1

This question already has an answer here:

TLDR. is just the title.

I know nothing about photography, sorry. My dad has a d90 he never uses, so I use it to take photos when I need them for something.

Anyways, I put it on raw mode. when I open the photos on my computer, the jpg looks like the viewfinder view. The NEF looks like the jpg for a second, then gets "rendered..?" with boosted highlights so it looks washed out. This is actually what the playback looks like on the low resolution camera display.

Im probably doing the settings wrong, but I cant explain why the jpg looks normal.

marked as duplicate by xiota, inkista, Hueco, Stan, Saaru Lindestøkke Sep 13 '18 at 21:49

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

1

When you open a RAW file like the NEF files from your Nikon, the software used will make a "best guess" as to what the colors, contrast and brightness should be. Prety much all apps such as Lightroom, DarkTable, Luminar, and Capture One will all display the same RAW file differently. There are plenty of Youtube videos showing you the difference between various apps. FindingMiddleEarth YouTube channel recently did a comparison: https://www.youtube.com/user/LawtonRecords/videos?disable_polymer=1

What you also need to understand is that a JPEG was at one point a RAW file. The camera applied various edits such as color saturation, sharpening, contrast, etc... to the RAW image prior to saving it as a JPEG. A RAW file is simply an un-edited image. It's like the difference between a RAW cut of meat vs a cooked one.

Check your import settings to ensure that your software isn't editing files as they're being imported.

Your images are washed out, but just as long as your histogram isn't mashed up against the right side of the frame, you will be able to recover those highlights when editing a RAW file.

1

Any time you view a "raw" image on any device, one of two things is happenning:

  • The raw data in the file is being processed and interpreted by the application you are using to view the image. That application may be a simple photo viewer built into the device's firmware, or it may be a sophisticated photo editor such as Lightroom or Photoshop. There is no single "correct" interpretation of the data in a raw image file. Each application can interpret the raw data in the file differently. There is no "one" way to render the linear 12-14 bit monochromatic luminance values contained in a raw file in color on a 8-bit three color device. The raw data must be processed to be viewed.
  • You are seeing a preview jpeg generated by the camera that took the shot. This preview image is appended to the file containing the raw image data, along with the metadata generated by the camera. Many devices will use this preview image when you open a "raw" photo.

Some applications display the preview image until they can render an image created by interpreting the raw data itself. Many applications have user selectable options that allow the user to select what is displayed when a raw image file is opened: the jpeg preview or one of many possible interpretations of the raw data using an automated routine or one of many selectable default processing profiles.

Related questions:
Why does my Lightroom/Photoshop preview change after loading?
RAW files store 3 colors per pixel, or only one?
Why is there a loss of quality from camera to computer screen
Why do RAW images look worse than JPEGs in editing programs?
While shooting in RAW, do you have to post-process it to make the picture look good?
Why do my photos look different in Photoshop/Lightroom vs Canon EOS utility/in camera?
Are paler raw images normal for a newer sensor with higher dynamic range?

I forgot to mention that the camera saves 1 JPEG and 1 NEF per image. NEF seems to be Nikons own raw "file format..?" (from reading your post it seems more like a datastream). Shouldn't the way to interpret a Nikon file be standardized by Nikon?

Nope. If you could only get one possible image from a raw file, it would defeat the entire purpose of being able to save raw files. JPEG images are intended to be the 'final' form for distribution and sharing. This normally includes some "punching up" of color, contrast, and sharpening.

Raw files, on the other hand, are a starting point. Many photographers prefer a more 'neutral' interpretation of a raw file be displayed on the back of the camera so that they can see something closer to what they've actually captured as opposed to what they intend the final version of the image to look like. If your Nikon camera is showing different previews for the JPEG and NEF versions of the same image, then it means the camera is creating two different jpeg previews, one for each version of the image. The JPEG preview for the JPEG image likely receives the same exact processing as the actual JPEG file does, other than being reduced in size. The JPEG preview for the NEF file is apparently receiving less aggressive processing (but it is still being processed a LOT!).

For more please see:
Are paler raw images normal for a newer sensor with higher dynamic range?
How to know correct exposure for RAW shooting when camera show JPEG Histogram
Why don't cameras show an "accurate" histogram?
How to make camera LCD show true RAW data in JPG preview and histogram?

  • I forgot to mention that the camera saves 1 JPEG and 1 NEF per image. You seem to know a ton about raw files. However, NEF seems to be Nikons own raw "file format..?" (from reading your post it seems more like a datastream). Shouldn't the way to interpret a Nikon file be standardized by Nikon? – HW Li Aug 4 '18 at 6:17
  • @HWLi Nope. To so so would defeat the purpose of being able to save raw files. JPEG images are intended to be the 'final' form for distribution and sharing. Raw files, on the other hand, are a starting point. Many photographers prefer a more 'neutral' version of a raw file be displayed on the back of the camera so that they can see what they've actually captured as opposed to what they intend the final version of the image to look like. For more, please see: How to make camera LCD show true RAW data in JPG preview and histogram? – Michael C Aug 4 '18 at 9:12
  • 1
    @HWLi Please be sure to read the links to other questions/answers here at Photography.SE included in the answer. They discuss many of these things in greater detail. – Michael C Aug 4 '18 at 9:26
0

NEF is Nikon's RAW file format. All cameras take data from the sensor, and apply corrections based on lens, sensitivity and other factors. More professional cameras, like your Nikon, can save this sensor information without the corrections, which allows the photographer to apply them later in software on his computer.

For more see What is RAW, technically? and Good examples of RAW's advantages over JPEG?

Your camera will also save in JPEG format as well, you simply need to change a setting on the camera.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.