Your Nikon RAW NEF Work Flow ?

Started 2 months ago | Discussions thread
ggbutcher Contributing Member • Posts: 605
Re: Your Nikon RAW NEF Work Flow ?

brucet wrote:

Just a comment directed at nobody in particular.

I'm assuming that shooting in RAW means you are looking for the 'highest quality' possible in your images. RAW = all the possible data from your camera. The more data you have the more editing you can do before quality drops.

So unless you simply convert your RAW file into a jpeg, (why not let your camera do that), then you are looking to keep as much data as possible. For me that is NEF to a 16 bit tiff. Then into Photoline where I can create layers. Work in both 16 and 8 bit. RGB and LAB. Positive and negative opacity, etc etc etc. Without the maximum data all these actions/edits will soon degrade the data to the point that you would be better off not starting.

My point being that if you are going to the effort of shooting in RAW then keeping the maximum amount of data is paramount. I simply can't see the point of shooting in RAW then saving as a jpeg. Yes I know that you can adjust the RAW before saving as a jpeg. What I'm talking about is moving that RAW onto more in depth editing.

Agree 100%. For all the reasons you state, JPEG doesn't provide either bitdepth or data retention to be used effectively to move images on to further processing. TIFF is much more suited to that role.

In my workflow, JPEG is just a rendition for a specific purpose. When I bring the camera home, I dump all the NEFs into a folder and kick off a batch process that produces 800x600 JPEGs as "proof images". A lot of times, this is as far as an image goes, as I've tuned the batch processing parameters to suit my camera. But the batch program saves that chain of processing parameters in the metadata; if I decide to do something different with the image, I can do a special Open->File in my hack software that first extracts that metadata, then opens the source NEF file and re-applies the processing parameters, giving me a starting point for further edits. I always re-open the NEF to produce any rendition.

Once in a while, I want to work an image in GIMP, so I'll re-open the NEF as described above, then save as a full-resolution floating point TIFF. As of version 2.10, GIMP can read those. I'll do the edits, then save as whatever format is appropriate for the intended rendition, mostly JPEG for the web, maybe TIFF for printing.

Treating JPEG as just a rendition medium for a specific medium was one of the more insightful realizations I've made in my three-year journey back in to photography, after a 30-year hiatus from shooting black-and-white film landscapes and scenics in the '70s.

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Nikon D50 Nikon D7000 Nikon Z6 Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR II Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 18-140mm F3.5-5.6G ED VR +2 more
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