D2X - a RAW file query

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by concert_images, Aug 1, 2005.

  1. I asked a question a few weeks back about the D2X's capabilities at
    ISO 800 and ISO 1600 compared to pro film and it would seem that it
    outstrips what, say Fuji NPZ can achieve - which is the biggest
    indicator for me buying in...

    I gather if I shoot in RAW mode, that's the highest quality way to
    shoot. I gather too that Photoshop 7 won't read NEF RAWs, so you need
    CS2 to read them (which I don't have - problem). Alternatively you
    can use Nikon Capture or a package called RAW Shooter to convert your
    RAW files to 16 bit TIFFs for editing in PS7 (which I do have) - is
    this correct?

    Am I right in saying that would give me the greatest quality of
    output from the D2X?

    Basically, given I don't have and don't intend to get CS2, what is
    the best way of converting and editing RAW files given that I'm on

    And as an aside, has anyone used the Epson P-2000 with the D2X? That
    looks good....

    Thanks, Neil
  2. NikonView (free with camera) comes with a little program called NefLauncher, which allows you to open RAW files into PS7. You will only have some basic exposure controls at the coversion stage, but it works fine. And yes, Raw will be the ultimate quality file.
  3. I use both Capture and Raw Shooter. I'd start with Raw Shooter, it's free and does a darn good job. Capture is absolutely ridiculous in how it uses memory, while RS handles it quite well. The only area RS might be considered 'weak' is how it handles white balance but that might be me, not the software. For the price it's certainly worth trying!
  4. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    As long as you have a legit copy of PhotoShop 7, you can buy the CS2 Upgrade for $149 and upgrade. I bought my upgrade at my local Fry's Electronics when they had a discount at $129. However, you still need to download Camera RAW 3.1 from Adobe to handle D2X files.

    NikonView (not Capture) is free and can be downloaded from Nikon's web site. You need a recent version (I think 6.2.5 or later) to cover the D2X. Put that Nikon NEF plusin into the Plus-Ins -> File Formats directory under PhotoShop 7 and you are in business.
  5. No question about it, Nef is the way to go if you want total control and total quality of your
    photos. And if you have time to spare.

    Now, of course, since Nikon came up with this shameful scam of encrypting the white
    balance of the D2X's Nef files, the only program that can read the ORIGINAL WB is Nikon
    Capture (vers. 4.2 and higher). Outrageous, but that's how it goes. For now.

    Granted, Capture Editor is a very good conversion program, and it'll give you a plug-in for
    PS7, but it is slooow. The new "D.lighting" (vers. 4.3) is extremely interesting (like a burst
    of flash after the fact), but tricky to use and it makes the already slow program almost
    come to a halt. Excruciating. Each tiny change takes like 30 seconds to show (YMMV, but
    not much). There is also a noise reduction function, but I'm not sure if it really works well
    (never used it).

    So, there are several other programs out there to chose from: Bibble Pro, Raw Developer,
    Capture One Pro, etc... They won't read the original D2X WB, but you can assign a different
    WB and work from there.

    I don't know about Raw Shooter. Are you sure you don't mean Raw Developer?

    Have fun.
  6. Yes, Raw Shooter actually exists. I didn't know that, but of course it's Windows only. I
    should have known better ;)
  7. You can open NEF files in Photoshop 7.0.1 using the plug-in supplied with Nikon View 6.2.5 or you can open them in the Nikon View Editor and save them as 16 or 8 bit RGB, TIFF files. This will work until you get better software.
  8. Both Nikon View (which includes a basic PhotoShop plugin) and (I believe) the latest RawShooter Essentials can read D2x 'as shot' white balance data. Upgrading to CS2 would allow you to use the latest Adobe Camera Raw plugin, but this _can't_ read the 'as shot' D2x white balance (though you do get additional control over other aspects of NEF conversion).

    I'd suggest trying Nikon View (free download from Nikon tech support) and its PS plugin (which is PS7-compatible) first. Don't bother with Nikon Picture Project (also has a PS plugin, but it's only 8-bit). You can use the Nikon View output for quality comparison with RawShooter (also a free download, but PC only) which in my experience also does a good job, and has a much better workflow for batch conversion. Incidentally, Nikon Capture apparently uses the same NEF conversion engine as Nikon Capture (so the qulity should be similar), but the latter gives you more control.
  9. Neil,
    Think about this. You bought a $5k camera....$5k. Why? Presumably b/c you are an experienced photographer with a need for the best performance, durability, hiqh quality image output needs, etc.

    Just like you can't expect good pictures with a cheap lens. You must also have good quality software for post-processing. It's part of the game with digital. Get either Capture 4.2 or CS2...or, ideally, both. The cost is nominal compared to the body and they're essential equipment for quality image output.
  10. so if in a situation where you have a couple of GBs of RAWs, and you want to batch convert them to 16 bit TIFFs, would Raw Shooter be quicker / easier / more effective than Nikon Capture?
  11. Capture is notoriously slow, so RawShooter may be a better bet for batch conversion. You can judge the quality (and appropriate settings) yourself by comparing output from RawShooter with View or the demo version of Capture. More expensive does not always mean better.
  12. Capture One is probably the most mature RAW converter, and it has slick workflow for quickly working on many images.
  13. BiblePro 4 handles D2X NEFs with utmost ease. It reads the encrypted w/b without problem, too. I find its batch processing versatility to be far superior to CaptureOne. Sometimes CaptureOne makes the processed file come out a little better than Bibble, but most of the time I find the opposite to be true. Bibble has the advantage it will run on Mac or Linux as well. Both converters can be recommended for professional workflows. The latest 4.3 Capture is not a speed monster, but much improved from the earlier versions and entirely usable (the PC need to have at least 1 GB RAM, 2 GB is better). You need Capture if you want to have full remote control of the camera (4.3 also handles all other Nikon DSLRs not just D2X).

    I have BibblePro (running under Windows and Linux), CaptureOne and Nikon Capture. All of them are useful items in my workflow. I tried Rawshooter and uninstalled it rather quickly, however.
  14. Another vote for BibblePro! Much faster than Nikon Capture and excellent image
  15. Neil asked: "I gather if I shoot in RAW mode, that's the highest quality way to shoot"

    First, RAW is NOT the highest quality way to shoot; its the ONLY way to shoot (or capture) the image. Of course, you need to get the image out of your camera so there is a second question which is whether RAW is a good way to transfer the image to your image editor and from there to your printer or other output device.

    You can achieve maximum flexibility and control using RAW as the transfer medium. With the right software you can have the same control over camera settings (e.g. white balance) that you have in the camera, so there are many advantages.

    However, the camera itself is fully capable of doing the conversions and there is no gaurantee that you will be able to do better -- especially if you start limiting the software that you will be using. If you are good at post processing and are willing to put in the time, then you might get better (higher quality?) outputs or prints than possible with in-camera processing. But if your idea of a good time does not include sitting in front of a computer then you may not ever get around to obtaining the output or print at all or your results may be no better than the in-camera settings.
  16. Capture One Pro is the most advanced RAW processing program out there. Download a copy and try it. Photoshop and Capture One is one of the best packs to have.
  17. Note, however, that Capture One (like PS CS/ACR) does not support D2x 'as shot' white balance - you get the software's 'best guess' (or set it manually).

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