The Secret Life of Capture NX2

(news & commentary)

A long time ago, or at least what seems like it, Miguel Banon created a utility called DNG2NEF. This allowed Leica users to take the DNG raw files from their camera and convert them into a NEF file that Capture NX2 understands and can edit (with some limitations). Along the way it morphed into RAW2NEF and picked up a few more cameras that were supported (the Sony A7, A7r, and A6000).

With Nikon abandoning Capture NX2 for Capture NX-D with the D810, it looked like we had hit a wall with Capture NX2. Not so. Miguel tinkered with RAW2NEF and came up with a version that could input D810 14-bit Uncompressed NEF files and spit them out as something Capture NX2 could still edit (though some new things, like the Flat Picture Control won’t be available). Ironically, the Leica support that got all this started was removed.

I meant to write about this little utility before, but by the time I’ve gotten around to it, Miguel has added more to it. D810 14-bit Lossless Compressed files are now supported, and in the most recent version, we now have D750 support, too. 

How’s it work? Well, Miguel appears to be using a modified D610 Picture Control when he’s rebuilding the NEF (remember, it was the change in Picture Controls that made Capture NX2 incompatible with the most recent cameras). A NEF file itself is just another of the TIFF variations, so in essence he’s changing tags plus their data that Capture NX2 doesn’t understand into ones it does. That’s what the Template Folder thing is all about: you need Miguel’s converted tag templates in order for the program to do its work. The nice thing is that the way he’s designed this, he could add support for additional cameras in the future. 

The program has Macintosh and Windows versions available, and is free from Miguel’s site. So if your workflow was based around Capture NX2 and you bought a new Nikon DSLR, you can make a small addition to your workflow but otherwise keep it unchanged. 

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