Recommended apps for rendering NEF files

Discussion in 'Digital Darkroom' started by Hector Javkin, Oct 19, 2017.

  1. Aside from the Adobe DNG converter or upgrading Photoshop or Lightroom to the CC versions, what current application(s) do you recommend for rendering Nikon raw (NEF) files? What about the Capture 1 software? Thank you.
  2. Ever since adobe came up with the subscription model have I been evaluating other software with regard to replacing acr/photoshop (which I've been using for about a decade now). I purchased the standalone version of LR, I dabbled in Capture NX2 and NX-D, DxO Optics Pro, Capture One (for Sony), and lately ON1 RAW (purchased the last three). At the time and on my computer, NX2 was always painfully slow and unstable; it's now obsolete anyway unless you are willing to deal with the complications in a workflow that uses outdated software. Haven't warmed up to NX-D, mostly for lack of actually trying. DxO Optics Pro is the one software I already own for some time; I don't use it routinely but it would have been top candidate had I actually abandoned acr/photoshop. I purchased Capture One (for Sony) but have only very recently begun to use it to produce the files from my A7/A7II; it's not clear to me yet that there is an advantage over using ACR despite what I read on the interwebs (I have V9 and have no plans to upgrade to the already available 10). On1 RAW is fairly new and I stopped the evaluation when I realized how many things were missing; I will pick this up soon after several updates have been made and a major one in the forecast. I had big hopes for LR (started with 4, upgraded to 5 and eventually 6, the perpetual license version) but I just can't warm up to the software. The "import process" takes endlessly (import 7000 images from a vacation trip and be prepared to wait all day) and i don't like the proprietary "catalog" concept one bit (unfortunately DxO Optics and Capture One have it too but at least I can save processing parameters outside of them).

    ACR/photoshop seems to be the only combination that transfers images "seamlessly" without the need of an intermediate file that in the end either eats up storage space or needs to be removed manually. Photoshop also seems to be the only software that lets me process data in ON1, Topaz, and Nik Collection without the need of yet another saved intermediary.

    Even though I still don't like the subscription model one bit (in particular the "pay in perpetuity" part); I grudgingly subscribed (especially after being prompted by my wife's refusal to give up photoshop after she had just gotten accustomed to working with it). I will likely maintain a subscription to DxO Optics Pro as I plan to make more use of it's features in favor of abandoning LR completely (which I had mostly used to "batch process" images). Whatever software I have tried, I was faced with a steep learning curve that didn't exactly encourage me to spend time I could use more productively actually processing images with acr/photoshop, a combination I seem to at least have a somewhat decent handle on using.

    I have tried the DNG route when forced to do so to correct images taken with the Sony NEX 6; it adds time and effort to the workflow and also requires more disk space (at least if one is not willing to delete the original RAW files).
    Last edited: Oct 19, 2017
  3. ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    +++++ Alternatives to Photoshop +++++

    Pixelmator Pro

    CameraBag RAW

    RAW Therapee

    DxO Optics Pro 10

    ON1 Photo 10

    darktable | the photo workflow software

    Pixlr Editor

    Serif Affinity Photo


    Capture 1

    Corel PaintShop Pro X8
    Corel AfterShot Pro 3

    ACD Systems ACDSee Pro 6 and ACDSee Photo Editor

    MacPhun Luminar 1.0
    MacPhun Creative Kit 2016





    Alien Skin Software Exposure X2

    Cyberlink PhotoDirector 7

    Zoner Photo Studio 18

    Aftershot Pro

    Topaz Labs - many products, many plugins

    The Best Photography Software for 2017 is...

    Best photo editing software in 2017 | TechRadar

    +++++ Alternatives to Lightroom +++++

    Photo Mechanic Version 5

    Cyberlink PhotoDirector 8 Ultra

    XnView MP

  4. Dieter, thank you for your detailed an interesting comments. They're very helpful. I actually liked NX2, and somehow stayed away from the features that made it crash, but the workflow now gets complicated with having to pre-process files for newer cameras. I haven't warmed to NX-D either, although I have tried several times.

    Tom, thank you. Many tools to choose from. What are you using?
  5. Thank you, that's a helpful article. I can try Capture One Pro for free for a month. From that article, and everything else above, I think it's worth the time to learn it and see if I like it.
  6. Currently using Lightroom, but trying to wean myself from it because of the latest info from Adobe about not supporting the stand-alone version any more after a certain date. Am working my way through Photoshop Elements 15, which does a good job, and has different ways (from beginner to expert) of using it.

    Also just downloaded the free version of DXO Optics Pro11, which definitely shows some promise. Not sure yet what the end result will be, but really am turned off by Adobe's subscription model.
  7. I do not have single definitive answer.
    When I must deliver high resolution jpegs on usb-stick, CD, DVD or Blu-ray I will use Capture NX-D. When I would like to print A4 myself, I will use Capture NX2 as I have old WinXP compatible inkjet-printer. When I would like to order 4x6 prints online I will use dcraw + imagemagick on linux. For home printed 4x6 the View NX2 is usefull. For catalog and view on map purposes View NX-i is handy.

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