Color Profile not Honored for NEFs in Windows Photo Viewer

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Color Profile not Honored for NEFs in Windows Photo Viewer

Postby Kal on Sun Sep 26, 2010 9:07 am

Hi,

I just downloaded a trial of the FastPictureViewer and am impressed with the results. After instructing it to use my monitor profile (calibrated with an Eye-One Display 2) the NEFs look exactly as they do in View NX 2 and Capture NX 2. And as you've advertised, the load time is MUCH faster, especially with GPU acceleration turned on.

Unfortunately, I didn't have as much luck with native color managed windows 7 applications (photo viewer and photo gallery). Since installing the trial of FastPictureViewer also installed the NEF codecs, I am able to see all my NEF previews in windows explorer, but when I open them with windows photo viewer, the color is desaturated and incorrect.

To test that the right monitor profile was being used, I saved a NEF as two different JPEGs, one with a Nikon Adobe RGB profile, and the other with an sRGB profile. Both of these JPEGs looked the same in windows photo viewer, confirming that the monitor profile and JPEG color profiles are working correctly together. This has me thinking that perhaps the NEF codec is not able to pass the color profile of the NEF through to windows photo viewer, and so it renders it incorrectly. Is this a limitation of the codec, or am I doing something wrong?

Thanks
Kal
 
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Re: Color Profile not Honored for NEFs in Windows Photo View

Postby Axel on Sun Sep 26, 2010 2:58 pm

As you noted, FastPictureViewer Professional does what it takes to preview all raw files with proper color management.

On the other hand, raw files do not contain any embedded ICC color profile and NEFs are no exceptions (raw files are simply tagged in various - and often undocumented - ways, depending on camera brand and models). Currently our NEF codec exposes the entire file's metadata as-is and it's up to applications using it to figure out if they need to apply a color transform or not when previewing the files.

FastPictureViewer Pro contains all the logic necessary to find out in which color space the embedded preview lives on and applies the appropriate transform, going straight from the file's color space to the monitor's color space for the most faithful color reproduction, closely matching manufacturer software and top photo editors such as Adobe Photoshop, but this detection logic is not in the codec itself and as such it does not expose a ready-to-use ICC color profile for other applications to consume. The consequence is that raw files shot with the camera set to Adobe RGB will always look right in FPV Pro but may be previewed without proper color management in other viewers.
Axel
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Re: Color Profile not Honored for NEFs in Windows Photo View

Postby Kal on Sun Sep 26, 2010 5:09 pm

Thanks for the reply, Axel.

So it seems this is a limitation of windows photo viewer not being able to properly read the as-is metadata on the NEF provided by the codec. Windows photo viewer would either have to be updated to support this or the codec would somehow have to be modified to expose the color profile associated with the NEF in a way that photo viewer interprets as an attached ICC profile.

I am thinking of purchasing FastPictureViewer, but I'm curious if there are any plans (or if it's even possible) to support color management with windows photo viewer and windows gallery. It would be nice to be able to have the organizational and slideshow display features of the windows applications be color managed (since they are able to be with the right ICC profile).
Kal
 
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Re: Color Profile not Honored for NEFs in Windows Photo View

Postby Axel on Sun Sep 26, 2010 10:54 pm

Windows Photo Viewer works fine, the codecs can be modified to expose an ICC color profile that matches the color space tags found within raw files. It's entirely possible but would require a lot of testing given the number of codecs we ship and the number of camera models supported by each. At the moment this support is in FastPictureViewer Pro itself (as we found we could not always rely on other's codecs, even some manufacturers ones...).
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Re: Color Profile not Honored for NEFs in Windows Photo View

Postby Axel on Tue Oct 19, 2010 5:12 am

In response to your request, starting from FastPictureViewer Codec Pack 2.5.0.1, the NEF, CR2 and ORF codecs now expose an ICC profile to applications when the images were taken with the camera set to the Adobe RGB color space (raw files don't contain ICC profiles, but the codecs now supplies one when needed). Of course thumbnail creation and large size previewing of those images in Windows Photo Viewer etc is a bit slower, but the colors are more accurate. Note that FastPictureViewer Pro always color-managed everything, the change only affect other applications that use those codecs.
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