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Is it possible?

If I look at the complete EXIF data (well, I assume it is complete — on Linux command-line, I run exif DSC_xxxx.JPG), it shows things like:

···
White Balance       |Auto white balance
Focal Length in 35mm|20
Scene Capture Type  |Standard
Gain Control        |High gain up
Contrast            |Normal
Saturation          |Normal
Sharpness           |Normal
···

But I don't know what does "Normal" sharpness, or "Normal" saturation means (for sharpness, I would guess it means no sharpness applied, but for saturation, UFRAW shows a number; I have no idea if UFRAW's default value of 100 is the same that the Z6 calls "Normal").

Most of the time, the JPEG looks horrible, compared to the RAW when processed with simple/default settings; this instance I'm trying to work is a picture of the night sky, shot at ISO 5000, 4 sec exposure at full aperture (with the Z 20mm 1.8 S). Funny detail: the JPEG looks significantly better (but I mean, really really, much much better)

The RAW looks extremely noisy; the JPEG shows Andromeda, which is not visible at all on the RAW (if I go to EV +4 or +5, then it becomes visible, but by then the picture as a whole becomes 4 parts noise one part image :‒( ).

Just to clarify: the main reason why I'm asking this question is that the saved JPG is half the size of the RAW (I configured it like that just to get quick previews when I copy to my PC); if I go to the camera's "Retouching Menu", it won't allow me to save at full resolution (in fact, the largest it allows me is lower than the half-size in which it got originally saved). So, I'd like to recreate the exact processing to apply it to the RAW and produce a full-size image.

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    \$\begingroup\$ You can do this directly in Nikon's NX Studio or ViewNX-i software - that's what it presents as default. Unfortunately it's only available for Win & Mac. All other software has to attempt to reverse-engineer this, with varying degrees of success. The algorithms are not public. \$\endgroup\$
    – Tetsujin
    Oct 25, 2022 at 13:45
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    \$\begingroup\$ Thanks Tetsujin. Looks like I will have to install Windows 10 in a virtual machine (I have Win 7, but NX Studio refuses to install on Win7; it requires 8.1 or later) \$\endgroup\$
    – Cal-linux
    Oct 25, 2022 at 14:54
  • \$\begingroup\$ I still prefer ViewNX-i, even though they've stopped supporting it, & the current Studio version will no longer run on my out-of-date Mac either [I installed the first Studio which did work, but didn't like it, so I went back]. Give it a shot. (I can drop this in an an answer if you find it a satisfactory solution.) \$\endgroup\$
    – Tetsujin
    Oct 25, 2022 at 14:56
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    \$\begingroup\$ UFraw is rather outdated these days, there are much better demosaicing apps for Windows and Linux... \$\endgroup\$
    – xenoid
    Oct 25, 2022 at 15:00
  • \$\begingroup\$ @xenoid - sorry, i'd never even heard of UFraw, I was just proposing a potential solution that will use Nikon's own algorithms for this, instead of guesswork. \$\endgroup\$
    – Tetsujin
    Oct 25, 2022 at 15:14

1 Answer 1

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After comments…

The only app that can correctly recreate the algorithms used for the embedded jpg in a RAW image is Nikon's own. Everyone else must attempt to reverse-engineer, with varying degrees of success. The algorithms are proprietary & not published.

It's only available for Win & Mac & has recently been split out to a new app [which I wasn't a fan of & now won't run on my old Mac so I can't test newer versions.]
NX Studio is the new version, ViewNX-i the old, depending on the age of your system.

This by default will reproduce exactly the processing applied to the embedded jpg, but of course at higher resolution. You can then export as tiff or jpg for further editing.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Didn't Nikon recently announce they were abandoning their in-house raw conversion software and would no longer continue to support/update View NX or NX Studio? \$\endgroup\$
    – Michael C
    Oct 25, 2022 at 21:12
  • \$\begingroup\$ @MichaelC - Hmm, yeah, they're dropping all the older stuff in one fell swoop, in favour of Studio. petapixel.com/2022/06/07/… \$\endgroup\$
    – Tetsujin
    Oct 26, 2022 at 6:14

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