Software for NEF processing

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by mark_osier, Dec 28, 2011.

  1. My Nikon D300 is not working with my CS3 and I want to move on to something else that will work without having to take a computer science class to hack my system to make it work.
    What over-the-counter photo processing software will read NEF files and will then allow me to make changes? I'm not an intensive kind of processor, I do relatively minor changes in my pics so I don't need anything that can do magic.
    I've heard of, but know nothing about, Lightroom, Elements and Aperture, all I do know is that I'm tired of my CS3s failure to read my NEF files.
    ...help!
     
  2. You can use Nikon's free View NX2....
     
  3. Your Nikon software is free and will certainly work. You can output files and then take them into Photoshop for finishing. There are other programs out there (I am guessing that you can't get an update to CS3 for your camera?) but why pay more if you just want to get some basic output.
     
  4. You can download Adobe's DNG converter which will convert your NEF files to DNG which will open in PSCS3.
    This if for DNG converter 5.5 which allows D300 files to be converted:
    http://www.adobe.com/support/downloads/detail.jsp?ftpID=4576
     
  5. Definitely try View NX2 as a way to easily interpret the camera's settings and do some basic stuff while rendering TIFs or JPGs out of those NEFs. But for some real fun, download the free trial of Capture NX2. Depending on your taste, workflow preferences, and a lot of other subjective things, you may never need another editor. And you might really like the U-Point interface.
     
  6. If your needs are not extensive, Lightroom is a GREAT one-program solution for NEFs, and not too expensive.
     
  7. Why do you want to process raw images? From your post, it seems that you don't really want to exploit the advantages of
    raw. To proces raw requires a lot of study and practice, but I have the impression that you don't want to take that route.
     
  8. +1 on Picasa. Simple enough to use, allows you to do minor edits, and free. ViewNX is also a possibility, but I like what Picasa does in terms of organization of your files. I spend most of my time in Lightroom, but it's as much as $300 last time I looked.
     
  9. I am puzzled at your premise: that CS3 is uncomfortable with your D300. I've been using the two in tandem for more than a few years. Are you sure you have the RAW converter installed -- it's not a degree in computer science, for sure -- more like a handful of clicks.
     
  10. ditto, I still use PS CS3 and my D300 w/o problem. The most likely scenario is that you do not have the correct version of ACR installed that supports the D300
     
  11. No question in my mind: View NX (free) and Capture NX (not free) make the best raw conversions. The batch processing feature of Capture is also very useful (e.g. shoot in raw only and do a batch to create a set of basic jpegs).
     
  12. Updating ACR might indeed solve the problem. And it's indeed easy:
    1. Go to the Abobe website for ACR 4.6.
    2. Click Proceed to Download to download the file; the installation instructions are on the same page.
    I've used this version with Photoshop Elements 5.0 for quite a lot of time, and it sure supports the D300.
    However, another thought too:
    I'm not an intensive kind of processor, I do relatively minor changes in my pics so I don't need anything that can do magic​
    Isn't photoshop maybe overkill as it is? As much as I value Photoshop as the best tool for working on bitmap images, I stopped using it. CaptureNX2 lets me do those minor edits much faster, and I believe so will Lightroom - these tools are far more optimised for the bread-and-butter work, in my opinion.
     
  13. I can quite understand the OP's wish to continue using CS3 and ACR. The interface is familiar if you're a long-time PhotoShop user, and I've never had any of the crashing issues that seem to come with NX2.
    I'm also regularly using CS3 and ACR to process NEFs from a D700 with no trouble whatsoever. Mark, forget the chopped down Elements if you're used to full-blown PhotoShop - it's a kiddie version with no proper curves tool available.
     
  14. There are very few things better for processing your RAW files than Aperture (Mac) or Lightroom (Mac and PC). Not only can you process your RAW files, but you can do significant on the fly editing and have a database keeping track of your pictures. I have used a combination of Aperture and Photoshop for many years, processing over 200,000 images. I use Photoshop as a giant plug-in to Aperture and only a small percentage of my pictures ever see PS.
    There is a modest learning curve with Aperture but reading the manual and playing with the software a bit really helps.
     
  15. You can try Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 3 for free and I believe it's $100 off until January 3. Great for raw processing and keeping your pictures organized and also easy to learn.
     
  16. Mark, I use the latest version of Nikon Capture NX2, version 2.3.0, which now operates under 64 bit on win 7 64 bit pcs and 32 bit on older versions of windows op systems. I do agree with the other posters that if you know and like CS3, get the latest version that will handle D 300 and D 300s NEF files.
    Joe Smith
     
  17. You can do everything that has to do with exposure, colour, straightening and cropping right in ViewNX 2. There is no learning curve whatsoever, because it uses the same picture controls as are in the cameras - except they are completely customizable right on your computer. The only limitations are that everything you do is done globally. It's almost like Capture NX2 without the U-points and other local tools.
     
  18. I mainly shoot in RAW, with the exception of sports, and use View NX to organize, sort, and review. It is quick and easy (I liken it to Lightroom). I use Capture NX2 for all of my processing and love it. I can't imagine life without it. For 2 years now I have been doing a Project 365--taking a photo every day--and shooting sports--so you know that I process a LOT of photos. I use Capture NX2 to straighten, change white balance, crop, resize, etc. It was well worth the money.
    I've tried AND HATED PhotoShop. I'm sure it's a wonderful product, but I would have to take a course to truly understand it. If I want to add some texture to my photos or do some fun enhancements, I use Picnik. I'd rather spend $25 a year for Picnic than $500+ for a product I don't/won't/can't use.
    Good luck. I hope you find what works for you.
     
  19. I'm also just trying DxO Optics Elite. The results seem better than anything I can reproduce with Nikon Capture in terms of distortion correction and grain reduction. You can try it free for 30 days with no restrictions.
     
  20. Another vote here for View NX. Simple, easy and free. Try it and if you don't like it, uninstall it. It's a Nikon program for Nikon files... what's not to like?
     
  21. As Simon said before, DxO Optics Pro can be of interest for you as it works based on modules specific for the body and lens used to capture the image and does the RAW development, distortion corrections and some other adjustment in an automatic way, so it goes in the way you're looking for when you say you are not an intensive processor and you want keep it simple.
    You can use the demo and see if you can use it as a plug-in to CS3 (I think you may) as the license allows you to do it as well as a stand alone. Using it as a plug-in allows you to do all the editing you want without leaving CS3.
    Finally, there are two versions and for the D300 I think you don't need the Elite version as the standard version is much cheaper. Elite is demanded for FX bodies.
    I think you can also take profit of the special price they are offering as version 7.1 launch.
    You can also use ACR and CS3 (update your ACR version as it supports D 300. The first non supported body by CS3 is D 300s), that you already have - no expenditure - as well Capture NX2 or even Aperture if you use a MAC, but these will cost you money. Unless you want to use the catalog facilities and Bridge is not enough for you, and considering what you said about your preferences and activity I see no advantage to use LIghtroom.
     
  22. I like DxO labs Optics Pro, now in version 7. Its outstanding
    except you have to watch out for the noise the program
    introduces in some images.
     
  23. Andre,
    Do you use the corrections palette and within this one the "noise" adjustments to try to eliminate it manually at over 70% magnification (100% being the ideal)?
    After the automatic adjustments this can do a great job.
     
  24. Nikon software (Nikon View NX2, Nikon Capture NX2) will open the NEF file with the image looking just like the JPG from the camera and you can adjust from there. Other software will not because it does not read the in camera settings - Photoshop only uses white balance data. I suggest you try Nikon View NX2 since it free and it may do all you want.
    I use Photoshop CS5 ACR (Adobe Camera RAW) and use presets that give results very close to JPG from the camera when I use the Camera Profiles that Adobe released with later versions of Photoshop - don't know if these are available with CS3.
     
  25. Frankly, if you are not too picky and not making larger prints, any of the previously mentioned programs will work, with Nikon View Nx2 probably offering the most compatibility and simplicity.
    There is no better RAW converter (IMHO) than DXO. DXO (and perhaps other programs that use lens specific information) typically do a better job than programs that don't use this information. DXO's increases image sharpness (reducing lens softness) in a manner quite different than typical "sharpening" or "unsharpen mask" options. The just released Version 7 is very stable and very, very fast.
     
  26. Try Lightroom....great program, great results.
     
  27. I have three suggestions. Lightroom, Lightroom, and Lightroom.
     

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