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TS2518 My RAW (nikon .NEF) files changing to a dull, darker version of themselves after selecting them for the first time after import.

718 Views 6 Replies Latest reply: Nov 24, 2013 11:48 AM by CorkyO2 RSS
Mrmidwesterner Calculating status...
Currently Being Moderated
Nov 23, 2013 7:06 PM

My RAW (nikon .NEF) files are literally changing to a dull, darker version of themselves after selecting them for the first time after import. I.e. The correct photo (light/color/etc) seems to be there and then a second later the photo changes. It's almost like it's showing a quick enhanced version then back to basic raw image. Started within last two updates.


Is there a fix or is this the straw that forces a switch to Lightroom?

Aperture 3, OS X Mavericks (10.9)
  • William Lloyd Level 6 Level 6 (19,235 points)

    This is standard, and the same thing happens in Lightroom.


    What you are seeing is the initial camera-generated JPEG preview.  Are you using landscape or some other saturated in-camera preset?


    RAW files by nature are less punchy than most JPEG settings in-camera, and Aperture is rendering from the RAW data.  It cannot access the JPEG "recipe" as that is camera-vendor-proprietary.


    If you want a punchier image at import, then just apply Aperture's auto-enhance at import, and you'll get it.

  • SierraDragon Level 4 Level 4 (2,670 points)

    What William said. The "bright" image is the JPEG auto-generated by the camera while the dull image is the converted RAW but with no in-camera ehancements like sharpening (unsharpened images are almost always lame), white balance, etc. Many folks shoot RAW + JPEG (Fine) because the JPEG is sometimes fully adequate as is for certain usages. However the RAW always contains more image information if one is willing to do the adjustment work.




    -Allen Wicks

  • William Lloyd Level 6 Level 6 (19,235 points)

    Just recall that Aperture (or any other 3rd party raw converter) has NO information about the JPEG preview and how it was made.  That information is camera-vendor proprietary.


    Also note that there are like 6 "picture styles" in camera and this change you're seeing is entirely dependent on how you have them set.  If you have your camera set to "vivid" or something you'll see more of a change than if your on-camera is set to "faithful."


    That said, people here ALSO complain that Aperture's initial renders are TOO vivid, the exact opposite of your complaint, so you can't please everybody (in some cases, it seems you can't please ANYBODY ;-)


    Aperture provides a starting point.  Again, if you don't like it, you can tell Aperture to go with a "punchier" interpretation at its first render.  In the import dialog, try setting Aperture to use the "auto enhance" preset which is built in.  Aperture will add a little vibrancy adjustment, and it will add a curve, which will greatly add punch to the image.  If you want adjustments in a different direction, you can create a preset and set it at import.


    The only thing Aperture CANNOT do is what you're asking, which is "take the JPEG that my camera vendor generates through some voodoo and try and render the raw file just like that."  It's, unfortunately, impossible to do.

  • torreypines Calculating status...

    Thanks, William, for taking the time to post this very clear, and absolutely correct, explanation. I shoot RAW and JPEG original pairs with Nikon DSLR's so that when I import both separate originals into Aperture, I can use the JPEG image as a visual guide in the editing process with the corresponding RAW image. The JPEG will have the baked-in Nikon proprietary effects I have chosen, and which I can then try to re-create during post-processing of the RAW original.

  • CorkyO2 Level 4 Level 4 (1,290 points)

    Mrmidwesterner wrote:


    Thanks for the response. This is what I imagined at first, but this does not happen with the same images on another computer with an older version of aperture. Also - the ready to edit RAW image on the older version of raw matches the initial "jpg" version in the new aperture.


    It may be that the other computer with the older version of Aperture also has an older version of Apple's 'Digital Camera RAW compatibility' package. As I recall, Apple changed something to render colors more faithfully for Nikon NEF files in one of the versions in the last 6 months to a year. Digital Camera RAW is the thing that decodes the RAW files for OS X and any Apple software that will render RAW files.


    You can go to the 'Aperture menu > About Aperture' to see which version of Digital Camera RAW is being used.


    Some people have reverted to an older version of the Digital Camera RAW Compatibility to maintain their workflow.


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