I received this email from a reader - has anyone noticed any differences in the NEF files rendering between viewNX 2.2.1 and viewNX 2.3.0?
Even if nikon didn't claim this, the last version of viewNX has changed something in the algorithms used to render NEF files.
This results in photos rendered much more contrasty with lots of details lost in dark zones of the photographs!
I think this is *insane* to be fair, because now all the photographs edited/rendered/converted into tiff or jpg through the new software will change. Also, this new way of rendering NEF files is different from the one used in the camera body!
It's easy to notice this thing because if you look at your photos with viewNX and press the 'RAW' key, which forces the program to re-render the file, the difference between the rendered version and the embedded jpg preview is often very apparent.
Here you can find a couple of files, the same raw rendered with viewNX 2.2.1 and with viewNX 2.3.0 (this one is the one with the _ at the end of the name)
While I'm writing to you, I also let you know that d7000 nefs rendered with viewNX (also older versions) gain a light green cast, noticeable the most on red/orange subjects.
I've made few more tests and noticed that if in the picture control utility I chose not to use 'in camera color reproduction' but to use the latest one the situation changes a bit but the increased contrast remains in the new version of viewNX.
2.2.1 version gives the same result, independently from that option (this could very well be related to the fact that the d7000 color reproduction was the latest one at that time.)
2.3.0 'latest color reproduction' has a greatly lower contrast if compared to the 'in camera color reproduction' option, but is still contrasty.
You can see a couple of crops from the same file I used yesterday here:
Basically this affects everything but the embedded jpg (because that remains the same until you re-save the Nef, and in that case the preview will also be affected).
If you create a JPG from the raw using the latest viewNX you actually get darker and contrasty dark zones in the output image.
No problem to post the whole thing on the forum using those small samples i linked, if this can help few days ago I found a similar discussion on flickr ( http://www.flickr.com/groups/capturenx/discuss/72157628896505579/ ) and even if the program they're discussing is captureNX, I think that's related.
In fact what causes this seems to be also connected to the picture control utility, if I change the setting in there from 'use the color reproduction process applied in camera' to 'always use the latest color reproduction process' I get different (less contrasty) results in case of viewNX 2.3.0. (while I get the same result in viewNX 2.2.1, maybe because at that time the 'latest color reproduction process' was the d7000 one.) I've linked samples of this in the update I mention in the first row.
I've also noticed that the picture control utility option affects not only viewNX but also the nikon Nef codec, and so it affects how the windows photo viewer renders the raw (when the codec is installed). The behavior is the same of viewNX, in fact the image will be opened with 'normal color' (jpg preview) that will change to the darker version as soon as the "loading" ends (same thing happens with that light green tint mentioned in my first message).
The codec I've installed is the 64bit version, so it is newer than viewNX 2.2.1, this suggests me one more time that nikon must have changed something at some point that started to affect dark zones of d7000 shots (at least d7000 ones, maybe of other cameras).