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Old Aug 29, 2008, 6:19 PM   #1
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I noticed in a book I bought "Nikon D300: Digital Field Guide" (Wiley publishing by J. Dennis Thomas) that you can set the D300 to save the RAW file in 3 modes of compression (or lack there of). Lossless (20-40% of info is lost but no degradation in picture quality), compressed (40-50% of data is lost), and uncompressed (saved as is). It defaults to "lossless". Which setting do you guys use most of the time and why?

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Old Aug 29, 2008, 7:28 PM   #2
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I moved this thread down to our Nikon dSLR Forum, since it's more applicable to Nikon dSLR owners.

It's getting pretty complicated trying to keep up with all of the options anymore (12 bit versus 14 bit, with various compression options). One thing to be aware of is that not all raw converters may support all of the available options from what I've seen browsing through D300 raw files. So, I'd make sure you try any solution you want to use with your raw converter of choice.

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Old Aug 29, 2008, 7:42 PM   #3
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JimC wrote:
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I moved this thread down to our Nikon dSLR Forum, since it's more applicable to Nikon dSLR owners.

It's getting pretty complicated trying to keep up with all of the options anymore (12 bit versus 14 bit, with various compression options).¬*¬* One thing to be aware of is that not all raw converters may support all of the available options from what I've seen browsing through D300 raw files.¬*¬* So, I'd make sure you try any solution you want to use with your raw converter of choice.
I'm using Aperture 2.0. So I'm not sure which compression mode is the most suitable. If i could choose I would likely use the "lossless" (where you supposedly loose only 20-40% of the data with no loss in image quality) or "uncompressed". Perhaps one of the D300/Aperture 2.0 users can help?

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Old Aug 29, 2008, 9:29 PM   #4
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I think lossless compressed is fine for most applications.

Uncompressed makes the files much larger than lossless compressed, so it uses up my memory card much faster, and it takes longer to write this file to the memory card.

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Old Aug 29, 2008, 11:05 PM   #5
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Webapprentice wrote:
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I think lossless compressed is fine for most applications.¬*

Uncompressed makes the files much larger than lossless compressed, so it uses up my memory card much faster, and it takes longer to write this file to the memory card.
Another D300 owner is using uncompressed actually with Aperture 2.0 too. No problems. I assume you're also using 2.0? Roughly how big are the uncompressed files? I'm guessing you've tried.
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Old Aug 30, 2008, 7:46 PM   #6
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Compression will vary according to the scene. A blank wall scene photo will compress to a greater extent than a wall with a herringbone wallpaper.

I shot three photos of my computer desk (busy scene) with the different compression settings as follows:

Lossless Compressed.NEF 10.8 MB (11,354,534 bytes)
Compressed.NEF 9.71 MB (10,187,523 bytes)
Uncompressed.NEF 18.9 MB (19,838,720 bytes)

Lossless compression is just that, it uses an data processing algorithm such as ZIP or LZW that compresses without loss of data. When you are compressing data files or programs you don't want bits going astray!
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Old Aug 30, 2008, 7:58 PM   #7
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Bob Nichol wrote:
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Compression will vary according to the scene. A blank wall scene photo will compress to a greater extent than a wall with a herringbone wallpaper.

I shot three photos of my computer desk (busy scene) with the different compression settings as follows:

Lossless Compressed.NEF¬*¬*¬*¬* 10.8 MB (11,354,534 bytes)
Compressed.NEF¬*¬*¬*¬*¬*¬*¬*¬*¬*¬*¬*¬*¬*¬*¬*¬*¬*¬* ¬* 9.71 MB (10,187,523 bytes)
Uncompressed.NEF¬*¬*¬*¬*¬*¬*¬*¬*¬*¬*¬*¬*¬*¬*¬* 18.9 MB (19,838,720 bytes)

Lossless compression is just that, it uses an data processing algorithm such as ZIP or LZW that compresses without loss of data. When you are compressing data files or programs you don't want bits going astray!
Thanks for the numbers Bob. But yes I was aware it would depend on the scene being photographed.

Which mode do you have your D300 set to? And what converter do you use? I'll probably use "lossless" 98% of the time.
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Old Aug 30, 2008, 8:20 PM   #8
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I've always used lossless compressed and use Capture NX for conversion. It was bundled with the camera when I bought it so the price was right!

I use Nikon Transfer to copy from the card reader to the PC. This then calls View NX where I can look at the photos and perform initial triage. I then call Capture NX from View NX.

Capture NX opens the NEF and I use mostly D-Lighting, Levels and Curves and the Straighten Tool to process the image then save as a TIFF. I started saving in TIFF instead of NEF when I found Adobe Camera Raw didn't seem to get all the modifications I had made in Capture NX. I prefer Levels and Curves in Capture NX to the similar tool in ACR.

PhotoShop Elements 5.0 opens the TIFF and saves it as a PSD. I mostly use Sharpen, Resize, Clone. From the PSD I convert to JPEG for printing, email or Web as required. I usually sharpen last.
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Old Aug 30, 2008, 9:00 PM   #9
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Bob Nichol wrote:
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I've always used lossless compressed and use Capture NX for conversion. It was bundled with the camera when I bought it so the price was right!

I use Nikon Transfer to copy from the card reader to the PC. This then calls View NX where I can look at the photos and perform initial triage. I then call Capture NX from View NX.

Capture NX opens the NEF and I use mostly D-Lighting, Levels and Curves and the Straighten Tool to process the image then save as a TIFF. I started saving in TIFF instead of NEF when I found Adobe Camera Raw didn't seem to get all the modifications I had made in Capture NX. I prefer Levels and Curves in Capture NX to the similar tool in ACR.

PhotoShop Elements 5.0 opens the TIFF and saves it as a PSD. I mostly use Sharpen, Resize, Clone. From the PSD I convert to JPEG for printing, email or Web as required. I usually sharpen last.
When I bought my D300 (from Henry's) it too had Capture NX bundled. But I found the NX interface clunky in comparison to Apple's Aperture 2.0 and I also find Aperture 2.0 MUCH more intuitive. Or just better suited to my needs. So I bought a copy. It's terrific companies are offering "trial versions".

As for it's ability to convert? (compared to others?). Remains to be seen (as I have not tried ACR or DXO...etc. Heck. I haven't even begun shooting in RAW.

Will put the RAW files on my new SanDisk Extreme IV 8GB card which I just bought here in LA from Samy's Camera. The version I received was the UDMA version. Even better I suppose. Will make this my "RAW only" card.
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Old Sep 4, 2008, 1:41 PM   #10
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I'm sorry, but I was using Lightroom. I was not trying to respond directly to the Aperture 2.0 question. I tried using uncompressed RAWs for a few test shots at the very beginning when I got the D300, and I haven't used uncompressed since. Thus, I don't recall the magnitude of the file size difference between uncompressed and lossless compressed. I will clarify that I am not a pro photographer, which is why I didn't find a use for uncompressed RAW. (There might be a use for it, but it was not for me.)

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Webapprentice wrote:
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I think lossless compressed is fine for most applications.

Uncompressed makes the files much larger than lossless compressed, so it uses up my memory card much faster, and it takes longer to write this file to the memory card.
Another D300 owner is using uncompressed actually with Aperture 2.0 too. No problems. I assume you're also using 2.0? Roughly how big are the uncompressed files? I'm guessing you've tried.
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