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How to open NEF Files in Photoshop CS4

gary conrad , May 03, 2010; 08:18 p.m.

I have seen this question posted but not answered. I am using a D90 shooting raw files. I cant find a way to open the NEF files from this camera in Photoshop CS4 on my Mac. How can this be done?


Kent Staubus , May 03, 2010; 08:51 p.m.

I have downloaded NX View (free) and open NEF there, and do a TIFF conversion. Then I use CS4. I think it works better than the CS4 converter.
Kent in SD

Curt Wiler , May 03, 2010; 09:47 p.m.

This question almost always results from not having the latest version of the raw converter, one that has been updated for the newer camera. Have you checked to make sure that you have the latest version of ACR? Just go to Help - Updates in PhotoShop. Otherwise, the software that comes with the camera can convert the raw files to tiff, but that is a bit of a waste of the power of raw.

Tom Pernal , May 03, 2010; 09:56 p.m.

I use Aperture with CS4 as my external editor. In the preferences, I have it set to open in CS4 as 16 bit TIFF files. Works great. Finish editing and hit save. The new version is saved right with the other versions in aperture. Yes, I have Aperture 3 with a couple upgrades. It is WAY slower for even simple stuff like cropping and Image tilt, but I think they'll figure it out soon.
Face and Place recognition are both turned off, as they slow it down to a crawl.

Andrew Fedon , May 04, 2010; 12:18 a.m.

Download the files to your computer. Then right click on the file, "open with CS4", and the file opens automatically in ACR (adobe camera raw), with-in CS4. Thats it.

Joris H. , May 04, 2010; 02:41 a.m.

All of the above answers are correct, but may still be confusing, so I'll try to make them more comprehensive ;) .

Technically, Photoshop does not open NEF files; they have to be converted first. There's many converters out there (some of which have already been mentioned), and they all have their weak and strong points.

However, if your Adobe products are up to date, it would usually work like Andrew says; you can 'open the file in Photoshop', in which case Adobe Camera Raw will open up. In this program you can do a couple of basic, but very handy (and sometimes powerful) corrections, after which you have the option to first save the file and then open it in Photoshop, or to directly open it in Photoshop.

One thing to check when using ACR though, is how it's opening the files; below the picture you can see whether you're working the file in aRGB, sRGB, etc. / 8 bit or 16 bit / the number of ppi / etc. Clicking there gives you the option to change the values, which will be remembered by ACR. If, for example, you work in 8 bit in ACR, you can't really go to a higher bitrate later on in Photoshop, which is why I usually have it set to 16 bit.

So... make sure you update Photoshop, which should also update ACR, and you should not have any problems opening you NEF files any more.

Good luck,

PS: just in case you're using a MacBook (Pro) and are new to Apple; right-clicking on trackpads in Mac OSX is done by clicking with two fingers :)

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