Mac OS 10.4.6 and Nikon D200 and Aperture

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by ksz, Apr 3, 2006.

  1. ksz macrumors 68000

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    #1
    What you might have heard about native OS-level support for Nikon D200 NEFs is true. With the latest 10.4.6 update, Aperture finally reads D200 NEFs! And the RAW conversion is pretty darn good.

    I'm finally playing around with my copy of Aperture (a Christmas gift from my brother). Arg, really slow on my 1.25 GHz PowerBook, but a very good and capable program.

    I have Lightroom Beta 2 as well, but I prefer Aperture because it does not lock you into modal-thinking. Lightroom has 4 modes, but Aperture's interface is fluid and suits my workflow preferences. Now I have to endure a long wait for the new mac pro's and hopefully a very short wait for Aperture 1.1.

    I believe Apple can turn Aperture into something truly extraordinary.
     
  2. vgoklani macrumors regular

    vgoklani

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    #2
    not to be too picky, but can you compare the RAW output from Aperture, Lightroom, and Nikon Capture? I also have a D200 and a macbook pro...so i am waiting..
     
  3. cgratti macrumors 6502a

    cgratti

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    #3
    Try Phase One's "Capture One Pro" ... amazing...
     
  4. jared_kipe macrumors 68030

    jared_kipe

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    #4
    I too would be interested in a comparison. But I'm glad to hear this, I bet this means they support 30D now too. Wonder why Apple didn't advertise the change, maybe cause they want to tout it as a feature of aperture 1.1 when they announce it soon.

    Tomorrow?!? You heard it here first.
     
  5. ksz thread starter macrumors 68000

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    #5
    I've never tried this. But I'm downloading it now and as time permits (on or close to the weekend) I'll post side-by-side comparisons of RAW conversions done by all 4 programs:

    1. Aperture
    2. Lightroom
    3. Nikon Capture
    4. Capture One

    ...and if time really permits, I'll add:

    5. Bibble Pro
    6. RawShooter
     
  6. Chip NoVaMac macrumors G3

    Chip NoVaMac

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    #6
    A sample from Nikon Capture

    I only have Lightroom, Nikon Capture, and iPhoto as "engines" for post processing.

    I hope that the mods will allow me to post each image separately.

    I am attaching in this post my Nikon Capture image of a shot at Harrods in London. Based on my calibrated monitor, this is the closest to what I saw on the "review" screen.
     

    Attached Files:

  7. Chip NoVaMac macrumors G3

    Chip NoVaMac

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    #7
    Here is the same image from the Adobe Lightroom

    Maybe closer to what the "eye" saw.
     

    Attached Files:

  8. Chip NoVaMac macrumors G3

    Chip NoVaMac

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    #8
    And the results from iPhoto

    This one seemed to be a bit warm for me.
     

    Attached Files:

  9. Chip NoVaMac macrumors G3

    Chip NoVaMac

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    #9
    My choice, and other comments

    Based on the images I posted, my preference is for the Nikon Capture result.

    If there are enough comments, I will post other images that causes me concerns about Lightroom verses the "others".
     
  10. ksz thread starter macrumors 68000

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    #10
    I have seen very favorable comments on Nikon Capture. It gets trashed for speed, but commended for results. I have the trial version of NC 4.4 and it produces very good results. How good? Haven't had the time to make detailed comparisons.

    I for one would be interested in other examples you have.
     
  11. ksz thread starter macrumors 68000

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    #11
    What follows is my attempt to compare six of the leading RAW conversion and image editing programs:

    1. Aperture 1.01 (Mac)
    2. Lightroom Beta 2 (Mac)
    3. Bibble Pro 4.7 (Mac and PC, PC version used in test)
    4. RawShooter Essentials 2006 (PC)
    5. Capture One Pro (Mac and PC, PC version used in test)
    6. Nikon Capture 4.4 (Mac and PC, PC version used in test)

    Conclusions:

    1. For the tests I performed and the results I wanted, Aperture ranked first. It's interface and refinement are also second to none.

    2. Bibble Pro and RawShooter Essentials were a toss-up, with the edge going to Bibble Pro for (a) Noise Ninja, (b) Perfectly Clear, (c) speed, and (d) much better workflow and user-interface.

    3. Lightroom Beta 2 and Nikon Capture 4.4 were my third choice, with the user-interface edge solidly in favor of Lightroom (even though it crashed twice as I ran my tests).

    4. Phase One's Capture One Pro was disappointing, both in feature set and user-interface.

    Explanation of Test

    I browsed through 200 NEFs before I picked one that had complicated lighting due to a mostly overcast sky, but with light peaking through in the foreground. I also wanted an image with a lot of detail.

    I will show the reference image first followed by uncorrected and post-processed images from each of the 6 programs. The reference image was converted to TIFF using BibblePro without any post-processing. All post-processing was done in ACDSee Pro 8.0, which is currently my hands-down favorite image editor on the PC.

    NOTE: Although ACESee Pro 8.0 is not on the list above (because it does not recognize Nikon D200 NEFs), it has a wonderful interface, excellent workflow, and superb highlight/shadow controls.

    The reference image:
    [​IMG]
     
  12. ksz thread starter macrumors 68000

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    #12
    Now let's look at the uncorrected images one at a time.

    Aperture 1.01: Arguably the best uncorrected image of the bunch. Still, saturation and highlight/shadow are off.
    [​IMG]

    Bibble Pro 4.7: Color temperature, saturation, and highlight/shadow are all off.
    [​IMG]

    Capture One Pro: Saturation is way off, but highlights are better controlled. Overall image is too dark.
    [​IMG]

    Lightroom Beta 2: Better saturation than Capture One, but also less highlight control, resulting in a distinct haziness.
    [​IMG]

    Nikon Capture 4.4: About the same as Lightroom, but less haziness.
    [​IMG]

    RawShooter Essentials 2006: Good color saturation and highlight control. Ranks with Aperture as the two best.
    [​IMG]
     
  13. ksz thread starter macrumors 68000

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    #13
    Now let's see how well each program allows us to process the image until it looks closest to the Reference.

    Aperture 1.01: I was very impressed by Aperture's image editing palette, particularly the Highlight/Shadow panel. It offers even more flexibility than ACESee Pro 8.0 including High and Low tonal width adjustments, and a Mid Contrast slider. I adjusted the controls a bit too much, resulting in the loss of detail in the left side of the clouds, but this was an operator error. In just a few seconds, I could render an image that closely approximates the reference.
    [​IMG]

    Bibble Pro 4.7: Highlight and Shadow control are awkward. You must enter numeric values in a Shadow and Highlight text box, and there is no way to adjust the crossover point. While you might be able to achieve the desired results using Curves, that method is anything but fast or intuitive. The resulting image is disappointing.
    [​IMG]

    Capture One Pro: I had the most trouble with this program. It offer very little image control other than curves. I did what I could using Curves, but the result is disappointing.
    [​IMG]

    Lightroom Beta 2: Again very disappointing. Although Lightroom has a lot of image editing controls, it is very weak in the shadow/highlight department. I didn't know what else to try in order to approximate my reference image, so I just stopped here. Disappointing.
    [​IMG]

    Nikon Capture 4.4: This program also lacks highlight/shadow controls. You have to work with curves, but you shouldn't HAVE to. So many of my images can be brought to life with only a good highlight/shadow adjustment. This ought to be a separate and dedicated control. The resulting image is better than Lightroom and Capture One, but lacks the foreground color and light that is plain to see in the reference.
    [​IMG]

    RawShooter Essentials 2006: I was surprised by RawShooter. Not only did it render a good RAW image, it also has Shadow Contrast and Highlight Contrast sliders (but no way to adjust the crossover). The resulting image is the second best after Aperture.
    [​IMG]
     
  14. vgoklani macrumors regular

    vgoklani

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    #14
    I'm just curious, how can Aperture rank above Nikon Capture, since Nikon is the one that makes the camera and encrypts the NEF file?
     
  15. ksz thread starter macrumors 68000

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    #15
    I think this is a lot like asking, "How can an aftermarket car stereo sound better than Honda's own, when Honda makes the car?"

    As I stated, "For the tests I performed and the results I wanted..." Aperture ranked first. This means more than RAW conversion. It means being able to edit the image to remove haze, correct poor lighting, recover highlights, sharpen, and improve color, among other things.
     
  16. Chip NoVaMac macrumors G3

    Chip NoVaMac

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    #16
    Thanks for the test; but I am confused by he reference image in comparing that to the others.
     
  17. ksz thread starter macrumors 68000

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    #17
    The reference image is closest to what my eyes remember seeing, particularly the lack of haze and the bright foreground. Since I am most familiar with ACESee Pro 8.0, I used that software to produce the reference.

    So in a nutshell the reference image, despite the software used to produce it, is the image that most closely resembles reality.
     
  18. Chip NoVaMac macrumors G3

    Chip NoVaMac

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    #18
    Here are some samples that cause me some concern with how each program handles our files. The first is is from iPhoto, the next one is from Lightroom, and the last one from Nikon Capture.
     

    Attached Files:

  19. Chip NoVaMac macrumors G3

    Chip NoVaMac

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    #19
    Thanks for the clarification. I have posted some straight images from my D50 in order to show some of the issues that I have seen so far. I know that Lightroom is in Beta; but the above samples from Williamsburg gives pause on to how it works overall.

    From what I remember from reviewing my shots, Nikon Capture seems to be the best for those that don't to work on their images.

    Attached is the JPEG file for the RAW file that I used with the other samples I showed above.
     

    Attached Files:

  20. ksz thread starter macrumors 68000

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    #20
    In this trio, Nikon Capture produced the best results, imo. I intentionally picked a difficult image. There are no people and no skin tones, something that Nikon Capture rendered very well in your sample. However, I couldn't manage to rejuvenate my image in Nikon Capture, but those more familiar with NC's advanced controls might be able to obtain better results.
     
  21. Bocheememon macrumors regular

    Bocheememon

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    #21
    Interesting!

    Yeah, I would agree that Nikon Capture produces the best results. I have Lightroom, Bibble, Adobe Camera Raw, and Nikon Editor. The Adobe RAW renders the NEF's with a foggy haze. If course that can be corrected with adjust levels and all that, but it is a pain to have to readjust the image to match what is rendered in the Nikon software.

    Would it be a bad idea to plop down cash and purchase Aperture? I use Photoshop to post process and the Nikon software to process my images. However, it really slows down my workflow using Nikon software.

    Could you post some samples of people and compare it to each software?
     
  22. Chip NoVaMac macrumors G3

    Chip NoVaMac

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    #22

    I think the concern here is how various programs render our files. I am looking at digital files like I would with film. I want images that require little work on my part.

    Much of this is based on our choice of tools to manage and work on the images we import. For some reason these sample images did not work under Lightroom; though most others did.

    I am looking at the "mass market: in my comments. There are the likes of you and I, that want to tweak each and every image to its fullest.

    There are those that look upon the RAW format as being the digital negative, and in some ways these programs are like the good and bad mini labs.
     
  23. ksz thread starter macrumors 68000

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    #23
    Without meaning to sound like a lawyer, I would suggest qualifying that statement. Perhaps, "Nikon Capture produces best of breed results in many cases..." is a better way to say it.

    Aperture does not have a layers function. If you find yourself applying sharpening, color correction, saturation, and other adjustments on layers (particularly with parts of the image masked off), you won't find a replacement in Aperture. But Aperture is very good at what it does if you have the horsepower it demands.

    Also keep in mind that a whole new Nikon Capture will be released soon. While I have paid copies of BibblePro and ACDSee Pro, I am using a trial version of Nikon Capture. The new version should have a new interface and hopefully much improved performance. I will wait and see.

    I would encourage you to download trial versions of each of the programs (minus Aperture) and use a set of your own images to compare them.
     
  24. ksz thread starter macrumors 68000

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    #24
    Quite true. All programs have their strengths and weaknesses, but the consumer (i.e., me) wants one program that gives them everything they need -- from image processing flexibility to ease-of-use to streamlined workflow to raw processing speed.

    I've figured out why they call it RAW! Because it hasn't been cooked and is not directly consumable.

    People who don't like to or want to cook can buy fast food or TV dinners in the form of point-and-shoot. But people who buy dSLRs are not your average consumers. They are fascinated as much by the equipment and the process of refining an image as they are with the task of snapping the image...or at least they should be. But if it takes an hour to fix every RAW image, then it's no contest -- that would be a failure. It should only take seconds or a couple of minutes to obtain results that jump off the page. This is why I hate curves and love Aperture and ACDSee Pro. Both allow me to get to the final result in seconds.
     
  25. Chip NoVaMac macrumors G3

    Chip NoVaMac

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    #25
    And with cameras like the Nikon D50 giving "print ready" JPEGs, that need is being addressed. Shame of it is the D50 on saves a basic JPEG when you shoot RAW+JPEG.

    I'll have to give Aperture and ACDSee a try.
     

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