Nikon & RAW Conversion?

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Peter Gibbons, Oct 15, 2007.

  1. I'm in the market for a digital SLR to replace my Nikon N80 that bit
    the dust last month. In doing my research, I've noticed a lot of
    people complaning that Nikon doesn't include the software to do "full
    RAW conversion". Something called, 'Capture NX' which costs another
    $120 or so.

    Forgive me if this is an overly simplistic question, but can someone
    give me a quick overview of exactly what RAW is, and what the
    advantage/necessity is of being able to do RAW conversions with a
    digital camera?
    Peter Gibbons, Oct 15, 2007
    #1
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  2. Peter Gibbons

    Richard H. Guest

    Peter Gibbons wrote:

    > I'm in the market for a digital SLR to replace my Nikon N80 that bit
    > the dust last month. In doing my research, I've noticed a lot of
    > people complaning that Nikon doesn't include the software to do "full
    > RAW conversion". Something called, 'Capture NX' which costs another
    > $120 or so.
    >
    > Forgive me if this is an overly simplistic question, but can someone
    > give me a quick overview of exactly what RAW is, and what the
    > advantage/necessity is of being able to do RAW conversions with a
    > digital camera?


    In a nutshell, RAW is the digital negative - the data from the sensor
    with very little interpretation (i.e., before the camera translates it
    to JPEG). Shooting RAW means the JPEG conversion happens in your PC
    instead of the camera. Nikon also supports a mode called JPEG+RAW that
    generates both file types for every shot.

    Some folks are pretty passionate that this yields better results (and I
    agree), but it's not for someone who wants to click the shutter and be
    done. It's also not that big of a deal to do. The advantage with RAW
    is the level of image data that's retained (bits per color pixel); JPEG
    has less image data, so adjustments become harder (e.g., exposure
    corrections, color temp, etc.).

    Yes, Nikon charges for Capture NX, but Nikon's RAW converter isn't the
    only one out there. A lot of folks use Adobe's Camera Raw (ACR), which
    is included with CS3 or Photoshop Elements. Also see IrfanView (freeware).

    I recommend sticking your toe in the water by shooting JPEG+RAW - it's a
    non-scary way to give RAW a try.

    Cheers,
    Richard
    Richard H., Oct 15, 2007
    #2
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  3. Peter Gibbons

    Joe Makowiec Guest

    On 15 Oct 2007 in rec.photo.digital, Richard H. wrote:

    > Yes, Nikon charges for Capture NX, but Nikon's RAW converter isn't
    > the only one out there. A lot of folks use Adobe's Camera Raw
    > (ACR), which is included with CS3 or Photoshop Elements. Also see
    > IrfanView (freeware).


    There's also UFRaw (http://ufraw.sourceforge.net/), which is freely
    distributed and can be quite tightly integrated with TheGIMP
    (http://gimp.org/). Also see dcraw (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dcraw),
    which is the back-end converter used by many raw file utilities.

    --
    Joe Makowiec
    http://makowiec.org/
    Email: http://makowiec.org/contact/?Joe
    Joe Makowiec, Oct 15, 2007
    #3
  4. Peter Gibbons

    Sosumi Guest

    "Richard H." <> wrote in message
    news:3yDQi.27348$...
    > Peter Gibbons wrote:
    >
    >> I'm in the market for a digital SLR to replace my Nikon N80 that bit
    >> the dust last month. In doing my research, I've noticed a lot of
    >> people complaning that Nikon doesn't include the software to do "full
    >> RAW conversion". Something called, 'Capture NX' which costs another
    >> $120 or so.
    >>
    >> Forgive me if this is an overly simplistic question, but can someone
    >> give me a quick overview of exactly what RAW is, and what the
    >> advantage/necessity is of being able to do RAW conversions with a
    >> digital camera?

    >
    > In a nutshell, RAW is the digital negative - the data from the sensor with
    > very little interpretation (i.e., before the camera translates it to
    > JPEG). Shooting RAW means the JPEG conversion happens in your PC instead
    > of the camera. Nikon also supports a mode called JPEG+RAW that generates
    > both file types for every shot.
    >
    > Some folks are pretty passionate that this yields better results (and I
    > agree), but it's not for someone who wants to click the shutter and be
    > done. It's also not that big of a deal to do. The advantage with RAW is
    > the level of image data that's retained (bits per color pixel); JPEG has
    > less image data, so adjustments become harder (e.g., exposure corrections,
    > color temp, etc.).
    >
    > Yes, Nikon charges for Capture NX, but Nikon's RAW converter isn't the
    > only one out there. A lot of folks use Adobe's Camera Raw (ACR), which is
    > included with CS3 or Photoshop Elements. Also see IrfanView (freeware).
    >
    > I recommend sticking your toe in the water by shooting JPEG+RAW - it's a
    > non-scary way to give RAW a try.


    I agree with you 100%. Just to add:
    The Nikon camera´s DO include Picture Project that does convert to TIFF and
    JPEG. Capture NX is much better and has much more possibilities, though.
    Personally I work almost only with Adobe Lightroom. It recognizes NEF files
    and is more easy and practical to deal with then Photoshop, unless you plan
    some very extensive retouching or artwork. Besides: it´s much cheaper (I
    believe they still have a special introduction price, but check their site).
    If you still have lenses with CPU, you might be able to use them on most
    DSLR´s from Nikon. Depending on the model you want to buy. I have the D40
    that uses the AF-S or AF-I lenses. I belive the N80 is the almost the same?.
    The quality is outstanding, however and the prices very reasonable.
    If you happen to own the SB800, 600 or 400 flash, you´re very lucky, because
    it also works perfectly with almost all DSLR´s.
    I used to make pictures like Richard says: both JPEG and RAW, but now I only
    shoot RAW: the possibilities are way better.
    Check out my site with very dark church pictures and inside an old factory
    ruin. Thanks to RAW and Lightroom I was able to "bring" the light back.
    http://atlantic-diesel.com/Mafra/
    What lenses do you have?
    Sosumi, Oct 15, 2007
    #4
  5. Peter Gibbons

    ray Guest

    On Mon, 15 Oct 2007 05:06:10 +0000, Peter Gibbons wrote:

    > I'm in the market for a digital SLR to replace my Nikon N80 that bit
    > the dust last month. In doing my research, I've noticed a lot of
    > people complaning that Nikon doesn't include the software to do "full
    > RAW conversion". Something called, 'Capture NX' which costs another
    > $120 or so.
    >
    > Forgive me if this is an overly simplistic question, but can someone
    > give me a quick overview of exactly what RAW is, and what the
    > advantage/necessity is of being able to do RAW conversions with a
    > digital camera?


    RAW includes the 'raw' data from the sensors - it is not massaged into a
    jpeg with compression and loss of detail. Also, raw data is usually
    recorded at 12 bits per channel rather than the 8 bits in a jpeg. UFRAW is
    a good utility for converting raw data to usable format. I shoot almost
    exclusively in raw on my Kodak P850. This camera includes a jpeg version
    in the raw file - my first step for all photos is to extract that jpeg
    image. If I can see upon viewing that the image could be improved, then I
    run it through ufraw - which allows me to do basic editing on the spot.
    ray, Oct 15, 2007
    #5
  6. Peter Gibbons wrote:
    > I'm in the market for a digital SLR to replace my Nikon N80 that bit
    > the dust last month. In doing my research, I've noticed a lot of
    > people complaning that Nikon doesn't include the software to do "full
    > RAW conversion". Something called, 'Capture NX' which costs another
    > $120 or so.


    That's not quite right. Depending on the country the Nikon DSLR is
    produced for, Nikon will supply either PictureProject or Nikon View
    software that will permit the conversion of Nikon RAW files (called
    NEF's) to either jpeg or tiff files.

    Capture NX is more than just a RAW file converter. It's a photo editor
    more inline with Photoshop (or Photoshop Elements). It's does RAW
    conversion, but it also does a lot more.

    For basic RAW conversion of Nikon NEF files, the PictureProject (or
    Nikon View) software included with the new Nikon DSLR will usually suffice.

    - Peter
    Peter Lawrence, Oct 15, 2007
    #6
  7. Peter Gibbons

    frederick Guest

    Peter Lawrence wrote:
    > Peter Gibbons wrote:
    >> I'm in the market for a digital SLR to replace my Nikon N80 that bit
    >> the dust last month. In doing my research, I've noticed a lot of
    >> people complaning that Nikon doesn't include the software to do "full
    >> RAW conversion". Something called, 'Capture NX' which costs another
    >> $120 or so.

    >
    > That's not quite right. Depending on the country the Nikon DSLR is
    > produced for, Nikon will supply either PictureProject or Nikon View
    > software that will permit the conversion of Nikon RAW files (called
    > NEF's) to either jpeg or tiff files.
    >
    > Capture NX is more than just a RAW file converter. It's a photo editor
    > more inline with Photoshop (or Photoshop Elements). It's does RAW
    > conversion, but it also does a lot more.
    >
    > For basic RAW conversion of Nikon NEF files, the PictureProject (or
    > Nikon View) software included with the new Nikon DSLR will usually suffice.
    >

    The new "ViewNX" is a vast improvement over PictureProject.
    It's a free d/l from Nikon, supports new cameras including
    D3/D300.
    frederick, Oct 15, 2007
    #7
  8. Peter Gibbons

    David Azose Guest

    Peter Gibbons wrote:
    > I'm in the market for a digital SLR to replace my Nikon N80 that bit
    > the dust last month. In doing my research, I've noticed a lot of
    > people complaning that Nikon doesn't include the software to do "full
    > RAW conversion". Something called, 'Capture NX' which costs another
    > $120 or so.
    >
    > Forgive me if this is an overly simplistic question, but can someone
    > give me a quick overview of exactly what RAW is, and what the
    > advantage/necessity is of being able to do RAW conversions with a
    > digital camera?
    >

    I agree with most of the replies to your question. RAW seems to have
    more advantages than disadvantages. I found the easiest way to
    understand the advantages of RAW is to know that inside every camera is
    a little computer that works over the pixels captured by the sensor
    based on the settings you made to the camera (auto, manual, portrait,
    landscape, iso speed, etc). This "working over" of the pixels is
    destructive, that is some pixels are thrown away (compression) and some
    are changed irreversibly. With RAW, you get all the pixels captured by
    the sensor with very little or no "working over" by the camera's built
    in computer.

    The disadvantage is that you have to have a way to either convert the
    RAW file to TIFF and work on that converted file to make it look the way
    you want, or use Adobe's Lightroom, a program that has many controls to
    enhance and correct RAW images non-destructively. That is, the RAW file
    stays just as the camera captured it, and the corrections are saved as
    directions to be applied automatically to the RAW file.
    David Azose, Oct 16, 2007
    #8
  9. On Oct 16, 1:12 am, David Azose <> wrote:
    > Peter Gibbons wrote:
    > > I'm in the market for a digital SLR to replace my Nikon N80 that bit
    > > the dust last month. In doing my research, I've noticed a lot of
    > > people complaning that Nikon doesn't include the software to do "full
    > > RAW conversion". Something called, 'Capture NX' which costs another
    > > $120 or so.

    >
    > > Forgive me if this is an overly simplistic question, but can someone
    > > give me a quick overview of exactly what RAW is, and what the
    > > advantage/necessity is of being able to do RAW conversions with a
    > > digital camera?

    >
    > I agree with most of the replies to your question. RAW seems to have
    > more advantages than disadvantages. I found the easiest way to
    > understand the advantages of RAW is to know that inside every camera is
    > a little computer that works over the pixels captured by the sensor
    > based on the settings you made to the camera (auto, manual, portrait,
    > landscape, iso speed, etc). This "working over" of the pixels is
    > destructive, that is some pixels are thrown away (compression) and some
    > are changed irreversibly. With RAW, you get all the pixels captured by
    > the sensor with very little or no "working over" by the camera's built
    > in computer.
    >
    > The disadvantage is that you have to have a way to either convert the
    > RAW file to TIFF and work on that converted file to make it look the way
    > you want, or use Adobe's Lightroom, a program that has many controls to
    > enhance and correct RAW images non-destructively. That is, the RAW file
    > stays just as the camera captured it, and the corrections are saved as
    > directions to be applied automatically to the RAW file.


    Doesn't PS's HDR merging require RAW files?
    Don Stauffer in Minnesota, Oct 16, 2007
    #9
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