How to Read Nikon Nef Files in Photoshop Cs3

Written by daniel h. bailey
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How to Read Nikon Nef Files in Photoshop Cs3
(Jupiterimages/ Images)

RAW images shot with Nikon digital cameras are saved as NEF files. As with all other RAW image file types, before your NEF files can be e-mailed, posted to the web or saved to your computer, you must first open up the file in an imaging program and convert it to another image format, such as JPEG or TIFF. You can read NEF files and perform your conversions in Adobe Camera RAW, which is the RAW conversion and editing program that comes as part of Adobe Photoshop CS3.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Nikon NEF RAW image file
  • Adobe Photoshop CS3

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  1. 1

    Select your NEF file and open it with Adobe Photoshop CS3. You can do this with the "Open" command under the "File" menu in CS3 or with the "Browse" command, which opens up Adobe Bridge and lets your browse your files in a contact sheet. You can also import them directly into Photoshop from another photo program. The NEF file will open in the Adobe Camera RAW window.

  2. 2

    Rotate the image right side up, if needed, with the Left and Right Rotate tool, which can be found in the top left section of the Adobe Camera RAW window.

  3. 3

    Crop or straighten the image as desired by using the appropriate tools, which are also found in the top left section of the Adobe Camera RAW window.

  4. 4

    Select a desired image size and colour space by clicking on text at the bottom centre of the Adobe Camera RAW window. This will bring up a dialogue box, where you can type in your desired resolution, choose from a variety of sizes and select a colour space for your converted image. For images you plan to e-mail, post to the web, or send to a mini lab printer, choose "sRGB". For images you plan to have printed by a professional quality printer, choose "Adobe RGB (1998)." When you have made your selections, click "OK".

  5. 5

    Adjust the temperature, colour and tonal range of your image to your liking by using the various sliders that can be found within each tab at the right side of the Adobe Camera RAW window. Reference your changes by looking at the histogram, which is the graph at the top right of the window.

  6. 6

    When you have competed your adjustments, click "Save Image..." Choose a format for your converted images and a location where you want to save them. Or if you wish to open your image in Photoshop and make further adjustments, or if you want to print or save from within CS3, click "Open Image" instead of "Save Image..."

  7. 7

    Locate the folder where you saved your converted images. They are now ready to be displayed or reproduced with whatever method you choose.

Tips and warnings

  • Any adjustments that you do to your NEF files in Adobe Camera RAW will be written as metadata in a small .xmp sidecar file that gets saved with your NEF file. Those changes will be applied the next time you open the NEF file in Adobe Camera RAW.
  • Think of NEF files as digital negatives from your Nikon camera. Although they can be converted into another format, the original NEF file is never written over. Your converted files are only saved as copies.
  • To save time while doing conversions, open up a group of NEF files in Adobe Camera RAW, perform batch adjustment tasks to like images and save them all at once.

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