Aperture - Lens correct or not?

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by LV426, Jun 5, 2013.

  1. LV426 macrumors 6502a

    Jan 22, 2013
    I got a Nikon D800 not so long ago, and a 24mm 1.4 wide angle lens. The camera has an option to perform lens distortion correction if you have a suitable lens.

    Clearly, the camera can apply this correction if you are shooting JPEGS, but my understanding is that when shooting RAW, the raw image is left untouched and additional metadata is added to the RAW file.

    OK, if my understanding is correct, a suitable editor like Capture NX can then use the embedded information to modify the image accordingly.

    However, I've read that Aperture is blind to this information so cannot do this.

    But the really strange thing is that when I load RAW images into Aperture from my camera taken with the wide angle lens, they very briefly appear in what appears to be a mildly distorted form. Then after a short instant, the distortion goes away and the image pops into place, with apparently perfectly straight lines and no bowing.

    What's going on here, do you think? Am I imagining the image 'popping' and getting fantastic results from the (admittedly expensive) lens? Or is Aperture actually aware of the lens correction in some situations?
  2. OreoCookie macrumors 68030

    Apr 14, 2001
    Sendai, Japan
    I think what you see is that Aperture first loads the jpg which is embedded in the RAW (that has the lens correction applied to it, I assume) and then renders the RAW file (with no lens correction applied). There are third-party Aperture plugins to apply lens corrections, though.
  3. MCH-1138, Jun 5, 2013
    Last edited: Jun 5, 2013

    MCH-1138 macrumors 6502


    Jan 31, 2013
    There is a setting in the Aperture import preferences to choose between using the camera-generated preview or an Aperture-generated preview upon import. Like OreoCookie notes, it sounds like you are seeing the camera-generated preview, because Aperture does not currently handle lens correction. I suspect that when you open the image in the viewer and Aperture renders the RAW file, it will snap back to the "distorted" view.


    Unless/until Aperture adds lens correction as a feature, you'll need a plugin like PTLens or DxO Optics Pro to handle those duties. [EDIT: That is, if you want/need lens correction -- not everyone does.]
  4. Attonine macrumors 6502a

    Feb 15, 2006
    Kent. UK
    I have the Nikon 24 1.4 and use aperture. PT lens has a trial so you can install it and see what you think. I chose to not buy it. It really depends what kind of photography you are using the lens for, but I decided the uncorrected image was fine.
  5. MCH-1138 macrumors 6502


    Jan 31, 2013
    Good point. I should have said you'll need a plugin IF you want/need lens correction. Which is not to say that everyone needs it.

    I believe Photoshop is another option for lens correction, if that is part of your workflow.
  6. Razeus macrumors 603

    Jul 11, 2008
    Lightroom will do lens corrections out of the box with the proper profiles, improving and speeding up your workflow.

    In camera lens corrections on the D800 (a camera I own) are only on the JPEG, not the RAW.
  7. LV426 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Jan 22, 2013
    Thanks for the above replies. Yes, it does seem like the brief rendering that happens the first time is generated from the RAW's inbuilt JPG.

    I used to have a D300 and often used an 18-200 super zoom, for convenience. The distortion on that was quite dramatic on wide angles and really noticeable. At that time, I also had Lightroom on a PC, and made use of its lens correction capability.

    However, the distortion with the D800/24mm lens is far less, and I would think that it's acceptable without correction in most situations. I took some extreme close-up shots of a test grid on a monitor this morning, and its clear that the RAW images in Aperture do have minor distortion, whereas JPGs do not.

    Indeed, you can get Aperture plug-ins to correct for lens distortion, but I'm not keen on the way that this is implemented in Aperture. I hope that when they play catch-up with Lightroom, lens correction will be a simple non-destructive checkbox in the adjustments section. Simple perspective adjustment, as in Lightroom, would be a bonus.

    Having talked up Lightroom, I much prefer Aperture all round, though.
  8. swordio777 macrumors 6502

    Apr 3, 2013
    Scotland, UK
    I think it's more apparent to us as photographers when we can immediately flick backwards & forwards between the corrected & uncorrected image. But unless the distortion is fairly extreme, most people probably won't even notice it in real-world photographs.

    A great photo will still be a great photo regardless of whether or not it has a tiny bit of lens distortion.
  9. Bending Pixels macrumors 65816

    Jul 22, 2010
    I was mulling this over last night. What did we do when we shot film? Nuthin'.... You couldn't fix lens distortion, chromatic aberration, etc.
  10. flynz4 macrumors 68040

    Aug 9, 2009
    Portland, OR
    BTW: I love your user name... especially on this topic. ;)

    i generally agree... lens correction is not needed for most photos... and it is readily available via plug-ins when needed.

    I think the reason lens correction is talked about so much is because it happens to be one feature that LR4 has and A3 does not have. Some people just like to find "relatively insignificant" differences and then "amplify the minutia".

    Sometime in the future... A3 will have this feature... and the discussion will shift to something else that is as insignificant.

  11. carlgo, Jun 6, 2013
    Last edited: Jun 6, 2013

    carlgo macrumors 68000

    Dec 29, 2006
    Monterey CA
    It would be terrific if PtLens was part of Aperture. Great for shots of architecture, not needed so much for portraits and landscapes.

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