Spring 2012

Spring 2012
by ani

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When I snap a picture on my camera, in RAW+JPEG FINE mode, the camera shows me a bright photo, but when I watch it on my computer it becomes darker (less bright than on camera). It's not a software problem: I tried with different computers, different software, including Nikon ViewNX2.

Moreover, even if I compare the same picture, between the RAW/NEF and the JPEG FINE versions, I've noticed that the JPEG FINE picture is a bit brighter.

Can someone tell me why, please? Is it a camera problem, or it's not?

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See also this question: photo.stackexchange.com/questions/30836/… – MikeW Jan 19 '13 at 1:49

Things look different because everything is different and you have done no effort to make them the same. Your DSLR has control over brightness and so does your screen and your friend's, etc. The probability of them being at the same brightness without you doing explicitly so is absolutely zero.

A JPEG image and RAW file is different. As a matter, a RAW should not look like anything, it is not even an image. You still see something because software interprets the RAW file with some default parameters. Those rarely coincide with ones used to produce a JPEG. There is only one case where you will see the same and that is when software read the embedded JPEG that is in a RAW file for preview purposes.

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The most likely reason is the relative brightness of your camera LCD and your computer screen.

I wouldn't judge if the image is bright just because it looks bright in the LCD. I would instead use the histogram - start by taking a well-exposed image where you have a histogram that indicates the image is not too dark and not too bright. I would turn off "Active D-Lighting" for this, so that the JPG (on which the histogram is based) exposure/contrast is as close to the RAW as possible.

Now review the image on your LCD. Does it look about right for a properly exposed image? If not, adjust the LCD brightness.

Now view the JPG image on your computer screen. It should also appear the right brightness. If not you need to calibrate your monitor, or at least adjust the brightness.

For the best comparison, review the LCD in the same light as the computer.

The important thing is to start with an image that you know is properly exposed, which is why I suggest using the histogram. Otherwise you don't know if your LCD is too bright, or your computer screen is too dark.

As far as RAW vs. JPG, the JPG will have adjustments made to it in-camera. Active D-Lighiting and other settings will affect the overall contrast. I don't think these should make the JPG significantly brighter overall.

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I have 2 D3200s and one of the first things I noticed was that at default "0" screen setting they are both way too bright. I'm a 40 yr vet to photography and it absolutely is a defect in the screen brightness. I own D3100, D5100, D700, D7000, D200 and others and have never had the problem with any other camera.

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Your camera is probably doing fine.

If the RAW looks as good as the JPEG when you brighten it up, then everything is fine. You can use exposure compensation to get more information into the RAW. Set the JPEG picture settings to neutral to get a true representation of the data you are capturing. Vibrant looks nicer on the camera but does not give you a real look into the RAW.

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I am using a D3200, and its screen is definitely brighter and especially the highlighted areas - like white clothes will look almost pure white, with few tones in folds. But there is more detail when viewing the file on the computer.

That is shooting with LCD display brightness level set to -1

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Have you calibrated the computer screens colorspace?

If you take pictures in, let's say AdobeRGB, and your computer screen is sRGB, it might look different from the camera and the computer and also between different computers. Also as others already said the brightness on the screens.

Check this site http://www.color-management-guide.com/monitor-calibration.html

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