P: Use in-camera photo settings as RAW defaults

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Community Beginner ,
Jan 27, 2022 Jan 27, 2022

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Background:

When importing RAW files into Lightroom, some common photo settings are read from the RAW file to set the processing defaults in the Develop module... such as white balance or camera color profile.

 

Camera manufacturer RAW processors tend to leverage most/all in-camera settings to allow RAW processing so software JPEG conversions almost exactly mimic in-camera JPEG conversion.  Lightroom has only partial coverage of these in-camera settings.  As a result, RAW files imported into LR often look different than they did when shot in-camera.

 

What I'd like:

I would like to see in-camera settings reflected as RAW processing defaults in the LR Develop module.  Ideally, if I shot RAW+JPEG, importing both files into Lightroom would have both files look identical, no matter what settings I set in camera.

 

Every manufacturer has different settings with different names, so as a couple examples of settings I often alter:

  1. In Fujifilm cameras, Highlight Tone, Shadow Tone, Contrast, Grain, and White Balance color toning, and other settings are frequently used to create a SOOC look.
  2. In Nikon cameras, Picture Controls encapsulate numerous settings, such as Sharpness, Clarity, and Saturation.

 

These defaults clearly don't replace processing, but they will reduce the gap between a "fresh" image and a "final" image, which will save considerable time in some cases.

 

Why this is important:

1) I use JPEG processing settings for visualization in-camera, especially for B&W photography.  Having the as-shot look appear intact in Lightroom makes it easier for me to cull images without having to remember what I saw in the shot and attempt to recreate it with processing (a huge time sink).

 

2) For many photos, a SOOC look is sufficient for my needs.  Today I sometimes shoot JPEG in these cases.  I use LR to cull images and then my work is done.  If I do shoot RAW, I also have to apply presets or process images to re-create the "look" of the image as-shot, which is time-consuming.

 

3) Many people hate spending a lot of time making their RAW files look acceptable, but they also hate losing image quality by shooting JPEG.  If Lightroom presented RAW files that looked like fully-baked SOOC JPEGs, many of us could abandon JPEG entirely.

 

Side note:

I originally submitted this as a bug report in another thread, as I find that the RAW files from my Z9 have very nearly 100% coverage of in-camera settings already!  I find this extremely useful, but was disappointed to find that only one important setting ("Effect Level") was not implemented in Lightroom.  The older thread is linked above for context.

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22 Comments
Adobe Community Professional ,
Jan 28, 2022 Jan 28, 2022

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When processing a raw file, the camera will use its built-in raw conversion software and Lightroom will use Adobe raw conversion software. As these proprietary softwares are not the same and as raw processing is more an art than an exact science, you cannot expect identical results. Adobe has created profiles like 'camera standard', but you have to understand that such profiles are Adobe profiles, designed to match the camera manufacturers profiles as closely as possible, not camera manufacturers profiles written for use in Lightroom.

 

-- Johan W. Elzenga

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Jan 28, 2022 Jan 28, 2022

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Adobe and all other 3rd party raw converters will never deal with proprietary metadata. And vise versa. That's what proprietary means. Equally, the camera manufacturers cannot deal with Adobe proprietary instructions for rendering. Plus 5 Saturation is meaningless outside the Adobe raw engine even if another raw processor had a slider with the same name. Some metadata can be read such as White Balance. But WB defines a very large range of possible colors so one converter may read CTT 5500K and produce a vastly different WB rendering than another.

Rendering is subjective just like E6 film; some like Velvia, some like Agfachrome etc. All the renderings are proprietary. They don't render the scene 'as it was' but as someone wishes to express that scene and much of this is a black box.

Bigger issue IMHO for you: shooting raw plus JPEG. One, the raw, isn't ideally being exposed.

That JPEG is proprietary processing from within the camera too.


Author “Color Management for Photographers" & "Photoshop CC Color Management/pluralsight"

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Community Beginner ,
Jan 28, 2022 Jan 28, 2022

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@JohanElzenga, I understand the implications of similar versus same... I see the not-quite-exact film simulation analogs that Lightroom presents when I shoot RAW with my Fujifilm cameras.  In most cases, I'd call Lightroom "really close", and most of the time that's good enough.  As this kind of feature would be mostly helpful to get a close starting point for later processing, I think this limitation isn't really an issue.

 

@thedigitaldog, you're the second person who has told me that LR (and others) don't deal with manufacturer-specific metadata.  Respectfully, I have Z9 RAW files that prove that Lightroom is affected by in-camera settings.  I don't know the underlying mechanism that makes this work, and perhaps this is more Nikon than Adobe?  I also should say that my Z6 and X100V do not seem to exhibit this behavior.  But if I adjust my Z9's in-camera contrast, clarity, noise reduction, or most other settings, the RAW file's defaults in the LR Develop module change accordingly.

 

I've seen some other conversations where people are saying Nikon is putting metadata into the RAW file that Lightroom uses... I can't verify the mechanism, of course, but this feature is somehow already partially-implemented.  I can't attach a NEF file here, or I would happily show you a sample file that exhibits this behavior.

 

Again, to the utility of this feature: I certainly don't think fiddling with some boilerplate in-camera settings replaces post-processing.  But I am not the only person who switches to JPEG for high-volume action shooting to avoid PP work, and if I could get RAW files that look even similar to in-camera JPEGs in LR via a feature like I described, I'd have the best of both worlds, and wouldn't shoot JPEG at all.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Jan 28, 2022 Jan 28, 2022

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quote
you're the second person who has told me that LR (and others) don't deal with manufacturer-specific metadata.  Respectfully, I have Z9 RAW files that prove that Lightroom is affected by in-camera settings.  I don't know the underlying mechanism that makes this work, and perhaps this is more Nikon than Adobe?  I also should say that my Z6 and X100V do not seem to exhibit this behavior.  But if I adjust my Z9's in-camera contrast, clarity, noise reduction, or most other settings, the RAW file's defaults in the LR Develop module change accordingly.
By @ckrueger2

 

 

That isn't what I told you. I told you that some proprietary metadata isn't understood and I told you metadata that isn't proprietary, like White Balance is understood but interpreted differently every converter.

Some settings, metadata or otherwise, proprietary or otherwise can affect the raw data. But the raw is just that, raw. You can't unbake that. And there is proprietary processing for a JPEG that cannot be fully mimicked by anything but the manufacturers converter; it is again proprietary processing.

Some metadata is used by other converters. Some not. Proprietary metadata isn't but that's because in this case, Nikon has decided not to disclose how it works which is their right to do.

As for JPEG, again a rendering in camera is always from the raw and it is proprietary and nothing makes that 'correct' any more than Velvia is more correct or accurate than Ektachrome. You may prefer that rendering and sometimes you can get 'close' to reproducing this proprietary conversion from a 3rd party but there is and never will be a guarantee. It again is proprietary. Just as there is never a guarantee that one E6 film can or will match another.

Lastly, I'd summit that a huge part of photography is rendering the image as the creator desires, not some baked rendering (like from a JPEG). This long but superb article goes into this in detail with many examples:

http://www.lumita.com/site_media/work/whitepapers/files/pscs3_rendering_image.pdf


Author “Color Management for Photographers" & "Photoshop CC Color Management/pluralsight"

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Community Beginner ,
Jan 28, 2022 Jan 28, 2022

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OK, so to be exact:  "proprietary metadata isn't understood".

 

My experiment to prove otherwise, then, is this:

 

1. Set up a shot with a Z9.  Manual exposure, 1/160, f/4, ISO1600.

2. Set the camera to Neutral Picture Control.  Default settings within.

3. Shoot Frame A

4. Set the camera to Neutral Picture Control and the following settings within:

     * Sharpening 4.5

     * Mid-range sharpening 4.0

     * Clarity 2.5

     * Contrast 3

     * Saturation 3

5. Shoot Frame B

 

Do we agree that the RAW files should look identical?  I changed nothing in these two frames except the five settings listed, which are ostensibly JPEG settings.  The RAW sensor data should be identical, and while Nikon is surely writing proprietary metadata into the RAW file (so Nikon's RAW converter can understand the Picture Control settings), as you said, Lightroom doesn't understand this proprietary metadata.

 

So, here's Frame A:

https://www.dropbox.com/s/7kwqeidpd61p8fa/NZ9_3499.NEF?dl=0

 

And here's Frame B:

https://www.dropbox.com/s/dgxnrjwawd69cs3/NZ9_3500.NEF?dl=0

 

I literally dragged these directly off the CFE card and into Dropbox.  They have not been touched by any software before ending up in Dropbox.

 

If you will, import both these files into Lightroom.  When I do, what I see in the Develop tab is:

 

Frame A has Contrast 0, Texture 20, Clarity 10, Saturation 0, and Sharpening 22 / 2.0 / 25

Frame B has Contrast 60, Texture 80, Clarity 50, Saturation 30, and Sharpening 60 / 2.0 / 24

 

The files clearly have different Develop Mode default settings.  Which should be impossible if Lightroom doesn't understand proprietary metadata.

 

Furthermore, if I Copy Settings from Frame A to Frame B, the files then look identical (except for my slight camera movement).

 

Perhaps there's some way to say that this isn't technically proprietary metadata, but I think that's a semantics argument.  Clearly what Lightroom is doing with Z9 files is showing different Develop Mode default settings based on in-camera settings.  Which is precisely what my feature request is asking for.  It's just not fully implemented, for all cameras.

 

I'm happy to grant that this might be Nikon's doing more than Adobe's.  I'm also happy to accept that Adobe understanding Nikon's proprietary data might not be a reasonable thing to request.  But the evidence is in these files, that Lightroom alters its default rendering based on in-camera settings on a Nikon Z9, and I'd love it if this were implemented fully, and for as many cameras as possible.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Jan 28, 2022 Jan 28, 2022

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OK, so to be exact:  "proprietary metadata isn't understood".quote

By @ckrueger2

 

Correct.

 
Computer software for which the software's publisher or another person reserves some licensing rights to use, modify, share modifications, or share the software.
 
Many years ago, Nikon altered their white balance metadata such it wasn't understood, they encrypted it making it proprietary and a sh*t storm resulted** and they fixed this massive mistake of theirs. But they can and do  produce other proprietary metadata as is their choice, metadata that only their raw processors can understand and hence use.
 
 
Metadata or anything else that alters the raw, alters the raw and there are difference with or without due to the raw being different.
 
Anything proprietary that isn't understood by anyone but the manufacturer isn't understood and isn't used (it can't be). No, it isn't a semantics argument. Adobe nor any other 3rd party raw converter can handle proprietary data, metadata or otherwise that it cannot understand by the choice of the hardware company producing that data. If you want Adobe to understand this, or anyone else, you better talk with Nikon. Good luck
 


Author “Color Management for Photographers" & "Photoshop CC Color Management/pluralsight"

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Community Beginner ,
Jan 28, 2022 Jan 28, 2022

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I can see we're going to circle each other on this strawman argument over the usability of proprietary maker tags, so I'll make just correct two points before signing off.

 

First, proprietary doesn't mean unsuable, as you assert.  Industry is littered with examples of proprietary file formats that are used by third-party systems.  For example, the PSD file format is a proprietary Adobe Photoshop file format, but it is usable by numerous other software packages.  Perhaps even more on point, NEF is a proprietary Nikon file format, but it is used by Lightroom (and many other packages).

 

Adobe has even created DNG as an open standard RAW container, and specifically states that proprietary RAW files create archival risk.  Not "make files unusable by third-party software".  Merely creates risk.  (Personally, I agree and would like to see universal DNG adoption, but that's beside the point.)

 

When you say "Adobe nor any other 3rd party raw converter can handle proprietary data", you are incorrect.  I submit Lightroom processing proprietary RAW files as proof.

 

Second, I've presented evidence of Lightroom reacting to in-camera settings.  You've presented an opinion that such things are impossible.

 

Respectfully, evidence trumps opinion.  You are incorrect in your assertion that Lightroom cannot react to in-camera settings.

 

Regardless of the internal mechanisms that result in Lightroom altering its Develop Mode default values, the effect is real from the end-user's perspective.  Now, if an engineer with understanding of how this "magic" is happening were to say "Nikon is putting processing hints in their RAW files that Lightroom is accepting", my response would be "That's great!  Please work with camera makers to make this a standard feature for all new cameras!"  My request was for a user feature, after all, not necessarily for Adobe to reverse-engineer some BLOB data in NEF.  I've done that kind of work in a past life as a developer, and it's not fun.

 

I don't like to respond to an argument and then "run away", but I don't think continuing to argue about this "proprietary" business is going to get anywhere.  I'm sure you agree.

 

If you'd like to debate the merits of the feature request itself, I'm happy to do so... I would find this feature very useful, or I wouldn't be spending time arguing my case.  I have two cameras now that can create RAW files at 20fps.  Leveraging this feature on the front end would save me real-world time over creating a variety of LR presets on the back end, and has the added advantage of allowing me to visualize in-camera and have the results reflected in software.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Jan 28, 2022 Jan 28, 2022

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I can see we're going to circle each other on this strawman argument over the usability of proprietary maker tags, so I'll make just correct two points before signing off.
By @ckrueger2

 

Only because you seem to have reading comprehension issues.

I told you that there is proprietary data that isn't understood. I never said all proprietary data can't be understood.

A PSD is a proprietary file format that many other applications CAN understand and can use. There is a fee to use it but it is still proprietary AND thanks to Adobe, understandable by their doing. I never stated Lightroom cannot react to in-camera settings. In fact, I provided an example where it can when the data is presented to be understood (White Balance) when it can't by design (Nikon encrypting it).

There IS proprietary data from camera manufacturers that isn't understood by design. And no other raw converter can use it. I wrote this, I stand by this, it still remains:

Anything proprietary that isn't understood by anyone but the manufacturer isn't understood and isn't used (it can't be). No, it isn't a semantics argument. Adobe nor any other 3rd party raw converter can handle proprietary data, metadata or otherwise that it cannot understand by the choice of the hardware company producing that data.

I don’t know if you are purposely trying not to understand this, or if you are really struggling with it.


Author “Color Management for Photographers" & "Photoshop CC Color Management/pluralsight"

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Jan 28, 2022 Jan 28, 2022

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quote

 

I originally submitted this as a bug report in another thread, as I find that the RAW files from my Z9 have very nearly 100% coverage of in-camera settings already!  I find this extremely useful, but was disappointed to find that only one important setting ("Effect Level") was not implemented in Lightroom.  The older thread is linked above for context.

By @ckrueger2

Where you were told by Adobe and others: “This is not a bug”.

Enough said.


Author “Color Management for Photographers" & "Photoshop CC Color Management/pluralsight"

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Jan 29, 2022 Jan 29, 2022

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Nikon Z cameras write some camera settings in XMP, which Adobe applications understand. (XMP was invented by Adobe)

Here's the XMP settings in a NEF from my Z 7, as shown by RawDigger.

As you can see below, all the XMP settings correspond with Lightroom settings, but there is no Lightroom setting called "Effect Level", which explains why this setting doesn't carry over.

 

I'm not a fan of these XMP settings, so I created my own camera defaults in Lightroom.

A sharpen radius of 2 is way too high, and I do not want to apply luminance noise reduction to an ISO 64 image.

 

Nikon-Z7-EXIF-2.png

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Jan 29, 2022 Jan 29, 2022

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quoteI understand the implications of similar versus same... I see the not-quite-exact film simulation analogs that Lightroom presents when I shoot RAW with my Fujifilm cameras.  In most cases, I'd call Lightroom "really close", and most of the time that's good enough.  As this kind of feature would be mostly helpful to get a close starting point for later processing, I think this limitation isn't really an issue.
By @ckrueger2


You were the one that asked for identical images in your initial post. That is why I explained that this is impossible. You can already define a camera default that mimics the camera settings 'pretty well' however, and all of a sudden you seem to be content with that. So here's how to do that: https://helpx.adobe.com/lightroom-classic/help/raw-defaults.html

 

-- Johan W. Elzenga

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Community Beginner ,
Jan 29, 2022 Jan 29, 2022

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Thanks for the insight into the mechanism making LR adjust its settings, @Per Berntsen!  I can see how there's not a whole lot Adobe could itself do to extend this behavior as it is currently implemented.  Except outreach to manufacturers, I suppose.

 

May I ask why you're not a fan of this feature (if that's really even the right word, given that it's more Nikon than Adobe)?  Could you not just "turn down" the settings you don't like, and turn up the ones you do?  Are you using a series of Presets keyed to your model and ISO?  And if so, aren't Nikon's XMP "suggestions" eliminated by your presets anyway?

 

I find that for B&W images especially, that using D-Lighting and Contrast adjustments in-camera not only help me get a better idea what I might get out of LR later, but helps me remember roughly what I was going for as I cull my take.

 

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Jan 29, 2022 Jan 29, 2022

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> Except outreach to manufacturers, I suppose.

Adobe have long arms and been reaching out to manufactuers from the early days of Camera Raw. Some manfacturers provide the info (except for what they want to keep as proprietary) and others seem to keep walking away.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Jan 30, 2022 Jan 30, 2022

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PerBerntsen_2-1643545903730.png

May I ask why you're not a fan of this feature (if that's really even the right word, given that it's more Nikon than Adobe)?  Could you not just "turn down" the settings you don't like, and turn up the ones you do?  Are you using a series of Presets keyed to your model and ISO?  And if so, aren't Nikon's XMP "suggestions" eliminated by your presets anyway?

 

By @ckrueger2

 

I never shoot jpg, and I use the image on the camera's rear screen mainly to check sharpness. 

I also have the EVF histogram enabled most of the time, and use the rear wheel for exposure compensation, aiming for optimal exposure – as much exposure as possible without blowing the highlights.

It's a jpg histogram, it doesn't show RGB channels, and it's often misleading, but it's better than nothing.

With a proper exposure, I have the best possible starting point for editing in Lightroom, and I'm quite happy with Lightroom's initial rendering of my raw files. And rather than fiddling with camera settings when shooting, I prefer to do general editing on my calibrated monitor.

So camera settings are unwanted, and they are of course overwritten by my raw defaults on import.

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Community Beginner ,
Jan 30, 2022 Jan 30, 2022

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@Ian Lyons, apologies if it sounded like I was implying Adobe was insular in its handling of manufacturer file formats. I think the opposite is true; Lightroom has long had the widest camera support among this category of software (which it admittedly created).  It's a feature I greatly appreciate, having shot some lesser-used models over the years.

 

@Per Berntsen, I think I understand.  Your camera is there to collect the absolute best possible data, and Lightroom is there to create your esthetic.  I guess I generally do the same, much of the time.  Lightroom can almost always give me exactly what I want with some work, and for many photos I'm happy to spend the time processing one of the half-dozen keepers I might have after a day's shooting.

 

I sometimes use Lightroom in a different capacity, however:

 

Shooting wildlife, the pain of culling hundreds of files is compounded by the need to apply some rough processing in LR to check for the "potential" in a mountain of similar "flat" RAW files.

 

Shooting sports, all I need are "good colors" and a correct exposure.  JPEG is generally fine here, but RAW white balance control and noise reduction sure would be nice!

 

Shooting causal family events, I generally tune in a "look" I'm going for in-camera, and just shoot that.  I rarely do any processing on these.  If I shoot "finished" JPEGs, I save a ton of time, but I better nail the shot!

 

In all these cases, I always have the same experience when importing RAW files into Lightroom.  I'll start to cull the images and find a really nice photo.  Excited, I'll enter Develop module to process it a bit, and then be momentarily crushed when the image goes from a pretty-close-to-done JPEG embedded preview to a flat, your-work-is-cut-out-for-you RAW file.

 

Oftentimes I'll go a different way with processing in the end, but there's significant time savings on the table for me if my RAW starting point were closer to what I originally visualized.

 

I've spilled way too much ink describing why I think this is useful, I suppose, but I feel Lightroom is the best DAM tool available, and I use it even for my "JPEG workflows".  I guess I'm excited at how close LR is to eliminating my JPEG workflows entirely.  Clearly I'm on a bit of an island here, but perhaps those that have accepted their JPEG fate don't hang out here.  🙂

 

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Jan 30, 2022 Jan 30, 2022

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I find with my Z7 that my raw files come in virtually identical (only very minor differences) to the jpegs. I absolutely never use the dynamic lighting modes in camera though as they lie to you what the actual settings are but even if I use those modes they seem to be approximated fairly well by the equivalent Lightroom HDR-like settings (shadows, etc.). If you have your camera defaults set to using the camera settings it seems to go above and beyond the defaults that are written into the NEF file and try to approximate the HDR treatment in camera using shadows, highlights, and the appropriate exposure compensation to take care of the behind the scenes exposure bias that the in-camera HDR mode adds. To me this all seems to result in virtually identical images from an in-camera jpeg and a raw file. It's possible that this is different for your Z9 though. It is also possible that you are using settings in camera way more than I do (I really only touch exposure settings normally).  

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Community Beginner ,
Jan 30, 2022 Jan 30, 2022

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I've found that the "Active D-Lighting" feature really messed with exposures for my Z6, too.  I'd end up with underexposed files if I dared use ADL when shooting RAW.

 

The Z9 definitely behaves "better"... the exposures are correct now, and the files start their LR life with a raised shadow slider.  It's especially convenient shooting birds, because my EVF shows a milder version of what I'll be able to do later in PP, instead of everything crunched up against the top or bottom of the histogram.  SOOC RAWs all I really need to do is adjust sharpness settings depending on how sharp the actual photo is.

 

I've also found that LR seems to render my WB a bit greener than JPEGs... as a former Canon shooter I love my magentas, so I often correct that.

 

Otherwise, I agree LR does a pretty good job.  There's the few settings that aren't implemented that are causing me grief, and then there are whole model lineups of cameras that give boilerplate RAW files, but I'm glad my "high volume" camera is already most of the way there.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Jan 30, 2022 Jan 30, 2022

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Considering that exposure is only two actual (physical) attributes that control the amount of light striking the sensor (aperture and shutter), how does "Active D-Lighting" affect exposure?

Can it affect the raw? Perhaps outside of actual exposure. Can it affect the meter or ISO? Perhaps.

Be useful to see two identical captures under control where the only difference is invoking this "Active D-Lighting" and open/examine both in RawDigger.

IF the only difference in "Active D-Lighting" is proprietary metadata that isn't understood by anyone but Nikon, or proprietary alteration of the raw above and beyond what really IS expsoure, no wonder Adobe has to and should ignore it.

 

Edit: seems this 'feature' doesn't do anything but alter the 'automatic' exposure which in of itself is often problematic shooting raw. It doesn't affect the raw whatsoever on manual and thus, doesn't affect exposure unless, like ISO, you blindly ignore actual image exposure:

 

Active-D lighting and RAW files

https://andybeales.com/best-settings-for-adl-nikon/

Yes.  It does affect the raw file because it works with the cameras metering system and therefore, can affect exposure slightly. Unless you are shooting in fully manual mode.

Just like ISO, which does not affect exposure. ISO affects automatic exposure which is why so often, people incorrectly state high ISO produces more noise. Under exposure produces more noise in raw data.

Nikon would like some to believe this affects DR which is an attribute of the capture system.

Bottom line, "Active D-Lighting" doesn't do anything Adobe needs to pay attention to. You the photographer control the actual exposure of the raw, if you actually control the exposure of the raw <g>. Another reason again why a raw+JPEG approach does nothing at all useful to the raw capture; just the opposite!


Author “Color Management for Photographers" & "Photoshop CC Color Management/pluralsight"

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Jan 30, 2022 Jan 30, 2022

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It depends on your exposure mode and on your camera model. On my Z7, if you use auto-ISO, it (enabling active D-lighting) biases the ISO setting. It keeps the same shutter and aperture but simply dials down the ISO and so creates more headroom. Lightroom compensates for this automatically and dials in a positive exposure compensation and shadow and highlights value mimicing the in camera treatment. When you are in aperture mode with fixed ISO, it lowers the shutter speed. In shutter priority, it closes the aperture down a bit. So basically it just biases the light meter a bit and compensates for it. Lightroom seems to always just take care of it automatically if you have "Camera Settings" in the raw defaults. If you have Adobe Default set, you will get an underexposed image.

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Community Beginner ,
Jan 30, 2022 Jan 30, 2022

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Yes, my experience is exactly what @Jao vdL describes.

 

I typically shoot "M" with auto ISO.  Enabling Active D-Lighting, the camera drops the ISO to underexpose the image, but I don't notice it in the EVF (nor in the JPEGs) as the camera adds "fill" to make the image look like it did not underexpose the image.

 

I learned this one the hard way when I once fiddled with some in-camera settings (including ADL) when shooting RAW on my Z6, and came back to a bunch of images in Lightroom that appeared underexposed as the previews were rendered.  I didn't realize a switch to "Camera Settings" for RAW defaults would circumvent this... I simply stopped using ADL at the time.  Thanks for the background, I'm going to re-evaluate that setting on my Z6, now!

 

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Jan 30, 2022 Jan 30, 2022

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So some screenshots that show what happens. These are images of my basement with a bright window in it so I am only showing the as imported histogram and settings to show what happens.

ADL (high) on vs ADL off with auto-ISO on. You see it just biases the ISO and avoids the blown-out highlight and dials in a bit of exposure compensation.

Screen Shot 2022-01-30 at 11.13.37 AM.pngScreen Shot 2022-01-30 at 11.12.56 AM.png

Here is fixed ISO, aperture priority:

Screen Shot 2022-01-30 at 11.17.45 AM.pngScreen Shot 2022-01-30 at 11.18.04 AM.png

It biases the shutter speed in this case.

And here is fixed ISO, shutter priority

Screen Shot 2022-01-30 at 11.20.23 AM.pngScreen Shot 2022-01-30 at 11.20.37 AM.png

So all ADL does is bias the light meter a bit and compensates for it in post. If you have auto-ISO it doesn't change the exposure (remember exposure is ONLY shutter and aperture!), just lowers the sensor sensitivity (ISO) a bit. In fixed ISO mode, it actually lowers the exposure either by increasing shutter speed or increasing aperture which will introduce more noise but will create more headroom for highlights.

 

I am of the opinion that you are always beter off controlling the exposure yourself to create the optimal exposure but I can see how it can help make the images look a bit better on your camera back if you use the ADL modes and can have workflow benefits.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Jan 30, 2022 Jan 30, 2022

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ISO does not affect exposure. ISO affects an exposure recommendation. You (can) control exposure if you wish.

Setting ISO speed does not change the sensitivity of the sensor to incoming light, like volume control does not change the sensitivity of a radio. In both cases the setting (ISO or volume) controls only the signal processing, while the input stage (sensor, antenna) provides the same input signal and in this case, exposure to the sensor.

That's why when ISO setting is cranked up, automatic exposure results in more noise - automatic exposure in this case decreases the exposure (that is, the combination of aperture and shutter speed is set to allow less light captured by the sensor). Less exposure, less light, more noise. If this Nikon 'feature' under exposes the raw, that's not good. Optimal exposure, for raw (which differs from a JPEG), a color neg, a transparency is all basic photography 101.

Articles on exposing for specifically and only raw:
http://www.onezone.photos
http://schewephoto.com/ETTR/
https://luminous-landscape.com/the-optimum-digital-exposure/
http://digitaldog.net/files/ExposeForRaw.pdf
https://www.fastrawviewer.com/blog/mystic-exposure-triangle
https://www.fastrawviewer.com/blog/red_flowers_photography_to-see-the-real-picture
https://www.rawdigger.com/howtouse/exposure-for-raw-or-for-jpegs
https://www.rawdigger.com/howtouse/beware-histogram
https://www.rawdigger.com/howtouse/calibrate-exposure-meter-to-improve-dynamic-range


Author “Color Management for Photographers" & "Photoshop CC Color Management/pluralsight"

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