Nikon Capture NX2 D-Lighting

Totally dismayed with how my indoor flash photos were turning out I decided to take a drive on what amounts to a really crappy day outside.  Warm, 45 degrees with tons of mist in the air and melting snow and mud/muck everywhere.  And not the good kind of muck or mist either – enough muck to make it lousy to walk around, and just enough mist to soften all my photos.  Armed with my Nikon D90, Nikon 18-200 VR1, and my Nikon 35mm f1.8, I eventually found a few interesting things to take photos of, and I also realized how much Capture NX2 has improved my final output.

The top photo is the post processing photo and the bottom is pre-processing (no adjustments).  I shoot everything RAW, because it lets me fix stuff later – I don’t have to worry about white balance, D-Lighting and whatnot in my camera body.  With batch jobs I can just download everything and run a batch job to get all my JPG’s and fix only what’s bad.  My standard batch job corrects lens distortion, color aberration and applies a pre-defined level of D-Lighting, and a touch of contrast.

Sounds complicated, but it’s really not.  What is does do is take a marginal lens and/or photo and cleans it up significantly. Of course there is Photoshop, but Capture NX2 is only $130 and its made by Nikon, so I trust the lens corrections and that the white-balance.  Of course you can simply ignore D-Lighting if you are a purest and use curves, but D-Lighting is one of those things that just makes life easier.

To see a few more samples of before and after go to my pro-photo site or click on the image below – once there click on Slideshow to see full screen.

Some of the results are dramatic and some of them are more subtle, but these were the keeper photos for the day.  In the end $130 very well spent.  I get more for that $130 than just about any other purchase I have made.  Will it fix everything? No. Will it outdo Photoshop or Lightroom? Maybe, but probably not. Can you buy Photoshop or Lightroom for $130? No.  But before you run out and buy it, download it from Nikons site, start shooting RAW and try if for 60 days free of charge.  One warning.  The interface is confusing at first and does take getting used to.

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