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  1. #1

    Doug b's Avatar
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    Pics taken in B&W show up as color on my MBP but..
    So I noticed something very odd (odd to me, since I've never experienced this before) last week. I took some shots with the in camera settings for B&W and Sepia exposures. I got home, uploaded the pics and when viewing them in preview (didn't view in LR) they did not show up as B&W or Sepia, but as full color ?

    Adversely, at my Aunts house the other day, I took some B&W shots and uploaded to my cousin's computer (Vista) and also had to download patch in order to have Vista view NEF files. But it worked flawlessly straight from Windows Explorer. The only thing I can think of is that NEF files aren't very well supported in Preview ? Ideas/answers welcome !

    Regards,

    Doug

  2. #2

    Doug b's Avatar
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    Quick bump

  3. #3

    Aptmunich's Avatar
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    Sounds as though the camera is "faking" the black and white and Preview isn't reading the files correctly.

    Camera model / make?
    File format?
    EXIF info?

  4. #4

    Doug b's Avatar
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    Sorry yeah, probably good information to give:

    Nikon D300
    File Format NEF (RAW compressed)


    I don't currently have access to the EXIF data, but will provide that asap. Thanks.

    Doug

  5. #5


    Member Since
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    The NEF contains all the info including color. The B&W and Sepia picture controls are processed in camera mostly for Jpeg output.

    There will be a more elaborate answer hopefully but I believe Aptmunich to be correct.

  6. #6


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    Yes. when you shoot in raw you are capturing the raw data that comes off of the sensor. That means that any settings you use in the camera are not actually applied to the pixels in the image. It is usually better to apply these changes in programs like aperture, lightroom or photoshop in order to have more control over the effect. If you want the image to look the same no matter what program you use to view it you need to shoot in jpeg or convert to jpeg in a program that supports it.

    btw- if preview didn't support nef or other raw files it wouldn't be able to open them at all.

  7. #7

    Doug b's Avatar
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    Ok, but why then would the photos I took with in camera B&W settings appear as such on my cousin's Vista PC ? I fail to see why Windows Explorer would open them as they appear, but not preview ? Also, to add a bit more confusion.. I'm now looking at the thumbnails in Finder, and they appear to retain their monochrome attributes, but when double clicked, they do not. Look at this attachment: It's the two bottom pics in between their larger counter parts.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  8. #8

    Aptmunich's Avatar
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    Ah, RAW files. That would explain it. As aeiou mentioned, RAW has all the sensor information so the photographer has more flexibility in post-processing.

    Perhaps NEF files also store a JPEG preview in the image files? That would explain the "edited" thumbnails?

    My advice would be to use Lightroom or Aperture to edit these types of images: If you're using RAW / NEF, you'll only really see a benefit if you use the tools to manipulate them as well. Otherwise just shoot in JPEG.

    Vista might not be "smart" enough to read the RAW part of the NEF file, which is why it's displaying the JPEG preview instead? Just a hunch though..

  9. #9


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    So many ways to fry an egg.

    There's always Raw + Jpeg.

  10. #10

    Doug b's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aptmunich View Post
    Ah, RAW files. That would explain it. As aeiou mentioned, RAW has all the sensor information so the photographer has more flexibility in post-processing.

    Perhaps NEF files also store a JPEG preview in the image files? That would explain the "edited" thumbnails?

    My advice would be to use Lightroom or Aperture to edit these types of images: If you're using RAW / NEF, you'll only really see a benefit if you use the tools to manipulate them as well. Otherwise just shoot in JPEG.

    Vista might not be "smart" enough to read the RAW part of the NEF file, which is why it's displaying the JPEG preview instead? Just a hunch though..
    When you say that (perhaps) the NEF file stores a jpeg preview within the image file, would that imply that I might be able to extract that jpg ? The thing is, about when we were viewing the NEF files in Vista, I blew them up fairly large, and they retained every bit of the pixels as there would be with a RAW file. There was no pixelation or loss of resolution, as there would be with such a small preview jpg file (when blowing it up). And there was no specific jpeg preview that I noted. In fact, Vista prompted me to download a plug in which enabled it to work with the NEF format.

    Quote Originally Posted by nikonjin View Post
    So many ways to fry an egg.

    There's always Raw + Jpeg.
    True, but I'd much rather not waste space on an 8gig card (even if I do have two of them) when I can just convert the original to Jpeg later. And I do plan on getting a work flow going in terms of editing. I'm just kind of piecing stuff together at this point, figuring out which piece of software I prefer, and so on. I'm just baffled over this particular issue, and still don't have a definite answer as to why I can view a NEF as seen plainly in a thumbnail in B&W in Vista vs. not being able to with Preview.

    I'll try and ask at a Nikon forum and see what they come up with. Thanks for trying guys.

    Doug

  11. #11


    Member Since
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    The nef file consists of a thumbnail file and a hi res file embedded(both jpeg). The Vista program can open the nef but only displays the jpegs.

    This blog refers to the D200, but I assume the other bodies are similar in the nef processing.

    Jeffrey Friedl’s Blog » Blog Archive » NEF, Color Space Settings, and Embedded JPGs

    Preview on the other hand seems to display the raw nef but is not able to process the picture control settings.

    The Finder does show a jpeg.

    I just tried an nef in ACR and Lightroom thinking I would have access to change the picture control settings. Dumb. You'll need Capture or View(I think) to do that.

    Edit: View NX will allow you to toggle picture control settings.

    Good luck Doug. Hopefully you'll find more in one of the Nikon forums.

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