In a previous thread I commented that the D100 produces flat, dull images by default, and these need to be processed to produce the finished item. I won't repeat the conclusions of that extensive discussion (which aren't negative), but I did want to report on one of the consequences, which was that I used NC 3 to upload a modified tone curve into the camera.
The issue for me isn't that I can post-process images in NC 3 or Photoshop or Photopaint to produce lively images. I can do that. The problem is that I can't remember what things looked like. One of the things I want a camera to do for me is to record _what things looked like_. The images I was getting from the camera weren't what I was seeing. Not even approximately.
I produced a tone curve in NC 3 by taking a picture from my study window, and then adjusted the tone curve to produce an image which was close to what I saw. I then uploaded it into the spare/user tone curve slot in the camera.
I have posted some of the results below. Everything was default, apart from white balance, and I toggled tone between auto and my own curve. The brighter images are those taken with the modified curve. Note that no processing of the resulting JPEGs has taken place, other than resizing and compressing.
As I understand it, this is _not_ the same as upping the exposure. The exposure is identical in both cases, and the NEF image captured is also the same. What is happening is that the camera is processing the image internally, and the modified tone curve ups all the pixel values, but as it is non-linear it lifts the highlights more. This doesn't necessarily produce a better photo (in the building example, much of the sky detail is lost) but it produces a picture that more accurately captures what I see.
So, much of the review material on the D100 is incomplete without an understanding of this very powerful feature. You can stick any tone curve in there that you want, and the camera will behave completely differently. Fiddling with exposure, sharpness etc in an attempt to "lift" the default images isn't a way forward, as overexposure is a poor way to apply a corrective tone curve to an image!
I feel happy with this. I can make the camera do what I want, and I can endorse Nikon's visual austerity when I am in difficult lighting situations.
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#1. "RE: Modified D100 Tone Curve" | In response to Reply # 0entman Registered since 11th Aug 2002Fri 06-Sep-02 08:41 AM
I assume this new tone curve works when shooting neff or jpeg ? I would love to know how you modified your tone curve in your camera. I am using a mac and I am not sure if the nikon software will do that for me. Can you tell me how you changed and uploaded the new curve to your camer ? I would also like to know how you toggle between the two curves ? thanks dave
#2. "RE: Modified D100 Tone Curve" | In response to Reply # 1Fri 06-Sep-02 09:22 AM
>I assume this new tone curve works when shooting neff or
>jpeg ? I would love to know how you modified your tone
>curve in your camera. I am using a mac and I am not sure if
>the nikon software will do that for me. Can you tell me
>how you changed and uploaded the new curve to your camer ?
>I would also like to know how you toggle between the two
>curves ? thanks dave
It obviously works with JPEG, don't know about NEF. I would assume that it doesn't work with NEF, as NEF is supposed to be the raw stuff that comes straight off the sensor.
The tone control stuff is part of Nikon Capture Control, which is part of NC3. It is a separate icon on the desktop (in Windows) and operates when the camera is connected and switched on.
Plug in camera and switch on.
Fire up Nikon Capture Control.
Select the Camera menu item, then "Edit Camera Curves".
Dispose of the photo of the lady with the umbrellas by selecting
"Sample Image". Load up your own NEF image (taken previously".
Tweak the tone curve to make the image look right (or whatever - you can go for solarisation if it suits you).
Select OK. You will be asked if you want to replace the existing curve.
Once you have the new curve in the camera, you can select it under the tone comp. menu - it is the "Custom" option. You can toggle between Custom and Auto in a second, so it really is painless to add this to the camera, and I cannot understand why Nikon chose not to put something useful into the Custom tone curve slot (as it comes from the factory, it is set to Normal, so it is a useless feature).
Hope this helps.
#3. "RE: Modified D100 Tone Curve" | In response to Reply # 2AlanC Basic MemberFri 06-Sep-02 10:30 AM
>It obviously works with JPEG, don't know about NEF. I would
>assume that it doesn't work with NEF, as NEF is supposed to
>be the raw stuff that comes straight off the sensor.
As I remember it NC3 uses the curve specified by the camera by default, so if you have downloaded a custom curve it should get applied - you can override the settings on the "Advanced RAW" dialog. I can't confirm this at the moment since my NC3 demo has expired and I'm still waiting for a full copy. (C'mon Nikon UK )
If you're shooting NEFs then there is another way to achieve the same results. NC3 allows you to save the settings of each of the tool dialogs, so you could set up and save the required curve, then reload it each time you opened an image. Alternatively you could use the facility to save the settings of all the tools and reapply them when you open an image - or apply them using the batch conversion process to a set of NEFs.
Now if Nikon would just open up the sharpening algorithm in the same sort of way so we could customise that...
#4. "RE: Modified D100 Tone Curve" | In response to Reply # 2glasseye Registered since 12th Jul 2002Fri 06-Sep-02 04:44 PM
>Dispose of the photo of the lady with the umbrellas by
>"Sample Image". Load up your own NEF image (taken
Does it have to be an NEF or will a jpeg work? I won't have time to play with it till later..Harry
#5. "RE: Modified D100 Tone Curve" | In response to Reply # 4andybloedow Registered since 01st Sep 2002Sat 07-Sep-02 02:18 PM
Thanks Colin and all for your due diligence. This thread has answered several questions i have. Can anyone tell me if PS elements 2.0 will work with raw images?
This site rocks!
#7. "RE: Modified D100 Tone Curve" | In response to Reply # 6nns Registered since 15th Sep 2002Sun 15-Sep-02 01:19 PM
Yes, the 30 day trial version allows you to upload the curves back to the camera. I did this and it has made a significant difference in the results I am seeing.
>Does the 30-trial of Nikon Capture have the ability to
>modify and load the curves back to the camera?
#11. "RE: Modified D100 Tone Curve" | In response to Reply # 7rsprick Registered since 15th May 2002Fri 20-Sep-02 03:49 PM
D100 arrived yesterday. JPG's look fine (I use spot metering... don't know if that prevents the underexposure, but I'm not seeing the out-of-the-box underexposures that others have posted). I can't resist tweaking for tweaking's sake...
I'm having trouble with this. While running NC3 Trial Capture Camera Control and in the Edit Camera Curves window, if I hit OK, I go back to the main Camera Control window. Nothing about updating the camera, but now when I go to tone comp on the shooting menu, custom is available and selected.
So I think it's working... does it just take the tone curve when I click OK?
Lacking the confirmation, can I remove the custome curve before fiddling with it again to make sure it's been changed?
#13. "Modified D100 Tone Curve - Weard" | In response to Reply # 7Le Xav Registered since 27th Jun 2002Tue 22-Oct-02 07:30 AM
I tried the custom curve with nature pictures, and found the colours not very natural. the grass was too yellow...
Did I do anything wrong?
Are you satisfied with it?
#9. "RE: Modified D100 Tone Curve" | In response to Reply # 0
Having played with the tone curves some, and uploaded a custom curve, I can answer a couple of questions posed, but not yet answered.
1. NC3 Control does not work with a MAC at this time and you cannot upload Tone Curves with a MAC.
2. I believe that the custom curve does work with NEF or RAW format, but could be wrong.
3. You have to be very careful when accentuating highlights with the curve as you easily blow out the highlights and will not be able to retreive them.
The great pictures uploaded to this thread showing the curves versus the normal or automatic curves have highlights blown out in the lighter image, which I assume is the one with the custom curve.
#10. "RE: Modified D100 Tone Curve" | In response to Reply # 9Thu 19-Sep-02 12:45 PM
>The great pictures uploaded to this thread showing the
>curves versus the normal or automatic curves have highlights
>blown out in the lighter image, which I assume is the one
>with the custom curve.
This is correct - it is easy to blow out the highlights. Just because one _can_ modify the tone curve do it doesn't mean _should_ do it indiscriminately
On the other hand, there are times when I definitely take a better picture using the modified tone curve - usually low contrast settings in even light. And of course the tone curve is infinitely modifiable, and the setting I used in the photos posted to this thread is actually quite a lift - a more conservative choice might be preferred by many.
The main point is that the camera is a lot more flexible than it appears to be at first sight.
In answer to the question "could I post the curve", the answer is "not quickly". All I did was add a single control point to the tone curve about 3/4 of the way towards the light end, and pull it up a little. Like Granny's recipe for clouty dumbling: "Ach, its jist a wee bitty o this and a wee bitty a that".
#12. "RE: Modified D100 Tone Curve" | In response to Reply # 10da1_2blame Registered since 19th Sep 2002Tue 24-Sep-02 10:25 PM
of course, you could always bracket. but then again, i mostly shoot in manual mode using the built in digital meter as a reference. so, i know that if i want what's in the shaddow of the subject to be lighter, i open up a stop or two. also, i like to use my light meter just to see how different it's calibration is. i found out that i had to change the iso (of the light meter) from iso 200 to something between iso 40-80.
just to say, i was a bit disappointed at the beginning of my purchase but am coming around to "not being able to put the dang thing down".
on another note, i have a problem with certain colors. one day i stopped by mcdonalds for a bite when i noticed these beautiful "deep" purple flowers glowing in the early morning sun rise.
i wipt out the d100 and started firing away. then i noticed that the images produced weren't the same color as what i saw in the view finder. they were an off colored purple. if you look closly you can see the blue mixed in with the color.
this had nothing to do with being under or over exposed. it just didn't get the color right no matter what white balance i shot them under.
even the texture wasn't record. i wonder though, was it something to do with the lighting? -no, because i shot them at a later date and time.
any comments or simular happenings?
gee, i''m really liking this place (nikonia)