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Nikon RAW images seem very grainy

New Here ,
Nov 28, 2018

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I am using Lightroom CC to edit RAW images from my Nikon D750 and D500. I have noticed (somewhat recently) that the images seem very grainy, especially in darker areas (see below). I have tried adjusting exposure to see if that helps but it does not. I have also viewed the RAW images in other viewers (Nikon DX, Google Photos and Apple Photos) and the images are not as grainy. 

What I have noticed is that reducing the sharpening from 45 (default) to 0 helps significantly as does adding noise reduction. Is the issue that LRCC is simply applying more sharpening to RAW images by default than the other viewers? In a typical shoot (often soccer games) I will have 1000+ photos, so reducing sharpening or adding noise reduction for every usable image would be pretty cumbersome and it doesn't look like you can change the defaults or bulk change on import as with LR Classic (I don't have LR Classic but read about changing the default).

I have tested with just shooting jpeg and the images are not as grainy by far.  I am thinking the camera is not adding any sharpening before converting to jpeg.

My questions are...

  • Is anyone else experiencing the same issue with RAW images (Nikon or otherwise) being grainier in LRCC than other editors?
  • Are my expectations out of whack on the amount of grain in the first place (is this normal)? 
  • Is this simply the price to pay for shooting RAW? 🙂

Thanks!

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Nikon RAW images seem very grainy

New Here ,
Nov 28, 2018

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I am using Lightroom CC to edit RAW images from my Nikon D750 and D500. I have noticed (somewhat recently) that the images seem very grainy, especially in darker areas (see below). I have tried adjusting exposure to see if that helps but it does not. I have also viewed the RAW images in other viewers (Nikon DX, Google Photos and Apple Photos) and the images are not as grainy. 

What I have noticed is that reducing the sharpening from 45 (default) to 0 helps significantly as does adding noise reduction. Is the issue that LRCC is simply applying more sharpening to RAW images by default than the other viewers? In a typical shoot (often soccer games) I will have 1000+ photos, so reducing sharpening or adding noise reduction for every usable image would be pretty cumbersome and it doesn't look like you can change the defaults or bulk change on import as with LR Classic (I don't have LR Classic but read about changing the default).

I have tested with just shooting jpeg and the images are not as grainy by far.  I am thinking the camera is not adding any sharpening before converting to jpeg.

My questions are...

  • Is anyone else experiencing the same issue with RAW images (Nikon or otherwise) being grainier in LRCC than other editors?
  • Are my expectations out of whack on the amount of grain in the first place (is this normal)? 
  • Is this simply the price to pay for shooting RAW? 🙂

Thanks!

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Nov 30, 2018

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Are you also opening up the Shadows too far? What are your Basic settings for this image? Shooting RAW is optimal as it provides the full range of data captured by the camera sensors.

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New Here ,
Nov 30, 2018

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Yes, that might be the issue. I was using the auto setting and it adjusted Shadows to +65. Might be a little extreme. It is a high contrast image (side of a face zoomed in). I tried reducing the shadow adjustment and also reducing highlights and the image appeared much less grainy.

So, I guess bottom line is that the grain you are seeing isn't abnormal, just need to make sure to not over-adjust?

Thanks for your help!

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Dec 01, 2018

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Yes indeed. It’s eady to overdo. Start with auto and fine tune from there.

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