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on Apr 23, 2012 in Digital Darkroom

Best for Processing D4 files?

“How do you get the most out of the D4 file?” This is a very common question right now and rightly so. To be honest with you, I’ve been trying to answer that question for my own images. I’ve tried everything out there like Lightroom 4 and ACR 6.7 and some others you don’t know about yet and I’ve found the program bringing out the most and best from the D4 file right now is NX2. Now I’d not used NX2 in over 3yrs so had to go and get it to test and was quite surprised it looked exactly like how it did 3yrs ago. Yeah, there are a couple new sliders and it’s a bit faster, but otherwise, it’s still the same. The main thing though is NX2 has the secret sauce pulling out the small nuances of color and exposure that other programs simply weren’t. It adds to my workflow processing time but the additional look to the images is worth it to me.

Now before the call for side by side comparisons come flying into my inbox, lemme just say I’m not going to post any and here’s why. First and I’m still surprised how many don’t realize this, but images posted on the web are sRGB color space. Those I’m looking at and comparing are in the ProPhoto color space. There is a BIG difference between those two when it comes to subtle details that you’re not going to see on the web. Second, just because I like NX2 better doesn’t mean you will. How do you find out one over the other? You process the same file in other programs and do your own side by side. That’s why I’ve not posted them here.

While I was comparing, I checked out HDR processing and I found the Nik’s HDR Efex Pro did a better job with D4 files over the other options on my computer.

The top image is of the Texas Flying Legends Museum Aleutian Tiger P-40 and “Dakota Kid” P-51D that I shot air to air this past week from the tail of the B-25J “Panchito.” It was processed in NX2 by simply launching NX2, opening the file and doing a Save As. That’s it, nothing else. The bottom image was processed in CS5 using HDR Efex Pro with all its defaults except I move the Structure slider up a couple of points. The D4 just keeps me hopping as I learn more and my photography grows just a tad more with age.