Nikon D850 JPG engine is really good.

Inspiration, Nikon D850, Q&A, Teaching point

After examining the RAW files from the Nikon D850 in Capture One and comparing them to the camera-generated JPGs I’ve come to a a surprising conclusion:  this may be the first camera I choose to shoot exclusively in JPG mode.

The out of camera JPGs are that good.

My JPG settings for the D850 are:

  • Picture Control: Neutral
  • Active D-Lighting: Auto
  • White Balance:  Auto-0
  • Vignette Control: Normal
  • Auto Distortion Control: On
  • High ISO noise reduction: Off

With these settings, I can get to within 95% of where I want the files to be, right out of the camera.  This is an incredible time-saver.

[Update October 26, 2017:  I downloaded the latest version of Lightroom and have to admit that the RAW files, as handled by Lightroom, are very pleasing and superior to the out-of-camera JPGs.]


7 thoughts on “Nikon D850 JPG engine is really good.

  1. I’ve been shooting jpegs exclusively since I got to Nikon. When working wedding and portrait photography, it’s a huge time saver and I haven’t noticed any drop in image quality.

  2. Sanctified!

    See, here’s the thing. I once wrote in a forum post that JPEGs are liberating – kind of like shooting slides. I shoot b&w JPEGs and I like how my cameras (Sonys) render b&w. There is no need to process them further.

    I was challenged on that point by someone who said that it’s just as easy to shoot RAW, apply a preset, and export. This is true. But… if you’re giving photos to clients/recipients on the spot, you don’t have to worry about whether or not they have a good RAW converter, or if they know how to work it.

    Also, you don’t even need to open the application in the first place. You can edit JPEGs without any application at all – I just use the spacebar and Cmd-D in Mac OS X (duplicates are then resized if necessary without the need to alter the original).

    Of course if your exposure is too far off, you’re f****ed. 😀

  3. So purchased a Fuji x100F yesterday. Sold my M6. Just growing tired of film and the costs adding up (Mark….sorry!) and found I was not picking up my camera as much. So it called for a gear change! So with x100F I’ve found you need LR CC account to process files!

    Though I’m happy to say I’ll be a dedicated JPEG photographer with this camera. Not D850 level but pretty good for my purposes with camera.

    1. Congratulations Andy!

      I’ve been previously tempted by the X100 line of cameras and even Mark owns (or owned) one.

      Too bad about the LR CC requirements but in the X100 you have a camera known for its superlative JPG output.

  4. Hi Peter,

    Thanks for your wonderful analysis. I shot(RAW) my first event with D850 last weekend and the in camera JPEG pictures were amazing totally out of the world. But when igot them in Lightroom Classic CC they were flat and dull, I also shoot D700 and D4 But there is huge difference in RAW and JPEG images from D850, they are drastically different in light room.

    I also concluded the JPEG engine is good.

    But your October 26 comments are interesting. What kind of changes in lightroom have you done to make them better than JPEGs. Did you use camera calibration or presets ?

    Any info on your light room edits is much appreciated.

    -Naga Gandham.

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