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My Workflow For Contax N Digital



Here is the workflow I have adopted for working with my N Digital:

- On the field, where I pretty much do all my shooting, RAW mode is out for me because of the lack of preview. TIFF takes too long, so the best quality JPEG is it.

- After trying various settings with 1.07 and 1.08, like Irakly and Marc I am now shooting at straight 1.07. Granted, the images look like mush out of the box, but they also noticeably provide the best tonal range options that you can then squeeze out using Photoshop. I noticed that by boosting the chroma you do get better looking pics out of the box but the contast and chroma range suffer especially if you you are off the perfect exposure.

- Once in Photoshop I re-assign to Adobe RGB color profile which improves initial color, then convert profile (NOT assign profile) to sRGB. As far as I have been able to tell, this has not affected the color quality at all (24 bits is 24 bits, I believe just some hue aspects in an unusual Cyan range are different), and I do enjoy the color I get. This way I don't have to keep separate copies for web and print.

- I save my working copy as TIFF with ZIP compression, also non-lossy but usually smaller size than LZW, and archive the original JPEG. This way there's no quality loss between work sessions.

- If I have to do any kind of extensive surgery like wire or spot removal, I save a "working original" TIFF after the surgery, separate from the working copy in which I continue my image processing.

- I do all the tonal manipulation on the working TIFF copy, usually some combo of Contrast / Brightness, Saturation, Level, and occasionally Curves.

- For "dodging / burning-in" I use the magic selection tool to isolate the area, with the marquee for large areas inside the irregular shape, then depending on the image I use Saturation, Contrast / Brightness, and Level.

- I have played with switching to 16-bit color during most manipulations to let the calculations be performed at the higher precision, then switching back to 8-bit at the end. In theory should help, but who knows

- I print off the working TIFF.

- I create web JPEGs off the working TIFF.

My ND work flow : I shoot J-pegs for speed and power conservation. The camera is set to the highest setting for chroma. I download the CF cards via a Firewire reader, and view them in the PS-7 Browser.

When I open a specific file I select Adobe RGB 1998 for the color space conversion from sRGB (Adobe RGB 1998 matches the set space for my monitor and printer).

With the file now open, I automatically hit PS-7s >Image>Adjustments>Autocolor (or >Auto Levels) just to see what I am working with. 50% of the time it's pretty close and just requires a bit of tweeking. For ex&le, you can go to >Edit>Fade and use the slider to lessen the effect of an Auto Adjustment. I do this quick approach primarily because I am often processing hundreds of images shot at a wedding. So, any technique that speeds up the process is worth trying.

For the other 50% of the time I use curves and then adjust color saturation to taste. Sometimes adding saturation unbalances the image toward the red side so I go to > Image>Adjustments>Color Balance and fix it.

If it is necessary to lift the shadowed areas I use Fred Miranda's "Shadow Recovery" PS Plug-In because it leaves the other mid and high tones alone and only effects the shadows. www.fredmirand.com >go to "Actions" in the main menu. It's cheap and easy to install.

I then size to the final print, sharpen with Unsharp Mask, and save it as an
uncompressed Tiff.

If the set of shots is important, I will copy the original J-pegs from a CF card directly to a desktop file and then burn a locked CD-ROM.
Thanks Marc. As one who is still struggling to get to grips with all the nuances of Photoshop, that is very helpful.
Irakly, or Marc or any other ND users!

I am using firmware 1.7 on my ND. Most of my images without flash seem
underexposed by 1 stop. I am easily able to correct these with my imaging
software ... but in looking at the exposuire information, the shots look
like they should be OVEREXPOSED by one stop (or two) based on the sunny rule
of 16.

Ex&le: I am looking at a shot taken in NYC on a sunny day:

1/512th at F 5.0 at ISO 100.

Rule of 16 says this should have been just about 1/1000th at F 5 at ISO 100.

I sent a s&le shot to Blake, and he came back saying the image was very
nicely exposed and after he modified it in Photoshop, the image had great
tonal range, etc. When I look at the image on the screen, without correct,
it is way to dark! (underexposed) Of course, I just think that I should not
have to work at the shot that hard! The final products do look good after
correction but ...

Of course, when I use flash, I have the opposite problem, where I normally
dial down the exposure with EC -1.0 to prevent overxposures with TLA 360 TTL

I know the simple answer would be to just overexpose my non flash shots by
just one stop, but since my system seems to already using settings that
underexpose the shots by one stop this presents a tough situation at ISO 100
(slow shutter speeds, wide aperature).

Also, in my EXIF info, most of the Orientation says TOP LEFT. Is this my
metering orientation? It should not be since I focus w/ the center focus
grid most of the time.

Do you have a similar problem? Any suggestions?


with either the 1.07 or 1.08 (the one i use now) my exposure comp dial = is always on +3/4 (starting position) and then i adjust higher if needed. = the key is the always
> Mehrad,

The point I was trying to make is that if I overexpose with the EC dial, then the whole world slows down (shutter, aperature), which takes me even farther away from the Sunny 16 rule! Do you also do an EC -1.0 with most of your flashes?


i have only used a flash once with the ND and not so good. this camera = only works in P mode when using flash and that's not my cup of tea. so i = don't know about -1. overall the ND is a slow camera, in focusing, shutter = lag,... so one more just keeps up with its tradition. hopefully contax has = learned and the next one is better=20


When you say the flash "= only works in P mode when using flash and that's not my cup of tea.", I am not sure what you mean. I use the flash in A mode ... Have you read something that says it it only suppose to work in P mode? I have no complaints regarding focusing or shutter lag. However; it does bug me sometimes when I have been waiting for a shot and when I go to take the shot, the unit has fallen asleep!


Michael , if u read the manual on the ND regarding flash, says only = works in P mode!=20
> Thanks for the heads up. I will double check. Mine seems to work fine as long as I use -1 EC in TTL mode! Hmmm... hard to believe.