NEF Workflow

We had some discussions about camera workflow and I wanted to write a note about what I’m doing to process my photos.

The key to me finding a workflow with my new camera is to maximize the use of my existing tools, and minimize costs. Since I need to have photography support for both of my laptops–the Win2K and the Mac OS X–I wanted to use software that could, if possible, work in both environments.

Included with the D70 is PictureProject to manage and view images from the D70, including the Nikon compressed RAW format, NEF. This tool does not, however, provide a sufficient way to edit the images and correct the photo’s properties. There is trial software included with PictureProject, Nikon Capture, which does. So the photos are captured off the card with PictureProject (or the Capture download tool), and then the NEF formatted photos are opened in Capture. I can choose do most of my edits here–it is a rather powerful little program–but I prefer Adobe PhotoShop.

Now, I have PS 5 in Win2K and PS 6 on my Mac. Both are very satisfactory products, and I was perfectly content with them until I reached the limit with the new camera and not being able to read NEF files in PS. Adobe Photoshop CS can, but to upgrade to this version requires me to upgrade both my environments, and this just isn’t cost effective.However, the same installation disc of Capture can be installed in both Mac OS X and Win2K (I hope, I still have to get a license). Best of all, it can connect directly to both versions of Adobe PhotoShop.

Now, I can copy the images directly off of the flash card in the Mac and it works decently. This is good because PicturePerfect is somewhat problematical in this environment.

The workflow seems to work and only at the cost of one nicely discounted piece of software that can work in both environments. Of course, PhotoShop CS has more than just the capability of working with NEF files, and it can handle the entire workflow directly – but while I spend the weeks and months learning how to manipulate my new camera, the existing workflow seems to work.

I just now need to go out and take more pics. And then remember to keep my hard drives clean, because with NEF, I fill up a gigabyte or more with photos from each trip. That’s a lot of photos; that’s a lot of space.

(No worries, I will get more discriminating in my photos once the new toy feel has worn down.)

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