I accidentally took some fairly important photos in .NEF (Nikon raw) format instead of my usual .JPG. I tried downloading the ViewNX program to convert the files (as suggested in another posted question), but it says I don't have the optional picture controls. When I tried to download the optional picture controls from the Nikon website, there's no option for the Nikon D5100 model. I need help converting the files into an editable source - I use Photoshop Elements 8.

I'm stuck. Any help would be appreciated (layman's terms please).

  • Odd... ViewNX should do it natively. Did you follow the instructions at support.nikonusa.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/16469/~/…?
    – BobT
    Mar 18, 2013 at 1:49
  • possible duplicate of What is the best free RAW editor/converter on Windows?
    – mattdm
    Mar 18, 2013 at 1:51
  • 5
    Interesting... If the shots are important, I will always use the raw format. In fact, to be fair, I'd never shoot JPEG unless circumstances pressed me to do so.
    – Joanne C
    Mar 18, 2013 at 3:06
  • 2
    Ease of use is pressing towards JPEG. Take a 100 photos, load them onto pc in one go and then do nothing. Can't get any easier than that :) Mar 18, 2013 at 5:28
  • 4
    @rene, it does handle raw, but TLC's version (Elements 8) isn't compatible with the D5100 RAW file, so it's either upgrade Elements 8, or use a temporary solution to just convert this set of RAW to JPG.
    – MikeW
    Mar 18, 2013 at 8:08

6 Answers 6


Don't worry that the D5100 isn't listed. The picture controls can be downloaded for use by the software (View NX2) or to be uploaded onto the camera. You're only interested in making them available for View NX2, so don't need to worry about the camera model.

If you haven't selected another Picture Control setting in your D5100 menu, it will have defaulted to Standard, so use that in ViewNX2. Otherwise use whatever you have your Picture Control set to (in the Shooting Menu > Set Picture Control).

I would persevere in getting View NX2 going - the advantage being that it will allow you to adjust the RAW files before saving to JPG. You may find you won't have to do any further work in Elements.


I sucessfully used NEF-to-JPG. It is freeware, and can convert from NEF to JPG or TIFF formats

  • 2
    I have bad experiences with NEF-to-JPG. I use a Nikon D3300 and all that is black in the photo is red now. Neither "Use camera white balance" nor "average the whole image for white balance" helped.
    – Grim
    Jun 13, 2016 at 6:23

The easiest way I found was with Adobe Camera Raw for Photoshop Elements. ACR 6.2 is the latest version for Photoshop Elements 8.

This is what I use and it works fine with Nikon's NEF's, just open them and save as JPEG.


why not use the Adobe bridge which comes with photoshop??

try this source,

  1. First, Photoshop wants you to select the images to process. If you started in Bridge, it is already set to process the image files that you selected in the previous step. If you launched the image processor from inside Photoshop, you will have to browse for the images that you wish to convert.

  2. Next, you need to select the location where you want the new jpeg images saved to. Choose a folder that is convenient for you to locate and use. If you want them saved in the same location (in a folder named JPEG), then simply make sure the correct option is selected (see image to the left).

  3. Then, you need to select the file type. I use this processor to convert my .CR2/ .NEF (RAW) files into .jpg (JPEG) format, but you can also convert them into PSD or TIFF files. Under File Type, I check the box entitled Save as JPEG and choose a quality of 12. I always choose a quality of 12, except in certain cases of web production when I’m low on space, in this case, I will drop the quality down to 8 or 9, but if you have the space then definitely keep it at 12. If I’m planning to maybe print these photos (or send them out to have them printed), I check the box to Convert Profile to sRGB, which usually produces a better quality photo.

  4. Under number four, Preferences, I usually don’t have much to do. If you want to use the Run Action script, you can automatically add frames, make vignettes, and make other alterations automatically to your photos. I leave the Include ICC Profile box checked so that the color profile information is kept within the photo, as it doesn’t take up too much space.

Click Run, and Photoshop will begin processing the photos. This may take a while depending on how many photos you’re converting, how fast your computer’s processor is, and how much available memory you have. These new jpeg photos are then deposited into the folder that you selected.

  • 1
    Elements 8 would have come with Bridge for CS4, which also won't be compatible with the D5100 raw file.
    – MikeW
    Mar 18, 2013 at 8:22

Image View plus more 2 can do this. In Preferences "p" you choose the raw processing parameters that fits best your images. Then you "save all to new folder" and choose bmp or jpeg. In case of jpeg , make sure the jpeg quality (p) is max. It is based on DCRAW. I have photoshop elements 9 and I liked the result from imgview better. If you want more dynamic range control it is better to save in 16bit TIFF. Image View plus more 3 supports this, as it does 16bit processing, until you save in a 8bit format, whereas imgview2 converts to 8bit after raw development.

Alternatively, you can get a 1 month free trial of Lightroom, which is enough time to convert all your images incl. optimal settings per image. It is more efficient to use Lightroom than image view plus more if you want individual settings per image. You might even get a taste for processing NEFs all the time.


If you don't have too much pictures or don't want to install software for conversing picture formats on your computer, you can use one of the online tools for converting raw to other formats (jpeg). One online service you can find here. If your Internet connection is slow, don't use this tools, because uploading your files will be time consuming.

  • Also read the site FAQ carefully - some sites claim copyright on any photos produced using them or even in extreme cases any that are uploaded to them. Apr 12, 2014 at 11:03

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