Your Nikon RAW NEF Work Flow ?

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chrisD46 Regular Member • Posts: 304
Your Nikon RAW NEF Work Flow ?

Just starting to get serious with Nikon getting the best RAW (NEF) for print and wanted to learn what others do as a post processing work flow after capture with Nikon DSLR's ? ... Thanks in advance !

Horoscope Fish
Horoscope Fish Contributing Member • Posts: 931
Re: Your Nikon RAW NEF Work Flow ?

chrisD46 wrote:

Just starting to get serious with Nikon getting the best RAW (NEF) for print and wanted to learn what others do as a post processing work flow after capture with Nikon DSLR's ? ... Thanks in advance !

Well that's a pretty broad question and the specifics of anyone's workflow will depend primarily on the software they use.

To answer your question, though, I'm an Adobe user so my basic workflow goes from Bridge, which I use to cull, tag and rate shots; to Camera Raw, which I use primarily for global adjustments such as lens profile corrections, white balance, lightness and color correction; to Photoshop for aesthetic adjustments, cropping, resizing and sharpening. From Photoshop I'll frequently use the Camera Raw as a filter option for the Adjustment Brush, maybe a preset or Radial Filter; it all depends on the particular shot.

And while I do have other plug-ins installed I rely most heavily on NIK Tools, DxO Film Pack 5 and SkinFiner.

 Horoscope Fish's gear list:Horoscope Fish's gear list
Nikon D850 Sigma 50mm F1.4 DG HSM | A Tamron SP 70-200 F2.8 G2 Sigma 135mm F1.8 Art Tamron SP 24-70mm F2.8 G2
OP chrisD46 Regular Member • Posts: 304
Re: Your Nikon RAW NEF Work Flow ?

Perhaps I should have said : For Nikon NEF RAW what is your software of choice for global edits -> then what is your software choice for local edits ?

*It is my understanding that Nikon NEF RAW files can be difficult to get good RAW  edits from unless the right software is used ?

dj_paige
dj_paige Senior Member • Posts: 1,789
Re: Your Nikon RAW NEF Work Flow ?
2

chrisD46 wrote:

Perhaps I should have said : For Nikon NEF RAW what is your software of choice for global edits -> then what is your software choice for local edits ?

*It is my understanding that Nikon NEF RAW files can be difficult to get good RAW edits from unless the right software is used ?

This does not seem to match my understanding or experience. I use Nikon NEF files, and I find that Adobe products produce excellent edits. While I do not have experience with other software, I read that there is a wide variety of software from many other software manufacturers that do a very good job on NEF files.

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Paige Miller

Ask Mait Contributing Member • Posts: 780
Re: Your Nikon RAW NEF Work Flow ?
1

chrisD46 wrote:

Perhaps I should have said : For Nikon NEF RAW what is your software of choice for global edits -> then what is your software choice for local edits ?

*It is my understanding that Nikon NEF RAW files can be difficult to get good RAW edits from unless the right software is used ?

best software to read *.nef files and edit is Nikon's own software Capture NX-D

Have you tried that? it is free for all to download and use.

Horoscope Fish
Horoscope Fish Contributing Member • Posts: 931
Re: Your Nikon RAW NEF Work Flow ?
1

chrisD46 wrote:

Perhaps I should have said : For Nikon NEF RAW what is your software of choice for global edits -> then what is your software choice for local edits ?

It's not easy for me to distinguish between purely global edits and purely local edits because for me there's just one continuous flow between Adobe Camera Raw (ACR), Photoshop and, say for instance, NIK... I'm masking, I'm layering, I'm using brushes and Control Points... It's all a process and precisely where a "local" edit goes "global", or vice-versa, gets blurred in the process. I'm not trying to dodge your question, that's just how I work when I'm editing.

Some people will tell you Capture NX-D does a better job with the initial raw conversion but I've tried NX-D, as well as some other raw converters, and I don't see any (practical) difference, personally. NX-D does support some of Nikon's proprietary, in-camera settings that other raw converters do not, so if that matters to you NX-D might be the way to go. Personally I find NX-D limited, awkward to use and relatively unstable; but that's me. I still suggest you download it, give it a whirl and decide for yourself.

*It is my understanding that Nikon NEF RAW files can be difficult to get good RAW edits from unless the right software is used ?

This has not been my experience at all. I don't think getting good edits out of a .NEF is any more difficult than getting good edits from any other raw format. And as for Adobe, whether you love 'em or hate 'em, their software IS an industry standard.

 Horoscope Fish's gear list:Horoscope Fish's gear list
Nikon D850 Sigma 50mm F1.4 DG HSM | A Tamron SP 70-200 F2.8 G2 Sigma 135mm F1.8 Art Tamron SP 24-70mm F2.8 G2
Krav Maga
Krav Maga Senior Member • Posts: 3,226
Re: Your Nikon RAW NEF Work Flow ?
1

chrisD46 wrote:

Just starting to get serious with Nikon getting the best RAW (NEF) for print and wanted to learn what others do as a post processing work flow after capture with Nikon DSLR's ? ... Thanks in advance !

Import into Lightroom where I cull, tag, and do some global edits. Then move to Photoshop in ProPhoto color space for the rest of the editing. Save as layered TIF in the Lightroom catalog.

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Krav Maga
Krav Maga Senior Member • Posts: 3,226
Re: Your Nikon RAW NEF Work Flow ?

Horoscope Fish wrote:

This has not been my experience at all. I don't think getting good edits out of a .NEF is any more difficult than getting good edits from any other raw format. And as for Adobe, whether you love 'em or hate 'em, their software IS an industry standard.

^^^ This.

Ultimately use what's best for what you're wanting to do.

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 Krav Maga's gear list:Krav Maga's gear list
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David5833 Senior Member • Posts: 1,232
Re: Your Nikon RAW NEF Work Flow ?

chrisD46 wrote:

Perhaps I should have said : For Nikon NEF RAW what is your software of choice for global edits -> then what is your software choice for local edits ?

*It is my understanding that Nikon NEF RAW files can be difficult to get good RAW edits from unless the right software is used ?

I haven't found a problem with any of the trial versions of popular software I have tested or the ones I have owned.

These days, I usually start in Lightroom for basic adjustments.

Then I usually go into Photoshop and do noise removal and sharpening with Topaz AI Clear.  Then I do whatever else I like in Photoshop, often using NIK Color Efex or other plugins.  I typically use layer masks for selective local adjustments.  Then I save the result as a JPEG for casual viewing and I save the NEF to support the media storage industry.

 David5833's gear list:David5833's gear list
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brucet
brucet Veteran Member • Posts: 3,450
Re: Your Nikon RAW NEF Work Flow ?
3

In reality only Nikon's own converters, like NX-D, can read all the in camera settings. So if that's important then stick with NX-D.

I use NX-D. I have a few 'basic' presets that I apply to each file. (Indoor, outdoor, shade etc etc etc). If I need any extra tweaks such as white balance I do it in NX-D. Then save as 16 bit tiffs and do further editing in my favourite editor.

NX-D isn't a wizzbang editor. It's a converter. I think some folks dismiss it because of it's limited features. As long as you use it as a converter then IMHO it's as good as any converter I have tried.

regards

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Bobthearch
Bobthearch Veteran Member • Posts: 8,985
Re: Your Nikon RAW NEF Work Flow ?
1

For most photos I simply use Capture NX-2.  Crop, level, change any Picture Control settings, adjust a couple of sliders, and in under 30 seconds I'm good.

For advanced editing I tend to use Affinity Photo or one of the On1 products, both of which work very well with Nikon NEF files.

For HDR, if you shoot bracketed photos for merging later, I'm a fan of EasyHDR and Aurora.

I also sometimes use Paintshop Pro, ACDSee Photo Editor, and DxO.  Again, all of these can work directly with Nikon RAW files.

My version of Photoshop is quite old and cannot work directly with RAW files without converting first.  So I practically never use it.

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smithim Contributing Member • Posts: 980
Re: Your Nikon RAW NEF Work Flow ?
2

NX-D mainly, with Affinity if I want to do anything more complex.

View-NXi is occasionally useful, and I use ACDSee purely for it's DAM facilities - it lets you call external editors like NX-D and Affinity, so it pulls everything together.

SantaFeBill Veteran Member • Posts: 3,001
Re: Your Nikon RAW NEF Work Flow ?

chrisD46 wrote:

Perhaps I should have said : For Nikon NEF RAW what is your software of choice for global edits -> then what is your software choice for local edits ?

Global edits: DxO Photolab 2 (will upgrade to PL3 when it's assailable later this month). I've found that PL2 does a noticeably better job with my NEFs than ACDSee Ultimate 19. I still use U19 for things that I can't do in PL2, esp. correcting the intensity of colors and cloning.

Local edits: Affinity Photo for things like removing items (e.g., a person in the background). In the few cases where focus needs improvement, Topaz Sharpen AI. Occasional tweaking in Topaz Studio2.

If I need to do sorting/rating I use Photo Mechanic and sometimes FastRawViewer.

Richard James Regular Member • Posts: 207
Re: Your Nikon RAW NEF Work Flow ?

chrisD46 wrote:

Perhaps I should have said : For Nikon NEF RAW what is your software of choice for global edits -> then what is your software choice for local edits ?

Import to Lightroom as DAM, keyword, search for, select, cull etc.

RAW Conversion in DxO PhotoLab (global), import to LR, edit as required in Photoshop (local, some global if reqd), print from Lightroom. Creation of Jpgs from Photoshop for web.

Also use NIK, Helicon Focus, AutoPano, Photomatix, FilterForge, Painter Elements and a few more as required.

Richard

ggbutcher
ggbutcher Contributing Member • Posts: 640
Re: Your Nikon RAW NEF Work Flow ?
1

I wrote my own raw converter software, and in doing so determined the key "difference" in raw converters is their source of the color primaries for the particular camera.  Even then, the differences do not become apparent until you're shooting extreme colors that posterize at the upper end.  Adobe's Standard DCP profiles seem to be configured well for this, and a lot of raw converters will recognize them.  Or, just use LR and, ta-da, there they are... 

Nikon's ND-X software does have a particular advantage in this regard, in that it uses the color primaries that the Nikon engineers made for their baby.  Those can be extracted for use in other software, but it's not a trivial process.

On another forum, I participate in a "PlayRaw" endeavor where someone will post a raw file to see what others can do with it.  There, I've downloaded raws from cameras of all the major makers and haven't noticed a particular challenge with Nikon NEFs.  Disclaimer, I'm a Nikon shooter...

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Dper2016 Regular Member • Posts: 182
Re: Your Nikon RAW NEF Work Flow ?

Nikon D750, Lightroom-Classic, Photoshop, Windows-10.

I calibrate my Dell Monitor with a Spyder device for my display profile.

I use an xRite color checker (passport) chart to create Profiles for my cameras.

I import to Lightroom using my specific camera profile, and edit in Lr to my liking.

I never have a problem with "colors", my prints (from commercial pro labs) are always perfect, my books created in Lr and printed by Blurb are always perfect (IMO).

You can only edit 'correct' colors if you are viewing 'correct' colors on your monitor with a display profile. Camera sensors can vary in 'color' reproduction (just like TVs ) and a dedicated camera profile will help to correct anomalies. The xRite color checker will also be useful for White Balance correction.

OP chrisD46 Regular Member • Posts: 304
Re: Your Nikon RAW NEF Work Flow ?

*Any issues running Capture NX-2 with Windows 10 ?

Bobthearch
Bobthearch Veteran Member • Posts: 8,985
Re: Your Nikon RAW NEF Work Flow ?

chrisD46 wrote:

*Any issues running Capture NX-2 with Windows 10 ?

I've never tried.  Windows 7 here.

I'm also on the D7100, one of the last cameras supported by NX-2.

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 Bobthearch's gear list:Bobthearch's gear list
Nikon D7100 Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 35mm F1.8G Nikon AF-S DX Micro-Nikkor 85mm f/3.5G ED VR Tokina AT-X Pro 11-16mm f/2.8 DX II Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR II +2 more
Simon Garrett Veteran Member • Posts: 6,388
Re: Your Nikon RAW NEF Work Flow ?
1

chrisD46 wrote:

Just starting to get serious with Nikon getting the best RAW (NEF) for print and wanted to learn what others do as a post processing work flow after capture with Nikon DSLR's ? ... Thanks in advance !

For me:

  • Lightroom (Classic) for raw conversion, DAM, culling, basic tonal edits and limited local edits, printing, conversion to jpeg where needed
  • Photoshop for more detailed edits where needed (maybe 5-10% of keepers)
  • Nik plugins - occasionally

For anyone else, I would suggest to use what works for you.  Most software is capable of getting good results with more or less effort, depending largely on how familiar you are with the software.

But very important for getting consistent colour: I calibrate/profile the monitor so there is a reasonably accurate monitor profile.  Also I use printer profiles, but generally use pre-made profiles supplied by the printer or paper supplier.  If using an external print service, I make sure I know what profile they want, and convert the image accordingly.

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Simon

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Toermalijn
Toermalijn Forum Pro • Posts: 16,141
Re: Your Nikon RAW NEF Work Flow ?
1

brucet wrote:

In reality only Nikon's own converters, like NX-D, can read all the in camera settings. So if that's important then stick with NX-D.

I use NX-D. I have a few 'basic' presets that I apply to each file. (Indoor, outdoor, shade etc etc etc). If I need any extra tweaks such as white balance I do it in NX-D. Then save as 16 bit tiffs and do further editing in my favourite editor.

NX-D isn't a wizzbang editor. It's a converter. I think some folks dismiss it because of it's limited features. As long as you use it as a converter then IMHO it's as good as any converter I have tried.

regards

Most important thing in the conversion is whitepoint conversion and Nikon is still the only one knowing exactly how to convert.

It gives you therefor a better starting point then other raw converters.

Nikon nx-d is best used as aconverter and then edit in another editor.

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