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  • #264876

    I originally wrote this in response to a post in Avian, but I think it’s important enough to post here as well, and I hope every nature photographer will read it :!:

    I think I am closer to understanding why many images posted on nature forums are too saturated (and too sharpened). It is because the photographer was shooting the camera in "Standard" mode, Nikon calls these Picture Controls, Canon calls them Picture Styles.

    By default when you buy your camera and take it home from the store, both Nikon and Canon cameras are set in "Standard" mode. "Standard" mode applies more saturation and contrast than the scene actually contains. For nature photography you should be using "Neutral" mode. "Neutral" will render the scene most accurately.

    There is one more thing you need to check. Even when you set your camera to "Neutral" mode the camera will still be applying some in camera sharpening. Even with the Nikon Neutral Picture Control selected the in camera sharpening is set to 1 (not 0). The sharpening is even stronger with the Nikon Standard Picture Control, in this case it is set to 3.

    I downloaded the Canon 7D manual and read the section on Picture Styles, and I see that Canon is exactly the same as Nikon in the sense that when using the Canon Standard Picture Style, in camera sharpening is also set to 3.

    The in camera sharpening can be turned off, and it should be turned off. One additional benefit of turning off in camera sharpening is you will no longer be sharpening noise.

    Also any in camera noise reduction should be turned off. The place to do sharpening, noise reduction, contrast & saturation is during post processing, not in the camera (unless you are shooting jpegs only). You should be in control of what amounts of each type of processing you want to do, if you leave it up to the camera, you have no idea what decisions the camera is making.

    You want your RAW file to be as neutral as possible so when you feed it into your post processing software of choice, whether it is Photoshop, or Lightroom, or Aperature, or Bridge, or whatever, that you are starting from neutral source. If you have already applied in camera changes, you are starting from a situation in which you may already have too much color & contrast & sharpening (and ironically noise).

    In camera "modes" (Picture Controls for Nikon and Picture Styles for Canon) and in camera sharpening are certainly the reason a lot of folks wind up with images that are over saturated and over sharpened.

    #309012

    Actually, for Canon I recommend Faithful picture style. The colours are the most accurate to what human eyes see in real life:

    http://www.imaging-resource.com/PRODS/E40D/E40DPICTURESTYLES.HTM

    I have recently changed from Neutral to Faithful after watching Canon 7D tutorial (I posted the video clip in this forum a couple of weeks ago). Canon is recommending serious photographers to use Faithful picture style.

    here are some comparison:

    http://www.canon.co.jp/imaging/picturestyle/style/faithful.html

    I agree that sharpening and noise reduction should be turn off in camera, just do them in post processing.

    Cheers,
    SC

    #309077

    If you are Tiger Woods you may not select "faithful" :P

    #309079

    Glad that he is not Canon user so there is no "faithful" in his camera and his picture controls or styles setting is "digression". :D

    #309083
    Profile photo of LuennyLuenny
    Member

    Thanks for the tips Con. Will go back and try tonight. This could be the reason why some of my pictures are so noisy.

    #309086
    Profile photo of tridenttrident
    Member

    Con,
    Thanks. Think I like Tiger’s camera can select "Cocktail Waitress" :D

    #309177

    Con,
    Thanks for the heads-up. Will try out these settings too!

    #309204
    Profile photo of frankiefrankie
    Spectator

    Also any in camera noise reduction should be turned off. The place to do sharpening, noise reduction, contrast & saturation is during post processing, not in the camera (unless you are shooting jpegs only). You should be in control of what amounts of each type of processing you want to do, if you leave it up to the camera, you have no idea what decisions the camera is making.

    Hi ! Con,
    Thanks for the write up, just a question here regarding the Noise reduction, in my D300, 2 NR are in the menu, namely long expo NR & High ISO NR, must I turn both off as what you suggested ?

    Regrads,

    frankie

    #309193

    Hi Frankie,

    I do and that’s what I recommend :nodding:

    #309221
    Profile photo of JRCJRC
    Member

    Hi Frankie,

    If you use NX2 you can also desactivate most of the camera settings which are recorded in your NEF files, NR included.

    Cheers
    JR

    #309366
    Profile photo of Olesen, BjornOlesen, Bjorn
    Spectator

    Good points, just corrected mine…

    Bjorn

    #309867
    Profile photo of erictanerictan
    Member

    hi con, thanks for very useful insights to handling my pics…. have immediately changed to neutral… :D
    just one question: when i do sharpening in PS, and apply sharpening to the whole pic, wouldn’t i be sharpening the noise too?
    or do i need to apply mask to the outside area and sharpen the bird only?

    thanks
    eric :)

    #310301

    Hi Eric,

    Yes, if you sharpen the whole picture you will also sharpen the noise. Sharpening the entire picture is not a problem though if the iso at which you are shooting is rather clean, then there isn’t enough noise to worry about.

    However if you are at a more agressive iso, then it would be worth the extra effort to mask the subject and denoise only the background and then only sharpen the subject.

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