Why I prefer Capture NX2 over ACR for NEF conversion

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Why I prefer Capture NX2 over ACR for NEF conversion

Postby StanyB » Wed 6 Jan 2010 10:34

In multiple threads here and on Dpreview I wrote several times that TMHO and after serious comparison tests Capture NX is simply (much)better than third party RAW conversion software like ACR(Adobe) to do raw conversion of NEF files.
In another topic (D700 vs S5pro) on this board I mentioned already the main difference in the practical use of Capture and ACR for conversion.
When you open a NEF file in Capture NX you get very valuable information like in-camera settings(vivid, increased sharpening etc.) and curves opened in the RAW image you see in your screen whereas with ACR you get a neutral (or let me call it a "stripped down"-) RAW file where you have to begin from zero...
Often the NEF file with your in-camera settings applied are enough or require just a tiny bit of PP in Capture to make it as you want your final image to be, whereas conversion with ACR requires the whole procedure from zero.
Using the in-camera menu banks with their particular in-camera settings (f.i. increased sharpness and saturation or vivid mode for macro, or simply portrait mode for portrait) makes working with the the in-camera settings and Capture a great combination.

Underneath a screenshot of the same file viewed in Adobe PS3 and in Nikon ViewNX(same view in CaptureNX)... It's clear that you "see" the NEF file totally different in NX than in Adobe. In NX you open and see the NEF file with your preferences, curves and in-camera-settings applied, but while it's still NEF, you can still change everything... In this case you see in the NX window the file with "vivid" setting and sharpening +4 while in the Adobe RAW window you see the bare NEF file.

Image
Image

Next to that very important difference to reduce PP time I am also convinced that RAW conversion with Capture results in more detail, more accurate colours and less noise than conversion of a RAW file with ACR or other third party raw converters.

Steve Bingham, TMHO one of the most interesting forum members on the Dpreview Nikon forum section' wrote once a very interesting thread about the much more accurate "reds" that Capture deilivers after convertion compared with ACR. I will try to find the topic back and post the link here as soon as I can.

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ADL does affect your RAW image irreversable...

Postby StanyB » Wed 6 Jan 2010 10:56

All other in camera settings are applied when your open your file in NX2 but can still be modified or undone, which I find great. In ACR you get a "neutral" RAW file, with exception of the influence ADL has on your exposure.
TMHO and according to my findings, -and confirmed by Iliah Borg a couple of weeks ago on the DpreviewForum-, ADL affects the RAW file irreversable, which means shooting RAW with ADL switched "on" and change to ADL-"off" in RAW processing will give a different RAW file than when you shoot RAW with ADL switched "off" in-camera.
My D700 produces very useable files @ iso 10.000 when I shoot RAW with ADL swtiched off in camera. When I have ADL "on" in-camera the D700 files @ iso 10.000 have much more noise.
Some samples:
viewtopic.php?f=54&t=527#p1917
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About Capture NX2 being "slow"...

Postby StanyB » Wed 6 Jan 2010 11:11

After the latest Capture NX2 update, which includes also the compatibility with 64 bit OS (operating systems) Capture NX2 became really fast, comparable with the Adobe CS4 64bit program. All this of course while taking in consideration that your PC is powerfull enough and the NX2 installation is done right.
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Re: Why I prefer Capture NX2 over ACR for NEF convertion

Postby James » Wed 6 Jan 2010 15:05

Thanks for reporting your findings!

I too prefer using the camera manufacturers own converters than third party ones, but then I've never bought Photoshop other than elements and lightroom so I've not really compared like with like. I only really use lightroom for handling jpegs in bulk for quick review and resizing for the internet.

I also remember seeing a comparison with the Fuji software vs lots of others on dpreview (I think it might have been Pam that did that actually) that was very interesting.

And I saw the unneccesary flaming you got on dpreview from someone with the same point of view as you, crazy!!
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Re: Why I prefer Capture NX2 over ACR for NEF convertion

Postby StanyB » Wed 6 Jan 2010 16:17

James wrote:Thanks for reporting your findings

You're welcome.
James wrote:And I saw the unneccesary flaming you got on dpreview from someone with the same point of view as you, crazy!!

No big deal being blamed by an idi°t who even doesn't understand that he confirms what I wrote...
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Re: Why I prefer Capture NX2 over ACR for NEF convertion

Postby kuau » Thu 7 Jan 2010 00:39

Stany,
I have seen some early posts talking about how much better LR3 is now handling nefs almost as good as CNX2. Can you confirm this?

Steven
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Re: Why I prefer Capture NX2 over ACR for NEF convertion

Postby StanyB » Thu 7 Jan 2010 08:44

kuau wrote:Stany,
I have seen some early posts talking about how much better LR3 is now handling nefs almost as good as CNX2. Can you confirm this? Steven

Hi Steven, thanks for your reaction.
"Almost as good" is not good enough for me. Next to that the latest NX2 update makes NX2 to run "almost as fast" as ACR... Why using an inferior converter, even if the difference would be minimal, whitch is not the case. The difference is huge.(because of the recognition of the curves-in camera settings)
As long as ACR cannot open a NEF file with the in-camera-settings and curves as I made them after lots of trying, testing and hours spend to arrive there, ACR doesn't make any sense @ all to work with for convertion of my NEFS.
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And the U-point technology...

Postby StanyB » Mon 12 Jul 2010 09:37

Which is a fantastic tool which I use very much.

Just increasing sharpness and contrast can make a moonshot look horrible at the borders of the moon/space...
Underneath the step by step method to make a humble moonshot taken with my D700 and 80-400VR look good:

Image

Image

Image

And the final result:

Image


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Re: Why I prefer Capture NX2 over ACR for NEF convertion

Postby James » Mon 12 Jul 2010 11:23

I have the NIK plug ins for aperture - I actually enjoy PP now - they are incredibly easy to use - I have to agree with you about U-point

Good work on the moon shot by the way :)
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Re: Why I prefer Capture NX2 over ACR for NEF conversion

Postby walterfrankvoort » Sun 5 Feb 2012 17:10

L.S.

the choice dependents in my situation on what I have to deal with in the image. The U-point technology and the auto retouch brush in NX 2.3 are very easy to use and do their jobs very well.

When I need a quick check on sharpness, Lightroom 3 (LR) is the best because the images are already in 1:1 size and there is no need to 'open' the file as in NX. Opening a file in NX is very time consuming and after any change you have to save the file, which is also time consuming.

There are more problems in NX (failures, hick-ups, instability, etc) then in LR. To avoid loosing all the changes made I have to save many times under way, before I have completely finished my optimasation.

Very unpleasant is the fact that some preferences will not be remembered by NX, that when using High pass filter the overlay mode each time has to be set and the use of the crop tool after applying the control points will destroy all the settings. All these problems will not happen in LR.

In the 64-bit version the Active D-lighting is very poor and the crop tool is very instable. NX has from the beginning with version 1, problems to run flawlessly on my windows versions.

Finally the quality of the noise reduction tool in LR is much better then in NX.

The conclusion is that I selectively use LR for the speed of the workflow and setting up my database of pictures and use NX for situations where I need the power of the U-point technology,despite the problems.

best regards, Walter Frankvoort.
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A new reason why I prefer Nikon software over ACR

Postby StanyB » Sun 23 Dec 2012 12:39

Pictures where moire might be an issue with my D800e is a new reason why I prefer Nikon Capture over ACR (I have PS5)
In some pictures where moire showed up in my jpeg S version (always shoot NEF + jpeg S fine) moire was less pronounced to zero after conversion with Nikon Capture NX2 whereas it kept being there after initial ACR conversion.
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Nikon just made their most stupid decision ever...

Postby StanyB » Mon 3 Mar 2014 19:50

Nikon just made their most stupid decision ever...to quit with Capture NX2 and launch NX-D.
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