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NEF files underexposed

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I'm using AP Windows release version 1.5.1 54. I'm not sure whether this is a bug or not, and I have mentioned it previously when using AP beta, but all my raw .nef files are underexposed by around 1.5 to 2 stops when using the default profile. It makes no difference whether I use RGB 16 bit or 32 bit, or whether I choose no action instead of the default profile. As the exposure slider in the Develop persona has a max correction factor of +2, it leaves no room for further adjustment if the programme records the files as underexposed. This problem applies to raw images taken with Nikon D2X, D700 and D800.

 

Am I missing something, and is there a way to ensure correct exposure in the software?

 

Many thanks.

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No matter what you will try in PP, your first duty is to get

it right in the box!

 

To tell you more exactly what is going on, I would need to

see an SOOC file. Can you do that?


www.kodiakmedia.at

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If personal taste is involved,           Light is free,                       Mother Nature provides the light
discussion is pointless.                   capturing it is NOT.               but talent renders the image.
                                                                                                                        (Charlychuck)
 

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I you shoot with Active D-Lighting enabled the NEF files will be underexposed. Only Nikon software (Capture NX-D) can correctly read and apply the ADL and Picture Control profiles.

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Thank you all for your prompt responses.

 

Hi Kodiak, following link is to my Dropbox; SOOC files are too big to upload here.

 

https://www.dropbox.com/sh/l05zkdt08ezy0rf/AAB6agQV06S-XUlIzVY8hSwsa?dl=0

 

awhite, regarding active D lighting, Lightroom, Photoshop, Lightzone and other software handles my NEF files perfectly well, producing correctly exposed images (at least those that I have exposed correctly in the camera in the first place!).

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Hi Kodiak, following link is to my Dropbox; SOOC files are too big to upload here.

 

I got the three takes, thanks.

 

À priori, the only things not correctly done are the horizon

and the keystoning. The first may be tackled by being more

careful prior to SR and the second may be tweaked easily in

post-production.

 

However, none of these have to do with your problem.

 

Indeed, your SOOCs are a tad dark but still all well acceptable

and within workable DR. The slight underexposure is due to the

strong, harsh light the matrix metering system had to deal with.

 

I solved this kind of problems with my D3S, D3X and D810

using a dedicated RAW converter,

 

ANDREW, ONE MORE THING…

Would you permit me to propose renditions of the three files

from my dedicated RAW converter… if of any interest to you?

If not, I will delete your files illico!


www.kodiakmedia.at

TeamViewer: 668 015 544
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If personal taste is involved,           Light is free,                       Mother Nature provides the light
discussion is pointless.                   capturing it is NOT.               but talent renders the image.
                                                                                                                        (Charlychuck)
 

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Kodiak, thanks for your comments. I'm aware of my wonky horizons; I usually end up with these when grabbing a shot. With more time I use Nikon's built-in horizon either in the viewfinder or with live view. The keystoning is due to the use of a very wide angle lens aimed at the subject at a  tilt. As you quite rightly say, both easily corrected in post. 

 

To get my exposures right in LR I have a preset for each of my cameras constructed using Color Checker Passport for colour and development settings I have selected to satisfy my artistic/technical preferences (exposure, highlights, shadows etc.)., which I use as a starting point in the development process.

 

The difference/problem with Affinity Photo is that I find the images render more darkly than in other software, and to achieve my preference means that I have to max out the exposure slider, and the shadows slider just produces sludge, as opposed to LR that opens up the shadows far more evenly. I have not yet created preferences in AP as I am still playing around and learning its ins and outs.

 

You are very welcome to fiddle with my images with a bespoke raw converter. I used Bibble 5 once upon a time until it was swallowed by Corel.

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I'm aware of my wonky horizons;… The keystoning is due…

 

Me too I'm aware that, to cook these shots, you are

not exactly a "newbie!".

 

You are very welcome to fiddle with my images with a bespoke raw converter.

 

Thanks Andrew. These are only suggestions and

not recommendations as they are only technically

rendered… and do not reflect your artistic intents.

 

Original 1

AAT_2006-01-17_NIKON%20D2X_1507.jpg

 

Suggestion 1

AAT_2006-01-17_NIKON%20D2X_1507%201.jpg

 

Original 2

AAT-2014-11-26_7993.jpg

 

 

Suggestion 2

AAT-2014-11-26_7993%201.jpg

 

Original 3

AAT-2016-06-27_2470.jpg

 

Suggestion 3

AAT-2016-06-27_2470%201.jpg

 

 

 

Files deleted!


www.kodiakmedia.at

TeamViewer: 668 015 544
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If personal taste is involved,           Light is free,                       Mother Nature provides the light
discussion is pointless.                   capturing it is NOT.               but talent renders the image.
                                                                                                                        (Charlychuck)
 

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Result only using Affinity Photo (all adjustments made in Develop Persona except removing the power lines). The answer to being underexposed is to use Curves. I too have deleted the original. Pete

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Gentlemen, good morning.

 

I really appreciate your efforts in developing my images in AP; I find your results compelling.

 

I do, however, still have a niggle, a nagging doubt. When opening the images in AP Develop Persona, I find the histogram crowded against the left hand side (dark), which does not occur in other software. I know that, given the dynamic range in the .nef files, I can adjust this significantly in the Develop Persona using sliders, curves etc., but the fact remains that when first opened the image is dark (at least for me) and this makes correcting images clumsily underexposed in camera harder to correct using only Develop. The exposure slider maxes out at +2, whereas in Lightroom it goes up to +5 (I'm assuming that the scales are equivalent).

 

Also, as a grumpy, impatient old man, I supposed I have been seduced by being able to achieve a minimum acceptable base level of development in LR automatically, without even having to make one click. The software recognises my cameras and applies my predetermined default adjustments.

 

Truthfully, though, I have not worked with AP long enough to find out whether it also has such a facility, so I shall plod on up the learning curve to give AP the benefit of the doubt.

 

That said, I would still make a plea for a wider range in the exposure slider and a broader gamut for the shadows slider, both in the Develop Persona. 

 

Once again, BPMH and Kodiak, thank you for your comments and advice.

 

Best. Andrew

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For the record, Andrew…

  • on my machine, the files looked dark as well… but better
    a tad too dark than, like in these cases, a tad too bright.
     
  • my suggestions were executed in my dedicated RAW con-
    verter and not in AP… just can't use that develop persona!

Have a good one!


www.kodiakmedia.at

TeamViewer: 668 015 544
Skype: kodiakonline
 
If personal taste is involved,           Light is free,                       Mother Nature provides the light
discussion is pointless.                   capturing it is NOT.               but talent renders the image.
                                                                                                                        (Charlychuck)
 

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That said, I would still make a plea for a wider range in the exposure slider and a broader gamut for the shadows slider, both in the Develop Persona. 

 

You might find this tutorial useful. Apparently the shadows/highlights sliders in the Develop persona and the shadows/highlights adjustment layer in the Photo persona are better suited to smaller adjustments. If you want something a little stronger and more controllable then the shadows/highlights filter (or live filter) may suit you better.

 

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awhite, regarding active D lighting, Lightroom, Photoshop, Lightzone and other software handles my NEF files perfectly well, producing correctly exposed images (at least those that I have exposed correctly in the camera in the first place!).

 

Nevertheless, are you using it?

 

Because if you are, you will get underexposed files - by a stop or more.

 

Other software might have added code to recognise the ADL flag in the meta data and auto-apply an appropriate +ve exposure adjustment, but many programmes don't do that, and all you're then doing is presenting an under-exposed file that the software doesn't know is under-exposed for a reason, and doesn't then know what to do about it.

 

Switch ADL off if you're going to make a habit of converting in Photo.


Keith Reeder

 

(I don't need bird photography lessons - OK..?)

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Thank you JAX and KEITH for your advice. I had seen the Shadows and Highlights tutorial, but its application had slipped my mind. Will implement the lessons.

 

My camera did have active-D lighting enabled and, as I mentioned, it has not caused me any concerns when using LR and other software. I would have expected it not to have any effect on raw output, only on JPEGS or other lossy formats, although some comments on the net tend to confirm your assertion that it underexposes even raw to preserve highlights. While grumpy and impatient, I am not stubborn so I have disabled active-D in my cameras and will run some comparison tests to determine the differences to see what works best for me.

 

Thanks again for your helpful comments.

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ADL is a proprietary solution (my Canon cameras have something very similar in their "Highlight Tone Priority") and both rely on under-exposing the file by around a stop to protect highlights, and then auto-adjusting them in the camera manufacturer's own software on recognition of the appropriate metadata flag.

 

While some non OEM software respects the flag and tries to replicate the OEM proprietary processing, this problem - files being heavily under-exposed when opened in other software - was recognised from day one.

 

There is a price to this "under-expose then lift in conversion" trick though: you will get more noise in the lifted areas of the image. Might be insignificant if you routinely shoot at low ISO, but it was and is the main downside to it.

 

So users have a choice: continue to shoot ADL and manually adjust your files in Photo; or switch it off (good decision, AA!), and maybe dial in some -ve EC when needed for a given scene.

 

Or (this is what I do, and it works - I shoot white birds, often in bright sunlight, which is as big a highlights challenge as you're likely to see): leave the camera EC setting more or less as is, and rely on the amazing highlight recovery tools available in software these days. 

 

I no longer use Lightroom for example, but its Highlights tool is wonderfully effective, especially as you can double up on it by additionally applying it selectively on a brush; and Photo's Highlights tool is very good too - so it's possible to get a long way without having to under-expose to save highlights.

 

For example (a very old image I sometimes roll out to make this point: the Exif is in the image, and it's 0 EC, some of the whites in the starting image are 255/255/255, so theoretically should be unrecoverable for detail):

 

This:

 

muscovy_before_hr.jpg

 

 

To this (converted in Lightroom, with additional Highlights work in PhotoShop):

 

muscovy_duck_bolam_1a.jpg

 

That's some detail recovery...

 

(I've allowed some 255/255/255 to remain on the neck reflection from the water - and yes, it's processed to make a point rather than for realism. No C&C invited)

 

Besides, it's sometimes better to increase EC if you're worried about highlights - if the subject is pretty big in the frame, the Evaluative metering in my Canons for example (can't remember what the Nikon equivalent is, but you've got one) actually meters the whole scene taking account of the amount of "white" in it, and will deal with the highlights more effectively as a result - it will try and average the scene to an 18% grey exposure, which inherently protects highlights, so adding some EC gives you the best of both worlds: good overall "aesthetic" exposure, and workable highlights..

 

"Add light to white", as it's called...

 

A final thought: Serif might be persuaded to try and emulate the ADL fix, but it's the thin end of the wedge. If they do this for Nikon cameras., they'd have to do it for Canon's equivalent; and Sony's; and Pentax's; and...

 

And if they do this, shouldn't they also emulate (say) proprietary Picture Styles/Controls, and their equivalents from other manufacturers?  (IIRC, even Adobe only ever tried this for Canon and Nikon - the Camera Profiles in Lightroom - and they've been kicked for it ever since, both in terms of the ongoing maintenance burden, accuracy problems - they are only emulations - and the arbitrary choice of manufacturers whose styles they copied).

 

And what about other "in camera" favourite tricks that many photographers have?

 

No, my suspicion is that like many other software houses, Serif will choose actively to steer clear of trying to emulate proprietary in-camera trickery - and I for one wouldn't blame em one little bit..!

 

;)


Keith Reeder

 

(I don't need bird photography lessons - OK..?)

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This, Andrew, is a little feature that is very often over looked:

 

http://www.kodiakmedia.at/AP%20Forum%2017-01/D810:114.jpg


www.kodiakmedia.at

TeamViewer: 668 015 544
Skype: kodiakonline
 
If personal taste is involved,           Light is free,                       Mother Nature provides the light
discussion is pointless.                   capturing it is NOT.               but talent renders the image.
                                                                                                                        (Charlychuck)
 

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Good afternoon gentlemen in Day 1, Year 1 of the new Trump Era!

 

Kodiak, that is indeed a neat trick if yoyr camera has such a setting. The D800 is clearly lagging behind the D810 in flash features. I'm waiting for the next model so as to leapfrog the D810, although I prefer to spend my kids' inheritance on good glass if camera tech specs are not too dissimilar.

 

Keith, I have just completed my absolutely unscientific test using ADL and comparing it with ADL disabled. I have found that with ADL set to high on my D800, and photographing a high contrast scene using matrix metering, aperture priority at f5.6 and ISO 100, the camera changes from 1/40s with no ADL to 1/60s with ADL. The camera was on a tripod and fired with a remote. I use back button focusing so the focus will not have changed between shots.

 

So my camera does indeed adjust the exposure when using ADL in RAW; not by as much of a stop, but noticeable nevertheless.

 

This does not account for the 1-2 stop difference recorded in AP Develop Persona, and it would be nice if the coders/developers at Serif could create camera profiles to take this into account.

 

Keith, I promise that I won't mention your processing skills!

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