There are also two third party applications which do a
pretty good job of NEF conversion. Bibble,
developed by Eric Hyman and Qimage
Pro 2001 developed by Michael Chaney. Both of these applications are
capable of producing excellent detail and colour accuracy from NEF conversion.
To compare I've put together a couple of test NEF files and run them through
Nikon Capture 2, Bibble and Qimage Pro 2001.
Anyone who has used a D1 before (or read my D1
review) will recognize that the D1x's in-camera native JPEG format
is far better than that found on the D1, gone is the noise, gone are the
crossover artifacts. Clearly Nikon Capture 2 produces excellent, sharp
and detailed results. Kudos to Bibble and Qimage Pro for producing equally
It's pretty amazing to be using a digital camera which
can clearly still resolve some detail down to 2000 lines/picture height.
I'm glad to report that all methods appear to work well for horizontal
resolution. Bibble probably just pipping Nikon Capture 2, Qimage Pro 2001
v2.2 and then the D1x native JPEG (which does amazingly well considering
it's generated in less than a second in-camera).
D1x native JPEG
Nikon Capture v2.00
QImage Pro 2001 v2.21
Remember that the D1x has more horizontal resolution than
vertical and you'll understand why the results from the vertical section
of the resolution chart isn't as impressive. That said Bibble and Qimage
Pro manage to drag about as much detail as there is without any arifacts.
The native D1x image has quite visible moiré artifacts around 1200
lines/picture height, on the Nikon Capture 2 image they start at around
1300 lines/picture height.
The D1x's RAW image is output at a resolution of 4028
x 1324, typically this is downsampled horizontally to give 3008 columns
and interpolated vertically to give 1960 lines. However it is of course
possible to maintain the absolute horizontal resolution by only interpolating
vertically, this (once you've taken into account the few pixels you'll
lose in the process) produces an image which is approximately 10 megapixels.
Bibble, Qimage Pro and Nikon Capture (if you ask it to) will all produce
this super large image, though their exact output resolutions differ slightly.
Warning these files are VERY LARGE, you should not try
to view them in your web browser, only download them if you absolutely
need to. You should right click on the link and choose 'Save Target As...'.
What's interesting when we examine the horizontal resolution
from these files is that the D1x is clearly capturing more horizontal
data than it's able to represent in its 3008 horizontal rows, Nikon say
that this downsampled 'additional information' is used to help to interpolate
the vertical direction. Below are crops of the Qimage Pro 2001 and Bibble
v2.99e 10 megapixel image files.
Bibble v2.99e (10 megapixel)
WARNING: VERY LARGE JPEG
QImage Pro 2001 v2.2 (10 megapixel)
WARNING: VERY LARGE JPEG