Tone up your shots

Part 4 Rod Law­ton ex­plores Cap­ture NX-D’s tonal ad­just­ments

NPhoto - - Over To You… -

Not ev­ery im­age you shoot with your Nikon D-SLR will

be per­fectly ex­posed. Tricky light­ing con­di­tions or un­usu­ally dark- or light-toned sub­jects can fool the cam­era’s light me­ter into un­der-ex­pos­ing or over-ex­pos­ing the pic­ture, but if the er­ror is small you can fix this later us­ing Nikon Cap­ture NX-D. There may be other times when the ex­po­sure is cor­rect but the pic­ture just lacks con­trast. You get this if you’re shoot­ing through glass or un­der very flat, over­cast light­ing. Cap­ture NX-D can fix this too.

But how? This isn’t so ob­vi­ous. In fact, Cap­ture NX-D of­fers three ways to make tonal ad­just­ments, and you can use them in­di­vid­u­ally or to­gether. It looks more com­pli­cated than it is, be­cause Cap­ture NX-D is try­ing to do three things.

First, it’s act­ing as a RAW con­verter for your Nikon NEF files. That’s what the con­trols at the top of the Edit panel are for – they ap­ply core RAW ad­just­ments, in­clud­ing an Ex­po­sure Com­pen­sa­tion tool to help get the best tonal range from your RAW files. If you’re shoot­ing RAW, this is a good start­ing point.

Sec­ond, it’s at­tempt­ing to match the Pic­ture Con­trol op­tions you get in the cam­era by of­fer­ing a Tone panel with Bright­ness, Con­trast and Sat­u­ra­tion slid­ers. These mimic the ef­fect of those ad­just­ments on the cam­era, but they’re not the best tools for sub­tle im­age edit­ing.

Third, Cap­ture NX-D is also an im­age-edit­ing tool in its own right. Specif­i­cally, it has a Lev­els and Curves di­a­log which en­ables you to make the same kind of sub­tle tonal ad­just­ments you get in Pho­to­shop.

You don’t have to use all three of Cap­ture NX-D’s tonal ad­just­ments, just the ones that are most use­ful to you. For ex­am­ple, if you’re work­ing on JPEGs, you might go straight to the Lev­els & Curves panel, while if you’re start­ing from a RAW file, you might make a quick Ex­po­sure Com­pen­sa­tion ad­just­ment first.

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