Flat* provides minimal dramatization while preserving the material characteristics. Compared with Neutral, the finish shows less contrast and does not look lively as it is. When you add adjustment to the image after shooting, overblown highlights, blocked up shadows, or excessive color saturations rarely occur, thus enabling rich tonality of both brightness and color tones. With the wealth of information from highlight to shadow areas, this mode is recommended when you are shooting a scene with post-shoot adjusting in mind.
*Only available with the D810 or cameras released after the D810, Picture Control Utility 2, ViewNX 2 and Capture NX-D (as of June 26, 2014).
Comparison of Flat and Neutral images
Flat is effective in a scene where you want to reproduce subtle gradation and differences in the texture of the dark areas. Using Capture NX-D, white balance is adjusted finely to achieve colors with warmth in the overall image. Also, Levels & Tones is used to add sharpness and saturation is enhanced by Tone. Finally, saturation of orange is increased by adjusting the hue of LCH to emphasize the color of the lighting.
When a scene includes bright sky in the background, the foreground tends to lose details in dark areas. Utilizing the rich information that images taken with Flat contain, you can adjust brightness, contrast and saturation using Tone, and increase brightness in shadows using Tone (detail) with Capture NX-D.
The faint pink of the cherry blossoms stands out exquisitely by increasing saturation from Flat. With Capture NX-D, colors are emphasized by adding saturation and clarity is enhanced to make the image clearer. Blue is adjusted using Levels & Curves to reduce the yellow cast and emphasize the blue of the sky.
Example of Flat image adjusted within a camera and does not require editing after shooting
The image is shot in JPEG using Flat, with adjusted contrast, saturation and brightness within a camera, reproducing colors of the skin and lips beautifully.
Example of an image that can be used without adjustments or processing after shooting
Flat is optimal for image adjustments after shooting. However, the image may not need adjustment or editing, depending on the subject.
Comparison with Standard in enlarged images
With Flat, details in dark areas are preserved more thanks to the rich information.
With Flat, that contains rich information in highlight areas, details of the mountain slope covered with snow are described more finely. Also, the bright color of the sky is clearer.
Nikon’s new Picture Control, Flat
When you intend to perform elaborate image creation during post-shooting editing,
for still images or movies, Flat is recommended
With minimal artificial manipulation of color and brightness, Flat maintains a subject’s information as much as possible and faithfully reproduces it.
As you can see in the graph, images or movies taken with Flat contain rich information extending from shadow to the medium brightness range. Also, from the medium to high brightness range, artificial processing is minimized and the subject’s information is maintained.
Therefore, Flat is optimal for capturing raw materials to be used for post-shooting adjustment.
Not only for still images but also for movies, this rich Flat data is very useful for post-production as raw material. You can achieve movie work that precisely matches your creative intention via comparatively simple post-shooting adjustment. To shoot such raw materials of still images or movies to be adjusted, the default setting of Flat is recommended.
Moreover, in addition to using it as a raw material, you can adopt Flat as one of the options of Picture Control to realize your creative expression, utilizing its characteristics to reproduce delicate gradation, color and texture naturally.
Gradation characteristics of Flat in comparison with Standard and Neutral
Compared with Neutral, Flat features less darkening for dark areas.
Differences between Standard, Neutral and Flat
Achieves a distinctive and well-balanced image for use as it is. Compared with Flat, the range of the histogram is wider and appropriate contrast is given to the image, eliminating the need for post-shooting adjustment.
Offers characteristics between Flat and Standard. Suitable for post-shooting adjustment. Compared with Flat, artificial manipulation is added to a certain degree. Provides more tranquil expression than Standard.
The image may look flat but the histogram shows that it actually contains full information from the highlight to the shadow range. This gives flexibility for post-shooting adjustment. Ideal for use as raw material.