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why are my unedited RAW files so good?

Wollemi

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I've been using Lightroom for years and am quite accustomed to the newly imported raw files looking less than impressive when first brought into Lightroom. I created a preset for each camera I use which I apply on import to improve contrast, set a colour profile etc. I rarely shoot jpeg so I've just being doing this as a matter of course.
I just got another camera, so I've been shooting raw and jpeg and I haven't made an import profile yet, I imported my raw files with zero adjustments and yet universally the basic untouched raw file has better colour, more contrast and sharper with more detail than the jpeg. I thought it was something about my new camera (Olympus) so I tried importing raw and jpegs from my other cameras (Sony and Canon) without applying any press on import- the same thing here too, the untouched raw file is giving a better preview than the jpeg. I tested this by exporting both sets of images as jpegs and viewing them outside Lightroom and the difference is maintained.

Have Adobe been altering the way Lightroom handles raw files. I'm not complaining I'm just interested. I hear a lot of stuff about how Capture One renders raw files initially better than Lightroom, have they been trying to redress this perhaps.

Any ideas?
 

Zenon

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Capture One acutally did put out a video on how much better it looked than LR "out of the box". Of course they probably showed a non exported file that had no output sharpening applied to it. This was about a year ago and a half ago. Shortly after Adobe introduced Adobe Colour (7. 3 in June 2018) which became the default profile and bumped up capture sharpening default to 40 (I think from 25) .

Adobe Standard is a little flat by design which some prefer. A more neutral look. You are supposed to use a camera profile, a custom profile or edit to taste but in this world of first appearances it can make a difference.
 
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Have Adobe been altering the way Lightroom handles raw files.
RAW files are not RGB files and need to be demosaic'd and converted to RGB. What you see when you open the imported RAW file is the JPG thumbnail embedded into the header of the RAW file. After opening the file in LR, LR applies some tone, sharpening and Noise reduction. Whether the decision was intentional or accidental, the current initial post processing is much better than it used to be. I've also noticed that some camera render better RGB files with LR than other mfgs.
 

Zenon

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Does it apply luminance NR to files automatically? I forget as I set it to 0 about a year ago because I use a plug-in for that now. I think I remember Color noise at 25.

Edit. Before the plug-in I had my own formula and Lumiance was applied at import based on ISO. It has been a lot of years since I let LR do it.
 
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Does it apply luminance NR to files automatically?
Lightroom sets the adjustment sliders to the 'neutral' position as determined by Adobe for each camera. I suspect this is different for each camera since my Z7 imports with a NR Luminance = 40 and Color = 92 using the Process 5 (current) I don't remember either of these numbers from before and with my D810. In fact I just checked an old D810 RAW and even reset the develop parameters. NR Luminance = 25 and Color = 0
 
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Lightroom sets the adjustment sliders to the 'neutral' position as determined by Adobe for each camera. I suspect this is different for each camera since my Z7 imports with a NR Luminance = 40 and Color = 92 using the Process 5 (current) I don't remember either of these numbers from before and with my D810. In fact I just checked an old D810 RAW and even reset the develop parameters. NR Luminance = 25 and Color = 0
AFAIK, Nikon embeds certain Lightroom settings in the metadata of its Z7-files. That is why you see different settings for these raw files.
 

Zenon

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Thanks both for the info. Does it adjust for ISO or is it global?
 

PhilBurton

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AFAIK, Nikon embeds certain Lightroom settings in the metadata of its Z7-files. That is why you see different settings for these raw files.
Johan,

Does Nikon embed metadata only for Lightroom? The desktop version or the cloudy version? which settings?

Can those settings be set in the Z7's menu system? Right tnow I have an old D3 and if/when/ever I upgrade, it would probably be to an D850 (or current equivalent.
 
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Does Nikon embed metadata only for Lightroom? The desktop version or the cloudy version? which settings?
Desktop and Cloudy use the same edits, so it would be for both.

I haven't seen any of the Z7 files, but according to Thom Hogan it's mainly camera profile (based on the picture control camera setting), sharpening, noise reduction and lens profile, plus some picture control changes and ADL-based shadows/highlights adjustments.
 
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AFAIK, Nikon embeds certain Lightroom settings in the metadata of its Z7-files. That is why you see different settings for these raw files.
That would only happen if you Save the Metadata to the file. And If "Save the Metadata" is used in LR a XMP file would be created and the NEF would not be touched. I never let LR touch my NEF and only keep Metadata in the catalog.
I deleted the image from the catalog and used a new import with default LR settings to import again the RAW NEF. I will import a new NEF and verify that I get the same default settings
 
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Desktop and Cloudy use the same edits, so it would be for both.

I haven't seen any of the Z7 files, but according to Thom Hogan it's mainly camera profile (based on the picture control camera setting), sharpening, noise reduction and lens profile, plus some picture control changes and ADL-based shadows/highlights adjustments.
I have always turned off ADL in my Nikon settings preferring instead to have LR make these adjustments.
 
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Johan,

Does Nikon embed metadata only for Lightroom? The desktop version or the cloudy version? which settings?

Can those settings be set in the Z7's menu system? Right tnow I have an old D3 and if/when/ever I upgrade, it would probably be to an D850 (or current equivalent.
I don't think Johan is correct in his assumption. (see my other response) . Nikon's in camera settings have not changed appreciably from your D3. As far as camera upgrades, The Z7 is the future for Nikon. I've owned a D800, D800E and still have and use a D810 . I recently added the Z-7 The Z7 is a quantum improvement over the D810.
2.01 lb / 915 g vs. 1.29 lb / 585 g (Body Only) Is a big plus.
 
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I'm not certain whether Nikon is embedding the LR settings in its own file metadata or creating a sidecar xmp file - but they have created their own Lightroom-compatible default settings that are linked to in-camera adjustments. This is a new thing for camera manufacturers, and quite promising for the future.
 

PhilBurton

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I don't think Johan is correct in his assumption. (see my other response) . Nikon's in camera settings have not changed appreciably from your D3. As far as camera upgrades, The Z7 is the future for Nikon. I've owned a D800, D800E and still have and use a D810 . I recently added the Z-7 The Z7 is a quantum improvement over the D810.
2.01 lb / 915 g vs. 1.29 lb / 585 g (Body Only) Is a big plus.
Cletus,

Two issues for me. First, I have a whole bunch of older manual focus lenses and I could not get my "chief financial officer" to agree to replace those. Second, there is no 10-pin terminal to support an external GPS. Some of my photography is out in really remote locations.

Since I have a full complement of F-mount lenses, the lens adapter is required for me. I don't know the weight, but that adapter will cancel out some of the weight advantage of the Z7. That all said, if I were starting out now to build a new camera system, it would be a Z6 or Z7. (I wonder how long before a Z3-4-5, and maybe a Z8.
 
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Second, there is no 10-pin terminal to support an external GPS.
My GPS is by Solmeta The Z7 uses the same cable connector as the D750, D7500 etc. I simply got a new cable to match.

I have not bought any new lenses and the FTZ Adapter was free with the Z7. I will trade up to Z mount lenses when they replace my F Mount stand-by and my pocketbook will permit The weight of the FTZ is not significant and camera with FTZweighs less than my D810.
 

PhilBurton

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My GPS is by Solmeta The Z7 uses the same cable connector as the D750, D7500 etc. I simply got a new cable to match.

I have not bought any new lenses and the FTZ Adapter was free with the Z7. I will trade up to Z mount lenses when they replace my F Mount stand-by and my pocketbook will permit The weight of the FTZ is not significant and camera with FTZweighs less than my D810.
I also have a Solmeta GPS.

On the B&H website, there was a question about GPS support. The answer, by "Anonymous" was that the Z7 did not support a GPS, and people should use a smartphone application instead. I have used a smartphone when I didn't have the GPS available, but I prefer using the actual GPS device.

On the B&H website, the FTZ adapter was an extra-cost item.
 

SaraLH

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Have Adobe been altering the way Lightroom handles raw files. I'm not complaining I'm just interested. I hear a lot of stuff about how Capture One renders raw files initially better than Lightroom, have they been trying to redress this perhaps.

Any ideas?
To address the initial question... Since version 8.1 (I think) I too have noticed a huge difference/improvement in the way LR handles color and sharpenig in the initial import of RAW files. And the automatic develop settings are a MUCH better starting point than before. You are not imagining things!
 
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The answer, by "Anonymous" was that the Z7 did not support a GPS, and people should use a smartphone application instead.
There is no Nikon GPS module yet for the mirrorless Z models. So, in that sense the Z7 does not support the GP-N100 that mounts to the hot shoe. But I would surmise that any 3rd party GPS that transmits data through a cable connector as the D750, D7500 etc. will work with the Z Series.
For a time back in May, Nikon ran a promotion to include the FTZ free with a camera purchase. I got my camera locally with a trade in of my Fuji Mirrorless. I just checked the B&H website the Z7 Body Only and the Z7+FTZ are the same price —$2,996.95. Which is what I paid locally.
 
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