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.NEF format Nikon Super Coolscan 5000

Dave Henri , Nov 14, 2006; 06:03 p.m.

Ok, I'm a Canon shooter but I have a Nikon Super Coolscan 5000 to scan my 35 mm slides that I still love to shoot.

Please forgive me if this has been answered already, but I haven't been able to find it in my searches.

The options for file saving are Tiff and .NEF, forgetting the others. I want to save the scans in a RAW format so I can have some control over the image. So far I've been using Tiff, but that is not a raw format. Photoshop CS2 Bridge will not recognize the .Nef format. Is the .Nef format a Raw file from the 5000? Is there a raw reader (doesn't have to be Photoshop) that will allow me to edit the raw file, similar to Adobe Raw, for these .Nef files. Does Nikon have a Raw file editor for these formats? So far I've been only successful with Nikon Scan, but that sortware is limited wrt Adobe Raw (i.e. no exposure control).

And why is this so weird? Why would Nikon have a default file type that seems to be unrecognizable to almost every type of software that I have? I am not familiar to Nikon formats so maybe I am missing something obvious? Please advise.

And thank you.

Dave Henri


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Jerry Litynski , Nov 14, 2006; 06:59 p.m.

The NEF file (from a digital camera) has shooting information/data: shutter speed, ISO setting, meter used, and more. From a 'slide' in NEF format, none of the shotting data would be a part of the NEF file.

If you have Photoshop CS2, you may download a recent (N80 format) program that will allow Photoshop CS2 to edit a 'NEF' file.

You may consider just going with .TIFF files, and edit as you wish using Photoshop CS2.

Ilkka Nissila , Nov 14, 2006; 07:39 p.m.

What kind of control would you expect to gain by using NEF files from a scanner?

Eric Sande , Nov 14, 2006; 08:14 p.m.

I have a Coolscan IV and have often wondered what the point of an .NEF file is....

Shun Cheung , Nov 14, 2006; 08:15 p.m.

You are indeed better off saving it in a standard and open format such as TIFF.

Dave Henri , Nov 14, 2006; 10:36 p.m.

Thanks all, but my question is still, is a .Neff file a Raw image file and is there a raw image editor that can utilize this format?

What purpose does Nikon even have a .Neff format if no one seems to be able to use it?

Bob Atkins maybe you have some info here?

Thanks again,

Dave Henri

Jerry Litynski , Nov 14, 2006; 11:15 p.m.

Nikon makes Nikon Capture software: it will 'edit' NEF files, but like I stated before, not much information will be recorded on a scanned image from a negative or a slide. The 'RAW' file in a Canon digital body and the 'NEF' file in a Nikon digital body are pretty much the same: you can get shooting data off the image, or correct the color temperature, and other "fixes."

Nikon makes engineering decisions based on what they think is needed on the marketplace.....

Edward Ingold , Nov 15, 2006; 12:42 a.m.

Saving a scan made in Nikonscan in NEF format is simply a way to capture as much information as possible in the scan and process it later in Nikonscan. Basically, you can use the same tools that you would use in real time, only later. Unfortunately, Nikonscan NEF files cannot be processed and opened anything other than Nikonscan. You are better off, IMO, to scan to a 16 bit TIFF file, in the ball park, and make tuning adjustments in Photoshop.

Robert Lai , Nov 15, 2006; 01:11 a.m.

NEF is as close to RAW as the scanner will give you, if you set the color space in Nikon Scan 4 to "Raw scanner output".

Why use NEF? If you use Nikon Capture NX, the default file type is NEF. In the NEF format, you can make as many changes as you want, and save the file as NEF. All your changes are recorded. If you want to, you can open up that NEF file in Capture NX, and undo any level, in any order, at any time. If you undo all your changes, you're back to your original file. This ability to completely record and undo all changes to a NEF file is its' biggest strength, when you use Capture NX.

If you make changes to a JPEG or TIFF file, that file is altered for good. You can't get back to your starting point again. Thus, when you edit with TIFF, most people make a copy of the file, and work with the copy.

yoni perlmutter , Nov 15, 2006; 05:36 a.m.

In addition to the PS plug-in, Nikon's NX and Nikon Capture and Picture Windows 4.X.X and IrfanView and Nikon's Simple Viewer can view/edit/handle NEF files.

There may be other products as well, but I have some familiarity with the ones mentioned above.

As to whether scanning into NEF format is a good thing, well, you'll decide that for yourself, but Dr Lai gave you the best reasoning for doing so.

It's often the case that some Workflow&Product combination essential for some due to high volumes and constraints of time and preference are less critical for others.

Some of us process low(er) volumes of images and have fewer or even no time constraints. Efficiencies (of scale or economy) are not necessarily the top priority for all of us. Not all of us need "industrial strength" solutions.

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