So what do you do when you get a new Nikon camera and discover that Capture NX2 barfs on your .NEF files? There may be no need to panic.
This is definitely a niche article. I am an admitted Capture NX2 holdout. I know there are others in the resistance movement out there, at least in other countries.
I refuse to abandon either raw format or Capture NX2. It’s well-known that Capture NX2 doesn’t understand new Nikon camera raw files. Maybe you, like me, don’t want to switch to TIF or Jpeg to keep using Capture NX2.
To find out if you’re in luck, you need to check to see if you have a copy of Capture NX2 Version 2.4.6 (not the last one that is 2.4.7). No? You might have a lot of difficulty finding it, and Nikon won’t be of any help here. I'm a packrat when it comes to computer disk backups, so I had pretty much every Capture NX2 version saved.
Next, you need to download the (free!) “Raw2NEF”, created (and maintained as of this writing) by Miguel Bañón. His download site is here: Miguel is supporting both Sony and Nikon cameras. The (growing) list of supported cameras is listed at his site.
What’s the catch? Well, there are two. First, this slightly disrupts your workflow. Now, you have to run his program and do the conversion before using Capture NX2. Second, the NEF files that the Raw2Nef program creates are about triple the size of your original compressed NEF files. You can always "zip" the folder of converted files later, to save about 33% on disk.
You don’t have to worry about the Raw2Nef program altering your original files; it just makes new files (CNX2_ prefix) where you tell the program to put them. It only takes about 1.5 seconds per shot to do the conversion on my own computer.
There are other options to fine-tune the file conversion process, but I just select the input folder, the output folder, and then click convert. It can recursively run through sub-folders during the conversion process, but it places all of the converted files into a single directory, so just be aware of this.
If you have Photoshop CS6, you can later select the "CNX2_" files and convert into Photoshop-compatible files. You should click the "Adobe Photoshop" button and browse to where Photoshop.exe is located before doing the conversion.
The Raw2Nef interface
Thank you Miguel! And long live Capture NX2.