How to get raw files to look the same as JPEGs produced by camera?

Started Feb 25, 2013 | Questions thread
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nj473
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How to get raw files to look the same as JPEGs produced by camera?
Feb 25, 2013

Hi,
I have just recently started shooting in raw on my D7000 and started editing the files, playing with the shadow/highlight levels etc. I've tried a couple of programs to do this such as Camera Raw in Photoshop, FastStone image viewer (great program) and now Nikon's ViewNX 2.
However I have noticed that I can't get my raw files to look the same as they do on my camera screen no matter how much I try OR the same as the JPEGs my camera produces (when it's set to). 
I know this is because when the camera takes the image it applies its own post processing to make it a JPEG, but I want to be able to apply that same tweak the camera makes to my images myself. (Reason being because sometimes I take photos I don't necessarily want to edit, but don't want to delete them either, so I just want a quick pretty jpeg snap)
So anyway, I'm trying to make them look like JPEGs, and the closest I have got to is by using ViewNX 2, which takes the exact settings from my camera and applies them to my NEFs on my PC to make them look the same. 
This is great, except the images don't quite look the same as the JPEGs produced by the camera (although still a lot better than editing everything myself)
I took some random photos and set my camera to capture JPEG and raw at the same time, so I could compare the two after converting the raw in ViewNX using the same settings my camera is apparently using. Basically, I found that they look quite similar colour wise, but my converted JPEG looks grainier and darker in some shadow areas. 
I think what it's not applying in the conversion is Nikon's Active D lighting, and maybe also missing some noise reduction. So my main question is really - how do I enable the Active D lighting and noise reduction the same way it is done in the camera? Everything else is great, it's just missing these (I'm pretty sure its these anyway). Or is there a work around for this?
Thanks for reading!

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