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Aperture D600 Raw Files too dark?

8035 Views 92 Replies Latest reply: Dec 22, 2013 4:52 AM by dcl78 RSS
  • Tigereel Calculating status...
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    Jan 3, 2013 1:51 AM (in response to Mike Bisom1)

    So glad I found this post as I now realise its not me going mad after all. I noticed same thing with files from my Canon 1D for a while now and eventually shot some pictures over Xmas using both RAW and JPEG (using faithful setting) to compare them both once imported (I'm usually a RAW only person). Taken under a mixture of artificial light there is horrid color cast on the RAW files that just isn't there with the JPEGs. Take a look at the sharpness / detail as well - better in Lightroom. Not noticed it so much with files from my now departed Canon 5D

     

    Like a lot of the posters here I'm reluctant to go out and learn new software, but after buying good camera body/lens combinations and making all the effort to take the pictures properly its not good seeing the results not as good as they can be.

  • Jason Sims Level 2 Level 2 (180 points)
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    Jan 8, 2013 10:02 PM (in response to Mike Bisom1)

    I just got a D600 a couple weeks ago, and yes, my RAW files are coming out a bit dark in Aperture. Perhaps Aperture's D600 contrast curve needs some adjustment, but I think the bigger issue is the default black point setting.

     

    For my D60 RAW files, Aperture's default black point value is 3.0. I sometimes back off on that a bit, but it's a good default. On the D600, Aperture's default black point is 5.0, which I find a bit too dark, more often than not. I'm guessing the higher default black point is intended to compensate for the larger dynamic range of the D600's RAW files (14 bits per channel instead of my D60's 12 bits per channel), but I think they have erred a bit on the dark side.

     

    In any case, it's not too hard to fix. My suggestion is to turn on the hot/cold overlay, then scale back the black point until any blue overlay areas have disappeared (you may want to allow some small isolated blue areas to avoid weakening the overall contrast too much). I also recommend going into Preferences > Advanced and setting the hot/cold thresholds all the way to 100% and 0%, respectively; this makes the hot/cold overlays only appear where pixels are actually clipped.

     

    Fortunately, dark areas that look completely blown are actually totally recoverable, and usually pulling back on the black point is all you need to do. In some cases you might also want to add a tiny amount of contrast (even 0.01 is quite a bit).

     

    This is what I've found so far, anyway. I still have a few things I'd like to test to get a better picture of what's happening here:

     

    • Enable RAW + JPEG (FINE) and compare RAWs to the JPEGs for the same shot
    • Try capturing some 12 bit RAW files (there's a setting for this) and see how those look in Aperture (is the default black point still 5.0?)
    • Install the current version of ViewNX and see how Nikon's own RAW processing compares (the RAWs should end up looking the same as the JPEGs)
    • Check out all this stuff in Lightroom (I don't really use LR, but I do have it installed, as it's included with Adobe Creative Cloud)

     

    If you guys have done comparative testing of any of the above, I'd be interested to hear about your results.

  • Jason Sims Level 2 Level 2 (180 points)
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    Jan 8, 2013 10:22 PM (in response to Jason Sims)

    By the way, some people have suggested just using ViewNX to convert the RAW files before bringing them into Aperture. That'll use Nikon's conversion process instead of Apple's, so this should indeed make them look the same as the JPEGs, but if you're going to do that, you should really just shoot JPEGs in the first place. If you convert your RAWs before importing them, you're losing all of the benefits of directly editing RAW files in Aperture — namely, the fact that you're working with the full 14 bits per channel throughout the entire editing process (Aperture doesn't convert the image to the standard 8 bits per channel until you actually export it).

     

    So if you aren't going to edit the actual RAW files, you might as well not waste the space on your memory card or hard drive. If you prefer, you could also shoot RAW + JPEG, work with the JPEG files for now, and keep the RAW files around for when Apple (hopefully) addresses how Aperture handles them.

  • Tigereel Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
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    Jan 9, 2013 5:57 AM (in response to Jason Sims)

    Just following on from this I did a comparison of the results from Aperture to a test version of LR and can now fairly consistently replicate the results from LR by making the following changes. The adjustments below are specific to a particular file, but give an idea of changes to be made.

    Hue Boost from 1 to 0.90

    Detail from 0.00 to 0.10

    Saturation from 1.0 to 0.95

    Vibrancy from 0.0 to -0.05

    The Saturation and Vibrancy settings make a dramatic difference for me in the files I was using taken under mixed lighting. A different set of pictures may require a new range of adjustments or in the case of normal daylight I am fairly happy with it as it is.

    Annoying as it is having to do this I suspect that once a few adjustments are worked out to the RAW profiles that can be saved as canned settings this is going to be quicker and cheaper than migrating systems.

  • Lonewolfjustin2105 Calculating status...
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    Jan 9, 2013 8:36 AM (in response to Tigereel)

    Tigereel wrote:

     

    ...

    Hue Boost from 1 to 0.90

    Detail from 0.00 to 0.10

    Saturation from 1.0 to 0.95

    Vibrancy from 0.0 to -0.05

    ...

     

    Are you saying these settings need to be done in Aperture or in the camera settings?

  • Jason Sims Level 2 Level 2 (180 points)
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    Jan 9, 2013 8:46 AM (in response to Lonewolfjustin2105)

    Those are Aperture adjustments.

     

    Hue Boost and Details are under RAW Fine Tuning

    Saturation and Vibrancy are under Enhance

  • Jason Sims Level 2 Level 2 (180 points)
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    Jan 9, 2013 8:46 AM (in response to Tigereel)

    Interesting, thanks. Will give that a try.

  • ddierick Calculating status...
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    Feb 11, 2013 11:42 AM (in response to Mike Bisom1)

    I have exact the same problem. RAW files from D600 are far too dark and clipped when opening in Aperture. No way I can recover the information. In ViewNX I get the correct conversion. This really is a shame! I like Aperture for fast processing, but the way it is now, it is next to unusable for many D600 images

    How do I report this to Apple?

  • Ernie Stamper Level 8 Level 8 (37,440 points)
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    Feb 11, 2013 12:56 PM (in response to Jason Sims)

    Checking just now, it appears that Black Point defaults to 3.0 for images shot with my D800.

     

    But my approach to Black Point is to simply remove the blue warning shown with View/Highlight Hot and Cold Areas.  As a rule that has little impact on lighter areas of photos.

     

    Ernie

  • ddierick Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
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    Feb 11, 2013 1:19 PM (in response to Ernie Stamper)

    After lots of fiddling around with controls, I had to throw the towel in the ring on Aperture. It's just not working as it should. Went back to Nikon NX for conversion. But that is a lot slower than Aperture, and far less convenient.

    I have sent my feedback to Apple, really hope they can fix this nuisance. Got Aperture for my D600, as it costed a lot less than buying a new PS version to get the RAW converter for the new camera, but now it seems expensive

  • ddierick Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
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    Feb 12, 2013 2:57 PM (in response to Mike Bisom1)

    I just received a reply from the Aperture team to my feedback mail. Upon their request I have send them a sample Aperture library with D600 raws that show the problem, together with screenshots from the same image as opened in Nikon RAW converter that do not have issues. I hope this helps them to identify the root cause of this issue.

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