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Nikon Capture a must?

Discussion in 'General Technical Discussion' started by Jon H, Nov 4, 2005.

  1. Jon H

    Jon H

    Jun 25, 2005
    Stockton, CA
    I would like to start experimenting by shooting in RAW, but I don't have Nikon Capture. Is there any other alternative for converting the NEF to more compatible file types? I'm very new at this so I'm not even sure of what I've just asked. :confused: 

    Some background info...
    -shoot with D70
    -have Adobe CS
    -use PowerBook G4
    -and most importantly, strapped for cash :rolleyes: 

    thanks all!
  2. heiko


    May 15, 2005
    Hello Jon,

    There are several alternatives:

    1. NikonView has a converter to convert to tiff and jpg. It's very rudimentary, though.

    2. RawShooter Essentials is a FREE software that can do a good job at converting images. I gave this a try some time ago, with not so good results of a night shooting event. However, reading a little about the workflow and features of this software, I gave it another try and it gave me very good results.
    The real advantage of RawShooter is it's speed - both performance wise and the time it takes to get good results. Nikon Capture is extremely sloooooowwwwwwwwww, and you need some well-equiped PC to make it work decently (1 GB memory or more, and a fast CPU and disk).
    Rawshooter has a very intelligent workflow:
    a. When you pick a new folder, it starts preparing the picture previews in the background. In the meantime you can already start reviewing or working on them.
    b. You can categorize your pics giving it numbers (1 for a real keeper, 2 for good, 3 for fust good enough to not delete it) and flags (maybe special treatment afterwards, like noise removal etc.).
    c. When editing, Rawshooter is very responsive and gives you the results almost immediately (unlike NC where you may have to wait). All changes are saved in a separate folder (not the pics, but the adjustments you made).
    d. When done with the editing, just press a button for batch processing. It processes the pics while you continue editing the next pic.
    e. The automatic adjustments work well in many/most cases, with very little to fine-tune.

    In its default settings, Rawshooter already applies sharpening and some other processing stuff (I think even when you move the sharpening slider all to the left). This was the reason why my first pics (night shots of a camp fire) came out bad. The sharpening interfered with noise removal at a later stage (I use Neatimage). You can change the default settings for pictures taken at certain ISO values, such has high ISO pictures. This allows you to turn off noise-removal totally and adjust some other basic settings so the output can be processed in another software.

    All in all, Rawshooter is the easiest way to get good results and have a fast workflow. It has a very clever design, once you get a little used to it.

    If you want some more control and additional features, Rawshooter Premium has just been released. It was available at some $60, but the introductory offer has expired, I believe.

    For more info and download, see:

  3. Ditto. I just bought the Rawshooter Premium. Their forever free Essentials is also great. I love the intuitive workflow and quick conversion. It makes shooting raw a lot of fun.
  4. There are a number of alternatives to PP RAW files.
    That said, FOR ME Nikon Capture remains the best software to PP NEF's. I have done some limited comparison with others and Capture remains my favorite - easily.
  5. If you have Photoshop CS, you can dowload the Adobe Camera Raw plugin from the Adobe web site for free. You can then convert your NEFs directly in PS/CS.
    However, if you are a beginner, RawShooter Essentials may be the best place to start. I like their interface much better than that of PS.
  6. general


    Apr 30, 2005
    Bibble and Nikon Capture

    Don't forget Bibble; it is pretty good BUT I don't think you can beat Nikon Capture 4.3.2 for quality.
  7. I like NC and it does tend to be a little slow. But then again so am I. So we get along great!

    I have been meaning to try out RSE. I did not know they had an intro price on RSP I would have bought it.
  8. Just downloaded RSP.
    I have spent 10 minutes with it and it is different but, I kind of like the workflow.

    Ok-Spent just a few more minutes with it. I like it. It is pretty fast to view and make minor changes and then convert to jpg. Most pics for me are simply going to the web anyway. Now, if I see one that I really like then perhaps I will use NC.

    I am gonna buy it!
  9. Before last week, for RAW I used Capture to adjust WB and other slight corrections, then opened it in PS/CS to edit. However I prefered Capture for printing and many times never used Photoshop, only Capture.

    Now I bought PS/CS2, it has the same WB and adjustments as Capture. I downloaded a profile from Epson for the R800 and now prefer CS2 for everything. Sorry Nikon.

    Photoshop CS2 is available at a student rate for the full version $279
    I bought Adobe Creative Suite2 Premium for $369.
    The suite includes: Photoshop/CS2, Image Ready, Illustrator CS2, InDesign CS2, GoLive CS2, Acrobat 7.0 Professional, Version Cue CS2, Adobe Bridge, Acrobat Distiller, Adobe Designer, Training videos and several dozen presets for chanell mixer.

    All I needed was a student ID. (I'm going to night school at a local college for Photoshop) Don't you have a student in your family?

    Once you start using RAW/NEF, jpeg seems obsolete.
  10. Johnathon,

    As PA stated. You have Photoshop CS, all you need is to download the free NEF/RAW plug-in from Adobe. Open the RAW/NEF is CS, and save as (your choice of file types). To save RAW/NEF as .jpeg you must first change the mode to 8 bit.
    You don't need to buy anything.

  11. Well, I have tried out with the free 30 day trials and freebies of image conversion software..

    I like using the Raw SHooter Essential.. It is quite easy to use and is not as slow as Nikon Capture when it runs.

    Raw SHooter Essential is a freebie but they have another version that you would have to uy that has a few other nice features to use for RAW conversions...

    THe other program I like to use but cannot buy is Capture One Works great but not for $499
  12. No,

    there are alternatives, BUT.
    I have tried several, and NC is still the best. There is a huge difference when you open the same picture in NC and in PS cs2 . Color, detail and sharpness is much better in NC compaired with ps.
    Just give it a try.
  13. Ken-L

    Ken-L Guest

    I like Nikon Capture, and have tried several that have been mentioned.

    The most important feature for me is that NC displays the RAW image with ALL the settings I used, including a custom curve. The other products I have tried do not offer this capability.
  14. I have pre-ordered Aperture using my student/teachers discount which makes it about the same price as Photoshop. I believe it will work with your G4 laptop depending on what is in it. It is not as deep as Photoshop but if all you want to do is shoot lots of pictures and adjust the exposure and sharpness etc., this could be the ultimate software for converting raw images. If you want to do graphic design or use layers, PS is still the 800 lb gorilla of digital imaging but it has a steep learning curve and could frustrate you if your just shooting for personal use. Remember when we just used film cameras and all we wanted was a picture with good exposure from the developers. Life has gotten way complicated it seems now that we have so many choices.

    If this is beyond your reach, I strongly recommend iPhoto for you Mac laptop. It has recently been upgraded to work much better with raw files and is actually pretty fast now. It also has a number of fun things that you can do to post pictures to the internet and email them easily or put together a slide show. All designed to be used easily for a beginner.
  15. cmpalmer


    Jan 27, 2005
    Huntsville, AL
    Picassa will also read RAW files and can convert them to JPG (and maybe to other formats, I'm not sure). Picassa also allows you to do rudimentary (i.e., quick and dirty) post processing and it doesn't change your original file, so it's decent for organizing pictures, and picking out your good ones for later PP work. I've also had excellent results in printing directly from Picassa as well as ordering prints for family members through Wal-Mart (don't start throwing things at me -- the prints turned out pretty good, 4x6 is like $0.18, and you can upload them from your computer and send them to be processed and picked up at any Wal-Mart in the country). For "snapshot" type photos, it's all I have been using as I can do basic PP, e-mail, print, and export to another directory to upload to smugmug or Flickr.

  16. Back to the original post
    "start experimenting with RAW"

    Thinking back:
    - I started with Raw using Capture
    - This was probably the best software to use because the contorls are exactly like the settings on the D70, even the names are the same.
    - Because these settings can be changed on the computer and we see the effects, it helps make better decisions when setting up the camera menu for certain situations

    Rethinking=Buy Capture
  17. Wilk


    Jul 28, 2005
    I'm a NC fanatic. Reason being, I have never found anything that gives me the results that caputre does. Yes, it's still a bit slow on slower boxes, but I've got a dual xeon, and it works pretty well on that.

    FWIW... there are 2 things I've found that get me through it much quicker.

    1. Once you are used to the noise reduction levels that different ISO files need, just apply them and don't go in at 100% view to look at the results - at full screen, noise reduction is lickety split in the new version, even faster at 100% than previous... but that is easily the biggest slow down. DO noise reduction LAST, as it slows down everything else you do.

    2. Same theory for d-lighting. Do it last, or do it early and turn it off until you're ready to save the file out.

    What I love about capture is...
    -Now the noise reduction is superior to other tools I've tried - cs2 and ninja.
    -I TOTALLY dig the lch editor... that is one amazing tool for adding punch.
    -The D-lighting tool rocks.

    Genreally though (mebby it's that I'm just used to the interface) while they don't get highest marks for gui design, everything is presented as shot when you pull a file in, and you're just tweaking very logical tools from that point.

    I tried ACR in CS2 for several hundred files, but I just can't stand it. It may be very good indeed, but it drove me crazy. You pull a file in, and it does "automatic adustments" on all settings... as if it doesn't trust me? :cool:  And once I turn off all the auto adust check boxes, I just don't understand the adjustments as they are presented. No levels adjustment (does have curves though) and brightness? contrast? I would much rather add those logically through a levels histogram and/or curve. To me, I feel a total disconnect with my work when I use ACR. There are adustments, but to me they are just too confusing - they just don't relate well with the way I think about adjusting raw files.

    NC's having an histogram for both levels AND lch that have curves built right into them... that's a wonderfully desinged set of tools AFAIK. I hope one day adobe learns from nikon in that regard (boy... that was tough to say!). Don't get me wrong... I think the mud hut boys are easily the very best software engineers on the planet with respect to visual presentation. I admit I still use quark rather than in-design, but that is the one industry standard that I don't think even adobe can overcome.

    I do use CS2 extensively, but only after I'm happy with how a shot looks. Other than IR work, I don't touch color or levels or anythign in photoshop. I save out both an NEF copy and a 16bit tiff, and it's that tiff that I pull into CS2 to crop, resize etc.

    Sorry I'm so long winded, but I've been dying to say all this, and now I can in a forum where half the world won't jump down my throat for rendering an opine :Angel:

    And having said ALL that... I'm not at all qualified to have said all that... heck... I'm not at all qualified to tie the shoes of many of the folks here. But I have a passion, a brain and a keyboard... that's all it takes to say how I feel :eek: 
  18. Jon H

    Jon H

    Jun 25, 2005
    Stockton, CA
    Thank You

    A big THANK YOU for all your responses and comments. They were all very helpful. So my decision?? Well, in the future I would like to get Capture, but since I can't afford to right now, I've downloaded Bibble (who doesn't like free stuff?) and after a little playing around, I think that and Adobe CS will hold me over for a while. Thanks again for all the advice!
  19. marc

    marc Guest

    nikon capture, allows you to adjust just about everything and it's right in front of you

    i have ps and everything else, capture works the best and gives terrific results

    plus when printing you get what you see, i like that

    as you get older you get slower, so slower does not bother me, eventually we will both be slow
  20. nfoto

    nfoto Guest

    NC has several nice features for NEF conversion, image quality being one. but its poor and inflexible batching support is a severe drawback when you need to run massive amounts of NEFs through it. Besides that, it is a slow performer on nearly all systems unless you have a huge amount of RAM and powerful processors available. I do use it occasionally, mostly for remote control of cameras, but for my day-to-day workflow BibblePro is the real champion.
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