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RAW Converters: ACR 4.1 vs. Capture NX

Discussion in 'General Technical Discussion' started by Pa, Jun 1, 2007.

  1. I think this post really belongs in the "New Raw Converters" thread, but according to the ground rules we are not supposed to discuss ACR in that thread so I'll put it here.

    At Nikondigital.org, there is a discussion of the new features in ACR 4.1, including better white balance for D2 series cameras, and some new tools.
    I quote (I hope with permission):

    The most dramatic new feature is the Clarity slider. Adobe describes the slider as "increasing local contrast". The visual effect is indeed to increase the contrast and "clarity" of an image. This combines the power we associate with using sophisticated curves to remap tones with some intelligence about local areas. The results can be truly stunning, sort of a sharpening effect except applied to adjacent areas and not just edges.

    With 4.1 Adobe has added a full set of options to sharpening--in addition to the Amount slider you can now control the Radius (just like with Unsharp Mask) and two other settings called Detail ("Adjusts how much high-frequency information is sharpened in the image and how much the sharpening process emphasizes edges. Lower settings primarily sharpen edges to remove blurring. Higher values are useful for making the textures in the image more pronounced") and Masking ("Controls an edge mask. With a setting of zero, everything in the image receives the same amount of sharpening. With a setting of 100, sharpening is mostly restricted to those areas near the strongest edges. Press Alt (Windows) or Option (Mac OS) while dragging this slider to see the areas to be sharpened (white) versus the areas masked out (black)").

    I have been playing with these new features and I'm having trouble seeing the effects. And I find the white balance still needs some tweaking to approach that of NX.

    The two images below were processed from the same NEF file, one using NX and the other using ACR 4.1, using all of the new tools. I'm not saying which is which, but I would like your opinion on which you prefer. Click on the image to view at 100%

  2. there seems to be more yellow to the one on the right, maybe just a bit more saturation overall.

    I prefer the one on the left personally, though not having seen the actual scene myself, makes it hard to judge accuracy?
  3. I have no idea which is which. I do like the one on the right best.
  4. Is this a question?

    Actually, having seen the actual scene it is still hard to judge accuracy!

    I'm not revealing which is which for now; I'm just interested to know which is preferred. Interesting that you two chose differently.

    Thanks to both of you for responding.
  5. I prefer the right. It has a larger range of color to the eye, while the left seems to have a green cast.
  6. I think the left is less post processed. That green cast I assume to be real as the subject is surrounded by sun lit foilage, so I expect the reflected light to be mostly green.
    Also I believe the green foilage on the left is more realistic, on the right it looks processed to be more lush or saturated, also looks tweaked a little WB wise.
    Some may prefer this look, but I believe the left is nearer to the original.

    While I do not mind taking away the green reflected light from the yellow blossom/leaf/whatever it is, I do like the green foilage better on the left. The right side looks overprocessed to me in comparison.
  7. Gale


    Jan 26, 2005
    Viera Fl
    Subjective. No way can you process a picture the exact same twice.
    It is over saturated
  8. O.K. I guess it is time to 'fess up. The picture on the left was converted with ACR 4.1, using all of the new controls available there, to tweak it to look the best I could. It was then brought into PS/CS3, cropped, sharpened slightly, and resized.

    The image on the right was converted in Nikon Capture NX with no changes to any settings, brought into PS/CS3 and treated the same way as the one on the left, i.e. same USM parameters, cropping, and resizing. Try as I might, I couldn't get the colors in the one on the left to match the ones produced by NX.

    And certainly this is not an objective test. Another person might get a better-looking image with ACR.

    But I like the Capture NX result better, i.e. the one on the right.
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