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Nikon D200 and Adobe Camera RAW (ACR)
Old 12-07-2007, 09:03 AM   #1 (permalink)
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I've recently sold my soul and entered the world of stock photography. I've been accepted by four companies and I'm getting some downloads, so things are going OK. But - I have had some images rejected because of noise, fringing, and artifacts at 100% view. Now, these images are the same that sell well at art shows and local galleries, so there is nothing wrong with them in print form. The problem arises when they are sent for inspection and reviewed as actual pixels. So, I'm going back to basics and really examining my workflow habits and questioning some thngs I've taken for granted since I started shootng 100% digital in 2004. In addition to actually reading some user manuals, I'd like to ask some basic questions and get some opinions from my esteemed collegues on this site.

I have a Nikon D200 (10.2MP) as my primary camera and I shoot in RAW format at 100 ISO. The resulting files are 16MB or slightly less with dimensions of 3872 x 2592 px and 16.1" x 10.8" at a resolution of 240ppi with a bit depth of 16. I had always assumed the D200 to produce 300ppi. When I examine my ACR settings, I found them to be 300ppi with a bit depth of 8. I assume that this makes no difference regarding noise, so should I leave them as is or change them to 16 and 240?

I go to a lot of trouble determining exposure when I shoot. I usually shoot in aperture priority or manual and I use a light meter and Photovison target to adjust exposure. I white balance for each series of shots and I include a Gretag-McBeth colorchart as the first image when I can for color balance. Problem is, when I open the images in Bridge/ACR they invariably look very underexposed and low in contrast until I apply automatic or preset adjustments, after which they are fine. Why don't they look better right out of the camera?

More later,
Doc
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Re: Nikon D200 and Adobe Camera RAW (ACR)
Old 12-07-2007, 11:36 AM   #2 (permalink)
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I guess the first question is how is the histogram. Is it showing underexposure but being bunched up to the left? When you shoot the custom white balance are you setting the exposure for that or taking the meter reading?

Here are my suggestions.

First Aperture priority or shutter priority should only be used in fast moving situations. For Stock Photos you should be thinking manual all the time because of the control.

With the camera in manual take a shot of your gray target and check the histogram in the camera. It should have a spike in the center of the histogram. If it is off then you need to make adjustments in the camera. I do not shoot Nikon but I know that Canon has an adjustment that can change the bracket of the exposure. It could be the same for Nikon. Try to get the camera neutral for exposure and close to your hand held meter.

Also are you shoot RAW +
Jpeg
? Since you are processing your images in ACR this is really not needed for two reasons. First
because
it waste space on the card and second you are going to do post processing in ACR anyway so just do the post and then go to Tools>Photoshop>Image Processor to make the jpegs. It works in the background from Bridge and the jpegs are now just like the better RAW images.

As to your question of how the images are out of the camera as to size and bit depth, yes they are 16 bit but if your final output is set up for 8 bit at the bottom of ACR you will see these readings. I would not worry about this unless you have some advance Photoshop training where you do some post processing in 16 Bit. With most of your processing being done in ACR there is less need for 16 bit processing in Photoshop but you can change the output image if needed.

Email me if you have more questions.
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Re: Nikon D200 and Adobe Camera RAW (ACR)
Old 12-07-2007, 02:13 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I take several exposure readings using the camera in P mode and the handheld just to see what the ballpark settings should be. Then I switch over to manual. I zoom in and color balance on the gray strip of Photovision target, then zoom out and shoot the entire target and adjust the exposure to move the center peak of the histogram just to the right of center. I'm only shooting RAW, no .jpg, since I have a RAW viewer downloaded. I then shoot the colorchart. I like to post-process in 16 bit. I just read that the default resolution for the D200 is 240ppi for .nef (RAW) and 300ppi for .jpg.

Thanks for the quick reply,
Mike
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Re: Nikon D200 and Adobe Camera RAW (ACR)
Old 12-07-2007, 03:49 PM   #4 (permalink)
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The PPI that is shown for the JPG or the RAW really doesn't mean that much. You can change the PPI setting in RAW and the image will look identical will you bring it into Photoshop. The only difference will be the print size shown. So you can set your photos to 300 PPI and nothing whatsoever changes regarding the data that makes up the photo. This is just a metadata type setting.
Cheers,
rfs
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