Guide And Tips For Working With Nikon Capture NX-D

Updated 29 April 2018 regarding recommendation for colour moire reduction.

Updated 2 August 2017 for recommendation about colour noise reduction. Clarified recommendations for colour profiles. Revised grammar.

Updated 22 June 2017 for information about astro noise reduction.

Updated 2 December 2016 for revised recommendations.

Updated 25 November 2016 to include reader observations and suggestions. Also included amended recommendations for noise reduction.

Updated on 5 October 2016 to include more details about the Picture Controls and adjust some grammar.

Capture NX-D is a great RAW converter for Nikon NEFs, no matter how you feel about its in-sufficiency for everything else. For those initial steps of detail extraction, colour interpretation, global exposure adjustment, and noise reduction – it is a great tool. I have spent nearly two years experimenting with the various RAW conversion tools – ACR, Capture One Pro, Photo Ninja, DXO OP, etc. Against all these paid options, NX-D performs surprisingly well. It is especially good at colour reproduction, where none of the competition could quite get the kind of accurate true-to-life colours as NX-D could. Of course, I should emphasize that realistic colours does not automatically mean it looks good to everyone! It really boils down to a matter of preference. Personally I find it easier to perform my edits on a well-exposed image with a neutral colour palette. I use NX-D to produce a globally exposure-adjusted, colour-corrected, noise-corrected, high quality 16-bit TIFF to feed into other post-processing applications that are better for detailed adjustments, such as Lightroom. Use the right tool for the job.

However as I have mentioned earlier, NX-D is not user-friendly and insufficient in many aspects. So here are some tips that could help get that RAW conversion part done. Continue reading “Guide And Tips For Working With Nikon Capture NX-D”

Alien Skin Exposure X Now Available

The newest update to Alien Skin Exposure, Exposure X, has been released and is now available for purchase.

Which is rather surprising, as there hasn’t been much publicity about it. From the “what’s new” page, the main features that existing Exposure users may be interested in include:

  • New photo organiser features.
  • Fast photo browsing and view.
  • Brushes and layers.
  • Noise reduction.(There has been no prior news about this function.)

Continue reading “Alien Skin Exposure X Now Available”

Alien Skin Exposure X Offers Brush And Layers!

Alien Skin serves up one of the most pleasantly deceptive marketing campaigns for the upcoming update to their venerable film-preset-and-image-editing software, Exposure X. Whereas most companies would advertise the killer features right at the beginning, Alien Skin seems be saving the best for the last. For the last two months, Alien Skin has been handing out bite-sized information about Exposure X, advertising a fast image browsing and viewing mode. Great features for sure but not exactly head-turning. Now they just revealed a new killer-feature in Exposure X: support for brush and layers!

Continue reading “Alien Skin Exposure X Offers Brush And Layers!”

Brief Review: FastStone Image Viewer, One Of The Best Free Image Viewers

FastStone-Image-Viewer-5.1
So after I upgraded to Windows 10 and ViewNX-i stopped rendering NEFs and TIFFs even though Windows Photos could. šŸ˜¦ Uurrghhhh. So for a while I was using NX-i for viewing JPEGs only, while using Windows Photos to view NEFs and TIFFs. Not an ideal solution, as the rendering is not optimized and it is slower.

Eventually I found FastStone Image Viewer. I will get to the conclusion right away – if you are looking for a fast, free and well-designed image viewer, just get this now. Continue reading “Brief Review: FastStone Image Viewer, One Of The Best Free Image Viewers”

Review: Migration To Windows 10 For Photography

While watching some online photography videos, I noticed that several photographers are still running Windows 7 even though the Windows 8 travesty has been officially buried by Windows 10, which has been available as a free upgrade for a while. Perhaps they are wary of the compatibility and stability of their post-processing software in the new operating system, so caution is chosen as the best course of action.

It could be sheer recklessness. It could be healthy confidence after hearing all the success stories from other users. It could be just stupid curiosity. At any rate, with an unexpected dose of bravery and nonchalance, I upgraded my PC from Windows 7 to Windows 10.
Continue reading “Review: Migration To Windows 10 For Photography”

Alien Skin Exposure X Sneak Peek

Alien Skin just released a sneak peek blog article and preview video of the upcoming update to Exposure, their venerable post-processing software used by award-winning photographers world-wide to reproduce the colours and feel of analogue film.

Exposure X Sneak Peak

Continue reading “Alien Skin Exposure X Sneak Peek”

Defringe: Why Photoshop/Lightroom Are Still Irreplaceable For Amateurs And Enthusiasts

We are approaching the end of August. Corel has just released an update to Paintshop Pro. Alien Skin has announced that a new version of Exposure is due this winter. No doubt other photography post-processing software vendors are also preparing new version updates for their respective products, as is the tradition every year around this time. Continue reading “Defringe: Why Photoshop/Lightroom Are Still Irreplaceable For Amateurs And Enthusiasts”

Comparison Of RAW Converters For Nikon

2018 July update: We have a new winner. DXO PhotoLab is my new RAW conversion champion for Nikon NEFs! See the details here.

2016 November update: Added observations for DXO Optics Pro 11

A RAW file contain so much more image data than a JPEG file. Most serious enthusiasts and professional photographers shoot in RAW to extract the most out of a photographic imageĀ during post-processing. RAW conversion is the very first step in the work-flow with raw files, so it should be obvious how important this initial process is. Get a flawed result from thisĀ initial step at the start and the implications will affect all subsequent post-processing efforts. Continue reading “Comparison Of RAW Converters For Nikon”

Why Your Images Appear “Blurred” On The Web

You just created a nice image. A good amount of effort was put in during its creation and post-processing and now it looks really good on your computer display. Satisfied with the results, you upload it to the web for sharing with your friends and followers. However, something appears to have gone wrong. On selected websites the image is not as sharply rendered as it is on your computer. It effectively looks blurry in comparison,and the resolution seems to have fallen. What went wrong?
Continue reading “Why Your Images Appear “Blurred” On The Web”