Along with the Nikon D4s announcement, Nikon yesterday also announced a long-awaited upgrade to Capture NX2. Called Capture NX-D, this Nikon RAW converter is being offered for download while in beta form. Public beta testing is something Nikon has been reluctant do to in the past, and it’s something I applaud them for. I downloaded the beta of Capture NX-D to see what it would do. Unfortunately, it is clear to me that this new product is more notable for what it lacks than what it offers. Continue reading
Ok, so I’m not a glamour/fashion photographer. In fact, the only member of my household that even comes close to posing for me is our golden retriever, Otter. So when I play around with effects and gear, he tolerates me quite well.
We had some nice window light coming into the house this morning, and Otter was the only one willing to pose in it. So I played around with my Nikon 1 V1 and 50mm f/1.4 AFS G Nikkor using the FT1 adapter. That’s the equivalent of using a 135mm f/1.4 lens on a 35mm format camera… a nice portrait lens. This image was shot at 1/160s @f/2.5 to get the nice bokeh.
It seems like no matter what you do or where you go, you can never escape the incessant drone of “my product is better” posts out in cyberspace. Name a photo product, and you’ll find fanboys (and girls) trumpeting the merits of their particular choice in gear, software, whatever. We live in a world where product diversity and competition is fierce, but one thing is completely evident to me: when it comes to RAW processing software, you really can’t go wrong with most of the popular choices out there right now.
The one thing that has started to irk me, though, is the beating of drums from people who claim Product A is superior to Product B based on no provable fact. Case in point: Nikon’s Capture NX. In 2005, I compared all the major RAW converters from a Nikon user’s perspective as part of a multi-part segment for The Image Doctors podcast. At that time, we were able to discern clear rendering quality differences between Capture NX and Adobe Camera Raw (ACR). Ah, but times have changed.
Since 2005, ACR has evolved better demosaic algorithms, new features, and camera profile settings that give you results that are at least as good, in my opinion, as what you can do with Capture NX2. The same is true for Aperture, Capture One, and other RAW processors. While there is no doubt that Nikon’s engineers understand the NEF format best, the argument that CNX2 somehow produces a superior conversion to everything else has gotten pretty weak over time. When I look at NEFs I’ve converted with Capture NX2 using standard settings and compare them to ACR conversions with similar settings, I don’t see anything between the two resulting images that would indicate that one is somehow “superior” to the other. What I see are two slightly different images, but neither one is “better” or “worse” in terms of detail, artifacts, or other obvious quality issues.
So what does that mean for you, the photographer, who is trying to filter through all the chatter and pick a RAW processing tool? Remove the subjective component of “conversion quality” from the discussion and instead look at features and workflow. Continue reading
I’m pleased to announce the immediate availability of a brand-new video workshop from Luminescence of Nature Press™. Sharpening Techniques for Capture NX 2 is a comprehensive instructional video in crystal-clear 720p HD that covers all of the major sharpening methods in Nikon’s Capture NX 2. I’ve even made the QuickTime movie file easy to navigate, because I’ve added chapter markers to it. The 1280 x 720 resolution of the video file means that you’ll have no trouble whatsoever seeing the menus and other screen items as I walk viewers through all the sharpening techniques in Capture NX 2.
In this training video, you’ll learn:
- How sharpening works
- USM Tool
- High Pass/Overlay filter
- Advanced control over sharpening with blending modes
- Selective/Creative Sharpening Techniques with brushes/control points
- Practical examples of landscape, portrait, and high-ISO sharpening in Capture NX 2
- How to perform output sharpening for print and web destinations in Capture NX 2
To learn more about Sharpening Techniques for Capture NX 2, please visit Luminescence of Nature Press
As much as I like using Nikon’s Capture NX 2 image editing software for processing my NEF files, I also really like using Nik Software’s plug-ins. Currently, only Color Efex Pro 3 works natively within the Capture NX 2 environment. However, I was recently having a discussion with one of my contacts at Nik Software, and he mentioned an interesting fact: the Lightroom implementations of Nik’s plug-ins can essentially be made to work as “stand-alone” applications, and launched directly from Capture NX 2. This is because Lightroom doesn’t really support “plug-ins,” instead it supports external editing applications. The upside of this design is that if you have the Lightroom version of a Nik plug-in installed, you can send it TIFFs or JPEGs directly without using Lightroom or Photoshop!
Here’s how to make Nik Plug-ins work with Capture NX 2 as external editors: Continue reading