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Camera Reviews

Nikon D700 Picture Control

J. Ramon Palacios (jrp)


Keywords: d700, picturecontrol, nikon, camera, bodies

Show pages (3 Pages)

NIKON D700 PICTURE CONTROL

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 Control


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 ...

 


NIKON D700 PICTURE CONTROL with D-LIGHTING

Having found what almost looked like the WB minus 2 setting on my D2X, I set myself to search for the combination of settings that would exactly match it. One way to achieve it was by playing with the addition of D-Lighting.

I first applied the setting on-camera, and shot all the variations: Auto, High, Normal and Low.
-

Nikon D700 DSLR - Shooting Menu - Active D-Lighting

 

 

After examining each series, in my perception the best one was when D-Lighting was set on Auto for these light conditions and subject.

Then I took the first set of images (shown in the previous page) and applied D-Lighting in Nikon Capture NX2. (Adjust -> Light -> D-Lighting)

 

 

 

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

At right with D-Lighting applied with Capture NX2

 

 

 

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.

At right with D-Lighting applied with Capture NX2

 

 

 

VI - VIVID is more to my personal liking. The added contrast under this setting provides the perception of enhanced sharpness over any of the previous two settings, STANDARD and NEUTRAL.

At right with D-Lighting applied at post-processing with Capture NX2

 

 

 

C1 - AAASTANDARD-02 custom setting

At right with D-Lighting applied with Capture NX2

Surprise! This shown above set, post-processed in Capture NX2, matched my perceptions from the set with D-Lighting set at Auto on-camera. And in the process I found out the equivalent to the White Balance minus 2 setting on my D2X! I know I could have just played with White Balance to find it, but then I could have missed these exciting Picture Controls.

Aside from solving a personal puzzle, the real experience was to see how a large number of settings could be combined not only into a Shooting Menu Bank and further diversified with Custom Setting Banks, but also by adding many other variables (like Sharpening, Filter Effects, Toning, etc) via the Manage Picture Control menu.

In other words, never mind the convenience and expediency to produce ready-for-press images, the level of customization is very deep in this camera, allowing for more versatilization that I had experienced before.

Picture Controls can be selected from those preset, existing in the camera; can be modified; new ones can be created and stored; you can shared them with other software (by saving them in the memory card) or you can upload your own ones created outside the camera, in your computer. And of course you can always rename them for improved mnemonic denomination. Maybe we should try those downloadable from Nikon sites, it will likely save us a lot of port-processing time.


Now that my puzzle was solved, the search for the VELVIA look was next.

 


NIKON D700 PICTURE CONTROL - The VELVIA Look

Having grown up using film and eventually becoming a great fan of Fujichrome Velvia, given the opportunity to choose such look in-camera, just like if loading it with such a film, I set to modify a Picture Control to mimic it.

I first selected the VI-Vivid Picture Control and renamed it as VELVIA, when done with refining renamed it again as C2-VELVIA-02
-

Nikon D700 DSLR - Adding a new Picture Control setting

 

 

 

The renamed Picture Control was then adjusted for sharpening, contrast, brightness and saturation, leaving Hue untouched.

 

 

The Picture Control setting C1 - AAASTANDARD-02 produces a nicer balance that the factory loaded SD-STANDARD or VI-VIVID. Brightness, contrast and hue are WELL balanced. It is now my preferred one for most situations.

At right an image at my backyard under a semi-overcast sky with back sunlight coming into the tress canopy.

No post processing applied.

Click for side by seide comparisons

 

At right the result of the first created VELVIA setting. Notice the luscious greens reacting to the sun, even if backlit. The contrast seemed too high, since now the stairs at left are blownout, so I reduced contrast a bit for fine tuning it as shown above in the LCD.

I also later reduced in-camera sharpening because of detail loss. It is always best to later apply sharpening if needed with a deconvolution tool like FocusMagic.

Clicking on this image at right or the one above will lead you to a side ny side view.

Click for side by seide comparisons

 

 

 

As said before, Picture Control C1-AAASTANDARD-02 produces a nice balance of contrast, saturation and brightness. It even eliminates "the perfect 16% gray" of the well calibrated meter of the D700 as shown at right.

No post-processing applied.

Click for side by seide comparisons

 

 

However, the C2-VELVIA-02 that I created replicates very well the Fujichrome VELVIA slide film look as I recall it.

Vibrancy of colors is there without looking cartoon-like. It even picks up the slight cast of the reddish floor reflecting in the side wall of our garage.

Click on the image at right -or on the one immediately above- for a side by side comparison

Click for side by seide comparisons

So, for those who grew up using film, here we have the modern digital alternative, with the added versatility to modify each Picture Control -our digital film- to our very personal taste.

We are running out of excuses for poor exposure and/or technical results.
Thank you Nikon Engineers. Now we can concentrate on the creative and artistic side of photography.

Have a great time!

JRP

 

 

(5 Votes )
Show pages (3 Pages)

Originally written on September 6, 2010

Last updated on November 10, 2017

J. Ramon Palacios J. Ramon Palacios (jrp)

JRP is one of the co-founders, has in-depth knowledge in various areas. Awarded for his contributions for the Resources

San Pedro Garza García, Mexico
Admin, 46140 posts

19 comments

J. Ramon Palacios (jrp) on August 28, 2017

JRP is one of the co-founders, has in-depth knowledge in various areas. Awarded for his contributions for the Resources

Braham, You are most welcome. Just remember that Picture Controls work if post-processed with Nikon software.

braham chang (brahimm) on August 27, 2017

thank you very much

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.

User 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

Awarded for his high level skills, specially in Wildlife & Landscape Photography

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

User on July 7, 2011

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

Zita 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

JRP is one of the co-founders, has in-depth knowledge in various areas. Awarded for his contributions for the Resources

Cathy, Nice of you to mention you liked it.

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

JRP is one of the co-founders, has in-depth knowledge in various areas. Awarded for his contributions for the Resources

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

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

JRP is one of the co-founders, has in-depth knowledge in various areas. Awarded for his contributions for the Resources

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

JRP is one of the co-founders, has in-depth knowledge in various areas. Awarded for his contributions for the Resources

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

Zita Kemeny (zkemeny) on September 7, 2010

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

G