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Camera Reviews

Nikon D700 Picture Control

J. Ramon Palacios (jrp) on September 6, 2010

Keywords: d700, picture, control, nikon, camera, bodies, product, articles

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I thought for long that pre-set modes/settings were of little or no practical use for those of us who shoot RAW (NEF), in Manual Exposure Mode and always post-process even if minimally. The D700 has taught me otherwise.

The Picture Control on the D700 is not just a means to save post-processing time by instantly applying your preferences to the just taken picture, but also a clever way to share such settings like sharpening, brightness, contrast and hue with compatible devices and software like ViewNX2 and Capture NX2.

Furthermore, you can make and name your own custom settings and manage a variety of them via Manage Picture Control. Nifty feature.

Nikon D700 DSLR - Shooting Menu - Set Picture Contro

Under Picture Control, the D700 offers users four different settings to be applied within the Color space of your choice. Since most of my images are for Web display, I am typically on sRGB.

My camera came with five. A C1 AAASTANDARD-02, which I don't believe it is a product of the firmware 1.02 update but of a very knowledgeable person using/demonstrating the camera before I bought it.

So I set to try them all with a good colored subject, under the shade, to avoid too much contrast. My neighborhood supermarket provided me (after I paid) with four Mexican peppers for the task. Below the images with no additional post-processing.

SD- STANDARD produces a good balance as the manual says. Brightness, contrast and hue are balanced. It is the Nikon recommended for most situations.

Like Darrell Young and James Johnson wrote in the NikoniansPress Mastering the Nikon D700 book, it reminds of Fuji Provia.

NL - NEUTRAL does what is expected. It produces subdued brightness, contrast and hue; "natural" by the D700 manual. For me it is crying for heavy duty post-processing intervention.

It reminds me of Kodak Portra to some extent, and Fuji NPS, which always needed some retouching after scanning.

VI - VIVID is more to my personal liking. It is not like Fujichrome Velvia 50; more like shooting Velvia 100 Professional at is rated ISO (I always shot Velvia at 20% overexposure, i.e. as if it were ISO 40 instead of at 50, and the other at 80 instead of 100 for more vivid, saturated results).

However, the added contrast under this setting provides the perception of enhanced sharpness over any of the previous two settings, STANDARD and NEUTRAL.

After looking at the previous images, even on the camera back LCD, it felt -to me- that the ideal would be something in between the STANDARD and the VIVID.

That happened to be the mysterious C1-AAASTANDAR-02 setting as you may see at right.
Whoever created it knew very well what he/she was doing.

For weeks I had struggled to find out what was the equivalent to the AUTO White Balance minus 2 setting that gave so many wonderful images on my D2X.

Well, this is almost it.

Next, I went on to check what would happen by adding D-Lighting ...

(2 Votes)
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J. Ramon Palacios J. Ramon Palacios (jrp)

San Pedro Garza García, Mexico
Admin, 34789 posts


kam leung (professorune) on June 23, 2013

Thanks. Very useful. Article shows what the manual doesn't. Still learning how to use the D700 2 & a half years on.

PAVEL KRBEC (krbec) on September 18, 2012

Very nice. Looking forward to read your comments on D-lighting.

Robert S Lappin (tanker179) on June 23, 2012

I'm still learning, thanks. Next I've got to figure out how to up load new technical info from Nikon.

Gary Worrall (glxman) on January 29, 2012

Well jrp, Much appreciated, You have got me out of the comfort zone, I'm now on a mission to create a picture control Regards, Gary

ESAT ULKU (teshup) on July 7, 2011

I can't see any C1-AAASTANDARD-02 setting or something like that on my pitty D700 .((

Zita Margit Kemeny (zkemeny) on April 19, 2011

Nice colors.

Val Timon (valtimon) on January 4, 2011

Apologies I meant my old 75-150 got resurrected

Val Timon (valtimon) on January 4, 2011

Back to Nikon after 24 years away. D700 just arrived. My old 75-75mm got resurrected as 24-70 is awaited. Then I saw C1-AAASTANDARD-02 and my heart went thump. Then I rang my friend with Canon 1DS Mark 3 and suggested he have a look! Many many thanks now I just have to load it- but first a manual to read..many times over.

Jacques Sin (eurostar) on September 8, 2010

thanks for sharing again :)

J. Ramon Palacios (jrp) on September 8, 2010

Cathy, Nice of you to mention you liked it.

J. Ramon Palacios (jrp) on September 8, 2010

Judi, thank you, glad to hear you liked it.

J. Ramon Palacios (jrp) on September 8, 2010

Thank you, Bruce. The D2X comes with two built-in Menu selectable color spaces: sRBG (for web display) and Adobe RGB (for printing). These could be further refined in post-processing when using Nikon Capture (Tool Palette 2 - Advanced Raw) with D2X MODE I, Ia, II, III, IIIa, and B&W. Capture NX got more sophisticated allowing to select many different color spaces (Preferences > Color Management). Capture NX2 now also allows to select many different color spaces (with either Preferences > Color Management or through Adjust > Color Profile), but it also allow for Picture Control refinement with DX2MODE1, DX2MODE2 and DX2MODE3 when the image is made with a camera other than the D2X/D2Xs. One of those modes was likely imported into your camera for demonstration of Picture Control.

Judi Helsing (photochick33) on September 7, 2010

Thank you, thank you, thank you. This was the most useful thing that I have read in a long time. No over the top tech explanation that blows up my brain. Great analogies to films that I used and loved and have been searching for in the digital world. More of the same please!

Bruce Smith (blubdog) on September 7, 2010

Thanks for the great article, Thanks! My D700, which is also running firmware 1.02, did not come with picture control setting "C1-AAASTANDAR-02", but instead has one named "D2XMODE1". I wonder if they are the same?

Cathy Moore (kittin21) on September 7, 2010

great article jrp

J. Ramon Palacios (jrp) on September 7, 2010

Thank you. Very useful and user-friendly feature this Picture Control.

Zita Margit Kemeny (zkemeny) on September 7, 2010

A very clean and clear explanation of 'Picture control' attributes. Thanks!

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