Digital Outback Photo
- Photography using Digital SLRs

Bibble 2.99 Review

by Uwe Steinmueller (06/12/2001)

(c) 2001 Uwe Steinmueller, this review and/or photos might not be used for commercial purposes without written permission


With Qimage 2001 V1.6 we got a very much improved sense of color from Nikon D1 NEF files. Before I used Capture and the latest Qimage version I was a longtime Bibble user as it fits more into my workflow (especially the Photoshop plug-in).

Bibble 2.99 builds on the strengths of 2.5 and adds a lot greater color quality and excellent sharpness..

As usual I will concentrate only on NEF processing although Bibble also is quite capable in dealing with D1 JPG files.

The input dialog

Why put so much information all in one input dialog? There are many advantages of this approach:

  • the same settings can be used for Batch, Plug-In and the normal Bibble open.

  • With some experience a user knows the settings he wants to apply

  • It allows Bibble to apply the options in the order which is best to the image quality

  • In the future it will probably be possible to save settings and reload them if needed (this is on Eric's task list).


Lets have a look at the different sections

Preview Window

The preview is the same as in version 2.5 only the image quality is much better. Bibble has to balance real time processing, different monitor sizes (800x600 still is reality) and visual feedback. For me the preview as it is now is very useful. I easily can see the effect of changing the WB override.

Automatic image options


Defines a percentage above (highlights) or below (Shadows). They represent points in the the points in the histogram that you would set the highlight and shadow sliders too if you were leveling normally. The histogram is then streched so that those values become true black and white and everything in between gets more contras.


  • No Rotate

  • Rotate CCW (counter clock wise)

  • Rotate CW (clock wise)


Selects a gamma curve to be applied on the photo (not active if tone is selected)


This works like the Tone setting in the D1 (CSM 24). As this is not applied to the image inside the camera for NEF files

  • Profiled (this option is new and gives very correct color and preserves the highlights)

  • Camera (use the setting made for CSM 24)

  • low (use for hard contrasts, but also see profiled)

  • normal (the standard)

  • high (use for low contrast photos)

EXIF as txt/IPTC

Writes a text file with the EXIF (camera setting recording) info. Also controls if exif info is placed in the IPTC fields in photoshop.

Display EXIF

Shows EXIF info

Preview Options

If selected it shows the input dialog. If not selected it applies the last settings and does not show this dialog. You only have to deselect for "unattended" batches.

Apply to JPEGs

Allows to use the input dialog also for JPG files and also causes bibble to load JPGs in photoshop thru the options.

Rapid Preview

Allows the *Initial* preview to come up much faster. Meaning all the interpolating is done after you say ok.

Iso Displays the ISO of the photo. Based on that information you might select some noise removal.
Open Maximized Image will be opened in maximized mode
D1X Image Size 2.99 will support the D1X uncompressed .nefs Fully and will allow the user to load A d1x nef file at the standard resolution 2kx3k, or at bibbles enhanced 10 Megapixel mode!
Color Management

Bibble started very early to use color spaces and provide monitor profile compensation. Monitor calibration allows you to soft proof photos for printing (if you use proper profiles for your printers). I believe this is essential for a good capturing process.

Color Management

  • No (no color management). It leaves the image in the D1's native color space. This is only useful if you plan to try and do your own profiling outside of bibble.

  • ICC. You can select an ICC profile. I use Adobe RGB 1998

  • Monitor Corrected (if you use a calibrated monitor profile)

Working Color Space

Select here your preferred working profile

D1 color Profile

  • Old CC (mode of very old Bibble version)
  • 2000 (mode of version 2.5
  • 2001 Latest color version (I only use this, great color!)


Select the monitor profile you created during the monitor calibration process


Bibble makes a difference between interactive and non-interactive adjustments. This is just making the difference between features where Bibble can display the feedback in reasonable time (depends on the PC) or where the computation is that intense that it would frustrate the user.

Interactive Adjustments


Standard color correction (I do not use it much)


Hue, Saturation, Value (Sometimes a add a bit saturation)


Allows to apply curves to the image. Bibble's curves are quite useful and well implemented

NonInteractive Adjustments


Allows 4 different levels of sharpening. Standard is the most sophisticated one as it is very much integrated into the full conversion process and avoids to amplify noise

Remove Noise

Very powerful noise removal (comes in 4 levels). Consider to use it for ISO400 photos and above

Unsharp Mask

Allows USM in 16 bit

White Balance Override

The white balance override feature of Bibble is a class by itself and worth alone to get Bibble.

You can set the WB in the D1 either to fixed values or auto. In any case Bibble allows you to correct the WB lates. Ever photos outdoor photos set to fluorescent at the time you shot the photo can be saved by converting the WB in Bibble

Consult you D1 manual what the different WB settings of the D1 mean. I mostly tend to compensate a bit on the warm (yellow) side.

New WB

You can enable the feature and then can set the compensation values


Shows WB of the camera setting

Click White

This allows you to correct the white balance in clicking on a neutral gray in the photo. Best you include a gray card in one of your photos and correct with this setting all other photos.

Exposure Adjustment

The exposure adjustment feature of Bibble is again a very great feature (second to WB).

Exposure Adjustment

Allows corrections from -4 to +4 EV. This is not a replacement for good exposure in the first place. There is nothing better than having a well exposed picture. Bibbles EV comp does a wonderful job of increasing or decreasing exposure as if you had when you shot the photo. If we photograph flying pelicans we cannot take some sample shots and repeat with optimal exposure. In these cases this feature saves your day.

Here are my rules for D1 camera exposure settings (got also convinced by Rob Galbraiths rules)

  • High contrast scene -0.3 EV(with a lot of white objects even -0.7 EV)

  • Normal (0 EV)

  • Lowkey +03 EV - +0.7 EV

How much you might need to compensate in Bibble depends then on you images.

Warning: Underexposure will result in more noise as the D1 has much more noise in the shadow part of the photo than in the midtones or highlights. With contrasty photos you always have to choose between higher noise or blown out highlights (mostly never acceptable).


Histograms show a 256 value distribution of the gray values of all pixels in a photo. On the left side there are the shadows and on the right side the highlights. Avoid spikes on both ends because you either lost shadow details or details in the highlights. More important is to avoid lost highlights as you lose all detail in light areas.

When Eric told me he planned to have the before and the after histogram displayed I was not really too much excited. When I then have seen it the first time in reality I was! This is an other classy feature in the Bibble input dialog.

Original Histogram

Histogram of the original NEF picture

Final Histogram

Histogram after applying all active options in the input dialog

Now you can analyze the effect of all the options on the final image. I cannot understand how I could have used Bibble before without it :-).


Above is a real example with a photo we care of it shows the settings for this shot. I will only mention the parameters I regularly change:

  • Tone: Profiled is the tone I mostly use but also low and normal. Tone and exposure (and also curves) are very much related and have to be treated in combination. Watch the histogram for spikes at the right side.
  • WB: This is a key feature and I like to use "Click White" if there is some white or neutral tone in the image
  • Exposure Adjustment: Also a key feature used on every photo
  • Curves: Sometimes to lighten the shadows.
Curves Dialog
USM Dialog


What else?

This powerful input dialog is impressive enough but there is more (hard to get in one shot).

  • Can use the input dialog for batch processing settings

    Batches are multithreaded.

    Batch process selected files in the browser (select files and batch process them, great feature).

    Multiple renaming options in batch processing.

    Thumbnails to Batch Processing dialog.

    Ability to batch process more than one folder at a time (most useful on multiprocessor PC's).

    "EXIF Only" type to batch output EXIF image info to a text file without processing the associated image.

    Preservers EXIF shooting data in all files.

    Fast browser for viewing thimbs.

    Rapid zooming of images (Capture is so slow!)

    Firewire shooting and browsing.

    Standalong program and photoshop plugin!

    Works the same way on both the Mac And PC!



In my review about version 2.0 I asked"

"Is everything perfect? Of course not. Eric will fix one or the other bug and add nice features."


Of course this is true again. But I think that Bibble gets very close to the limits of what the D1 can deliver. And with this Bibble version this is a lot. Eric I am so pleased that for now Bibble is my main NEF conversion tool. You reached a level I never thought be possible.


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