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BillM

Lightroom and Z6 Raw Files

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My observations with the Z6 and Lightroom CC.  Applies to Camera Raw as well.
 
LR produces very nice images with Z6 files and there are some big differences in how Adobe handles Z6 .NEF files.  In the past, when you set Adobe Defaults for a camera, you get a color profile of Adobe Color, all basic adjustments zeroed and sharpening of 40/1.0/25/0 and no Noise Reduction.  With the Z6 and Z7 you get an Adobe Camera Profile matching the one used in the camera, some interesting sharpening values and noise reduction that varies with subject and ISO.
 
When opening a Z6 / (and downloaded Z7)  .NEFs in LR Classic CC 8.1 or LR CC Desktop (At Default Adobe Settings)the camera assigned profile is retained, Exposure, Contrast, Shadows, Saturation, Sharpening and Noise Reduction varies depending on the in camera settings.
 
Active D-Lighting: In general, any Active D-Lighting will yield a Shadows Adjustment of +0.1 ADL Normal will cause a +0.33 Exposure Adjustment and ADL High will cause a +0.67 Exposure Adjustment.  This is consistent with the camera slightly underexposing to protect highlights when ADL is used.
 
Picture Controls:
 
Standard yields the Standard camera matching profile in LR.  Sometimes with a minor change to saturation.
 
Auto will yield minor changes in contrast and sometimes Saturation.  Auto yields the Standard camera matching profile in LR as well.
 
Custom Picture Controls:  Any changes to contrast in the in-camera settings for the picture control will yield a change in contrast in LR.  Standard with a -1 Contrast in camera seems to yield a -0.24 contrast adjustment in LR.
 
Sharpening:  Lower ISO settings seem to yield something like Sharpeniing 40 / Radius 2.0 / Detail 25 / Masking 0.
 
Noise Reduction:  Noise reduction values yielded in LR vary based on subject and ISO.
 
Observation:  A well exposed JPEG with Standard or Auto Picture Control and ADL off or Low yields a fairly nice .NEF conversion in LR.  ADL High and above, not so much.
 
White Balance:  ARGGGGGHHHHHHHH!   Z6 / Z7 .NEF and Fuji XT3 .RAF files yield wacky Light Balance Values in LR.    Tint values of -30 instead of +10.  If you try an Adobe Daylight Preset you will get bleah results.  The original Profiles are calibrated against a different standard.  I was able to download a set of V2 profiles for the Z6 from Adobe that help somewhat.  After you change from the starting profile to one of the V2 profiles, the Tint calibration seems to work as it used to.  The rint calibration issue also affects custom profiles created with X-Rite software as well.
 
The white balance issues are not a show stopper, but they are clumsy to deal with and make a custom x-rite dual illumination profile pretty much useless. Also, creating a preset in LR CC Classic with a V2 profile will not properly apply it to images.
 
It will be interesting to see how Adobe deals with the new process 5 profiles they have created.  I am sure many of their developers are considering other less complicated careers at this time :)
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I recall the default Nikon camera profiles causing me (and others) a lot of consternation when I first started using Lightroom. The images would look great for a few seconds after importing, until Lr built its preview, then they would go flat and lifeless. Good to hear things are improving. 

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