I Really Wish Nikon Never Ditched NX2!

Joined
May 1, 2006
Messages
2,255
So, I never could get my head around Lightroom and was as happy as Larry when I discovered Nikon NX2. Took to it like a duck to water.

Often read people moaning about its UI and UX but I thought the UI was perfect and the UX (slow speed) was actually improved by Nikon with each iteration until they finally fully cracked it with a 64 bit release. It never was for mass rapid edits which was fine with me.

Could be something to do with how my brain is wired but I hated Lightroom's UI. Nikon Capture NX2 served me well until Nikon pulled the plug on it. Took a look at NX-D and just couldn't connect to that and so began my round of torment.

First up was DXO Optics Pro. A fine tool that cost me a fair wedge of cash but again, just wasn't quite right for me.

Took a look at CaptureOne. Really loved the output but again, couldn't quite get my "NX2" head around it. Suppose I could have done with some time and effort and I also suspect I am peeved off with PhaseOne for totally ruining IView/Expressions Media Pro. Users thought it was bad when Microsoft had the program but PhaseOne has been an absolute disaster for that program. In the nine years or so years since the original developer put out IView Media 3, the program has actually regressed, first at the hands of Microsoft and catastrophically at the hands of PhaseOne .... I digress.

I then saw the slick promos for ON1 PhotoRAW and jumped on it mid 2016. No catalogues? Sign Me up!

The beta that came out late 2016 as "ON1 PhotoRAW 2017" was a disaster but fair play to ON1, they brought things up to speed with a series of updates.

The main issue I had was that ON1 PhotoRAW 2017 turned what may have shown as slightly "hot" areas in an image into irretrievably blown out patches on my D500 (I had finally put my D200 to pasture after 10 sterling years of service).

However, as hot areas were not an everyday thing and as it actually seemed to have been cured with later releases, I became a fan of ON1 PhotoRAW. I do also use Luminar as it has the same NX2 like attributes. no catalogues and even better that ON1, no preview thumbnail generation.

Anyway, it turns out that my sticking with the D200 for a decade was not due to being immune to GAS, but purely down to simple pragmatism. I don't like my workflow being messed up. D200 to take images, NX2 to process them and MediaPro to catalogue them. Each one is meant to do one thing, only one thing and to do it well.

PhaseOne has done its best to destroy the cataloguing part but I could still function. Nikon hit me hard on the processing part but that was still workable as long as my computer held up. A change to the camera would screw the whole thing up and so I stuck with it.

Once I found a potential plug in replacement for NX2 that simply allowed me to process my images without trying to import it anywhere, the full force of my pent up GAS was unleashed and in short order, I had a D500 and now a D850!

But alas! ON1 PhotoRAW 2017 blows out D850 shots with a vengeance!

Here is an import of a shot of Bertha, our dog, into ON1 PhotoRAW 2017 as rendered
Nikon D850 @ ISO 200
AF Nikkor 85mm f/1.8D
1/90 @ f/3.3
0000_DSC_0256_003 Small.jpg
Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)


After reduction of exposure by 1.5 stops along with max highlight recovery etc, the best output I could get was:
0000_DSC_0256_004 Small.jpg
Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)


Good news is that with ON1 PhotoRAW 2018, currently at beta, things look much better even without any highlight recovery or exposure reductions
0000_DSC_0256_002 Small.jpg
Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)


Bad news is that I will have to shell out 80 US Dollars for the privilege!

Trying to find out whether they will update the RAW engine in ON1 PhotoRAW 2017 as a free update so that those that do not need the HDR and Pano and other features offered in ON1 PhotoRAW 2018 can get decent D850 conversions.

Actually would be great if the RAW engine, if updated as seems to be the case here, is offered to older versions of the program. Perhaps the last two of three major versions or something like that.

Would be interesting to see what ON1's take is.

This is what Luminar did (I chose the look/feel - important is that not blown out):
0000_DSC_0256_001 Small.jpeg
Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)


And NX-D (No Edits)
0000_DSC_0256_000 Small.jpg
Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)
 
Joined
Jan 13, 2006
Messages
5,017
Location
Columbia, Maryland
Real Name
Walter Rowe
One thing to consider for each of the aforementioned programs, especially where it comes to blown out hightlights, is that they each apply their own gamma "tone curve" to the raw file so that it doesn't look flat. Where Capture One Pro comes to the rescue is that it allows you to not apply the default gamma and instead process the image from a linear gamma. I have seen many examples where photographers used this feature to recover shadows and highlights in very contrasty scenes and to great success. This is adjusted in the Basic Characteristics tool. If you can provide me the NEF file for the above picture, I can put it through Capture One using a linear gamma and see if it produces the results you desire (or you can do it yourself if you are still under a trial period).
 
Joined
Apr 21, 2006
Messages
19,090
Location
Nashua, NH
I agree with a lot of what you are saying Dayo. Phase One wrecked Media One, C1 has great output but I found it confusing, especially when using it on 2 computers.

However, I switched from NX2 (when I had to) to LR and now like it a lot. I do like the cataloging and my raw images come out fine, not as good as C1, but better than the trials I did in On1.
 
Last edited:
Joined
May 2, 2007
Messages
1,210
Location
London, Ontario, Canada
Its been a while but since Nikon abandoned CNX2 I briefly tested PS w/CR and LR anlong with a couple of others, but ended up going with C1 because it did the best DEFAULT job of converting NEFs to JPGs. I only use C1 for NEF conversion and global edits (mostly exposure...modern cameras with high-density sensors sans AA filters don’t require pre-sharpening unlike the “old” days with AA filters) but still finish off using CNX2 with the Nik CFex 3 plugin. I still think CNX2 is the fastest and most elegant, easy to use photo processor even though it can’t do conversions any more, as long as your not batch processing.
 
Joined
Sep 13, 2007
Messages
20,488
Location
Northern VA suburb of Washington, DC
Great to see you, Dayo! I remember you from years ago and just very recently returned to the Cafe.

I wonder if you ever tried Adobe Camera Raw. The selfish reason I ask is that I'm still using Capture NX2 for 100% of my images but have decided to give ACR at least an initial test now that the luminous and color range masking has been added.
 
Joined
Jan 15, 2010
Messages
3,998
Location
UK
I largely agree with Walters comments about each application applying a Tonal Response Curve plus other adjustment to make a default rendering.

When the application designers are presented with a raw image they must apply a 'pleasing' or what they feel is a 'correct' rendering of the raw data for that particular camera. What constitutes 'pleasing' is a highly subjective area and is really at the whim of the designer and limited to the test images used to set the application defaults.

You should be able to mimic the look of virtually any raw editor in your chosen editor. As an example take a Capture One rendered image and make it look the same in Lightroom - increase sharpening (C1 applies more by default) and adjust tone to edge towards warmer, save as a preset or a default.

In other words if you are used to one editor then switch to another you would expect some learning curve and if you really fell in love with the default rendering of your first editor then you will need to work a little to achieve that look
 
Joined
Jan 13, 2006
Messages
5,017
Location
Columbia, Maryland
Real Name
Walter Rowe
I will also add that Capture One will let you create your camera profile. I haven’t done it so I can’t quote the process off the top of my head, but they have documented it and you can find blog posts about it online.
 
Joined
Apr 30, 2006
Messages
2,477
Location
colorado
I use only CNX2 to process my Raw images ...nothing else ....its the best software for Nikon camers
 

Butlerkid

Cafe Ambassador
Administrator
Joined
Apr 8, 2008
Messages
23,867
Location
Rutledge, Tennessee
Real Name
Karen
I will also add that Capture One will let you create your camera profile. I haven’t done it so I can’t quote the process off the top of my head, but they have documented it and you can find blog posts about it online.
I use ACR and sometimes LR (Both use the same raw processing engine) (and I own On1). In ACR/LR I always use a custom camera profile I created for each camera body. I feel this gives me a very accurate starting point when processing raw's.
I use only CNX2 to process my Raw images ...nothing else ....its the best software for Nikon camers
....for you.......
 
Joined
Jan 15, 2010
Messages
3,998
Location
UK
I will also add that Capture One will let you create your camera profile. I haven’t done it so I can’t quote the process off the top of my head, but they have documented it and you can find blog posts about it online.
I think that most decent raw editors will have the means to use home produced camera profiles, Lightroom being no exception.

X- Rite ColorChecker Passport is one means to produce profiles for Adobe products (maybe others). The profiles are DNG format and there is also a free DNG profile editor available from Adobe. Both applications capable of producing very good profiles.

Capture One I believe uses ICC profiles.
 

Butlerkid

Cafe Ambassador
Administrator
Joined
Apr 8, 2008
Messages
23,867
Location
Rutledge, Tennessee
Real Name
Karen
I think that most decent raw editors will have the means to use home produced camera profiles, Lightroom being no exception.

X- Rite ColorChecker Passport is one means to produce profiles for Adobe products (maybe others). The profiles are DNG format and there is also a free DNG profile editor available from Adobe. Both applications capable of producing very good profiles.

Capture One I believe uses ICC profiles.
Thanks, Tony. I've asked On1 if they can use custom camera profiles created with ColorChecker Passport. No answer yet. Do you know if On1 uses dng or ICC?
 
Joined
Jan 15, 2010
Messages
3,998
Location
UK
Thanks, Tony. I've asked On1 if they can use custom camera profiles created with ColorChecker Passport. No answer yet. Do you know if On1 uses dng or ICC?
Hi Karen,
AFAIK On1 does not support assigning camera profiles currently. I would imagine they must do this eventually if they are to be considered seriously.

FWIW, Adobe uses DNG profiles which are Scene Referred which may be preferred over the Output Referred method which is ICC.
 
Joined
May 1, 2006
Messages
2,255
One thing to consider for each of the aforementioned programs, especially where it comes to blown out hightlights, is that they each apply their own gamma "tone curve" to the raw file so that it doesn't look flat. Where Capture One Pro comes to the rescue is that it allows you to not apply the default gamma and instead process the image from a linear gamma. I have seen many examples where photographers used this feature to recover shadows and highlights in very contrasty scenes and to great success. This is adjusted in the Basic Characteristics tool. If you can provide me the NEF file for the above picture, I can put it through Capture One using a linear gamma and see if it produces the results you desire (or you can do it yourself if you are still under a trial period).
Hi Walter,

My CaptureOne trial has run out but I know that even without the linear gamma thing, it pulled out details at a high level of quality. I have however decided not to go with this as my PP program for a number of other reasons.

I largely agree with Walters comments about each application applying a Tonal Response Curve plus other adjustment to make a default rendering.

... if you are used to one editor then switch to another you would expect some learning curve and if you really fell in love with the default rendering of your first editor then you will need to work a little to achieve that look

For me in these instances, it hasn't really been that I have been hankering for rendering that looks like NX2 per se, rather, I have been looking for a program that fits in my workflow in the way that NX2 did. The key things have been interface and workflow related which is why ON1 and Luminar work for me. They are workflow agnostic. They simply do the processing part and leave you to manage your images as you see fit.
 
Joined
May 1, 2006
Messages
2,255
Great to see you, Dayo! I remember you from years ago and just very recently returned to the Cafe.

I wonder if you ever tried Adobe Camera Raw. The selfish reason I ask is that I'm still using Capture NX2 for 100% of my images but have decided to give ACR at least an initial test now that the luminous and color range masking has been added.

Hi Mike,

Had a bit of a break from the Cafe myself. Glad to see you are doing well.
I have run the gauntlet trying to find a replacement for NX2 but unfortunately can't tell about ACR as I never considered Photoshop. I think my last use of Photoshop was PSE3 back in 2004 or so. I will settle on one or the other of Luminar or ON1 it seems.
 

Butlerkid

Cafe Ambassador
Administrator
Joined
Apr 8, 2008
Messages
23,867
Location
Rutledge, Tennessee
Real Name
Karen
Hi Karen,
AFAIK On1 does not support assigning camera profiles currently. I would imagine they must do this eventually if they are to be considered seriously.

FWIW, Adobe uses DNG profiles which are Scene Referred which may be preferred over the Output Referred method which is ICC.
FWIW....neither On1 nor CaptureOne support assigning camera profiles currently. So much for using custom profiles created with ColorCheckerPassport in On1 or CaptureOne ! DRATS!
 
Joined
Feb 20, 2006
Messages
324
Location
Markham, Ontario
I also delayed upgrading camera's because I didn't want to stop using NX2. With the purchase of a D750 I anticipated using RAW2NEF to allow me to continue with NX2. With some time, however, I have found NX-D works really well for me in most cases and when I want to use control points, the integration with NX2 works fine. The only real hassle I have found is dealing with the side-car files. But overall, I'm quite pleased with the change in workflow.
 
Joined
Dec 4, 2011
Messages
703
Location
Beachside!
Trying to find out whether they will update the RAW engine in ON1 PhotoRAW 2017 as a free update so that those that do not need the HDR and Pano and other features offered in ON1 PhotoRAW 2018 can get decent D850 conversions.
I am going to send a email this morning on that very question. I really only wanted On1 to import for the new cameras and lenses that my CS6 does not cover.
Gary
 

Latest posts

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