Switched to Nikon - what RAW Processing Software?

JohnMF

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Recently sold my canon 40d and a couple of lenses and bought myself a used Nikon D700 from ebay. Unfortunately it didn't come with the software disk. I've heard Nikon RAW software isn't very good anyway, so what's the best, (cheap/free) alternatives (for mac)?
 

Sw1tchFX

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Nikon is not a software company and it's obvious, i hate their software. Lousy interface and their sharpening algorithms are atrocious. You could download adobe DNG converter for free and buy Photoshop elements, it's only about $100, or jump on Adobe Lightroom, which is phenomenal workflow software for something like $300. I'd probably go for lightroom first because Elements is a really dumbed down version of photoshop. You can't even do layer masks in elements 0_0
 

OrionsByte

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Well, for the longest time I would have recommended RAW Therapee, but I recently discovered it wasn't reading my raw files properly from either my D70 or my D7000. The colors were being muted a bit, and the whole image was being darkened, so the luminance histogram was being shifted to the left by as much as a stop and the color histograms were kind of all over the place. If you're looking for something free and don't mind the extra work to compensate for discrepancies like that, it's still got a pretty decent workflow. Otherwise download a copy of GIMP along with a RAW conversion plugin like UFRaw. I haven't used it extensively, but it should do the trick.

Lightroom 3 blows everything away though, it's worth the dough.
 

KmH

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There are many free Raw converters online, like RawTherapee, UFRaw, to mention just a couple.
 

KmH

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Well, for the longest time I would have recommended RAW Therapee, but I recently discovered it wasn't reading my raw files properly from either my D70 or my D7000. The colors were being muted a bit, and the whole image was being darkened, so the luminance histogram was being shifted to the left by as much as a stop and the color histograms were kind of all over the place. If you're looking for something free and don't mind the extra work to compensate for discrepancies like that, it's still got a pretty decent workflow. Otherwise download a copy of GIMP along with a RAW conversion plugin like UFRaw. I haven't used it extensively, but it should do the trick.

Lightroom 3 blows everything away though, it's worth the dough.
Every Raw converter uses somewhat different algorithms and processes a Raw file in a unique way. There is only different when it comes to Raw file conversion, not right or wrong. Nikon's Capture NX's rendering of .NEF files looks differnt than the same .NEF file rendered by ACR 6 (Lightroom).

Lightroom 3 uses ACR 6 as its rendering engine. ACR 6 is included with Ps CS5.

Most of the cost for Lightroom is for it's main function - image database management, not it's secondary function - parametric Raw file conversion.
 
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OrionsByte

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Every Raw converter uses somewhat different algorithms and processes a Raw file in a unique way. There is only different when it comes to Raw file conversion, not right or wrong. Nikon's Capture NX's rendering of .NEF files looks differnt than the same .NEF file rendered by ACR 6 (Lightroom).

Well that makes sense; all I know is that the histogram in Lightroom is virtually identical to the one my camera shows me, while the histogram in RAW Therapee is radically different. Also since RAW Therapee is currently in alpha for version 3, the current stable release is over a year old. All my D7000 RAW files end up with a purple band on the right side of the frame that has to be cropped out every single time, but since ACR is up-to-date I don't have that issue with Lightroom.

That's interesting that the file conversion is a secondary features of Lightroom, I wouldn't have guessed it. I already use Picasa for my image database management though so perhaps I haven't explored that feature in Lightroom enough to appreciate it.
 
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JohnMF

JohnMF

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thanks for all the responses.

What about Aperture 3, is that a good option? They have it on the Mac app store for $79, think it's a special reduced price.
 

sean7488

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I actually find nikon viewnx to be a pretty decent software that you can download for free. You can do minor editing but it can convert the raw files like you want.
 
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reedshots

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I have LR 3 and do almost all my processing with it alone, but I also have PSE 9 (which does do layer masks) when I need to do a little extra editing.

Although I have not used Aperture from what I understand it is very similar to LR only the MAC version.
 

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