Aperture 2 not good enough for RAW

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by XP Defector, Oct 21, 2009.

  1. XP Defector macrumors 6502

    Apr 5, 2006
    Anyone else find this? The amount of control you have over RAW conversion is fairly poor to be honest. I find that whilst Aperture is the best out there for photo management and light retouching, its RAW conversion lets it down. For this reason I painfully have to tolerate Nikons Capture NX2. Is this a result of Nikon not allowing Apple to integrate specific settings for Nikon or just a result of Aperture having to handle several different manufacturers and several hundred different cameras?
  2. davegregory macrumors regular

    Jul 7, 2009
    Burlington, Ontario
    Is there a specific feature that is in Capture NX that's not in Aperture that you're looking for? Specific examples of what you think is missing would be helpful. I don't know much about Capture NX since I shoot Canon. But I have used Aperture extensively before switching to Lightroom.
  3. XP Defector thread starter macrumors 6502

    Apr 5, 2006
    Sorry, what I was trying to say is this. Basically, Capture NX, being Nikons own software (and as mentioned, not exactly fun to use), will take the information from my D90, i.e. contrast settings, colour profile, sharpness, saturation etc and apply them to the RAW image when it is displayed in NX. Aperture appears to apply it's own default settings to a RAW image, this gives me a wild inconsistency from the shot I see on my camera to the one displayed within Aperture. I really think Aperture needs to increase the level of control you have over how it converts RAW. I especially found with Aperture that it completely ruins the greens, making them over saturated and 'digitalized'.
  4. wheelhot macrumors 68020

    Nov 23, 2007
    Hmm, Aperture has almost the same amount for RAW control as Lightroom and if not mistaken Capture NX. Basically, many people agreed that if you want to get the best RAW out of your Nikon DSLR, Nikon Capture NX is the best software to get. The other photo management software does a acceptable job at handling RAW processing and speeds up the workflow.

    Somehow, I never encounter Aperture over saturating a picture (and in your case green). And yes, all RAW processing engine will process the image taken from a camera differently. CaptureOne, Bible, Aperture, Lightroom, and others all has their own RAW processing engine and your photo will look a lil bit different with those softwares, but at how much the extend of difference. I am not too sure cause there are many pros who uses Aperture as their daily workflow too and I rarely see anyone complain bout Aperture RAW processing engine.
  5. Captpegleg macrumors member

    Jan 19, 2009
    I'm sure someone will correct me if I'm wrong but I think the image you see on your camera is a jpeg image and not the raw image you see in NX2 or aperture.
  6. steve-p macrumors 68000


    Oct 14, 2008
    Newbury, UK
    I thought all those camera settings were redundant in RAW, and only used if the camera records a JPG image.
  7. panoz7 macrumors 6502a


    Nov 21, 2005
    Raleigh, NC
    I've heard mixed things about Aperture's raw processing abilities, but not for that specific reason. As Captpegleg suggested the previews displayed on your camera are actually small jpgs that the camera renders.

    I'm not familiar with Aperture, but in Lightroom there's a camera calibration section where you can select a different Color Profile. For my camera the profile Camera Standard comes pretty close to matching the colors in a jpg rendered by my camera. It's slightly more vibrant than the default conversion and the reds are a bit deeper. Maybe aperture has a similar setting?
  8. XP Defector thread starter macrumors 6502

    Apr 5, 2006
    Basically the way RAW works, at least for Nikon is this. The camera will capture the RAW image, as it does in jpeg mode. However, it will keep this uncompressed RAW image on memory when in RAW mode. At the same time, when you look at the image on the LCD, the camera will automatically assign the settings used at the point of taking the picture to the image displayed. However, all the other information remains within the RAW file. When you transfer this onto a computer, this information appears only to be recognized by Nikon's own software. It would be nice if someone could make a plugin for Aperture that could accomplish this without having to delve into the world of pain that is batch processing in NX2. Basically, as I mentioned, I find a wide disparity between the image taken with my custom settings on my D90 and the final image that is displayed in Aperture.
  9. davegregory macrumors regular

    Jul 7, 2009
    Burlington, Ontario
    I think I know what you're talking about. Your camera has picture style settings (sharpness, contrast, color saturation, etc), correct? These picture styles are specific to the manufacturer, they are not transferable to Aperture as they are vendor specific. I do believe however that you can download camera profiles for cameras for Adobe for Lightroom and Adobe Camera Raw. I don't know of any for Aperture. So, you could process the RAW with Adobe Camera Raw and then save it as a DNG and import it to Apeture. Unfortunately, that requires both Lightroom and Aperture, which somewhat defeats the purpose. I wish I had better news for you. Although, you should be able to get the image to look like it does in NX with the RAW settings in Aperture, it just takes more work.

    Hope that answers your question. Maybe others have more to add.
  10. toxic macrumors 68000

    Nov 9, 2008
    this is not an Aperture issue, this is a general third-party RAW converter issue. all non-manufacturer released converters can only fake it at best because they don't know the algorithms for the in-camera processing.
  11. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    Is there something specific you can't do with Aperture? I think each program allows you to get the result you want but you have to use a different route to get there.

    This happens many times when people switch software. They fault the new app for not being an exact clone of what they were using.

    The two programs are different. I really don't like Nikon's user interface and the workflow of using NX and Aperture together is just way to slow.

    Aperture's best feature is that it is non-destructive. You loos this if you have an NX-> Aperture workflow

    THis is not quite right. What Nikob hides (and I'd say this is almost a good reason to dump Nikon and go with Canon) is the user settings. Not the algorithms but the settings for sharpness, vividness, white balance and so on that you enter through the menu system. When you are shooting RAW these controls do nothing but still are stored in the .NEF file. But for some stupid reason Nikon encrypts them. This "feature" has to make the people at Canon happy.

    But these setting do nothing except communicate the photographer's intend to the raw conversion software (That software can run in-camera or on a computer)
  12. pdxflint macrumors 68020


    Aug 25, 2006
    Oregon coast
    If you're shooting .NEF files, why not just ignore the picture controls in camera, and do all post processing in Aperture, or whatever other software you'd like?
  13. jaduffy108 macrumors 6502a

    Oct 12, 2005
    There is zero doubt....CaptureNX2 will do a better and more accurate job of converting your RAW (NEF) files than Aperture or Lightroom. I used Aperture 2 for a year before switching to Lightroom, which I am MUCH happier with...BUT...I always export my selects as NEFs to be converted by NX2. Then go to PS for the "heavy lifting".

    Too bad NX2's UI and performance in other areas absolutely sucks.
  14. jaduffy108 macrumors 6502a

    Oct 12, 2005
    Chris...MANY, myself included, have tried to duplicate the conversion of NX2 within Camera RAW, Aperture and LR...without success. I think you will find many pro Canon shooters that will say the same thing regarding Capture 1 conversion.

    Until Nikon shares their algorithm with Apple/Adobe...I'm stuck with this pain in the A$$ workflow.
  15. OreoCookie macrumors 68030

    Apr 14, 2001
    Sendai, Japan
    Any third-party RAW processor has this problem. That's because Nikon (and to my knowledge Canon as well) do not publish (or make available) the innards of their camera's RAW format to third parties. Which means Aperture or other RAW converters simply have no idea which camera preset you have chosen and will apply their own generic preset.

    You can make presets of settings in Aperture and this includes the setting for the RAW sliders. In my opinion, you're ill-advised to use camera presets anyway: in my opinion, they're only really useful if you shoot jpg. If you use RAW, then I use my own presets afterwards on a calibrated display.
  16. Phrasikleia macrumors 601


    Feb 24, 2008
    Over there------->
    For a long time I did all of my raw conversions in Aperture, but now I only use it for quick-and-dirty processing. Anything that I process for print or for stock now goes through ACR in Photoshop or else Canon's DPP software, depending on the photo.

    I still use Aperture for sorting and organizing, but its raw controls are very limited and produce rather grungy results. Purchasing a bunch of Aperture plug-ins can make it a bit more useful, but I find ACR in Photoshop to be the best all-around solution for raw processing.
  17. XP Defector thread starter macrumors 6502

    Apr 5, 2006
    So I'm not alone in thinking this then. Yes very annoying, for one of the best camera manufacturers in the world, with so many pro's using their hardware, it is simply unbelievable that NX2 is so poorly designed. I'm hoping in NX3 they just rip off Aperture/Lightrooms GI.

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