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?

  • 2
    See also this question: photo.stackexchange.com/questions/30836/…
    – MikeW
    Jan 19 '13 at 1:49
  • A change in brightness is often more related to monitor gamma than to absolute brightness itself. If your monitor isn't calibrated then it would be a good idea to do so. I don't think there's any way to calibrate camera screens. Oct 4 '16 at 15:43

10 Answers 10


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.


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.


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.


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.


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


This is definitely a problem with the camera and not a matter of calibrating or adjusting your monitor.

All my photos taken with previous cameras, plus photos downloaded from the internet, all looked great with the settings I had. But the photos from the Nikon D3200 looked a lot darker than how they did on the LCD camera screen. That means I can't trust what I see on the screen and so it makes it hard to set the correct shutter speed, aparture, ISO, etc. because the LCD screen shows something that is completely off when compared to your monitor or to a photo print.

I also noticed that when you set the command dial to guide mode and then go and view a photo you have taken, it turns out much nicer than when you view it on one of the other modes, like say manaual; it's very easy to see. So it does not matter what people say, this is clearly a fault with this camera model and its very very annoying.


It is most definitely the monitor brightness. at first I worked with shutter shutter speed, ISO and brightness in general, but the images would all come out drastically different once uploaded onto my computer. What I ended up doing was simple. I put my computer (iMac) and my camera (D3200) side by side. I took some photos, uploaded them to my computer (Making sure the brightness on my computer was set to what I always have it as), put the SD card back into the camera and then viewed the image on the camera as well as the computer. From there I went to menu, into the settings to "Monitor Brightness" I inched the brightness DOWN step by step until it matched as close as it could to the photo. I did this with many different images to compare to make sure I got an accurate reading. As a wedding & Engagement photographer, I can surely say that I wish I had figured this out sooner since it caused a lot of editing that was in the end my problem not the clients. My other cameras do not have this issue except for one Canon point and shoot.

  • 1
    This seems like a fool's errand to me. The useful brightness of any display (LCD screen, monitor, etc) is subject to ambient lighting where the display is used. Unless the primary use of the camera's LCD display is side-by-side with your computer's monitor, this doesn't make much sense. Related: Why don't you need to calibrate a camera's LCD screen?
    – scottbb
    Jul 21 '16 at 17:07

What I think is going on is that the LCD is displaying a jpg preview with Nikon's default processing, which includes some exposure compensation. The raw file hasn't had any processing yet, so it appears darker. Sound right to anyone?


I agree there is something wrong with the Nikon camera. I have the D500 and get the EXACT same dark photo on my monitor than appears on the LCD on the camera. All you who say it's the camera's LCD brightness are WRONG...it doesn't help by turning it down. I have a screen calibrator, so don't tell us it's our monitors either. My monitor is perfectly calibrated, so is my printer.

  • Calibrating a monitor won't help if colors are out of gamut. Often calibration software will target a rather dark image to improve depth of black, but that comes at a cost of muted whites. There may be other factors, but simply having run a calibration doesn't guarantee proper color results on it's own either.
    – AJ Henderson
    Jul 3 '19 at 12:08

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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