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Picture Control Settings -- Recommendations?

OMMBoy

San Diego, US
678 posts

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OMMBoy Registered since 22nd Feb 2007
Sat 22-Dec-12 03:24 AM | edited Sat 22-Dec-12 04:28 AM by OMMBoy

I've had my D800 for a couple months now and have not been too impressed with the default Picture Control settings in which all the settings are set to zero (except Sharpness, which is set to the left or right of zero). I've tried adjusting the individual settings but am still not happy with the results. While I am aware that everyone has their own preferences, I'm just looking for a starting point. What settings do you use for Landscape, Portrait, Vivid, Standard, and Neutral?

Edited to include: BTW, I prefer to shoot in JPEG, but let's not get into any debates about which is better and leave that for another time :) FYI: I prefer Coke over Pepsi!

Looking forward to any recommendations!

Thanks!

Chris

_________________________________
The camera doesn't make a bit of difference. All of them can record what you are seeing. But, you have to SEE.
Ernst Haas, 1985


Runfola Photography Gallery

walkerr

Colorado Springs, US
16903 posts

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#1. "RE: Picture Control Settings -- Recommendations?" | In response to Reply # 0

walkerr Administrator Awarded for his con tributed articles published at the Resources Awarded for his in-depth knowledge in multiple areas Master Ribbon awarded as a member who has gone beyond technical knowledge to show mastery of the art and science of photography   Donor Ribbon awarded for his most generous support to the Fundraising Campaign 2015 Nikonian since 05th May 2002
Sat 22-Dec-12 02:35 AM

None of them really. I shoot in raw and then adjust the images images in LR4 to how I want them to look. Messing around on the back of the camera with settings while I'm shooting is very distracting and not a lot of fun in my opinion. I'd much rather do it later based on a much more accurate view of the image on a computer screen. Also, the in-camera sharpening is pretty bad if you want any kind of fine detail.

Rick Walker

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GeoVista Photography

Kidkett

Campo, US
442 posts

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#2. "RE: Picture Control Settings -- Recommendations?" | In response to Reply # 0

Kidkett Silver Member Donor Ribbon awarded for his support to the Fundraising Campaign 2014 Nikonian since 09th Apr 2010
Sat 22-Dec-12 03:25 AM

Hi Chris,

First I have to agree with Rick and shoot in RAW format. From there I don’t use any Sharping and do it in post processing. When I am shooting Landscapes I do use Vivid as long as it doesn’t have a lot of red in the scenes as it will blow it out very easy. But when I say that I use Nikons Capture NX2 and can change any of the camera setting I don’t like.

If you have Capture NX2 this is a good chance for you to shoot a picture in RAW and go in and change the setting and see what you do like, as everyone likes something different. It will show you what the setting all look like on that same picture. Even if you don’t have Capture NX2 you can go and download the trial for 60 day I think and check out your setting that you like. You might even end up like using it. Sometime I find using vivid is too much and I do change it back to another setting but you can only do that if you shoot in RAW and are using Capture NX2. You might want to shoot in JPEG and RAW and see what you can do between the two formats. This is an easy way to find what you are looking for. Give it a try I think it will help you see what the different settings are in your camera. You can also change the WB to different setting if there off. This is the easiest way to find the setting you like that I have found.

Hope this helps you.
Bill

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OMMBoy

San Diego, US
678 posts

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#3. "RE: Picture Control Settings -- Recommendations?" | In response to Reply # 1

OMMBoy Registered since 22nd Feb 2007
Sat 22-Dec-12 03:25 AM | edited Sat 22-Dec-12 03:26 AM by OMMBoy

Thanks, Rick! While I prefer to shoot in JPEG, I might be persuaded ;)

Chris

_________________________________
The camera doesn't make a bit of difference. All of them can record what you are seeing. But, you have to SEE.
Ernst Haas, 1985


Runfola Photography Gallery

OMMBoy

San Diego, US
678 posts

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#4. "RE: Picture Control Settings -- Recommendations?" | In response to Reply # 2

OMMBoy Registered since 22nd Feb 2007
Sat 22-Dec-12 03:32 AM

Thank you, Bill, for your suggestions! I've got a few days off from work to celebrate the Holidays, so I think I'll use that time to familiarize myself with the trial version of Capture NX2 :)

Chris

_________________________________
The camera doesn't make a bit of difference. All of them can record what you are seeing. But, you have to SEE.
Ernst Haas, 1985


Runfola Photography Gallery

mklass

Tacoma, US
7421 posts

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#5. "RE: Picture Control Settings -- Recommendations?" | In response to Reply # 4

mklass Platinum Member As a semi-professional involved in all manner of photographic genres including portraiture, sports, commercial, and events coverage, Mick is always ready to help Nikonians by sharing his deep knowledge of photography and printing. Donor Ribbon awarded for his generous support to the Fundraising Campaign 2014 Nikonian since 08th Dec 2006
Sat 22-Dec-12 01:38 PM

Chris,

Shoot some raw images and take them into CNX.

Make some adjustments in the Picture Control sub-section of the Camera Setting section. Once you find something you like, create a Picture Control and the copy it to your camera.

Detailed instructions for doing all of this are here: http://support.nikonusa.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/16557/~/modifying-picture-controls-and-saving-them-to-your-camera.

I have a custom picture control that I use in all 3 of my Nikons for 80% of my pictures. It is a modified version of Standard, with contrast set to 5 and sharpening set to +1. When I bring NEF's into CNX, I have minimial work to do on them.

Also, as a suggestion, if you are going to use CNX for editing, try setting ADL on your camera to Low and see if you prefer the results. However, I don't recommend that you use this with flash.

Once you play with some NEF images in CNX, you may want to make those settings your defaults in your camera, and have them apply when you shoot JPGs.


Mick
http://www.mickklassphoto.com
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jamesvoortman

Durban, ZA
1468 posts

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#6. "RE: Picture Control Settings -- Recommendations?" | In response to Reply # 0

jamesvoortman Silver Member Nikonian since 06th Sep 2004
Sun 23-Dec-12 04:41 PM

Why not set up one or two of your Shooting Menu groups for Jpeg and the other for raw while you decide.

I always shoot raw and always the Standard Picture Control then adjust in post. The ability to remove in-camera sharpen and then selectively resharpen only the bits you want leaves a much less noisy texture on the out-of-focus areas. Also, the ability ot change WB after the fact in RAW is major for me.


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Pete Wilson

Lake Orion, US
888 posts

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#7. "RE: Picture Control Settings -- Recommendations?" | In response to Reply # 0

Pete Wilson Gold Member Winner in the Annual Nikonians Best Images Contest 2015 Nikonian since 27th Jun 2004
Sun 23-Dec-12 05:37 PM | edited Sun 23-Dec-12 05:37 PM by Pete Wilson

I'm not good enough to shoot jpg. That's why I shoot RAW. You have to think too much about getting the picture control and white balance correct as well as the exposure info to shoot jpg. I try to think of those things but in the heat of pushing the shutter button sometimes my mind doesn't have time to react and think about those things. I would rather be able to have the flexibility the change those things later and think about composition and the shot that I'm taking during the actual photo session.

Pete Wilson
Nikonian from Lake Orion, Michigan
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OMMBoy

San Diego, US
678 posts

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#8. "RE: Picture Control Settings -- Recommendations?" | In response to Reply # 5

OMMBoy Registered since 22nd Feb 2007
Mon 24-Dec-12 12:35 AM

Very interesting suggestions, Mick! I did not know that was possible with the D800! I'm sure it's somewhere in the manual, but who reads the manual cover to cover? LOL! Anyway, I've downloaded and installed CNX2 and will try out your and Bill's suggestions! Thanks!

Chris

_________________________________
The camera doesn't make a bit of difference. All of them can record what you are seeing. But, you have to SEE.
Ernst Haas, 1985


Runfola Photography Gallery

OMMBoy

San Diego, US
678 posts

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#9. "RE: Picture Control Settings -- Recommendations?" | In response to Reply # 0

OMMBoy Registered since 22nd Feb 2007
Mon 24-Dec-12 12:49 AM

Thank you, everyone, for your valuable input! I'll be shooting plenty of pictures over the next couple of days (as will we all), so I'll have lots of pics to practice on!

Merry Christmas!

Chris

_________________________________
The camera doesn't make a bit of difference. All of them can record what you are seeing. But, you have to SEE.
Ernst Haas, 1985


Runfola Photography Gallery

Clint S

Chula Vista, US
460 posts

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#10. "RE: Picture Control Settings -- Recommendations?" | In response to Reply # 9

Clint S Silver Member Nikonian since 02nd Jan 2011
Mon 24-Dec-12 06:56 AM

I use Neutral and then tweak in Lightroom. Neutral makes a farily good preview for RAW files and is a good starting point to tweak the images. RAW has it's benefits, but I am amazed at the JPGs that come of the D800.

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km6xz

St Petersburg, RU
3559 posts

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#11. "RE: Picture Control Settings -- Recommendations?" | In response to Reply # 10

km6xz Moderator Awarded for his in-depth knowledge in various areas, including Portraits and Urban Photography Nikonian since 22nd Jan 2009
Mon 24-Dec-12 08:51 AM

I, too, think the JPG files from the D800 are the best of any Nikon I have used. I shoot in RAW but recently shot an event totally in JPG snd was really impressed with the results with far less post time. I will continue to use RAW but for casual shooting, I am sure I start using it more. As has been mentioned, there is less foregivness by the file gods so what you get is what you end up with for the most part. An important shot in less than perfectly controlled lighting however is safer to take in RAW.
Stan
St Petersburg Russia

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OMMBoy

San Diego, US
678 posts

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#12. "RE: Picture Control Settings -- Recommendations?" | In response to Reply # 10

OMMBoy Registered since 22nd Feb 2007
Mon 24-Dec-12 09:24 PM

Thank you both very much, Clint and Stan! Stan, I always enjoy reading your comments :) Clint, we're practically neighbors -- I'm in Mira Mesa!

Merry Christmas to you both, and to everyone within this wonderful community here at Nikonians.org!

Chris

_________________________________
The camera doesn't make a bit of difference. All of them can record what you are seeing. But, you have to SEE.
Ernst Haas, 1985


Runfola Photography Gallery

avisys

Placitas, US
482 posts

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#13. "RE: Picture Control Settings -- Recommendations?" | In response to Reply # 12

avisys Basic Member
Mon 24-Dec-12 10:07 PM

I just shot a VERY informal gathering, and for one dining table image, in portrait format, I forgot to rotate the SB900 sideways so it was still pointing at the ceiling. So it was pointing catywampus directly at the table.

As a result, a person at the close end of the table was blown sky high, and the person across the table from her was literally in the dark.

The JPG was hopeless --- no way to get enough data out of it (except for a few people half way down the table).

The RAW file was a totally different thing. With judicious use of "Shadows" and "Highlights" in Adobe Camera RAW, I was able to pull the poor guy out of the dark, and the young lady down to looking almost fully alive. Good enough for the informal results and web page.

THANK YOU RAW!

AviSys

kj_fi

Vantaa, FI
326 posts

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#14. "RE: Picture Control Settings -- Recommendations?" | In response to Reply # 13

kj_fi Silver Member Nikonian since 18th Jul 2007
Tue 25-Dec-12 10:59 PM

Hi Chris,

I agree with many others in this and many other posts: shoot raw if you can spend some minimum time to tweak your candidate photos to masterpieces and your hopeless photos to reasonable - within reason, of course. I find it quite improbable that you would never need to crop or straighten your images? Fixing the white balance wouldn't take much more time at the same time.

There are also other advantages. With a 14-bit color per component (R+G+B) you get thousands of times more different colors than with the 8-bit per color component of the (quite old) JPEG format. Notice also that every saving/loading combination reduces the quality of your JPEG image, although many programs work so that the changes are written only during the export.

The only compromises from JPEG are that you most often need to do at least some post processing and thus you need to learn new skills. On the other hand, like a few Nikonians already pointed out, you don't have to worry about selecting the correct sunny/cloudy/shade/etc. setting (or relying on Auto) and you can focus on the picture itself.

Best regards,
Kari

G