Is it possible to edit Nikon NEF color balance info?

Discussion in 'Digital Darkroom' started by greglyon, Dec 22, 2004.

  1. What I'd like to do is change color balance info in a Nikon NEF File so that it's recognized by all viewers (Nikon view, Photoshop, Explorer etc). For example, I shot some flash shots but forgot and left white balance on tungsten. Is this possible? Here's what I've found out so far:
    • Nikon View/Editor...doesn't allow saving the NEF as a NEF
    • Photoshop CS (Camera RAW) Stores changes in a format only recognized by itself
    • Nikon Capture...I haven't used it yet, is this the answer?
    • Something else (cheaper)? Freeware/shareware to do the trick?
    • Thanks in advance!
  2. Nikon Capture allows you to alter the white balance. In the camera, this is applied after the raw file is acquired so with capture, you're doing the same thing, only in your computer instead of in the camera. It would still be a NEF file (I think)
  3. Oh yeah, by 'color' balance...I meant white balance.

    Maybe it's time to activate my 30 day Capture trial...
  4. YEs, you can change the white balance, as well as almost everything else in Nikon Cature, then you can save the info to the original NEF file. Although if you do that, your edits become permanant and your original capture data will be overwritten. I usually save the edited NEF file as a TIFF and leave my original NEF file as shot.
  5. Thanks Richard. That's what I was wondering. Do I understand correctly that the actual image data isn't changed at all when I change white balance of a nef image...that it's just a tag that is being changed?
  6. Yes, I believe you are correct sir. Until you save it as something else, it's still a raw file
  7. The one caveat with editing and resaving information with Nikon Capture is that Nikon is infamous for breaking their nef files. Several versions of Nikon View have only rotated one of the three color channels, and some edits made with earlier versions of Nikon Capture created files that later versions could not open. Adobe's solution of storing editi information in XML sidecar files is much safer in this regard.
  8. Yikes! Thanks for the tip Ethan. I guess the short story is test test test before I use Nikon Capture to do these changes...

    So, is it consensus that Nikon Capture is the only way to change the white balance in a Nikon NEF file?
  9. I use Capture 4 to alter white balance (and I used Capture 3 before that). My technique is to modify the NEF file, then just save it. This is not a destructive save, one always can revert to the original image.

    Maybe I'm asking for it, but in over two years and thousands of images, I've never had a problem with it.

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