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January 26, 2011

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GrahamS

No link love for NX Seb? Okay I will: http://www.capturenx.com/ :)

I'm a big fan of Capture NX2. Yes it can be a little clunky at times, and the interface is a little odd in places, but it has some great advantages over the other RAW processors I've tried:

- saves changes directly to the NEF file. So just one file to backup, rather than extra sidecar files or some proprietary database.

- ALL editing is non-destructive. You can always get back to the Original. You can always change a previous edit step.

- You can save multiple different versions of the image in the same file.

- it speaks Nikon. Uses Nikon names for thing (i.e. "D-Lighting", "Color Mode")

- it can read all the Nikon camera settings and apply Nikon conversions: so if you give it a NEF and convert straight to JPG without change then it looks identical to shooting JPG on-camera.

- the UPoint stuff is fairly magical.

AdventureArt

Really interesting post - I know that processing geeks argue about the merits of different bits of RAW software, but I'd never seen a really concrete real-world example before.

I only use Lightroom at the minute - I'll maybe have to have a look at NX for the occasional shot where it seems to struggle.

Thanks

Seb Rogers

Thanks for the link Graham - I simply forgot :)

Everything you say about NX is true. I've found it well worth having and the u-point thing is, as you say, brilliantly conceived. The issue with NX for me is that, for processing middling to large numbers of raw files in batches when every file needs individual tweaks (as mine tend to) it's way too slow and clunky. Although there's no doubting its other advantages and the ultimate quality of its output, it's not even close to viable on the speed front. That's why I'm happy to take the occasional Bibble output hiccup in exchange for an interface and background processing that don't hold me up. At best I reckon I could process 20 files an hour with NX. I can do 120+ with Bibble. Time is money :)

YMMV, of course...

GrahamS

Yeah, I've heard the speed argument before Seb. It's no issue to me, as a bimbling amateur, as I rarely have more than 10 images that I'm happy enough with to bother tweaking. :)

I'm interested though, individually tweaking 120+ files an hour: is that hyperbole or fairly accurate? That seems insanely fast, it usually takes me longer than that just to open the file and think about what needs done. What sort of tweaks are we talking about?

Seb Rogers

No hyperbole :)

Bibble's fast for several reasons:

1. Adjustments to each image are rendered pretty much in real time, so you can see what you're doing as you're doing it.
2. Images can be added to a batch output queue as you go along - and the background output processing doesn't impact on foreground rendering.
3. Bibble has a simple and effective way of copying image settings and pasting them to one or multiple images, making it quick and easy to work on big batches.
4. There's no need to perform an 'open' function on each image in order to work on it. Bibble renders scalable previews as you work through the thumbnails.

How quickly I can get through a folder of raw files depends largely on how complicated the lighting was and how many 'similars' there are in the folder. Because Bibble renders so fast I check every single image even if there's a small batch which should, in theory, work with the same image adjustments. I tweak exposure, white balance and curves for each image as a matter of course.

The other factor in Bibble's speed is simply that I've done a LOT of raw processing over the past 6 years. I don't think much about what I'm doing - usually as soon as the image is in the preview window I know what it needs to look like and how I'm going to achieve it. The important point is that I'm not waiting for Bibble to catch up with my thought process as I'm doing that ;)

Søren Svendsen

Hi Seb

I'm enjoying reading your blog :-)
I'm a danish photographer and mountainbiker, but only shoot bikes for fun.
I'm old school, and after Adobe included the raw converter i PhotoShop I skipped Bibble .. the fewer programs the better. Bibble makes more vived and saturated colors than PS, and thats offen very nice, but sometimes its too much, like your example. I tested several converters and Adobe was most neutral, less grainy and the sharpest ..and what you mis in sparkling colors, you can adjust in PS. But as I said, I'm old school, you can do it all faster and smarter in LightRoom in one process today, if you don't do any partial adjustments in the picture.

Best, Soren

Seb Rogers

Hi Soren,
Thanks for your comments. This isn't really a saturation issue, more of a clipped channel problem, but you're right that Bibble's rendering can be a bit vivid. Having come from Provia and Velvia's reality+ version of colour, I've been pretty happy with the extra punch on the whole :)

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