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JDDavis

macrumors 65816
Original poster
Jan 16, 2009
1,242
109
Ok, the title doesn't really explain but I was hoping to get a little education on gradient banding. It's been pretty gloomy around here so I've been taking a lot of dull/dark photos. I started noticing some gradient banding in the dark grey areas on images from my D750 and 24-85. This is to be expected I'm sure especially when flat grey areas of a scene are underexposed.

I recently downloaded Capture NXD from Nikon just to try it out because I'm not that happy with how Aperture is handling the RAW NEF files from the D750 (it did great with the D90). I think Capture handles them better. I've also noted that the gradient banding and artifacts aren't as noticeable in Capture NXD.

What causes the gradient banding? Underexposing flat dark areas for sure. I've read that low color bit (8 bit) monitors can too but with Capture NXD doing a better job I'm wondering if it's something with Aperture (maybe even a setting?).

Edit: Both of these are straight out of the camera with no editing other than the RAW processing that both do. They were underexposed on purpose too as I was looking at this banding and vignetting. They are a bit out of focus because well....it happens. 1/40, f/2.8, ISO 200 (not the best settings in these circumstances).

BTW...side by side comparisons I like how Capture NXD renders the RAW files better than Aperture. I just don't like working in Capture at all (and I don't get my NIK plugins).

I'm not sure if you will be able to tell the difference with the screen shots I've attached. You're milage may vary but on my MacBook Pro monitor (non retina) there is a big difference.
 

Attachments

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  • CaptureNXD.jpg
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MCAsan

macrumors 601
Jul 9, 2012
4,587
442
Atlanta
I would not put much effort into Aperture. As soon as Photos is released, see if that is the DAM you want to use. It will interesting to see how plugins will work with Photos.

If Photos is not your new DAM, the next likely choice is Lightroom. In Lightroom you can use the native Adobe raw converter or you can use DXO Optics as basically a replacement for the Lightroom Development Module.
 

JDDavis

macrumors 65816
Original poster
Jan 16, 2009
1,242
109
I would not put much effort into Aperture. As soon as Photos is released, see if that is the DAM you want to use. It will interesting to see how plugins will work with Photos.

If Photos is not your new DAM, the next likely choice is Lightroom. In Lightroom you can use the native Adobe raw converter or you can use DXO Optics as basically a replacement for the Lightroom Development Module.

Thanks for the response. I've been using Aperture since it came out exclusively so I've got years of photos in there and I enjly using the NIK plugins with Ap. Overall I've been very happy with it and I thought it processed my D90 RAWs just fine. I'm not a fan of Lightroom overall and do not like the subscription model. I wasn't looking for an Aperture replacement I just haven't been happy with how it's processing my D750 RAWs.

One thing I've noticed now that I'm on a different monitor (at work ;) ) is that the gradient banding is not as bad as on my 2012 non retina Macbook Pro. It's clear on the Macbook though that Capture handles it better than Aperture. I'm just not too impressed with the rest of Capture NXD.

My main reason for posting was to learn more about why this gradient banding happens. Clearly underexposing solid dark grey areas like water or sky can cause it. I'm also assuming that it would be more likely to happen on a FF with high MP than on my old D90...guessing my D750 would be more sensitive to it because of the resolution?
 
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JDDavis

macrumors 65816
Original poster
Jan 16, 2009
1,242
109
Add noise in Photoshop to get rid of banding. Between 1 or 2%, Gaussian, Monochromatic.

Thanks for the info. I know longer use PS because I didn't want to do the subscription. I had an Education copy and a while back it tried to make me re-register and it would only do the cloud. Long story but not interested anymore. I can get rid of it pretty well in both Aperture and Capture (Pilxlemator too). Just trying to learn more about why it happens.

I'm wondering if it's true that a high MP full frame camera would be more susceptible to it then my D90 becuase of the incresed resolution or if it would be the opposite. I got in the habit of purposefully underexposing my D90 for a lot of scenes (just slightly) and I don't recall seeing it in nightime shots.
 

apphotography

macrumors regular
Nov 19, 2014
134
0
Thanks for the info. I know longer use PS because I didn't want to do the subscription. I had an Education copy and a while back it tried to make me re-register and it would only do the cloud. Long story but not interested anymore. I can get rid of it pretty well in both Aperture and Capture (Pilxlemator too). Just trying to learn more about why it happens.

I'm wondering if it's true that a high MP full frame camera would be more susceptible to it then my D90 becuase of the incresed resolution or if it would be the opposite. I got in the habit of purposefully underexposing my D90 for a lot of scenes (just slightly) and I don't recall seeing it in nightime shots.

Banding can occur during editing from any digital camera or working on scans too especially when working with skies, studio backdrops and BW photography. It's just a short coming of the digital process, but fortunately applying noise as a finishing effect does diminish it and printing at giclée quality reduces it further.
 

realitystops

macrumors regular
Nov 1, 2007
110
0
Very North
Question

Banding can occur during editing from any digital camera or working on scans too especially when working with skies, studio backdrops and BW photography. It's just a short coming of the digital process, but fortunately applying noise as a finishing effect does diminish it and printing at giclée quality reduces it further.

Would you explain "giclée quality reduces it further" please. Am a bit confused.

Many thanks
 

apphotography

macrumors regular
Nov 19, 2014
134
0
Would you explain "giclée quality reduces it further" please. Am a bit confused.

Many thanks

Depending on your choice of paper, when the ink drops on to the sheet the tones/colours bleed into each other a little and can reduce some banding. Couple that with a good retouch and some noise and your result should be very good.
 

realitystops

macrumors regular
Nov 1, 2007
110
0
Very North
Gentle grumble/disagreement

Depending on your choice of paper, when the ink drops on to the sheet the tones/colours bleed into each other a little and can reduce some banding. Couple that with a good retouch and some noise and your result should be very good.

To adjust/manipulate a digital image with software I accept whole heartedly; it being no more than the darkroom processes of our age. It enables us to selectively alter areas of an image without affecting the whole so that a hard edge remains a hard edge whilst shaded (possibly banded) areas are corrected/idealised.
However the use of inkjet printing methodology is not so selective, if at all. So the selection of an open pore paper to allow inkjet bleed across the whole image would not only blur the dark areas that may still look banded but also blur the sharp detail in other areas of the image that may be subjectively paramount.
I would suggest that as a partial solution to banding it should come with the strong caveat that it would only be suitable for original images with a overall softness/blur that was part of the original image conception.
Inkjet pigment printing is a wonderful way of translating our images onto paper but I suggest not a reliable method for adjusting individual areas of that image.

Regards Sharkey
 

dwig

macrumors 6502a
Jan 4, 2015
852
408
Key West FL
....

I'm wondering if it's true that a high MP full frame camera would be more susceptible to it then my D90 becuase of the incresed resolution or if it would be the opposite. I got in the habit of purposefully underexposing my D90 for a lot of scenes (just slightly) and I don't recall seeing it in nightime shots.

yes, but not because they have more pixels. They are more likely to display banding because their newer tech sensors have less noise. The noise in the under exposed shadows with the old D90 is what hides the banding.

Also, you may find that being less aggressive in removing noise during RAW conversion is preferable to adding noise later.
 
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