Monday, March 26, 2018
I had my first opportunity to put the RAW processing capabilities of Adobe Photoshop CC against Nikon Capture NX-D today. I used to do all of my RAW processing through Photoshop CS6, but unfortunately it doesn’t support Nikon’s new D850 RAW files. That means I either have to upgrade to Adobe’s monthly subscription service on Adobe CC (which I am fundamentally against) or find an alternative.
The first thing to note about Nikon’s Capture NX-D is that it’s free. So, knowing that you get what you pay for, I was automatically prepared for disappointment.
RAW processing on Capture NX-D is a slower-clunkier affair. It isn’t as robust as Photoshop. An adjustment to any of the sliders takes 2-3 seconds to appear in the preview panel, whereas Photoshop users will be accustomed to the change happening in real-time.
Perspective correction, tilting, rotation, cropping, lens correction, exposure recovery – it’s all there in NX-D; just slower. What it doesn’t offer, which Photoshop RAW does, is in-browser options for dodge and burn, and creating an exposure gradient – easily done with any old paint program, or in my case my CS6 edition of Photoshop.
What was most interesting, however, was the performance in detail recovery. In today’s photo, I am underexposed against an egregiously overexposed sky.
Capture NX-D recovered more detail in the sky (and exposed my face without noise) than Photoshop CC.
You know, for a program that cost me nothing, that’s pretty damned good. And as far as the few seconds of delay goes, I usually nail a good 90 per cent of my exposures anyway, so there’s very little guesswork involved with my adjustments, and so the delay ultimately is reasonably minimal.
I say “reasonably” because, well, as opposed to paying $40 a month for the for liquid-smooth performance of Photoshop CC? That breaks down to a savings of $1.30 a day.
I’ll take it.