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NEF Plugin for CS3?

Amy Elliott , Jun 05, 2007; 10:06 a.m.

I recently upgraded to CS3 from 2, and shoot Nikon, RAW. After extensive tests with ACR and other third party processors I prefer Nikon's RAW processing for most properly exposed files (less noise). With CS2 and the NEF plugin you had the choice to open NEF files in Adobe Camera Raw or Nikon's (without having to launch Nikon View, Capture or other software). Not so in CS3 - I spoke to both Nikon and Adobe support and they say that the plugin doesn't work (and are not sure when Nikon will come out with a compatible one).

I'm a professional photographer so need my workflow to be as streamlined as possible - I edit in Photoshop and don't want to switch to Capture NX. Having the option to open RAW files either way within the same software program was important. The folks at Adobe said my only option is to uninstall and go back to CS2. Obviously I'm not thrilled by this - I also just got Lightroom and wouldn't have if I wasn't upgrading. Before doing so, does anyone have a creative way around it?

Thanks.

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Ellis Vener , Jun 05, 2007; 10:10 a.m.

You need to put pressure on Nikon to get their software act together. HAve you tried the noise reduction features in Lightroo mand the latest update to ACR , ACR 4.1? The clarity function in ACR 4.1 might really he of use to you here.

Rich Simmons , Jun 05, 2007; 10:33 a.m.

Workaround. Lightroom should open the .nef file. When it does, you can do the basic fixes in lightroom. then right click it and export it to Photoshop. You'll get three choices, send the original,edit a copy, or edit a copy with lightroom adjustments (which is usually what I do) when you save either the last two choices you will have another edited copy (same file name with "-edited" added on back in Lightroom right next to the original. good for comparitive purposes too. And the new edited file will be a flat photoshop file in Lightroom, but you can re-edit back in Photoshop with all the layers intact.

Amy Elliott , Jun 05, 2007; 11:10 a.m.

Rich - Thanks, but the problem isn't opening the NEF files (of course Lightroom does as well as CS3) but processing them which workaround doesn't address- after lots of experience I have found Nikon processes their own RAW files best. I know there are some slight differences with the Lightroom and Photoshop ACR but not in any significant way in reducing noise. When editing NEF files processed through Nikon in Photoshop, I rarely need any reduction and only slight sharpening. And saving those few steps (as well as starting with a clearer file) makes a difference in my workflow.

I agree with Ellis - Nikon needs to get their software act together. I don't know if they're just trying to make sure we have to use their program or what, but ACR, Bibble, you name it I've tried it and third-party means more post work, no way around it. I have not tried the ACR update - and the clarity function sounds cool. If there really is no way to get the plugin to work with CS3 I guess I'll just hope ACR improvements will eventually render the Nikon software moot...the sooner the better.

Patrick Lavoie , Jun 05, 2007; 12:45 p.m.

maybe getting a 5D will remove the wellknowned noise problem for good ; )

Amy Elliott , Jun 05, 2007; 01:30 p.m.

Patrick - if only I hadn't invested the last decade in Nikon lenses, flashes, etc.! Seriously, I love my D200 (and all my Nikon gear) but boy do their software issues make me mad (not mad enough to ever switch to Canon though).

Tony Wellington , Jul 12, 2007; 03:16 a.m.

I've been hassling Nikon SE Asia, who are acting dumb on this issue. They're chatting with Nikon Europe, who are also acting dumb. Basically, Nikon are refusing to interface with CS3. It's driving me nutso. I take my photos to another PC computer which has CS2, and then export them as TIFF files, which I can import into CS3 on my big screen Mac. It's a pain. Everyone who owns a Nikon digital should be lobbying Nikon to pull their finger out and provide a plugin that CS3 will accept. Make their lives a misery folks!

Patrick Lavoie , Jul 12, 2007; 07:23 a.m.

Had you at least tried to install ACR 4.1 recently?

Tony Wellington , Jul 15, 2007; 10:22 p.m.

Here's a trick I've worked out. Import your NEF images direct from the camera into CS3 Bridge. Go to File and then Get Photos From Camera. In the options when importing from camera, click the "convert to DNG" box. The RAW images are all changed from NEF to DNG, which CS3 is happy with. They don't look quite as desaturated as when CS3 tries to read RAW NEF images. Anyone else doing this?

Tony Wellington , Jul 17, 2007; 08:07 p.m.

Update to the above. I've found that if you in-camera enhance images with a D200, then import them into CS3 (via ACR), the images are degraded. They lose saturation and clarity. Not only does CS3 not read the camera settings, it degenerates the image for some reason. So I downloaded a trial version of Capture NX. I then took images shot in NORMAL (no adjustments) with my D200 and imported them direct into both CS3 and NX. The images, put side-to-side on my iMac, were very similar (and not degraded, as with the in- camera enhanced images imported into CS3). The colours were slightly different (NX being more yellow), but, contrary to expectations, I found the CS3 image to be sharper and crisper than the NX. So I guess one answer to the whole dilemma is to do no in-camera enhancement, and then import into CS3 via ACR4.1. (I'd be interested to hear from others whether they've found substantial differences in image quality of Adobe versus Nikon software in reading normal RAW NEF photos. The possibility that ACR maybe creates more noise than NX worries me a bit. I have also read that the TIFF files produced by Picture Project are not up to standard - i.e. not as good as TIFF created in Photoshop. Can anyone confirm this? Like you Amy, I'm desperate to find the optimum work system. And, due to where my photos end up, I need to finish them in Photoshop, not Capture. (The ideal result would be for Nikon to pull their finger out and provide a Plugin for CS3, like the one for CS2.) Meantime....


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