Nikon D50 SLR Review

Steve's Digicams

Nikon D70

Nikon Capture 4 supports all Nikon digital SLR models. This versatile image processing and editing software extends the capabilities and offers comprehensive control of NEF images unmatched by any other software. Capture 4 also features significant new image enhancement technologies that not only allow photographers to maintain a faster workflow, but also offer advanced image editing capabilities.

The NEF (Nikon Electronic Format) file format is the digital equivalent of a film negative. It allows for extensive non-destructive editing and preserves the integrity of the original RAW image data. A NEF file consists of three key components that include raw image data captured by the imaging sensor, thumbnail images of the raw data, and a unique instruction set that retains camera settings from the moment a picture was taken. During post-production in Capture 4, these original camera settings can be tweaked, edited and saved as a variation of the instruction set, thereby leaving the original raw data unaffected, yet achieving the effects of the editing on the final image.

When shooting in NEF mode, all Nikon digital SLRs capture 12-bit images, instead of 8-bit in JPEG and TIFF modes. In Capture 4 these 12-bit images are processed into full 16-bit images using advanced algorithms, offering tone and color enhancements with the smoothest gradation and fidelity. Using Capture 4, a 16-bit NEF image can be easily transformed into a JPEG or TIFF. NEF easily replaces all other file formats as the ultimate image archive file.

Nikon Capture 4 is included in the D70S package and operates unrestricted in "try it before you buy it" mode for 30 days. It can also be downloaded from the Nikon USA web site for both Windows and Mac users.

Nikon Capture 4

Nikon Capture Editor's window gives you quick access to the image information and tools you need to get the most out of your NEF files. The shooting data can be displayed across the top or hidden to give you more image preview area. On the left is the Quick Tools palette. The major editing tools are organized in two palettes consisting of drop-down/expanding sub-menus. Image adjustments are shown in realtime on the preview screen. You can toggle the display of the tool palettes by pressing the TAB key.

Quick Tools

Nikon Capture 4
Open - Open an image file for editing
Save - Save changes to image in editing window
Copy Image Adjustment - Copy current image adjustments to clipboard
Paste - Paste the clipboard settings into active window

Zoom in - Zoom in on image in active window
Zoom out - Zoom out on image in active window
90°CCW - Rotate image 90° counter-clockwise
90°CW - Rotate image 90° clockwise

Crop Cursor - Select portion of image to be saved
Zoom Cursor - Zoom image in active window in/out
Hand Cursor - Move image around in freehand fashion

Show Nikon Browser - Launch Nikon Browser
Show NC4 Camera Control - Launch NC4 Camera Control
Batch - Open the batch processing window

Open with Photoshop - Open image in active window with PS

Show Original Image Data - Hide the effects of changes made
Help - Display help for command (Windows only)

Tool Palette 1

Nikon Capture 4

    Curves - The Curves palette allows adjustments to be made to specific portions of the tone range, making it possible to enhance the image while preserving detail.

    Color Balance - The Color Balance palette offers simple controls for adjusting overall brightness, contrast, and color balance for the entire image.

    Unsharp Mask - The Unsharp Mask increases the contrast of the edges in the image while leaving other areas untouched. The amount of sharpness is determined by three factors: intensity, halo width, and threshold.

    Digital DEE - Digital DEE (Dynamic Exposure Extender) reveals details in shadows and highlights, correcting for underexposure in back-lit subjects or shaded areas of images and for overexposure in brightly lit areas.

    Color Booster - Enhance the color balance and saturation based on People or Nature, variable amount from 0 to 100 or Auto setting.

    Size/Resolution - The Size/Resolution palette is where you specify the final "output" size of the portion of the image that will be saved.

    Bird's Eye - The Bird's Eye windows show you what portion of the overall image you are viewing in the image preview window.

    Information - The information palette shows the position and color of the pixel under the mouse pointer. The Information palette can also monitor the red, green, blue, and average values (R, G, B, Avg) for up to four selected pixels.

Tool Palette 2

Nikon Capture 4

    Advanced RAW - Alter exposure compensation, image sharpening, tone compensation, color mode, saturation and hue adjustment from the settings in effect at the time the photograph was taken.

    White Balance - Correct the image's white balance by preset (Daylight, Flash, etc), introduce a cold or warm cast, specify the desired color temperature or sample the image for the gray point.

    Noise Reduction - Attempts to minimize digital "noise" in images caused mainly by using high ISO sensitivities. It can reduce noise along the edges in an image, making outlines more distinct. With the D70 it is also very effective at removing or minimizing color moire patterns with the Color Moire Reduction option.

    Nikon Capture 4

    Image Dust Off - Compares a RAW image with a reference image created with the same camera to reduce the effects of any dust that may be present on the low-pass filter protecting the camera's imaging sensor. It only affects relatively featureless areas of the image.

    Vignette Control - Correct for loss of marginal lumination, a phenomenon associated with camera lenses that causes a drop in brightness at the edges of a photograph. Most effective when performed on images taken at maximum aperture. If the image was taken with a type G or D lens, Nikon Capture 4 will use the lens information recorded with the image to automatically select an optimal value for Vignette Control.

    Fisheye Lens - Modify images taken with an AF DX 10.5mm f2.8G Nikkor fisheye lens to resemble images taken with a normal wide-angle lens. This option is not available with other lenses. See examples below.

Nikon Capture 4

Image taken with Nikkor AF DX 10.5mm fisheye lens

Nikon Capture 4

Converted and "straightened" with NikonCapture

These photos were taken at the pool Aquatica (manufacturer of quality underwater housings for digital and film cameras) uses as a testing facility, and all were captured with a 10.5mm Nikon Fisheye, Nikon D100, and Aquatica D100 Housing with an 8 inch dome port (no extension ring needed) and twin Nikonos SB-105 Strobes.

To see more of these photos please visit the Wet Pixel web site. They have also posted information about a new underwater housing for the Nikon D50 to be available soon. If you're into diving and doing underwater digital photography then check this site out!

Camera Control

Using the Camera Control component of Nikon Capture, you can control almost all aspects of camera operation remotely via USB port from your computer. If Camera Control is running when a D1-series camera is connected, pictures taken with the camera will be stored on your computer hard disk, not the camera memory card.

The camera can be operated either directly or by using the controls in the Camera Control window. Camera settings are displayed in Camera Control. As photographs are captured, Nikon Capture Camera Control can automatically process the images to reflect image adjustment settings in Nikon Capture Editor.

Nikon Capture 4

Camera settings can be controlled from both the computer or from the camera if the "enable controls on the camera body" box is checked. The "Exposure 1" page shows the exposure mode, shutter speed, aperture, exposure compensation, flash compensation and the flexible program shift (if applicable.)

The status line on the computer screen is almost identical to that found inside of your camera's viewfinder and changes in realtime to reflect current camera settings.

Just click on the "AF and Shoot" button to have the camera perform autofocus and then capture the picture or click the "Shoot" button if already focused or using manual focus.

Nikon Capture 4

The "Exposure 2" page lets you choose the AF area, metering mode, flash sync mode, ISO speed and white balance.

Nikon Capture 4

The "Storage" page has options for saving the captured image as JPEG or RAW or RAW + basic JPEG, if JPEG then you can also select the compression level desired, and image size.

Nikon Capture 4

The "Mechanical" page lets you select the drive mode, AE bracketing and AF mode, it also indicates the lens being used and the battery level.

Nikon Capture 4

The "Image Processing" page lets you do some post-capture pre-save image massaging such as sharpness, tone compensation, color space, saturation, hue adjustment and enabling noise reduction.

Nikon Capture 4

The "Status" screen pops up after an image is captured and shows a preview thumbnail and lets you know how much space is left on the host computer's drive, where the image was saved and can also display an optional histogram.

Nikon Capture 4

You can take a series of time-lapse photographs automatically.

Go to
Steve's Conclusion

Return To Steve's
Reviews Menu

Visitors of Steves can visit the stores below for real-time pricing and availability. You can also find hot, soon to expire online offers on a variety of cameras and accessories at our very own Camera Deals page.