Looking for help to make Aperture process RAW files like Nikon

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Spanky Deluxe, Sep 16, 2012.

  1. Spanky Deluxe macrumors 601

    Spanky Deluxe

    Mar 17, 2005
    London, UK
    Hi all,

    New to this sub-forum.

    A couple of weeks ago I upgraded from my old Nikon D80 to a new Nikon D3200 (I wanted video and didn't use any of the extra features of the D80). Around the same time I decided to switch to using Aperture.

    I've just got back from my honeymoon and am going through all the photos. Unfortunately, Aperture makes them look quite different to how they looked on the camera and the preview jpegs baked into the raw files by Nikon.

    I know this is just to do with how the RAW files are interpreted and because I like to shoot with Nikon's vivid picture setting. However, I'm finding it hard to match the look I shot with. I can get the colours closer but it looks to me like the Aperture adjusted photos don't have the same definition.

    I bought some presets someone had made to approximate Nikon's in-built picture control settings but they don't seem to work well with my images - they're darker and skin tones aren't as smooth. Since I'm new to Aperture and all of the adjustments available, I'm a bit out of my depth at the moment.

    Can anyone help me find the kinds of things I need to adjust to get the pictures looking close to how I shot them? That way I can have a baseline to work with. I know I can get JPEG versions of the Nikon-ified files by using the Nikon software to process the RAWs but I want all the information in Aperture.

    I've put up an example photo below. The raw file is here.

    I feel that the Nikon Vivid version has more apparent detail in the trees on the left and the people in the distance that I can't seem to get back. The Aperture version is before I've added any adjustments myself.

    Any suggestions?

    Attached Files:

  2. coryndiego, Sep 16, 2012
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2012

    coryndiego macrumors regular


    Aug 6, 2008
    San Diego, Ca.
    I also struggled with post processing RAW files and found a preset that helped get me started. It tweaks settings to give a better starting point for you to customize. http://go-dslr.com/files/D7000-Import.AdjustmentPresets.zip The D7000 and D3200 are similar with RAW output. I use the Neutral setting in the camera and add my own touches after.

    Without the preset (it doesn't work for everything) I pump up black point and auto b&W curves for depth as a starting point and work my way from there. RAW Sharpening and color temp (Temp & Tint) are also in the first round of edits. It all depends on the exposure of the photos and feel. I warmed up the color temp a few clicks and moved the tone a click to red to help with the skin tone and neutralize some of the green from the palms. Also, adjusted the Blue hue, luminance, and saturation slightly to pump up the water and sky... Highlight at 19 to define the clouds on the horizon. I also added a highlight of 100 to see the difference. Sand looks better but skin tone slightly off.

    There are some adjustments that are hidden under the "Add Adjustments" selection like RAW Processing and Curves...they are not defaults.

    Here is my quick amateur edit of your photo. I wasn't there to see the colors and lighting as it was but my minds eye tells me that this looks somewhat normal.
    Nice pic btw, where was it taken?[​IMG]
    Highlights @100[​IMG] I hope this helps..
  3. Aries326 macrumors 6502

    Dec 28, 2007
    Thanks for sharing the pre-set! I just purchased a D7000 myself. Do you guys hang out at any D7000 specific forums?
  4. alphaod macrumors Core


    Feb 9, 2008
  5. OreoCookie macrumors 68030

    Apr 14, 2001
    Sendai, Japan
    The default settings of all RAW converters produce neutral results on purpose, so what you're seeing is not a bug, it's an important feature. The person editing the photos has to make a deliberate decision to give photos a certain look. Plus, it adheres to a certain workflow where edits are done in a certain order (ever wonder why you cannot rearrange »edit modules«*in Aperture or Lightroom?), e. g. sharpening is (almost always) last.

    One solution is to use presets (and you can apply presets right when you import photos): try to play with the settings so that they emulate the look and feel you want, save them as a preset and apply them to all imports. You can also select a bunch of photos and apply the preset after import. Note that this may overwrite edits you've already done on these images.

    Another option is to keep on shooting jpg: if you are so in love with the Vivid settings your Nikon produces, why don't you keep on shooting jpg? It's a waste of time if all you do with your RAW files is try to reproduce the in-camera rendering engine (hint: you can't, every RAW converter is different). You can still use Aperture, and as long as the photo is properly exposed, there is no perceptible loss of quality.
  6. Prodo123 macrumors 68020


    Nov 18, 2010
    Try increasing the vibrance and play with the per-channel curves. Try boosting the blue highlights in the curves and saturate the image more.
    Aperture's RAW engine is outdated. On Canon's side, Photoshop, Lightroom and DPP all perform leagues better than Aperture. So we wait for Aperture 4 to bring an improvement...
  7. OreoCookie macrumors 68030

    Apr 14, 2001
    Sendai, Japan
    Aperture's RAW engine has received a significant update with Aperture 3.3: you literally have to reprocess old images which (to the best of my knowledge) has only happened on major releases before.
  8. TheDrift- macrumors 6502a


    Mar 8, 2010
    Aperture has an autotone feature which is very good...most of the time (can be a bit much on portraits sometimes)
  9. Spanky Deluxe thread starter macrumors 601

    Spanky Deluxe

    Mar 17, 2005
    London, UK
    Thank you everyone for the tips!

    Thanks for your tips. Thank you so much for the D7000 preset. It seems to produce something far more in line with my expectations. Obviously, I understand that RAW decoding and turning a RAW into a finished image is an art unto itself but I feel much more confident learning my way around all the adjustments if I have a set of adjustments that I'm more or less happy with in the first place. The preset you attached looks a perfect place to start from.

    The photo was taken on my honeymoon last week in the Maldives. I've got a load of 'better' photos but that one happened to have quite a few of the elements in that I was concerned about - definition, skin tones, clouds, water, sand etc.

    I'm probably going to give Lightroom a try too as our wedding photographer has given us all of his RAW files including his Lightroom adjustments so hopefully I can learn some more by looking at what he's done there.

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