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RAW converter

Modern digital photography is very much connected with image processing programs. Sometimes it is the photo editor that creates exactly the photo that we ultimately consider the work of the photographer.

Modern digital photography is cunning, sometimes it turns into ordinary mathematical tricks, which I already wrote about in ‘Subpixels’, ‘Gigapixels’, ‘JPEG,‘ Tricks with RAW and ‘RAW Settings‘. Any photograph taken in the so-called raw format – RAW must be converted (converted) into a simpler format with a unique representation of the data for printing or viewing on a computer. Usually such a program is called a RAW converter (‘rabb-converter’). Such converters simply exist a great many, but due to the specificity of the raw files of each individual camera, converters sometimes cannot recreate the “correct” photo from these raw data. It is often said that for best results, you should use only “native software”, which sometimes comes bundled with the camera.

The following describes my experiment, which everyone can repeat. The essence of the experiment is very simple – you need to convert the same raw file with different converters and see what happens 🙂 The photo from the experiment was taken on Nikon Nikkor-SC Auto 1: 1.4 f = 50mm, I specifically chose a lens without microprocessor contacts to exclude Any specific image enhancement with a converter by correcting lens flaws from the database. The picture was taken in difficult lighting conditions: very cloudy weather, two flashes.

Link to the archive with photos. (The archive takes 96.9 MB to view the packed files, the archive should be unpacked). Warning: photos are not for the faint of heart, especially dangerous for viewing skin-toners and pixel-makers 🙂

The archive contains the following files:

DSC_5549.NEF – the original RAW file obtained during shooting. Nikon D700, 14bit, lossless compression, vignetting control, ADL, noise reduction at long exposures, noise reduction at high ISO – were turned off. Everything was taken in the SD image control mode (standard mode): contrast correction – 0, brightness – 0, saturation – 0, hue – 0, sharpness – position 5 out of 10. White balance – “flash”. If you include all the native “improvements”, then third-party software copes with the display of data even worse. EXIF can look at any available program to which you are used. If there is no such program, then it is easy to do with the service at
DSC_5549.JPG – the original JPEG file obtained during shooting RAW + JPEG, the settings described above. JPEG L with priority quality.
DSC_5549 (acr-original) .jpg – file converted using Adobe Camera Raw 6.0 (ACR 6.0) in default mode.
DSC_5549 (acr-auto) .jpg – file converted using Adobe Camera Raw 6.0 in auto mode.
DSC_5549 (capturexn2-original) .jpg – the file is converted using CaptureNX 2 v 2.4.5 in the default mode.
DSC_5549 (capturexn2-pt) .jpg – the file was converted using CaptureNX 2 v 2.4.5 with the selected shooting mode PT.
DSC_5549 (lr-auto-tone) .jpg — The file was converted using naked Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 5.2 using the ‘Auto tone’ command. When exporting to JPEG, the quality was 100%, the other default settings.
DSC_5549 (lr-original) .jpg – file converted using naked Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 5.2 in default mode with standard profiles installed with the LR installation. When exporting to JPEG, the quality was 100%, the other default settings.
DSC_5549 (photoshop-from-original-jpeg-with-auto-levels) .jpg – this is how the camera-processed JPEG looks like with the Photoshop command “auto levels”.
DSC_5549 (viewnnx2-after-quick-adjust) .NEF is what made ViewNX 2 from the original RAW when setting the white balance ‘Calculate automaticaly’ and choosing the PT mode.
DSC_5549 (viewnx2-auto-pt) .JPG – ViewNX 2 when setting the white balance ‘Calculate automaticaly’ and choosing the PT mode.
DSC_5549 (viewnx2-original) .JPG – ViewNX 2 by default
DSC_5549 (inverted original jpeg) .JPG – original JPEG, rotated 90 ° for viewing with the built-in utility for the WINDOWS OS
picassa-view-original-nef-file.jpg – this is what the original RAW file looks like when viewed by Google Picassa, a screenshot of the program window.

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Setting up a converter is a very delicate and necessary thing.

I want to share some experiences on the use of converters. I really like the way the photo of the native ViewNX and CaptureNX displays. In order to transfer the picture as accurately as possible – since I saw it on the camera’s display and in life, I use exactly “native” converters. Refinement (retouching, color correction and other tedious routine) carried out in Photoshop. I like the slightly sadistic mechanism: first, correct the original RAW (NEF) file with ViewNX, export the result to TIFF (16 bits without compression), and then modify it in Photoshop.

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