Sunday, May 10, 2009

How to process NEF files with Gimp


I'm getting in touch with my inner geek today. Actually, I managed to learn how to do something that I have been wanting to do for a long time. I found a way to process NEF RAW files in Gimp. For those whose mother tongue is not Klingon or Photogeek it means that I can process the pictures from my digital camera at a much higher quality than before (here is a video which neatly explains some of the technical details in everyday terms).

I have a Nikon D80 DSLR and until quite recently all my pictures were JPEGs (the photography world's equivalent of mp3) simply because I had neither the space nor the programs on my computer to work with the bigger NEF RAW files that Nikon cameras use. Thankfully I have finally, overcome both obstacles by buying an external hard disc (500gb but filling up fast, alas) and today I figured out how Gimp (an open source alternative to Photoshop) can deal with NEF files.

Here is a quick guide for others wishing to do the same. Don't worry, it is fairly painless and FREE. Let me just say that again, FREE for those at the back in the nosebleed section.

1 If you don't have it already GIMP can be downloaded here.

2 You will need to get UFRaw which can be downloaded here.

3 Once you have set up the programs then open up your NEF file with UFRaw and then click on the GIMP icon (a small fox) in the bottom right hand corner. This will allow you to edit your pictures. You can save your images as TIFF, JPG etc but not NEF.


Unknown said...

I had the same problem today on laptop that I have only open source and original programs and I google it to find the same answer.

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I hope this helped you.

Nigel Stratton said...

Much appreciated!

Anonymous said...

Thanks this helped - R.

Ecky said...

Gimp does not accept the NEF file comes back with an error


Saqueo said...

I got the same error however, UFRaw has a save button which will save the .nef file with a .ppm extension which is readable by the Gimp.I hope this is a step in the right direction.

Saqueo said...

I found it. you need gimp-ufraw in the ubuntu software center not ufraw. UFRaw is the standalone program, gimp-ufraw is the plugin.

Senior_citizen said...

This advice was really useful for me.

I had hundreds of photos (*.NEF with *.xmp sidecars) from my wedding day, but the nef files opened like thumbnails in The GIMP. UFRAW was able to convert them quickly and easily, even on my £20 laptop. Free Software Forever! :D

Anonymous said...

Just tried this for the first time. I'm very grateful for the instruction. Just wanted to add that I can't load the file into Gimp if Gimp is already open. It throws an error. Just in case anyone else is seeing that error.

Salihin Rahim said...

thanks for THAT anonymous advice, Was at the verge of giving up. Close your GIMP and restart UFRaw.

B said...

I have downloaded gimp 2.8 and ufraw and when I hit the gimp icon it will not open (and gimp is not open either) it says " Error activating Gimp.
Failed to execute helper program (Invalid argument)" any advice? I am very new at this and training myself. Thanks

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Being a photographer, I thank you for posting this helpful information on your blog. It helped me very much.

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