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Scene Modes/Picture controls

edited May 2016 Posted in » Nikon D5300 Forum
Help please!

I am trying to get a definitive answer regarding the picture controls/scene modes within the D5300. They appear to me to give pretty good results, but I am unsure as to how functional these are when shooting in raw - I use Lightroom and PS. Maybe the answer is to shoot raw and jpeg, or maybe the answer is to initially process in Nikon software and then hand off a tiff to LR. I initially thought the scene modes carried over to raw and that picture controls did not, although a definition of exactly what the picture controls are escapes me at present.



  • edited May 2016
    When you view a Raw file in most viewers, what you see is a JPG overlay, because a Raw file cannot be viewed directly. Exactly which of the controls are applied and how, will vary with the viewer. The difference here is that within the viewer you can change some things, and the result will be based on the Raw file instead of modifying a JPG, and there will be no loss, and no further loss if you change again. Every time you modify the settings in a Raw file, it refers back to the Raw file, rather than to previous modifications, and applies the changes to a new version of the JPG overlay. There is no cumulative change when you manipulate certain things on a Raw file, while each modification of a JPG, if you save the result, is irreversible. In the Nikon programs, even if you modify the file and save the result as a new version of the NEF file, you can reopen that NEF file later, and with the push of the "revert" button return to the original. Your modifications have changed only the JPG overlay and not the underlying Raw info.

    I don't use Lightroom and PS, but for example in the Nikon View NX2 and Capture NXD programs, your initial view will use the picture control you set, but you can simply switch to another. The same is true of white balance, and exposure compensation. The Nikon programs use the full set of Nikon camera controls, so the initial view you get in them will be identical to the JPG.

    The picture controls are a combination of sharpening, brightness, contrast, hue and saturation settings. The scene modes will usually apply one of those picture controls along with other presets.

    So I'd say that if LR allows a change in picture control from a Raw input, or if you can achieve the results you like, you're fine. If it does not, then you may be better off running it through the Nikon software first, since it is tailored to the camera. The same may be true if you use Active D-lighting, which modifies exposure slightly, and may not be read correctly by non-Nikon programs. If you intend to use LR, you're probably best off leaving ADL off, and using the software as needed to open up shadows.

    Another possibility here is, if LR allows you to manipulate an image to your liking, to set your normal picture control to Neutral, which is the least manipulated color control available, and work from that.

    The Raw file still uses the aperture and shutter speed you chose in the camera, along with ISO and focus mode, so any of those settings that occur in the scene controls will persist in Raw and JPG alike.
  • edited May 2016
    Thanks Bruto. I actually use Adobe Photographers CC. The deal is good, but should I decide to move on, I lose access to the programs. That is not good, as one should, in my view, at least be left with a perpetual license for the software (even if only LR) with no more free updates. For that reason I am considering alternatives. Is VNX-I a reasonable DAM?

    Regarding editing JPGs, does LR keep re-saving the edited file (therefore degrading it), or does it keep a sidecar file attached to the JPEG (like it does with raw)? I just took a virtual copy of a jpg edited it in LR went off and did other things in LR and then came back to the file and reverted to original (undid all edits). That works and suggests LR does not degrade the JPG further during editing?
  • edited May 2016
    As I understand it, there is no sidecar JPG file. A program has the option of saving an original file to which you can revert, but that is not contained in the original JPG. If you were to read that JPG file in another program, the original would not be found. By contrast, when you modify the sidecar to an NEF file, there is no modification to the Raw info itself.

    I'm not familiar with how LR deals with files, but if it allows reversion, that's a nice feature. However, the original JPG will still have the picture control and exposure info and white balance already set, and those cannot be changed without further modifying the file.

    When you modify the white balance, etc. of a Raw file, the new JPG is freshly generated from the Raw original, rather than from the JPG overlay. You are not modifying a JPG a second time.
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