO and proceed. I'm a Creative Cloud member, so I get LR as part of the deal that gives me PS, InDesign, Acrobat, and Dreamweaver, which I use almost every day. So for me, extra cost is a non-issue.
I am looking forward to the full release of LR5 and PS CC in June. LR4 and PS CS6 provided what I consider to be the best HDR process available, and I am hoping that PS CC's new capability for analyzing and reducing camera shake may help me recover some HDR panoramas in my archives that could use that big time.
Hope the comments help rather than confuse.
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#6. "RE: Lightroom 4 v NX2" | In response to Reply # 5
Gromit44 Registered since 04th Jan 2012Sun 02-Jun-13 12:45 PM
>Another aspect of LR that I dislike is Adobe's restriction to
>using ProPhotoRGB as the color space. I do a fair amount of
>B&W work, and to my way of thinking, the tone curve of
>ProPhotoRGB is not just wrong, it's dead wrong.
This has always confused me. Does Lightroom just display in ProPhotoRGB - or does it actually convert images to ProPhotoRGB as they're imported?
Btw, which color space do you use for B&W work?
#7. "RE: Lightroom 4 v NX2" | In response to Reply # 6
pdekman Nikonian since 17th Nov 2005Sun 02-Jun-13 05:26 PM | edited Sun 02-Jun-13 05:39 PM by pdekman
There's a mix of color space usage for previews, thumbnails, etc. The working space is fixed. Here's Adobe's explanation from their help text:
Read through the comments section and you'll see that the working space is not exactly ProPhotoRGB. Internally, LR uses ProPhotoRGB primaries with a linear tone curve (gamma=1); calculates histogram values using gamma=2.2 (approx.), while the ProPhotoRGB colorspace is defined with gamma=1.8. Whew!
#8. "RE: Lightroom 4 v NX2" | In response to Reply # 5
nrothschild Registered since 25th Jul 2004Sun 02-Jun-13 07:54 PM | edited Sun 02-Jun-13 07:54 PM by nrothschild
I use a very inexpensive (~$65) catalog app called iMatch. It works well with Photomechanic and Capture NX2. It does some things much better than LR cataloging, such as the ability to write your own custom scripting. Other things might not be as up to date.
It is in the process of coming out with a very long awaited update, which is probably going into public beta soon (to current owners only, I believe). That update will include embedded versioning and some other nice features.
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#9. "RE: Lightroom 4 v NX2" | In response to Reply # 5
mpage Nikonian since 29th Jun 2004Mon 03-Jun-13 12:54 AM | edited Mon 03-Jun-13 01:43 AM by mpage
>As others have mentioned, Capture One and DxO are excellent
>alternative choices. For my money, I like CO. I found that DxO
>applies lens corrections slightly differently to bracketed
>sets of images, which is problematic for HDR.
I checked with DxO support on this issue and got the folloiwng reply:
The DxO Optics Pro applied lens corrections are functions of Aperture used. If the exposure bracketing is done by changing Aperture, as opposed to shutter speed this will result in slightly different treatment for each bracketed image.
Different cameras do (by default) exposure bracketing differently. Could this be the issue? Specifically, what of the many things that the DxO Optical Corrections do is changing between bracketed exposures? Non-optical dynamic corrections such as "Smart" Exposure Compensation and "Smart" Lighting need to be disabled when processing bracketed exposures for HDR because their actions to optimize dynamic range will change with varying exposures as well.
If you are only changing the shutter speed between brackets, the proper method for shooting HDR brackets, DxO lens correction feature works. You would need to eliminate the other exposure and color related adjustments in DxO Pro.
When I process HDR or HDR Panorama image brackets with DxO Optics Pro I turn off all the presets, and I then engage the lens correction tool. I export as 16 bit TIFF files and then continue to process in either Photomatix or PTGUI Pro.
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