If it ain’t broken don’t fix it

Yet another worthless blog… by Uberto Barbini

D300 raw file format

Posted by Uberto Barbini on March 11, 2008

Ok, so here we are, the first photo related post.

I recently bought a Nikon D300. Briefly, coming from a D70 the difference is huge. In price too!😉

The D300 is much more a “professional” camera, no fancy automatic modes for beginners, everything is more complex and you’re supposed to know what you’re doing.

So if you cannot tell the difference between a good Bokeh and a bad one, probably this is not the right camera for you. By the way, I just recently discover that it come from the very informal Japanese word ボケ that means “fuzzy”.

I’m saying that because, strange as it may sound, there’re a lot of people around with deep pocket and no clue whatsoever about photography that simply buy the most expensive hardware they can afford.

Given that I have the manuals in German (of which I don’t understand a word) I did some research on internet and I did some interesting discoveries. Because I’m a pretty decent guy I’ll share that with you and I save you to read all the explanations. But if you don’t trust me, on the bottom you can find the links.

Anyway these are my first discoveries:

  • Raw vs jpeg:
    D300 jpegs seem very good. Very very good. I mean, almost too good to be true. I’m wondering if is it still worth shutting in Raw for “standard” pictures. Of course you will continue to need RAW for difficult ones, as instance in case of different artificial lights (so you can change the WB afterward).
  • 12bits vs 14bits Raw:
    I haven’t tried (yet) but everybody who tried agree that you cannot tell the difference unless you greatly overexposure the picture (and in that case your picture is ruined anyway). The sensor date are the same. So it simply means that this generation of sensor has not enough information “to properly fill” 14 bits for channel.
  • lossy vs lossless Raw compression:
    According the Nikon engineers the “lossy” compression loses details where you’re eyes cannot see them (in the Highlights). So unless you’re going to do HDR snaps you can safely use lossy Raws and still don’t lose anything in your postprocessing.

Links about Nikon Raw formats:

http://terrychay.com/blog/article/lossy-raw-compression.shtml

http://regex.info/blog/photo-tech/nef-compression/

http://www.earthboundlight.com/phototips/14-bit-raw-12-bit-part-two.html

http://www.nikonians.org/forums/dcboard.php?az=show_topic&forum=149&topic_id=103960

http://www.majid.info/mylos/weblog/2004/05/02-1.html

And Ken compares D300 to D200 when taking jpeg pictures.

2 Responses to “D300 raw file format”

  1. You should be able to buy an English manual from Nikon for some small fee. I bought one for my D200 a couple of years ago for about $7, and that included shipping. You can also download a copy from Nikon: http://www.nikonusa.com/pdf/manuals/noprint/D300_en_noprint.pdf (You can also get a version that allows printing, but that requires your D300 serial number.)

    FYI, the Japanese word behind “bokeh” is not an informal word meaning fuzzy. You wouldn’t use it to describe a sweater, for example. In photography it simply means “out of focusness”. In other context, it can refer to the same kind of thing in one’s mind (it’s the main component in “jetlang”, for example). I wrote about it here: http://regex.info/blog/2007-01-03/324

  2. uberto said

    Thank you for the suggestion, anyway I should have mentioned that manuals in all languages are included as pdf in a companion cd inside D300 box. Together with the full version of Capture NX 4.

    As for BOKE, I took the definition from Wikipedia. Actually I didn’t know that a sweater could be fuzzy (but I understand the meaning). But the funny part is that BOKE is really an informal word in Japanese, JISABOKE->jetlag, MOJIBOKE->garbled characters ecc., so I was surprised to find it with such a technical meaning in English.

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