How Can I Work With My New Nikon’s RAW Files Without Upgrading Software?

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August 14, 2015 at 10:30 am  •  Posted in Q&A, Tips & Techniques by  •  3 Comments

I just bought the new Nikon D750 and found that neither version of Photoshop nor Lightroom that I own can open the RAW files. These programs meet all of my other needs so I don’t really want to spend money to upgrade to the new versions. Nikon View NX does support the D750’s RAW format, but it’s quite basic so I would prefer to use Adobe software. How can I do that?
—Larry T.

You’re right, Larry, old versions of the Adobe software do not support newer cameras’ RAW formats. However, Adobe still publishes updates to Adobe Camera Raw (ACR) for the discontinued Photoshop CS6. Update 8.1 included the D750 and other new cameras of various brands and additional tools not available in older versions of ACR. However, it’s better to install the latest update, Camera Raw 9.1.

The latest update for Adobe Camera Raw (available for Photoshop 6 and CC) provides support for nearly all recent cameras' RAW formats. It also offers new tools not available in much older versions of ACR. © 2015 Peter K. Burian

The latest update for Adobe Camera Raw (available for Photoshop 6 and CC) provides support for nearly all recent cameras’ RAW formats. It also offers new tools not available in much older versions of ACR. © 2015 Peter K. Burian

If you own an older version of Photoshop or a discontinued version of Lightroom, you will not be able to use it on your new camera’s RAW files. However, Adobe does provide a solution, and it’s useful with any camera whose RAW format is not supported by an old version of either software. Download and install Adobe DNG Converter 9.1 for Mac or Adobe DNG Converter 9.1 for Windows; it’s free of charge. Use it to convert your D750’s RAW files to the DNG (RAW) format. You’ll then be able to open those files with ACR in older Adobe software (or in other software that supports the universal DNG format).

More versatile than Nikon View NX, Capture NX-D is optional but it's a free download from the Nikon Canada website. This program offers more utilities and advanced tools that photo enthusiasts prefer. © 2015 Peter K. Burian More versatile than Nikon View NX, Capture NX-D is optional but it’s a free download from the Nikon Canada website. This program offers more utilities and advanced tools that photo enthusiasts prefer. © 2015 Peter K. Burian

More versatile than Nikon View NX, Capture NX-D is optional but it’s a free download from the Nikon Canada website. This program offers more utilities and advanced tools that photo enthusiasts prefer. © 2015 Peter K. Burian

There’s another alternative for owners of Nikon DSLRs. Download the free Nikon Capture NX-D RAW Processing Software from the Nikon Canada website. It’s far more versatile than View NX and is an excellent solution for those who do not own either Photoshop or Lightroom. It’s also useful for owners of old versions of Photoshop who prefer to avoid the additional work of converting their RAW files to DNG. I find that Nikon Capture NX-D provides superior results with some Nikon DSLRs’ RAW formats, making this the preferred option with those cameras.

3 Comments

  1. Karen / September 1, 2015 at 11:35 am / Reply

    True, but if you have an older iMac that version of Adobe DNG will not work. Hence you must upgrade to a higher OS and from my understandings and readings, if I upgrade to Yosemite or higher, I will lose CS5. I have Topaz attached to it and Nik attached to my LR 4. Seems you’re caught up in a have to buy situation. I uncovered all this after I bought a Sony A6000 and shot in RAW. What a mess.

  2. PETER K BURIAN / September 2, 2015 at 7:55 pm / Reply

    Well, Karen, you are more of a Mac expert than me. Fortunately, it’s not as complicated for those of us who use Windows … and I guess it’s OK for newer versions of Mac computers.

    Cheers! Peter

  3. PETER K BURIAN / September 5, 2015 at 8:26 pm / Reply

    Elements 13 does support the RAW formats of cameras like the Nikon D5500 but if you find it cannot open a RAW file, you will need to download the update for Adobe Camera Raw. You should be able to do so simply; start by clicking on the HELP item at the top of the screen when Elements 13 is open.

    Follow the prompts to download any available update.

    Peter Burian

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