The D60 is supplied with two CD's containing Nikon's new software package:
Nikon View NX (Windows / Mac OS X) - A new simplified image browser / organization / basic manipulation application based on the Capture NX design (although it has to be said, easier to use). Provides basic RAW to JPEG conversion with adjustment of exposure compensation, white balance and picture control.
Nikon Transfer - (Windows / Mac OS X) - Automated transfer of images from camera or card reader. Allows batch editing of IPTC data and automated backups.
Nikon Capture NX (trial) - Nikon's new fully-fledged image management, workflow, editing and RAW conversion application.
Normally in our digital SLR reviews we like to compare the supplied RAW conversion software with in-camera JPEG and any third party converters. Our comparison here is between JPEG from the camera and RAW converted with Nikon ViewNX and a beta version of Adobe Camera RAW 4.4.
JPEG - Large/Fine, Default settings
NX - Nikon ViewNX 1.0.3
ACR - Adobe Camera RAW 4.4 Beta
Place your mouse over the label below the image to see the color from a GretagMacbeth ColorChecker chart produced using each RAW converter. As you can see there is absolutely no visible difference between JPEG from the camera and a RAW converted by Capture NX, both clearly using the same basic RAW processing engine. Obviously Nikon has worked hard to ensure that the color and tone reproduction of a converted RAW is the same as you would natively get from the camera.
Black & White
Mode Ia sRGB
Mode II Adobe RGB
Sharpness and Detail
There is a very slight improvement in sharpness between the from-the-camera JPEG (which has very conservative sharpening) and the ViewNX converted RAW. Texture detail is also slightly more visible although nothing significant. Adobe Camera RAW delivers a very similar result to Capture NX except without any sharpening halo artifacts and a different color map (as above).
There's a small resolution advantage in the RAW files converted by ViewNX, giving the chart a slightly 'crisper' look without introducing much in the way of sharpening artefacts. The ACR result is, as usual a lot cleaner and softer looking (thanks to Adobe's very conservative approach to sharpening), though resolution is basically identical to ViewNX. Nikon's expeed processor does an excellent job with its JPEG processing, producing very restrained output that won't go haywire if you post-process, but there is an advantage to shooting raw if you're looking to eke every last drop of detail out of the sensor.
JPEG from camera
Nikon ViewNX (RAW)
Adobe Camera RAW (RAW)
Noise (Reduction) at higher sensitivities
At higher sensitivities differences in noise reduction strategy between the in-camera image processing and Nikon ViewNX become apparent. Capture NX maintaining more luminance detail at the expense of more visible (but frankly not objectionable) noise grain. At ISO 800 and 1600 Adobe Camera RAW demonstrates the best detail possible but noise, especially in darker shadow areas, is becoming intrusive.