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ViewNX vs. CaptureNX image rendering


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Despoticus Registered since 01st May 2011
Sun 01-May-11 11:58 PM

I'm experiencing a strange problem with Nikon ViewNX 2 when viewing my NEF files (mostly landscape pictures shot on a Nikon D90): most images appear with banding or posterization in the sky, but when I transfer and open the same images in CaptureNX 2 the sky is rendered perfectly.

I am using a Dell U2711 color-calibrated monitor and think that this behaviour is quite strange. It occurs in almost every photo that has some sky on it, particularly in the darker parts.

Could it be that ViewNX uses a different rendering algorithm, maybe for faster display? Or maybe it oversharpens the image?

I checked that the preview in ViewNX shows directly the RAW file (not the JPEG part), and this effect is noticeable at different zoom levels (100%, screen fit, etc.).

I uploaded two screenshots of the same photo, one taken from ViewNX and the other one from CaptureNX.

Since both screenshots were saved as PNG files the quality is not as good as in RAW (NEF), but you can still see the differences.

You can compare both screenshots here:

Screenshot from ViewNX (ugly)

Screenshot from CaptureNX (fine)

Please note that in ViewNX the RAW button in the upper left corner is yellow (activated). As far as I know that means that I am seeing the actual NEF file and not the embedded JPEG preview.

The other thing I notice is that colors are slightly different, even if the NEF file is the same in both cases (without any editing or setting applied, straight from camera).

Any ideas?

Thanks in advance.