nikon 850 raw+ camera raw

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I encounter a severe problem with the quality of the raw conversion from the adobe raw converter. Especially when camera set to produce a medium raw file (M raw) the developed jpg's look very unsharp, as if no sharpening has been applied. I just post produced a job with architecture photography, were I mixed between my Nikon D4 and the new D 850. The Quality from the D4 looks so much sharper and crisper. The files from the Nikon D850 are in comparison barely usable. Please rework the Adobe camera raw, so that we get the same good quality as we were used to
Ronald Frommann, Hamburg
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Frommann

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Posted 1 year ago

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David Franzen, Employee

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Please provide some examples: the original raw files as well as renders. Thank you.
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Frommann

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Thanks David, I will send some files tomorrow
Greetings
Ronald
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Frommann

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Hi David
because of the size of the files, I send you a wetransfer download link
https://we.tl/bbjH6mhWV8
Greetings
Ronald
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Todd Shaner, Champion

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A Sharpening Amount of ~75 is required to achieve what looks like a "default 25 setting with the mraw NEF file. To be honest the D850_0172 M in-camera JPEG file isn't that sharp either. I suggest also uploading a full-size D850 NEF of the same image or similar image shot with the same lens.
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Frommann

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Hi Todd
thanks for the info. Because of the big difference in appearance between my D4 and  D850 files of this architectural photo job, I redid all the LR processing of the D850 raws and ended up with a little more contrast, a sharpening of 80/1.2/40/30 and clarity (10). It's better, but not good. I will do another test shot with same lens and 3 different raw formats of the D850 and a raw from the D4. I'll send you the link as soon as I have them. Thanks
Greetings 
Ronald
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Todd Shaner, Champion

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One other thing you should be aware of is that the Adobe Standard camera profile was changed sometime around Sept. 2014. Camera models manufacturered after that date have Adobe Standard camera profiles with a lower contrast Tone Curve and less color saturation. When comparing images shot with earlier cameras (Nikon D4) to newer models (Nikon D850) the newer model Adobe Standard rendering will appear flatter with less saturated colors (i.e. anemic). More here:

https://forums.adobe.com/message/9099804#9099804

There are some workarounds such as using the Camera Standard camera profile or modifying the Adobe Standard profile with the Adobe DNG Profile Editor.

Having said all that there appears to be a LR Sharpening algorithm issue with Nikon D850 mraw NEF files. Let's see if it also affects the full-size NEFs.
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Frommann

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Hi Todd
here is a link for downloading my testfiles. three different raw sizes from the D850 and a raw from the D4 for comparison.       https://we.tl/PcTOe3gDMk
The shots were taken with a 14-24 Nikon, one of my sharp lenses from a tripod and a safe shutter/aperture combination 1/200 +8
Interesting topic with the Adobe RGB Profile. I noticed some years ago, that I am not satisfied with the camera set to Adobe RGB anymore and changed my workflow to camera standard as my main camera profile. Some rare times  I changed back to Adobe RGB or to camera portrait, mostly when shooting with studio flashes, but it was always a bit tricky to get nice skin tones.
Looking forward to hear your opinion regarding the nikon raw files issue
Greetings
Ronald 
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David Franzen, Employee

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Thank you for the sample files. I will study them.
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It appears the full-size NEFs have no sharpening issues, but there are differences in contrast and color saturation due to the Adobe Standard camera profile change I mentioned. If you compare the D4 and D850 full-size NEFs using the Camera Standard profile with both the D850 actually has more "definition" (IQ) than the D4.

The mraw and sraw files exhibit the same deficient LR Sharpening issue as in the first images you posted. This was established using the full-sized NEF resized to the mraw and sraw dimensions. Even with no additional output sharpening the resized full-size NEF is sharper than the same size mraw and sraw files.
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David Franzen, Employee

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One note for testing, remember that the effect of settings on the Detail panel (sharpening, noise reduction, etc.) are previewed most accurately at 100% (1:1) magnification (or larger). If you are comparing fullsize D850 shots to D4 or small/medium D850 shots you will have to zoom in further to hit 100%. Comparing sharpness in fit-view for files of different resolutions is not very useful.
(Edited)
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Absolutely, 1:1, 100% Zoom View and making sure to compare images at the same exact dimension size (pixels x pixels). The only way I know to do that is "resize" the larger image to the dimensions of the smaller image. Then of course the question is do you apply Output Sharpening to the resized image? In my testing I did NOT apply output sharpening to the full-size (8256 x 5504) NEF after resizing using Bicubic Smoother and it was still sharper than all of the other images at same comparison size in 1:1 Zoom view. Also use the Camera Standard profile since the Adobe Standard profile for the D850 has different contrast and color rendering.

"Interesting topic with the Adobe RGB Profile."

Ronald, I think you mean 'Adobe Standard' camera profile, correct? Yes,there are a number posts from users with "new" cameras (post Sept. 2014) complaining about the rendering in LR with the Adobe Standard profile (self-included).
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There are technical difference between the sharpening features and the contrast features. Yes, they both have an overall impact on the apparent "sharpness" or a photo, but for the purpose of getting to the bottom of what's actionable or not, it's useful to separate the two concerns.
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" it's useful to separate the two concerns."

Agreed, which is why I suggested NOT using the Adobe Standard camera profile. That eliminates it from the analysis. :>)
(Edited)
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Frommann

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Hi Todd, hi David,

thanks so much for investigating my (and other's ) issues with the  files of the Nikon D850.
I know it is quite a challenge to do these tests scientifically. I try my best. But thanks for the tips.
Actually, because I didn't like the LR Rendering with the Adobe Standard Camera profile, I used Camera Standard most of the times. To be able to develop the raws from the D850, I used the DNG converter to import the dng's  into Lightroom. But, in LR it is then not possible to select another camera profile than Adobe Standard. That might make quite a difference in the appearance of the D850 raws converted to jpgs this way. What I also tried is to use the Nikon NX-D as a raw converter. But also there, the results were not satisfying.
In my workflow, I never used the sharpening in the export dialog or other sharpening after the LR Rendering. Only yesterday, when I redid the post processing of my job of architectual photos, I  used the sharpening in the export dialog of LR.
Where do you think, after examining my files, is the problem? Is it the Camera with it's software while producing the smaller raws, or is it the raw conversion of the ARC?
I have contacted Nikon Germany as well. They also want to investigate into this issue.
At the moment, I have stopped using the camera, because I mainly wanted to use the m-raw for daily work and only switch to L-raw when I really need the higher resolution. Always using the L-raw would totally kill my workflow. So I am actually thinking about giving back the camera.
Or do you think there is hope?

Greetings from Hamburg
Ronald
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Frommann

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Hi all
if you haven't seen this review already, here is a link
http://www.francescospighi.com/nikon-d850-review-field-test/2017/09/
He is an Nikon ambassador and he also found this Issue, but relates it more to the adobe conversion.
My unscientific tests with the Nikon software weren't that promising though, but this software (NX-D/ NX-I is a pain to work with)
so maybe the problem really is with the adobe conversion. I hope you guys can do something about it
Greetings
Ronald
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Todd Shaner, Champion

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But, in LR it is then not possible to select another camera profile than Adobe Standard. That might make quite a difference in the appearance of the D850 raws converted to jpgs this way.
Try downloading the latest version of ACR 9.12.1:

Windows
http://supportdownloads.adobe.com/detail.jsp?ftpID=6216

Mac
http://supportdownloads.adobe.com/detail.jsp?ftpID=6214

What I also tried is to use the Nikon NX-D as a raw converter. But also there, the results were not satisfying.
If you are seeing similar sharpening issues using Nikon's raw converter then most likely this is a camera issue and not a LR/ACR issue.

I just saw your reply above concerning this Nikon D850 review: http://www.francescospighi.com/nikon-d850-review-field-test/2017/09/

It's clear from the Nikon View-NX results this is an issue with LR/ACR and NOT the camera!
Only yesterday, when I redid the post processing of my job of architectual photos, I  used the sharpening in the export dialog of LR.
Export Output Sharpening is only required when 'Resize to Fit' is also selected. Full-size Exports should not require Output Sharpening, which is another indication there is an issue with the Nikon D850 sraw and mraw files format.

At the moment, I have stopped using the camera, because I mainly wanted to use the m-raw for daily work and only switch to L-raw when I really need the higher resolution.
Rather than mraw NEF I suggest using 12bit Compressed NEF file format as a "better option" if you have storage issues. (see below table)

http://regex.info/blog/photo-tech/nef-compression

You can also simply use a lower megapixel body for the majority of your work and only use the D850 when necessary.

Memory card and hard drive prices are at an all time low per GB...and will only get cheaper! Speaking as a design engineer with 50-years of experience I'd opt to use 14bit loss-less compressed full-size NEFs and simply buy more memory cards and larger HDDs. This of course assumes you don't have any performance issues with the 45.7 megapixel NEFs inside LR.

(Edited)
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Frommann

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Hi Todd,
if my italian colleague is right ( he did the test with Nikon NX-I more scientifically than I did), the problem is adobe related. If so, would there be hope, that Adobe will work on this issue?
Regarding ARC, I use the CC and have the newest version of PS and LR, Bridge and DNG converter. But still I can't select another camera profile than Adobe standard.
Regarding file size: the bottleneck will definitely be LR and my Mac Pro . As soon as I open these huge files, everything will happen veeeery sloooow.
I might do another test with C1 as raw converter, they just released an update, which supports the Nikon D850. Let's see, what this test shows....
Greetings
Ronald
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Pretty curious to see what C1 is going to do. LR is slow as hell and I'll probably try to switch if LR7 (hopefully we'll see it in the early October) will not run faster. I bought a XPS15 with the last I7 but it's also pretty slow. 
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Frommann

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Hi Francesco
I did the test in capture one today and the result is quite the same as in ARC: the L-raw is fine, the other are much less sharp and crisp.I returned the camera and wait for some solution hopefully in the near future.
Capture one first refused to work on my old and trusted MacPro 2009/ 3.46GHz/32GB Ram on OS X 10.11. It crashed several times yesterday. Today, oh wonder, it worked fine and not too slow
Greetings
Ronald
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I don't use Adobe DNG Converter, but it looks like Adobe Standard is the only profile it can assign. You can open multiple images in Adobe Camera Raw from Bridge, assign Camera Standard profile, then 'Save Image As,' and select DNG file format. That's what I did to evaluate your D850 NEFs in LR.

The full-size D850 NEFs edit with very little performance issues on my six-year old quad core PC with only 12GB memory and 2560x1440 display. The 4K and 5K Mac Retina displays and six-core and higher processors are known to go cause performance issues. What is the display resolution and processor type in your Mac Pro?
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Frommann

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Hi Todd, good to know the trick how to assign the camera standard profile. Will try this.

My set up here is a macpro 2009 upgraded to 5.1 with one 3.46GHz 6 Core Intel Xeon, 32GB Ram, AMD Radeon R9 280X Graphiccard. Working on two monitors 27" NEC spectra view 1920x1200
Lightroom always feels a bit slow, but I got used to it. The professor upgrade and the SSD for the system made a difference, as well as the faster Graphic card. I hope to get along with this system until new mac pro's arrive.
Tomorrow I will try raw conversion with C1. Just downloaded the demo.
Greetings
Ronald 
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macpro 2009 upgraded to 5.1 with one 3.46GHz 6 Core Intel Xeon
The six-core Xeon processor is causing your performance issues in LR. I Know it's hard to believe, but you can read more here:

https://feedback.photoshop.com/photoshop_family/topics/lightroom-clone-and-brush-tool-can-not-stress...

Adobe is working on this issue, but I have no idea when it will be fixed. There are a few workarounds in the above post concerning limiting the number of cores used by LR. Like I said, my six-year old 2.8GHz i7-860 quad-core system handles the full-size D850 NEFs with very little performance issues. 1:1 Zoom view in the Develop module takes a bit longer, but everything else behaves similar to my Canon 5D MKII 21 megapixel CR2 files.
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About D850 Camera Profiles in Lightroom

The DNG Converter and Camera Raw plugin installers install the Nikon D850 camera profiles in a central location on computers where the Camera Raw plugin looks for profiles. 

Lightroom does not look for profiles in this location. As a workaround, you can use Camera Raw 9.12.1 instead of Lightroom for now.

Another workaround is to copy the Nikon D850 camera profiles into the user-level Camera Profiles directory. Both Lightroom and Camera Raw check this location. It is intended for custom, user-generated camera profiles.

Copy all the files with a .dcp extension and "Nikon D850" in their name from the central location to the user-level directory.

On Mac the profiles for the D850 are centrally installed at this path:

/Library/Application Support/Adobe/CameraRaw/CameraProfiles/Camera

The user-level location is:

/Users/YOUR USER NAME HERE/Library/Application Support/Adobe/CameraRaw/CameraProfiles

Note that this path does not include the final "Camera" sub folder. By default the macOS Finder won't navigate to these folders, but you can access them by using the "Go" menu in Finder and typing in the path. For the user-level folder "~/Library" is an abbreviation for the Library folder inside your home directory (as opposed to /Library, the central location).

On Windows PCs the central location is:

C:\ProgramData\Adobe\CameraRaw\CameraProfiles\Camera

Assuming you have Windows installed on your "C:" drive. If not, adjust as necessary.

The user-level location is:

C:\Users\YOUR USER NAME HERE\AppData\Roaming\Adobe\CameraRaw\CameraProfiles

Unless you've customized Windows to keep your user directory on a different drive. Note there is not final "Camera" sub directory at the user-level location.

In the future after installing a new version of Lightroom with built-in D850 support, you will not need to keep the Nikon D850 .dcp files in the user-level location.
(Edited)
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Sharpening for D850 files, small- medium, and full-size NEFs, appears to be operating as designed. Compared to other raw processors, for example Capture NX-D, Camera Raw's sharpening at the built-in default settings may appear to be more conservative (not as strong).

If you prefer that all D850 files appear sharper by default, adjust the sharpening controls on the detail panel to the desired settings and save this as your default. Zoom to 100% (1:1) or closer when adjusting the detail settings for the most accurate preview.

To customize your Camera Raw settings defaults, click on the "flyout" menu in the top corner of the Detail panel, and select the "Save New Camera Raw Defaults." (See screenshot, attached.) In Lightroom, choose "Set Default Settings..." from the "Develop" menu in the app's main menu bar when using the Develop module.

Default settings are camera model-specific, but may be saved specifically for an ISO setting and/or camera serial number; use the Camera Raw or Lightroom preferences panel to control defaults' scope.

Default settings store other settings as well, not just the Detail parameters: for example the current Exposure, Contrast, Blacks, Whites and most other settings are saved in the defaults. We recommend customizing your defaults so they work as your preferred starting point for editing photos from a camera, not after you have dialed in final adjustments for a specific exposure.

To best render fine details in a scene you are photographing, we recommend capturing and editing a camera's full-resolution raw files with Camera Raw. 

(Edited)
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Frommann

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Hi David, hi Todd

after experimenting with different raw converters I still don't get the quality out of the smaller raws and I have decided to give the camera back. At the moment, I can't work with it as planned.
Still I hope, that the issue, wherever it is based, will be solved. 
Thanks for all the support, the interesting ideas and tricks.
Greetings
Ronald
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There's a note that this was fixed in Camera Raw 10.1. Let us know if you see an improvement.
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Todd Shaner, Champion

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Jeff I don't have the original files to compare using LR 7.4. I downloaded full-size and medium size Nikon D850 raw files from the below site and checked them using ACR 10.4 and LR 7.4.

https://neilvn.com/tangents/images/nikon/d850/files/


https://neilvn.com/tangents/nikon-d850-medium-raw-files-soft/

Using ACR 10.4 and LR 7.4 both the mRaw and sRaw NEF files still appear slightly softer than the full-size NEF resized without any additional output sharpening applied. I applied only the Camera Standard profile and the new default Sharpening settings 40, 1.0, 25, 0 to the raw files. Below is a screenshot at 2:1 Zoom View showing The mRaw (Left) and the mRaw embedded preview (Lower-Left) next to the resized full-size Raw. A Sharpening Amount setting of 80 is required for the mRaw and 120 for the sRaw to match the full-size raw file with a 40 Amount setting applied. This raises the noise levels in both the mRaw and sRaw images making it less useful with high ISO images. The in-camera embedded previews for the full-size raw, mRaw, and sRaw all exhibit the same image quality so the issue appears to be with the ACR and LR image processing.