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Prefer NC or PCS? Why?

Discussion in 'General Technical Discussion' started by realeyz, Mar 9, 2005.

  1. Would love to get some detailed answers as to why you prefer one to the other - Nikon Capture or Photoshop CS/CR. What are you getting out of one that you don't get out of the other - besides the speed difference.

    If you have another preference like bibble or C1 or mechanik or whatever please also state why specifically.

    It would be great if you can be specific and detailed.

  2. Never used Nikon Capture, so I will have to say Photoshop CS. :D  :D  :D  :D  :D  :D 
  3. I use NC for all initial processing up to saving as a TIFF. Things such as WB, EV adj., curves. I then open Tiff in PS CS for sizing, final color manipulation, sharpening, and saving as a JPEG. I like the fact that I can buy actions and plugins for PS CS that make my life easier.
  4. Thanx Gordon, but why do you prefer NC for making those adjustments (WB, EV, curves etc etc) over CR?
  5. Flew


    Jan 25, 2005

    I'm with Gordon on this one, at least as far as NC goes. I've got Ron's eBook, and have attended two of his shooting / processing seminars. I will admit that I was pretty lost in NC before these classes. Now, I am totally comfortable in NC, and find that I do all of my initial levels, WB, white and black point, color saturation, and tone compensation adjustments using this application.

    Before the release of the latest version (4.2.1), I was not real happy with NC's memory management, but they seem to have that under much better control now. I still try not to use the D-Lighting tool, as it slows down all processing when activated, but I find that I don't need it on that many shots.

    I've tried the save to TIFF process that Gordon describes, but I find that it doesn't give me that much advantage over going straight to JPG. Up until now, I have used Paint Shop Pro for final cropping and adding of borders and sig. I'm going to move to PS CS for the same reason that Gordon uses it, to get access to all of the neat plug-ins available.

    Don't know if that answered your question or not, but that's what I do.... :wink:


  6. bpetterson

    bpetterson Guest

    I agree 1000% with Gordon.

    I hear the crying that Adobe makes for getting for free the Nikon Nef code.

    The crying that many made about shipping of the D2X are now crying because they can't open in PS without buying NC.

    I hope that Nikon does not yield.

    The next few years I think that we will see huge advances in Nikon
    camera firmware and Nef code.

    I know you asked for detail.
    Well I can say that after almost five years of using NC, I'm getting the hang of it.
    Gee I paid $495 for the first issue.
    Now it is only $ 99 and you get printed manuals.

  7. OK I apologize - I don't think I was very clear with my question.

    I know many people prefer one to the other purely due to familiarity and experience, but this doesn't apply to what I am seeking.

    Let me re-direct this question to those people who are thoroughly familiar and well versed with both programs and what they are capable of. What I want to find out is what features, tools, or settings for RAW conversion as well as image adjustment are available or better in one program over the other?

    This is where I want specifics.

    Is that better?
  8. Chris101


    Feb 2, 2005
    I use ACR much more than NC. I can get better highlights out of ACR, and the shadows of NC and PSCS are about the same. Although I have an easier time with color using ACR, NC supposedly has better color and acuity. I can't judge color, but plan on testing the sharpness claim sometime in the nebulous future.
  9. Todd,

    I have both NC and PS/CS and use them both for Raw conversion. Here is my rationale.

    I find NC produces much better (acurate) colors and is easier to adjust the black point (using Ron's technique described in his ebook). Granted I haven't done the ACR calibration because I don't have the color-checker target, yet... but I am using calibration settings that other people have posted for their own D70, and I am getting colors much closer to NC this way, but NC still looks better to me...

    I don't like ACR's shadow setting (you still have to neutralize the shadow using a curve after the conversion). On the other hand, if I have blown highights, ACR is definitely better at recovering them than NC. However, RawMagick Lite (Peter and Iliah's program, in beta now) does an even better job at that. I also like the CA correction in ACR and before NC 4.2(.1), ACR's noise reduction (color noise in particular) was also superior to NC's. With the latest version of NC, I am not so sure anymore...

    Hope this helps, :wink:
  10. I also agree with Gordon. When I try to convert a NEF in ACR there are too many things I can't adjust prior to it being "un-NEFed" and placed into PSCS. After that, as I understand it, it has become a bit map and you have to deal with subsequent changes as such.

    With NC I can work the Histogram, assign white neutral and dark points, etc. The only things I miss in NC are saturation (slider) and the occasional chromatic aberration.

  11. Todd -

    I've used both ACR and NC for RAW manipulation, and I believe that both can be used effectively as a first step in NEF processing. From personal experience, I have chosen to use NC for initial NEF processing for the following reasons:

    1) The operating model is completely different for these two programs.

    - PSCS takes a NEF as a series of components, then asks you for the recipe for how to put them all together and converts this into an image based on those initial parameters you supplied. Once the file is opened past the initial dialog, there's no going back and making adjustments to any of those parameters without starting from scratch.

    - NC treats a NEF as modular, and maintains the components as separate entities: WB/EV/Curves/etc. are all independent and can be adjusted and readjusted as needed without changing the underlying sensor data. These adjustments can be saved as a unique set, which for me is a great thing as I learn new tricks and want to adjust things after the fact.

    2) I love the color histogram that ACR uses when opening a NEF file, and I believe it is one of the main reasons that Chris101 is able to achieve good WB in his photos. Having said that, though, what I don't like is that you can't get back to it after opening the file (somebody show me how to do that if I'm wrong -- wouldn't be the first time :)  ). Sometimes when you make other adjustments, it would be good to be able to go back and see the effect it had on the combined curves. Since NC treats all these as separate entities, it's easier to deal with in that respect. But I do prefer the user interface that ACR provides (when it's available) over NC's presentation.

    3) For reasons that I've never quite understood, for me it takes more work to get sharpness and good colors with ACR. Could just be that my initial attempts were frustrating with ACR, and my initial attempts with NC were much easier, thus I gravitated in that direction out of laziness.

    The above all apply to my experience prior to attending Ron Reznick's session in Florida. Since attending that session, I have used his prescribed techniques for initial processing with NC, which are a great foundation for an effective and easily-repeatable experience in initial processing. I'm certainly open to other options (I love to learn new things!), but to date I haven't found a better way to process. Until I learn a better way, I'm sticking with that process.

    I hope this is along the lines of what you're looking for. As always, YMMV (Your Mileage May Vary).
  12. David,

    I think that if you close the file in PS, after the conversion (save first if you want to keep it for comparison purposes) and reopen the NEF, all your previous settings in ACR are already filled in, unless you select something like "Camera Default" in the drop down box for the choices of conversion: an already processed image should default to the previous conversion for that image. I agree it's a bit cumbersome... but at least, it's not "from scratch" :wink:
  13. This sounds like a fancy way of saying that PSCS doesnt save changes back to the NEF file and Capture does. Is this true?
  14. Chris101


    Feb 2, 2005
    ACR saves changes either to an internal database or to a 'sidecar' file which is named the same and in the same directory, but has a .xmp extension. You select which through the preferences.
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