Focus shift and NEF files

Joined
Feb 12, 2006
Messages
1,354
Location
England
Real Name
Leif
I’m using focus shift a lot now for close up photographs of fungi with my Z6. It works well but I end up with a lot of files to store. My workflow is as follows:
  1. Open NEF files in NX-D.
  2. Export TIFF files.
  3. Use Affinity Photo to focus stack the TIFF files.
  4. Export the result to a TIFF file.
  5. Open the TIFF in PhotoShop CS2 and apply any minor edits if needed.
Ideally I‘d like to delete all files apart from the final TIFF. Is there any significant reason to keep the source NEF files?

Note: I don’t open the NEF files directly from AP as it does not apply all image corrections.
 
Joined
Jan 13, 2006
Messages
5,407
Location
Columbia, Maryland
Real Name
Walter Rowe
This has been discussed in some other conversations here regarding focus shift / focus stacking. Some save the source raw files + intermediate TIFFs + final focus merged document. Some keep the source raws and final focus merged document, and delete the intermediate TIFFs. Some delete everything but the final focus merged document. I keep the source raws + final focus merged TIFF, and delete the intermediate TIFFs. If focus merging gets even better over time, I can use the source raws to recreate the focus merged image. The likelihood of that happening may be low. This is really a very individual decision.
 
Last edited:
Joined
Feb 12, 2006
Messages
1,354
Location
England
Real Name
Leif
Thanks all. I think I will keep only the output file unless it’s an image that requires a lot of post processing. Most of my shots don’t.
 
Joined
Feb 12, 2006
Messages
1,354
Location
England
Real Name
Leif
My workflow involves creating DNG files as the stacked file. I keep that and none of the NEFs it was made from. That's partly because I rarely revisit an image file to post-process it again (maybe once every five years at the most).
Isn’t DNG a RAW format? How do you create a DNG file? Unfortunately Affinity Photo and PhotoShop CS2 can’t output DNG files.
 
Joined
Jan 13, 2006
Messages
5,407
Location
Columbia, Maryland
Real Name
Walter Rowe
Isn’t DNG a RAW format? How do you create a DNG file? Unfortunately Affinity Photo and PhotoShop CS2 can’t output DNG files.
Technically DNG is a file format specification .. it CAN contain a raw file. It also can contain any other RBG file like a JPG, TIFF, etc.
 
Joined
Feb 12, 2006
Messages
1,354
Location
England
Real Name
Leif
Yes, it's a raw format. I use Helicon Focus to stack my NEFs and its high-end version outputs DNG files.
Is the output file size similar to that of a NEF? Or has the image been demosaiced and hence it stores three colour channels?
 
Joined
Sep 13, 2007
Messages
21,674
Location
Northern VA suburb of Washington, DC
Is the output file size similar to that of a NEF? Or has the image been demosaiced and hence it stores three colour channels?
Your questions are put in technical terms that are beyond my knowledge to adequately address. Based on my understanding, a DNG is a DNG is a DNG no matter what converter is used to produce it.

DNG file sizes expressed in MB are not to be compared to NEF file sizes because that comparison is irrelevant. If I create a full-size JPEG from a DNG, it has the same number of pixels as when I create a full-size JPEG from a NEF.

I really don't have enough technical expertise to help you beyond this.
 
Joined
May 5, 2005
Messages
25,771
Location
SW Virginia
I've done quite a bit of focus stacking over the last several years, and still do. I use Helicon focus to stack the NEFs and output a TIFF file which I then edit in DxO PhotoLab to produce a jpeg. If I'm satisfied with those results, I delete the NEFs as I have no further use for them.

In the many years I've been doing this I have never regretted deleting the NEF files.
 
Joined
Feb 12, 2006
Messages
1,354
Location
England
Real Name
Leif
Your questions are put in technical terms that are beyond my knowledge to adequately address. Based on my understanding, a DNG is a DNG is a DNG no matter what converter is used to produce it.

DNG file sizes expressed in MB are not to be compared to NEF file sizes because that comparison is irrelevant. If I create a full-size JPEG from a DNG, it has the same number of pixels as when I create a full-size JPEG from a NEF.

I really don't have enough technical expertise to help you beyond this.
Okay, I’ll try from another direction. You use Helicon Focus to create a focus stack from NEF files, and it outputs a DNG file. What would be the typical size of an input NEF file and an output DNG file?

Basically I’m trying to figure out if Helicon Focus creates smaller output files than Affinity Photo. Hopefully that makes sense.
 
Last edited:
Joined
May 5, 2005
Messages
25,771
Location
SW Virginia
Okay, I’ll try from another direction. You use Helicon Focus to create a focus stack from NEF files, and it outputs a DNG file. What would be the typical size ps of an input NEF file and an output DNG file?

Basically I’m trying to figure out if Helicon Focus creates smaller output files than Affinity Photo. Hopefully that makes sense.

I never use DNG files, but in stacking of Z6 NEFs, the raw files are around 30 MB and the tiff output by Helicon Focus is 140+ MB.
 
Joined
Sep 13, 2007
Messages
21,674
Location
Northern VA suburb of Washington, DC
What would be the typical size ps of an input NEF file and an output DNG file?

Basically I’m trying to figure out if Helicon Focus creates smaller output files than Affinity Photo.

The DNG pixel size output by Helicon Focus will always be the same as the input NEF pixel size. Naturally, the NEF pixel size depends on the size created by the camera. So, compare that with Affinity's output file size and your camera's input size and you've got your answer.
 
Last edited:
Joined
Feb 12, 2006
Messages
1,354
Location
England
Real Name
Leif
The DNG pixel size output by Helicon Focus will always be the same as the input NEF pixel size. Naturally, the NEF pixel size depends on the size created by the camera. So, compare that with Affinity's output file size and your camera's input size and you've got your answer.
Thanks. My NEF files are ~30MB, when converted to a TIFF file the size is ~130MB, and an output focus stack TIFF file is ~130MB which is to be expected. So comparable to Pa’s figures. I think I will try out HF, and see how it pans out.
 
Joined
Sep 13, 2007
Messages
21,674
Location
Northern VA suburb of Washington, DC
I'm pretty sure DNG files are considerably smaller than TIFFs, which of course is an advantage if I'm right about that. I also found that TIFF files were slow to load or save or both (I can't remember) in Photoshop, so I used them only for a short while years ago. I don't know if that behavior is still true today. I sense no difference when loading DNGs or NEFs into Photoshop or when saving them.
 
Last edited:

Latest threads

Links on this page may be to our affiliates. Sales through affiliate links may benefit this site.
Nikon Cafe is a fan site and not associated with Nikon Corporation.
Forum post reactions by Twemoji: https://github.com/twitter/twemoji
Forum GIFs powered by GIPHY: https://giphy.com/
Copyright © Amin Forums, LLC
Top Bottom