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Here is my problem: I am trying to work around D600 notorious oil spots by using a dust off ref photo. Simple: open RAW file in Capture NX2, load the ref photo and get the spots clean. Next, I want to further process this clean photo with other software, say Photoshop or Photomatrix. I open the “clean photo” and voila, magic, the spots are still there. Naturally, I tried to Save/Save As the NEF file after processing with Capture NX2 with the same result. Incidentally when I do a “Save As” all the options are inactive (grey out). So there is this bizarre dichotomy: the same file has no spots in Capture NX2 (or View NX2) and spots in Photoshop. Has anybody found a solution (assuming that there is another person who cares about it)? Of course, you can save the file in TIFF of JPEG but that is NOT the solution I am looking for. Many thanks!

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It's very likely that Capture NX2 is saving the dust-off data as additional data in the NEF (rather than altering the original sensor data) and that non-Nikon processors simply don't know how to link the two. If the external processors can't read the data, then saving off as a 16-bit TIFF may be your only option to get consolidated data to your tool of choice. –  user2719 Jun 9 '13 at 2:50
    
Thank you very much for taking the time to answer my question. However, this is akin to asking the question:"Is it any way to improve my car gas mileage without buying a hybrid?" and getting the answer: "Yes, buy a hybrid". –  Algesoft Jun 9 '13 at 5:00
    
That's because in the case of RAW file processing, most applications only apply the data to the image in a way another application can "see" it when you export the file as something other than a RAW file. They do this so that any adjustments you make to the image are saved as a set of instructions that are non=destructive to the original data. –  Michael Clark Jun 9 '13 at 7:26

1 Answer 1

Almost all RAW convertors save the adjustments you make to a file as a set of instructions in a form only the program you used to make the adjustments with can understand. They do it that way so that the original data from the RAW file is not destructively altered. In the case of Nikon, the demosaicing algorithms Nikon uses are proprietary. Other applications that can convert .nef files are reverse engineered using their own proprietary algorithms.

In general the things that are "baked in" when a RAW file is converted to TIFF or JPEG are things like: White Balance, Exposure, Contrast, and Highlight and Shadow curves. If you go ahead and do these basic adjustments before exporting a file as a 16-bit TIFF then you can apply different adjustments from other applications at that point in your workflow without sacrificing much, if any, quality compared to applying those tools to an unconverted RAW file. In the case of an image with a wide dynamic range that you want to work with in Photomatix, you can export separate dark, medium, and light versions of the same image as TIFF files and combine them in Photomatix just as you would a set of bracketed exposures.

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I don't understand why people mark this as answer. The shot answer is "it cannot be done" or "we don't know". You don't achieve anything by "baking in" except for getting a huge TIFF file. When you open that file with Photoshop you lose all the initial adjustments that you can quickly make with a raw file. To say nothing about the substantial increase in the processing time when you stitch a large number of files for a panorama. The best workaround is to work with the original raw file and then to use the heal tool to remove the spots. I know that but I was looking for a more elegant solution. –  Algesoft Jun 9 '13 at 23:51
    
Even though the TIFF file may be larger (due to the way the data in a TIFF file is arranged), the RAW file has been demosaiced and in the process some information in the RAW file has been discarded. Further, you made no mention of desired file sizes, processing times, or stitching multiple photos together in your original question. If you make adjustments to a RAW file with an application and export the results as a TIFF, other applications will see the changes you made prior to exporting the TIFF, not the original file. If they do not, it is because your RAW convertor does not apply... –  Michael Clark Jun 10 '13 at 0:33
    
... the changes before exporting the TIFF. I've never used an application that exported RAW files a s TIFFs without applying the adjustments included in the sidecar file, but I have also never used Nikon's software to process RAW files. –  Michael Clark Jun 10 '13 at 0:35

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