Subject: Re: Camera Raw support for Nikon D200?
I see you're the latest person to have run across the special ACR-forum-style "share the love with new participants" responses (flame early and flame often; I loved that "who try to help you" one-liner :-). No idea what the usual suspects imagine they accomplish by behaving that way. Well, try to ignore that silly stuff if you can. Back to Nikon Capture...
It's an interesting business -- whether the manufacturers' own converters are worth using. I don't remember ever hearing anyone sing the praises of Nikon Capture's and (Canon) DPP's user interfaces or say they were thrilled by either program's execution speed. I use DPP, and I'm painfully aware of how weird its feature-set is (and how poorly documented...more like UNdocumented. Just about every other UI in the world beats those of the camera manufacturers' programs, with ACR's being the "smoothest." But...the irony is that a number of people, commenting on raw conversion in a number of forums, have noticed that the manufacturers' conversion apps do a substantially better job than the third-party converters -- at least for some images.
I'm finding this to be true of DPP when there are tricky skin tones to deal with. In the case of a shot I've come to think of as [cue the scary music] The Skin Tones From Hell, every other converter I tried (ACR, RSP, Bibble, and the oddly named SilkyPix) produced blotchy-looking skin tones with excessive reddishness. DPP didn't work out so well right away, either. But when I'd set DPP's Picture Style setting to Neutral and had fine-tuned the white balance and hue settings, there was a night-and-day difference. It turned out to be the only converter that rendered the skin looking like actual human skin, as opposed to vaguely-human-looking "digital skin." I can't explain this result, but I know what I've seen. It's a shot that apparently has to be done in DPP, my (sometimes-unprintable) opinions of the program itself notwithstanding.
No doubt it's possible to do a way better job in ACR than I've done so far. Or maybe the ticket is to do as good a conversion as possible in ACR, then do the real work in Photoshop. IAC, the problems with the particular shot pointed out to me yet again that no one raw converter can always do the best job with every raw file. So I'll go on using several, including DPP when I have to. For all that it's painful to drop $100 for a new converter, I'd say that if you can afford it, go for it. There will likely be times when you'll be glad you have it. (If someone were to come out with a $200 converter having a very well thought-out UI as with ACR, the accurate skin-tone rendition I've just observed in DPP, the preview-generating speed [and good workflow-related features] of RSP, and the kinda remarkable fine-tuning capabilities of SilkyPix, I'd pay the price without hesitation.)
Incidentally, a friend of mine who uses NC said he spotted this in a forum: sometimes NC's performance can be improved by having it write its swap file (not sure if that's the right term for NC) to a drive other than C:. He said he tried that and noticed a pretty dramatic improvement in execution speed. Well, I hope some of the above is useful in some fashion...
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Camera Raw support for Nikon D200? =>
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