Tag Archives: NEF

How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Convert NEFs with Lightroom 4

If you can adjust your image to deliver the quality you want, does it matter what software you use?
If you can adjust your image to deliver the quality you want, does it matter what software you use?

If you’ve followed my or my photography over the years, you probably know that I’m a huge fan of Nikon cameras and also Capture NX2 editing software. You’ve probably also noticed that I’ve been experimenting with Lightroom 4 recently, and I started teaching classes on it.

I made the move to digital photography from film in 2005. At that time, there were raging battles between Nikon and Adobe over things like “encrypted White Balance” and such. At that time, converting NEFs (Nikon RAW format) images with software other than Nikon Capture 4 (or later, Capture NX) was potentially risky. Early versions of Adobe Camera RAW and other programs sometimes created artifacts and rendered colors differently than what Nikon’s converter did.

The beauty of processing RAW files is that every setting is plastic and reversible. However, the initial conversion parameters set the baseline for exposure, contrast, and color rendition and differ with each RAW converter application. One thing that Nikon photographers point out is that they like their default (starting point) conversion to match the “as-shot” look (as viewed on the back of their camera) as closely as possible. This makes sense. If you like the look of Nikon’s Picture Control “Standard,” then it’s very convenient to see the initial image rendered this way when you open the RAW file. After that initial conversion, you can do whatever you want to process your image. Continue reading How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Convert NEFs with Lightroom 4

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Nikon Capture NX 2.3 Performance Review

Nikon has just announced the immediate release of Capture NX2 version 2.3. This is a major update to the software, as not only does it include numerous bug fixes, but it also offers native 64-bit processor support. It also offers native Mac OS X 10.7 (Lion) support. I had the opportunity to run a series of performance benchmarks, and I’ll also address the new features and caveats of upgrading. Continue reading Nikon Capture NX 2.3 Performance Review

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Tip: Adding a signature to your images with Photo Mechanic

Photo Mechanic 4.6.1 (still in public beta at this time, but available for trial download from Camerabits) offers a new watermarking feature that allows you to put a watermark image on exported images.  I’ve adapted this technique to put my signature on images that I can export as JPEGs directly from my NEFs without having to go through Photoshop first.

Continue reading Tip: Adding a signature to your images with Photo Mechanic

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