Digital Darrell writes another opinionated article...
...and welcomes your opinionated comments!
Recently, I told you about my shooting a wedding with my new D100. (https://www.nikonians.org/dcforum/DCForumID71/354.html), and now I am revealing it to the world in general.
If we all work together, we can surely convert at least 20% of the Canonites by this time next year.
Here is the article:
I welcome your comments! (Heh heh!)
#1. "RE: Digital Darrell writes another opinionated article." | In response to Reply # 0owl Nikonian since 25th Jun 2002Sat 14-Sep-02 12:31 AM
The wedding pics were great, Darrell ! And the article well writen and entertaining.
I'm convinced you're right about switching to digital. My N90 is seeing less and less time.....hardly any in the last two years.
I started digital with a Sony Mavica and moved into the Olympus line with work cameras (news photography).
I've owned the D100 now for two days and I'm floating. It's great!
Thanks for sharing!
"If you ever drop your camera
into a river of molten lava,
let it go because, man, it's gone."
Visit my Nikonians gallery.
#2. "RE: Digital Darrell writes another opinionated article." | In response to Reply # 1jnscbl Basic MemberSat 14-Sep-02 01:37 AM
"...and moved into the Olympus line with work cameras (news photography)."
I haven't seen you in the PJ forum. Your participation would be most welcome.
"Less is not more. Enough is enough. Less is less."
"I am always doing that which I cannot do, in order that I may learn how to do it."
#13. "RE: Digital Darrell writes another opinionated article." | In response to Reply # 2owl Nikonian since 25th Jun 2002Mon 16-Sep-02 02:54 PM
I hadn't even seen that PJ forum! I must take time to prowl around this site more! This place really is great...and so much support. It's great having an active message board.
"If you ever drop your camera
into a river of molten lava,
let it go because, man, it's gone."
Visit my Nikonians gallery.
#3. "RE: Digital Darrell writes another opinionated article." | In response to Reply # 0
You didn't mention what flash unit(s) you were using. Speedlights, strobes on stands, hot lights? TTL, auto, or manual? The altar shot with the sharp cast shadow looks like on-camera lighting. The exposures look good, so I'm curious how you managed the D100's tendency to underexpose flash shots in particular.
For my shooting I want TTL Speedlight performance on par with my film bodies. Nikon's insistence on making me buy into new DX models to get less flexible and less accurate TTL performance is my main objection to the D1 and D100 cameras. Of course if your flash fails or exposure is off, you can at least catch and correct the problem in the field.
Fuji's ability to figure out TTL flash metering using standard Speedlights is the leading reason I'm leaning toward the S2 right now.
#4. "RE: Digital Darrell writes another opinionated article." | In response to Reply # 3Sat 14-Sep-02 08:36 AM
I used the SB-50DX on the D100. I normally shoot it a +0.7 EV, which seems to work out well for the D100.
Here is a link to a few more images from the wedding:
If any pics are a bit underexposed, which even at that setting are most of them, I simply pump up the EV during transfer from the Nikon View software to Photoshop. Of course, I shoot only RAW mode, so I have that option. If one shoots in JPG mode, the Nikon View software does not offer you the option to adjust the exposure EV before import to Photoshop, it just directly inserts it.
I am convinced that JPEG mode is throwing away so much data that you couldn't brighten the image much, since the sahdow and highlight detail are gone.
I've noticed a BIG difference in what I can do with RAW over JPEG. For instance, the other day, I was shooting some stuff to put on eBay, and I used JPEG mode. A lot of it was what I am used to, a bit underexposed. I pulled it into Photoshop, as I would normally do with my RAW mode image, so that I could adjust the levels toward brightness. I was astounded to find out that I could only barely pull the data out without blowing the image into the range of artifical look. RAW mode never did that to me. From this I am assuming that the JPEG FINE mode does not contain anywhere near the image data that the RAW mode does.
Has anyone else experienced this?
#5. "RE: Digital Darrell writes another opinionated article." | In response to Reply # 4AlanC Basic MemberSat 14-Sep-02 12:23 PM
>I am convinced that JPEG mode is throwing away so much data
>that you couldn't brighten the image much, since the shadow
>and highlight detail are gone.
You're quite right. The D100's CCD has a 12-bit dynamic range so when you shoot JPEGs - which have an 8-bit range - you're throwing away a third of the data the camera recorded. If all you're going to do with your shots is print them with an inkjet or use them on your computer then this doesn't matter much since both normally work with 8-bit data. However if you want to process an image those extra 4 bits give you a lot more range to play with before anything bad (such as burn out or "stair stepping") starts to happen.
#7. "RE: Digital Darrell writes another opinionated article." | In response to Reply # 0
A question of size: You've said you only shoot in RAW mode. I know you use the 1GB IBM microdrive. Does RAW come in sizes like jpg? Or is it just LARGE?
How many microdrives are you using? Are you taking time to move the files to a laptop during the event? At less than $300 they compare very favorably on price with 512 MB jump shot CF. Why would anyone NOT use all microdrives?
There's got to be a speed issue I don't understand.
ALSO - does the SB50DX have an AC power option? How about the 80?
#8. "RE: Digital Darrell writes another opinionated article." | In response to Reply # 7genec57 Basic MemberSun 15-Sep-02 10:39 AM
There are no size options in RAW other than to use RAW compressed which significantly slows down writes.
There is very little speed differenc between microdrive and cf. The downside of microdrive is that it is somewhat more prone to dmage and potential failure than cf. It does have moving parts afterall. There is a reported heat issure which I have not noticed. For me, the cost benefit far outweighs any potential downside. I shoot only in RAW so capacity is of paramount importance.
#10. "RE: Digital Darrell writes another opinionated article." | In response to Reply # 7
Sorry for the delay in answering, I've been out of town over the weekend. I'm starting a series on dams. I hope to take enough pictures of dams to provide the stock needs for several countries. I can finally afford to shoot until I am sick of shooting with this D100.
Now, on to your questions:
About RAW sizes:
As someone else commented, the RAW mode does not give sizes such as Large, Medium, and Small. The reason is simply because, there is no such thing as a size in RAW mode. You simply are getting all the raw unprocessed data that is available from the CCD chip. It is up to you to do something with that data yourself. If one is unwilling to work with the images a bit, it is probably a better idea to shoot TIFF or JPEG modes.
I am using two microdrives. I generally do not use a laptop, since I can shoot so many images on the 1 gig Microdrives. If I am shooting in my normal RAW mode, I get about 214 images in non compressed RAW mode (9.5 megs per image), on two cards (107 per card). If I use compressed RAW mode (4.5 megs per image) I get somewhere around 200 images+ per card. So I can shoot up to 400-500 RAW compressed images on two 1 gig Microdrives. That normally will cover an event pretty well. If I find that I am running out of space before I run out of event, I switch to JPEG FINE mode, which usually gives me a significant image number boost, at the cost of a bit of quality.
I really want one of those "digital wallet" devices, whereby one can transfer images directly to the wallet during the shoot, and format the Microdrives. At this point, I am trying to decide which one to buy. In fact, I think I'll float a forum question on that subject.
As to why some don't use Microdrives. The main reasons I keep getting back are these:
1. Worry about longevity
2. Extra battery consumption
3. Heat buildup in camera
4. Slightly slower data transfer rates
I have only been using Microdrives for one month, so I cannot comment on longevity.
They DO use extra battery life, due to the spinning platter; they are real hard drives after all. I estimate that it knocks my battery life down by 1/3 or so, which would be significant, except that I carry three batteries at all times. The D100 gets so many images out of a battery that I do not care. I would rather have all that glorious space. I want a three gig Microdrive!
I honestly cannot tell the difference in heat buildup from the Microdrive, compared to the compact flash cards. If anything, I think the flash cards get hotter. Some would not agree. In any case, it doesn't get hot enough to damage the camera anyway, unless, maybe you were shooting in the Sahara Desert, in direct sun.
Data Transfer Rates:
This is merely quibbling over silliness, in my opinion. A digital camera is not fast enough (except maybe the D1 series) to shoot action shots anyway. When you are limited to 4 or 6 shots until your image buffer is full, you are going to wait, no matter what. Maybe a compact flash card will transfer data faster out of the buffer. Well, I don't think there is enough difference to make much difference. So what if the CF card is a few milliseconds faster. I bet you can't tell in real life. I know I can't since I shoot with both. In fact, unless you are using one of the new-fangled 24x professional CF cards, I bet you could NOT tell the difference, sans getting out a stop watch and checking. I have a strong opinion on this, and it is: WHO CARES! I would rather have massive storage. I will happily trade off a few milliseconds of transfer time for twice or three times the storage. A 1 gig microdrive is less than $250.00. A 1 gig CF card is still about $700.00. Too much cost for too little return.
#11. "RE: Digital Darrell writes another opinionated article." | In response to Reply # 10Mon 16-Sep-02 09:35 AM
Thanks for the detail. The RAW compressed sounds like the way to go for me.
Another question. You used the SB50 at the wedding. Monted to the camera? Diffuser? Do you have any trouble with red-eye?
#14. "RE: Digital Darrell writes another opinionated article." | In response to Reply # 0
Darrell, you didn't mention the resolution you used during the wedding. i'll wager it wasn't RAW. I am unable to understand how anyone can put up with the slowness of Nikon View in reviewing RAW images. It would seem impossible to get any realistic amount of work done, when it takes up to three minutes to view an image. I'm not lacking in computer power, my machine is an Apple 550 Mhz, with 320 MB of RAM. Should be sufficient, in my view. If I'm missing something, somehow, I'd appreciate any comments from anyone. Many Thanks, John
#15. "RE: Digital Darrell writes another opinionated article." | In response to Reply # 0
#16. "RE: Digital Darrell writes another opinionated article." | In response to Reply # 15Mon 16-Sep-02 04:42 PM
I am running a 950 MHz Athlon Thunderbird processor with Windows 2000. I have 640 megabytes of 266MHz DDR RAM. My computer opens and reviews a RAW file in about 10 or 15 seconds.
Maybe that is why I am not so aggravated at RAW files. I suppose the fact that I have double your memory and processor speed might make a difference. Also, my memory is 266MHz, instead of the 133MHz of older memory.
What have others found about this?
#18. "RE: Digital Darrell writes another opinionated article." | In response to Reply # 17Mon 16-Sep-02 10:59 PM
I played with Nikon Capture some more and my conclusion is this;
Memory hog. Takes too long to open and work images to have any usefulness. Why should it be necessary to have a processor that is suuuupppper fast and oodles of RAM to work an image that is only going to be 8x12 at 240 ppi? Anybody wishing to show me how a print from NEF is superior to another of the available formats, send me a 8x12 from NEF and the same printed from Photoshop, and I'll reimburse for the expenses. "Hype" is the word that keeps coming to mind about Nikon's proprietary software, that is a poor imitation of Photoshop. Mind you, I will concede a couple things. To be able to view shooting data is valuable, and to be able to retroactively apply settings to the image. I just find the application unusable the way the software is presently written. I'm going to write Philip Greenspun and ask him to review this program, I'm eager to see his impression.
#19. "RE: Digital Darrell writes another opinionated article." | In response to Reply # 18photons Nikonian since 01st Jul 2002Mon 16-Sep-02 11:05 PM
I sharpen and correct exposure on my RAW files with the Nikon software. Then, for printing, I convert to TIFF, perform any Photoshop manipulations necessary, and then print usually from ACDsee. I think the quality of the 12" x 18" prints obtained is outstanding.
Russ in CT
Visit my Nikonians gallery.
#20. "RE: Digital Darrell writes another opinionated article." | In response to Reply # 18Tue 17-Sep-02 06:19 AM
I am a computer consultant by trade. Your computer is outdated. A 950 MHz computer, such as mine is outdated. The entry level computer for today is at least a 1.4GHz processor. The newest computers are 2.5 GHz+. The software, Nikon View 5, runs very well on a fast processor, and it doesn't require a "Suuuper" fast one either. Mine isn't, and I have perfectly acceptable performance.
A 500MHz machine is not well equipped to do heavy graphical work, and a 9.5 meg RAW file IS heavy graphical work. The extra memory you have helps, but you've got to realize that your computer is NOT up to par for serious graphical work. I am not trying to irritate you, just making a suggestion that you not judge an entire camera system, because your computer is not capable of running the conversion software well.
The reason I am defending Nikon on this, is that a lot of other people may be considering the D100, and they may be turned away by your suggestion that the Nikon View software is a memory hog, and no good. I find that it runs very well on my computer, which is last year's model. Another user running a computer that is this year's model is able to open a RAW NEF file in 3 seconds. Think about what you are saying. How is Nikon at fault, or the D100's RAW mode at fault, because your computer is too slow to deal with the file sizes?
Why not find a friend who has a fast computer, install the Nikon View software on it and then make some judgement calls. Or, better yet, buy a $200.00 motherboard kit and upgrade your computer to a faster CPU. You can still use your older memory, if you stay with an AMD Athlon, or Pentium III. I hope I haven't offended you in any way, and I am not trying to start a flame war. Just making a suggestion!
I can truly understand why you would feel irritated about this situation. But, going digital is a real commitment. It requires that money be spent in areas other than cameras. For instance, the nearest competitor to Nikon View or Nikon Capture is the Bibble software. Now, I have never run the software, but I have heard that it is even SLOWER than Nikon's software. Could it be that software with a lot of functionality runs slower on outdated computers? I think so!
How is Nikon at fault here, or the D100's RAW mode not a good thing?
#21. "RE: Digital Darrell writes another opinionated article." | In response to Reply # 20entman Registered since 11th Aug 2002Tue 17-Sep-02 09:20 AM
i do not think clock speed is really the answer. I have a new 667 mhz powerbook g4 with a 32 meg video card and 512 megs of ram and level 3 cache of 1 meg; it processes graphic in nearly instantly. The reason has to do more with the ram and videocard. . My son has a 2 ghz computer with the same ram and videocard memory and my computer is just as fast in photoshop. dg
#23. "RE: Digital Darrell writes another opinionated article." | In response to Reply # 21Tue 17-Sep-02 10:40 AM
Video card definitely makes a big difference in the performance once the image is loaded. I think his problem is that he is using a slow CPU, and older slow spinning hard drives (standard EIDE).
The MAC is an excellent platform, with much optimization in the graphical area. In some ways, for graphics, a MAC is superior to a PC.
Photoshop is slow, but worth it. I certainly wouldn't want to use anything else.
#22. "RE: Digital Darrell writes another opinionated article." | In response to Reply # 20genec57 Basic MemberTue 17-Sep-02 09:26 AM
Your points are good. I have a 1.5g P4 with 1 gig of ram and have zero problems opening RAW from my D1X. I use Bibble for cost reasons plus its ability to interpolate the RAW files from the D1X giving me more to work with. There are no apparent performance differences between Bibble and NC in my experience.
The only slowdown I encounter is in the notorious memory hog, Photoshop. I hope to go to a dual processor machine with a RAID 0 stripe set to break that bottleneck.
You are absolutely right - digital is a commitment and a powerful PC is an integral part of that committment.
#24. "RE: Digital Darrell writes another opinionated article." | In response to Reply # 22Tue 17-Sep-02 11:40 AM
No offense taken, Darrell. You do make my point most eloquently when you say that digital requires a commitment, implying that computer upgrades are necessary to get the job done. I am a bit surprised to hear an Apple notebook 550 Mhz characterized as "slow CPU" however. Thought I was riding the wave!
Leaving aside my ego however, for the time being, I have used Photoshop for graphics since 1996 and have enjoyed the advances in printing technology by Epson, in my own case, to see 8 bit images rendered wonderfully clear and sharp. Then my attention is turned to an affordable digital SLR and I enter a new room, so to speak, and find everyone ecstasizing over something called "NEF". As I become familiar with the program after a D100 purchase, I find that shooting "RAW" (1), will give me a fraction of the images I can shoot before having to clear the camera memory, and (2), is only supported by Nikon's proprietary software. Okay, I'm game, I'll try it out, see what this is all about. After installation of the software and processing an image, everything seems to go into slow motion. Hey, no wonder! This thing is generating a 34MB file! Jesus H. Christ! A TIFF file of the same size is half that. Then I check memory requirements and find that 138MB is the suggested amount that should be allocated to Nikon Capture Editor. I compare my Photoshop 7 and am reminded that a mere 53MB is suggested there.
Simple logic would dictate there is a real nice payback for all this. I await any takers of my offer to show me how a printed 12 bit file, or rather how much, a 12 bit file is superior to one of 8 bits.
If we are going to have to watch out how nice we are to avoid turning off any prospective buyers, then we'd better not mention the fact that Nikon Capture Control for the D100 is not presently supported on the Apple platform. And be assured that Nikon engineers are working to resolve the incompatibility issue with the new version of MAC OS X. That one caught them by surpise since Apple only announced its introduction about a year in advance.
In conclusion I will say my enjoyment of, and appreciation for, the
D100 is in no way lessened. Except for the limiting flash sync speed, which I knew about before the investment, is a versatile and useful tool. I too would, and do, recommend it to anyone willing to spend two thousand and RTFM. The jury however, is still out on the viability of a proprietary software and file format. Until I see some proof of its superiority, I'll use the other available formats and edit in Photoshop.
#25. "RE: Digital Darrell writes another opinionated article." | In response to Reply # 24Tue 17-Sep-02 02:29 PM
To my knowledge there are no display devices capable of dealing with a 12-bit file. If there are, they are not generally available to the public. One does not work with a 12-bit file at all, since you are making a conversion to 8-bit to even be able to modify the image in some way in Photoshop. One only opens up the RAW file in 12-bits, and then immediately converts to 8-bit, or at least does so before making serious modifications to the file.
The real benefit of shooting RAW is this:
1. All original data is there in 12-bits, for cramming into 8-bits later again.
2. A larger range of data is available for future manipulation, which generates a better looking file.
3. You make the decision as to the final appearance of the image, without any modifications being made by the camera.
4. You select the profile of the image for conversion to. In other words, if you are printing to a print, you had better have Adobe sRGB (1998) for the wider gamut of colors (D100 Mode II). If you are planning on using the image on a website or for viewing on a monitor, then sRGB alone is fine (D100 Mode I or III) since a monitor cannot possibly display the same color range as a print. Many have NO idea why this is important. But it truly is!
5. You have the equivalent of a negative or transparency with ALL original RAW data captured by the CCD.
In my own experience with shooting a wedding recently and printing the results on a LightJet printer at 11x14, I have found that the RAW mode conversions to TIFF or JPEG within Photoshop are sharper and more colorful than the images produced by the D100 in-camera processor. The computer conversions from RAW to TIFF or JPEG are simply better images all around. If you do not believe me, try it yourself. The computer has much more processing power to do the iterative process of conversion, and it has a lot more time.
"In camera" JPEGs or TIFFs are made on the fly, using a less powerful processor, in a very short period of time. They simply cannot have the same level of quality as a more powerful computer over a longer period of time can generate.
Once again, you yourself can prove this by simply making some images in RAW mode, and then converting them yourself to JPEG or TIFF. Then let the camera do it, and see if YOU can tell a difference. I can.
#26. "RE: Digital Darrell writes another opinionated article." | In response to Reply # 25tarun Basic MemberTue 17-Sep-02 06:43 PM
>>4. You select the profile of the image for conversion to.
>In other words, if you are printing to a print, you had
>better have Adobe sRGB (1998) for the wider gamut of colors
>(D100 Mode II). If you are planning on using the image on a
>website or for viewing on a monitor, then sRGB alone is fine
>(D100 Mode I or III) since a monitor cannot possibly display
>the same color range as a print. Many have NO idea why this
>is important. But it truly is!
you are so right! I do not really understand much about color profile.
I understand the basic concept, but my question is so what do I choose under specific conditions?
I usually shoot for website/mon screen display, so i use sRGb (D100 - mode 1), but this weekend I will be shooting a child's first birthday and hope to get some prints (as well as put them online), should I choose mode 2 (sRGB 1998). Also how about in Photoshop? DO I have to change the ICC profile in Photoshop too?
Also another question, after processing in Photoshop, in what format do you send the file to the printer? jpg? PSD? TIFF? does it matter? I am looking to print a mixtures of 5X7s, 8X10s and 11X14s
and lastly (!) any recommendations on where I should send them for printing?
I have two local color labs in my town, which used to do a decent job with my E-6 processing (b4 I went digital). they make digital prints, but I have no idea how they do it. what technology is suitable for these prints. dye sub?
thats a ton of questions not really related to the original thread, bu I bet there are plenty more like me looking for these answers. thanks
Its a 18% gray world!
#27. "RE: Digital Darrell writes another opinionated article." | In response to Reply # 26Thu 19-Sep-02 12:07 AM
I use the D100's Adobe RGB (Mode II) exclusively now. In Photoshop, I have the "workspace" set to default as Adobe sRGB (1998). To do so, go to Edit menu, and select the Color Settings... selection.
Set the workspace to "sRGB IECC61966-2.1" if you are going to be processing images ONLY for display on a monitor.
Printing and Monitor...
If you are going to print ANY of your images, set the Workspace to "Adobe RGB (1998)." Now when you want to print the image, most ICC compliant printers will know what to do with the image's color gamut.
If you try to view the image on a monitor that is in the Adobe RGB format, it will look color muted and dull. When you convert it to sRGB, it will liven back up.
When I import an image from Nikon View 5, Photoshop generally asks what color space I want to use for this image if it doesn't match the current Photoshop Workspace, and then offers me a few choices. If I know I am going to use this image on the web, I tell it to use the regular sRGB workspace, and it converts it.
You can Assign or Convert to another Workspace from: Image menu...select Mode...then select "Assign Profile..." or "Convert to Profile..."
If this is not clear, I think I will write an article on the implications of using color management with the D100.
I send the printer JPEGS for 4x6 images, and full size TIFFs for 8x10 and above.
As to printing, I download my image files to Thompson's Photo in Knoxville, TN. We have worked out some excellent color profiles for the D100, and they do an excellent job for me. Contact Mark Barnes at: email@example.com. Mark will set up a folder for you to download to. They use the LightJet printers, which uses a laser beam to write directly on a photographic paper (no lens), and then they do a normal wet-process development on the paper. It make INCREDIBLY sharp images. The last ones I got back from them were so sharp that one of them poked out my left eye.
Good thing I still have my right eye for viewfinder use!
#28. "RE: Digital Darrell writes another opinionated article." | In response to Reply # 27tarun Basic MemberThu 19-Sep-02 01:11 PM
>If this is not clear, I think I will write an article on the
>implications of using color management with the D100.
...I think I got it. will let you know how they turn out.
>INCREDIBLY sharp images. The last ones I got back from them
>were so sharp that one of them poked out my left eye.
>Good thing I still have my right eye for viewfinder use!
thanks a bunch.
Sometimes I wonder if I learn more on the job or out here??
Its a 18% gray world!