Using Lightroom 2 with the New Adobe Camera Profiles

Adobe’s announcement of Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 2 coincided with their release of Adobe Camera Raw (ACR) 4.5. Both ACR 4.5 and Lightroom 2.0 were touted as being able to use the also new Camera Profiles (still in Beta – see the full writeup here). According to Adobe Labs, there are multiple improvements with these new Camera profiles.

  • Updated Adobe Standard profiles which are supposed to improve color rendering in the reds, oranges and yellows
  • Camera Matching which is supposed include profiles for popular manufacturers allowing better matching of what the camera’s natively produce
  • The DNG Profile Editor which allows users to manually edit camera profiles
  • The new DNG version 1.2 standard

How do Adobe ACR Profiles Affect Me?

Of most importance to me are the first two. My understanding with the Camera Matching is that these profiles should better match the JPG output of the cameras internal RAW to JPG converters with no customization of the settings. If you have messed around with your in-camera settings, these profiles will not match them. They will match the settings as if they had all default values. I also noticed on the Adobe FAQ page, they make mention that the Camera Matching profiles work with Canon and Nikon cameras. In fact, there are five profiles for Canon designed to match the Canon Picture Styles Standard, Portrait, Landscape, Neutral, and Faithful with their default settings. There are 8 profiles for Nikon cameras designed to match the Nikon Picture Controls for Standard, Neutral, Vivid, Landscape, Portrait, D2X Mode 1, D2X Mode 2, D2X Mode 3.

Installing Adobe ACR Profiles

The installation is outlined pretty well on the Adobe Labs page. They do make mention to close Photoshop and Lightroom if they are open. The installation is quick and when I opened Lightroom again, in the Develop module under the “Camera Calibration” section on the right side under the Camera Calibration panel, there are additional options for ACR.

The first two options (ACR 4.4 and ACR 3.3) were there before installing the update. All the rest are new. I don’t have any Canon images, so I really can’t speak for how they will work or what would appear.

Using the Adobe ACR Profiles

One thing I particularly like about this setup is that I can change these profiles after the import of the RAW image. This makes perfect sense as these profiles are used to tell Lightroom how to display the RAW image. Therefore, the profile isn’t really part of the image and therefore, switching it around really just changes how Lightroom interprets the color bits contained in the actual RAW file. Cycling through each of the presets does indeed show different results. In fact, the new Adobe Standard beta 1 profiles does exactly what they say — better rendition of reds, oranges and yellows.

NIKON D200 @ 220mm — ¹/80 sec, ƒ/5.3, ISO 100 | zoom in
ACR 4.4 vs. Adobe Standard Beta 1

Clearly, the image I chose had strong orange / red tones to it to start with. But to my eye, the difference is very noticeable and I really think the new Adobe Standard is far better. The colors look much richer and less washed out.

Comparing the Profiles

In order to give a good idea of what each profile does to a raw image out of my Nikon D200 with no adjustment except for resizing / cropping. I omitted the “Camera Portrait beta 1” on purpose since the lily in the photo really doesn’t lend itself to skin tones. Perhaps I’ll do another post which deals more with portraits. I also omitted all the D2X profiles. Feel free to experiment with all of them.

Also, the following photos will show everything compared against the new Adobe Standard Beta 1 profile. I chose to do this for a couple reasons. First, it’s the new standard Adobe profile. Second, if I were to compare everything to multiple profiles (such as the old standard ACR 4.4), the images of this post would become difficult to examine due to sheer numbers. Finally, I really think I’m going to pretty much stop using the ACR 4.4 profile as the new profiles are that much better. Your mileage may vary.

The easiest way to view the following images for me is to click on one and let the lightbox open. If you move your mouse to either edge of the image, a ‘Next’ or ‘Previous’ button will appear. This will let you cycle through each image.  Also, I’m viewing all of these on a color calibrated monitor.  Please understand that if your monitor isn’t calibrated these may look very different.

NIKON D200 @ 220mm — ¹/80 sec, ƒ/5.3, ISO 100 | zoom in
Adobe Standard Beta 1 vs. Camera Landscape Beta 1

The Camera Landscape profile gives a bolder look. For the above photo, it makes the oranges more vivid and the greens less brown. For this photo, that works well, but for some others I’ve tried it gave an almost over processed look to the image.

NIKON D200 @ 220mm — ¹/80 sec, ƒ/5.3, ISO 100 | zoom in
Adobe Standard Beta 1 vs. Camera Neutral Beta 1

The Camera Neutral profile seems to give everything a more yellowish tint. For this photo, I really don’t think it works. Everything looks a bit washed out. This could be perfect for other images though. It’s all about flexibility!

NIKON D200 @ 220mm — ¹/80 sec, ƒ/5.3, ISO 100 | zoom in
Adobe Standard Beta 1 vs. Camera Standard Beta 1

The Camera Standard is my favorite for this particular image. To me, it gives the most accurate representation of the colors in the image without making them look ‘too vivid’ or over processed.

NIKON D200 @ 220mm — ¹/80 sec, ƒ/5.3, ISO 100 | zoom in
Adobe Standard Beta 1 vs. Camera Vivid Beta 1

The Camera Vivid profile is just that. For those sunsets that just need more color, this might work perfectly. For this photo, it’s too much in my opinion. Either way, it’s a great way to bump up the colors without having to do any adjustments.

Conclusion

There are many opinions about which RAW format converter gave the best colors. For me, I think Adobe handled this in a fantastic way — letting the user choose what profile works the best for them. And since you don’t have to just pick one and stick with it, this whole system affords a ton of flexibility.

If you’re like me and decide that there is a better default setting for your camera, you can save the default develop settings. This is a little tricky as there are a few options. Please note: I have tested these instructions on a Mac. I have not tested them for a PC. First, go to Preferences and select the ‘Presets’ tab. Under the Default Develop Settings heading there are two check boxes we’re concerned with — ‘Make defaults specific to camera serial number’ and ‘Make defaults specific to camera ISO setting’. This allows the user to select if they want to use different default profiles for different cameras and even different ISO values.

Once you’ve this choice has been made, view a RAW file in the Develop module. Select the profile you want to set as default and from the Develop menu, select Develop->Set Default Settings. This will save your default profile as well as any adjustments which were made to it using the sliders in the Camera Calibration section.

Tufted Titmouse Eating a Sunflower Seed

One of the more interesting things we’ve been able to witness as far as the bird watching goes is the different habits of the individual species. While the Finches are happy to sit on a bird feeder perch and eat, other birds such as the Tufted Titmouse will take a seed and fly somewhere else to crack it open and eat the insides.

The other day, we were fortunate enough to capture this routine with the camera. It’s really quite fascinating!

NIKON D200 @ 300mm — ¹/125 sec, ƒ/5.6, ISO 100 | zoom in
Tufted Titmouse Holding a Seed
NIKON D200 @ 300mm — ¹/125 sec, ƒ/5.6, ISO 100 | zoom in
Tufted Titmouse Cracking Seed
NIKON D200 @ 300mm — ¹/125 sec, ƒ/5.6, ISO 100 | zoom in
Tufted Titmouse Eating the Rewards

In looking at the photos, you can really see how the feet are used to anchor the seed while the bird pecks at it. The whole event took less than 5 seconds (yay for the high speed frame rate of the Nikon D200). Overall, these birds are very efficient! After completing this task, we watched it return to the feeder a few more times, each time selecting one seed and disappearing to eat it.

Fun With a New Birdfeeder!

Ever since my wife and I moved away from suburbia we’ve been admiring the wildlife which surrounds us. We’ve seen plenty of white-tailed deer, rabbits, skunks and other various wildlife. We’ve also seen a huge number of different birds in the fields behind our house.

Just recently, we decided we might as well take advantage of these birds and get a couple bird feeders. We selected a humming bird feeder, a thistle feeder and a regular bird feeder. These got mounted on a pole system to our deck railing. Let me tell you — I haven’t had this much fun taking photos in a long time!

The location of the feeder is just outside the kitchen window. What this means for me is that I can setup my camera on a tripod inside the house and shoot through a window screen. While I realize this is less than optimal, it’s convenient and fun! Plus, it doesn’t tend to scare away the birds.

NIKON D200 @ 300mm — ¹/160 sec, ƒ/6.3, ISO 200 | zoom in
Tufted Titmouse

One of the first birds we saw was a Tufted Titmouse. This cute little guy is one of our favorites! The tuft on the top of his head is ‘retractable’ for lack of a better word. Sometimes, it’s sticking up like in the above picture. Other times the top of its head is almost perfectly smooth.

NIKON D200 @ 300mm — ¹/40 sec, ƒ/5.6, ISO 200 | zoom in
Male Rose-breasted Grosbeak

One of my favorite birds we’ve seen thus far is the Rose-breasted Grosbeak. These are a bit bigger than the tiny titmouse and are great fun to watch. Ironically, the female looks almost nothing like the male except for the head shape.

NIKON D200 @ 300mm — ¹/40 sec, ƒ/5.6, ISO 100 | zoom in
Female Rose-breasted Grosbeak

Clearly the same head / beak shape — totally different coloring which actually isn’t all that surprising. After looking through the bird book, it seems there are many species where this is the case.

One of the more common birds we get are finches. American Goldfinches are numerous as are Purple Finches and House Finches. Ironically enough, it’s quite hard to tell the difference between the latter two.

NIKON D200 @ 300mm — ¹/45 sec, ƒ/11, ISO 100 | zoom in
Male Purple Finch on a Bird Feeder

From all we can tell, the above is indeed a Purple Finch. They are quite bright and really fun to watch. However, as much as I think we’ve got the males of the purple finch / house finch debate figured out, the females are even more difficult. Both are brown and beige and neither has any real distinctive markings.

While all of the above photos were taken through a screen, I think they came out pretty good and hey — I had fun!

Adobe Lightroom 2 Released

While this may be old news to some of those in the photographic community, Adobe has released the long awaited Adobe Lightroom 2. I won’t bore you or repeat what others are saying as I’m sure by now, there have been a flood of great discussions and reviews on the subject by such people as Scott Kelby of Photoshop Insider and a long list of new features from Victoria Bampton. But I do have to say, this new release is fantastic!

I completed the upgrade about two hours ago and everything went very smoothly. Of course I was careful to back things up first, but there were no problems that I’ve found yet! It’s really too early for me to give an exhaustive review, but right off the bat there are a few very noticeable improvements in the Library module.

My Impressions

The first is the fix I was truly waiting for with regards to storing photos on removable media. Since I do most of my photo organizing work on my MacBook, I really don’t want to clog up the laptop drive with all the photos I’ve ever taken. Especially now that I’m shooting more for stock where I take a lot of photos of the same thing. These have no value on my laptop as they aren’t something I’d want with me on a daily basis. Adobe has created a solution to this problem by updating their Folders tab in the left navigation pane to show which volume has the photos. The small green light next to the volume name means that the volume is currently attached to the computer. If I had photos on another volume which were in this catalog, and the volume were disconnected, the light would be red. This update also allows for the user to see a user selectable statistic on this line as well. Right-clicking on the volume line allows the user to select between Disk Space, Photo Count, Status or None. The status statistic simply displays whether or not the volume is online. I find this somewhat redundant as the user can already tell this by the red/green light. Photo count shows the number of photos in the current catalog, but for my uses, this isn’t really all that important. Therefore, I’ve chosen to have it display disk usage. Your mileage may vary.

The other improved feature is the filtering capabilities. While Lightroom 1.4 had most of these filtering abilities, the improved user interface (at the top of the thumbnail viewer) is great. It’s much easier for me to filter on what I want quickly and with less fuss. Also, it allows the saving of preset filters — a real plus for me as I like to use color codes for different types of photographs. Using a preset filter, I can quickly and easily find all photos tagged with the red color tag (my stock photo color) with a rating of 4 or more stars. Taking it a step further, I can save the above preset with certain keywords (such as ‘Microstock’ and ‘Needs Uploading’) and I can find all stock photos with a rating of four or more stars which needs to be uploaded to microstock websites. Now that’s helpful!

Conclusion

While I still have a lot of investigation and learning (I was not one of the Beta Testers), thus far, I’m very impressed! I’ll probably continue to update as I figure out more of the new features — especially in the develop modes.

Welcome to digitalnotions.net

Welcome to www.digitalnotions.net!

The goal of this site is to discuss my photography, blogging and web design adventures. I’m really not sure exactly what this will turn into, but for now it offers me a way to post photography and technology related posts which will hopefully be of use to some people. I wish to encourage comments and therefore, have attempted to create an easy to use commenting form which is available for all posts.

While the basic site design is now complete and I’m going to be making this a living, breathing and changing blog, I have yet to finalize all the details which will start happening over the next couple weeks. At times, the site may be down or in a state of dis-repair. Please bear with me! I know some frown of releasing a site to the world in a less than complete state. However, my goal is to attempt to provide useful information. And for that, site layout, and design aren’t nearly as important as the content of the posts.

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