Will Nikon NEF files ever be supported in Lightroom?

Jun 15, 2017

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I'm a new Nikon user and I recently purchased the Nikon D7500. I had no idea that the RAW file format used by Nikon (NEF) would not be compatible with Lightroom, my one-and-only post-processing software.

The Adobe DNG Converter says it can convert any RAW file to DNG which can then be read by Lightroom, but that's not the case - the converter cannot read the NEF files from my camera. Luckily, I found a workaround using the image browser, Lyn, but it is a huge pain to convert all of my photos to the TIFF format before importing them into Lightroom ( I don't even know if the conversion to TIFF negatively impacts the photos in some way). 

My questions are these: Will Lightroom ever be able to read NEF files without having to convert them to TIFF or DNG? Or is this something I'll just have to do as long as I'm a Nikon user? Why are NEF files not supported? Or is there actually some way to edit NEF files in Lightroom that I don't know about?

Anyone who has some advice or answers for me, please post! 

Signed,

I've had it with technology...

Adobe Community Professional
Correct answer by Axel_Matt | Adobe Community Professional

Yes, Lightroom will be compatible with NEF files (and other RAW formats) in the future.

But, the D7500 is, as far as I see a new camera model from Nikon. So it takes a while until Adobe provides an update for Lightroom and the DNG Converter. I think with the next update LR can handle the NEF files from this camera.

Here you can take a look which Lightroom version is necessary to support the appropriate RAW format.

http://https://helpx.adobe.com/camera-raw/kb/camera-raw-plug-supported-cameras.html

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Will Nikon NEF files ever be supported in Lightroom?

Jun 15, 2017

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I'm a new Nikon user and I recently purchased the Nikon D7500. I had no idea that the RAW file format used by Nikon (NEF) would not be compatible with Lightroom, my one-and-only post-processing software.

The Adobe DNG Converter says it can convert any RAW file to DNG which can then be read by Lightroom, but that's not the case - the converter cannot read the NEF files from my camera. Luckily, I found a workaround using the image browser, Lyn, but it is a huge pain to convert all of my photos to the TIFF format before importing them into Lightroom ( I don't even know if the conversion to TIFF negatively impacts the photos in some way). 

My questions are these: Will Lightroom ever be able to read NEF files without having to convert them to TIFF or DNG? Or is this something I'll just have to do as long as I'm a Nikon user? Why are NEF files not supported? Or is there actually some way to edit NEF files in Lightroom that I don't know about?

Anyone who has some advice or answers for me, please post! 

Signed,

I've had it with technology...

Adobe Community Professional
Correct answer by Axel_Matt | Adobe Community Professional

Yes, Lightroom will be compatible with NEF files (and other RAW formats) in the future.

But, the D7500 is, as far as I see a new camera model from Nikon. So it takes a while until Adobe provides an update for Lightroom and the DNG Converter. I think with the next update LR can handle the NEF files from this camera.

Here you can take a look which Lightroom version is necessary to support the appropriate RAW format.

http://https://helpx.adobe.com/camera-raw/kb/camera-raw-plug-supported-cameras.html

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Jun 15, 2017

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Yes, Lightroom will be compatible with NEF files (and other RAW formats) in the future.

But, the D7500 is, as far as I see a new camera model from Nikon. So it takes a while until Adobe provides an update for Lightroom and the DNG Converter. I think with the next update LR can handle the NEF files from this camera.

Here you can take a look which Lightroom version is necessary to support the appropriate RAW format.

http://https://helpx.adobe.com/camera-raw/kb/camera-raw-plug-supported-cameras.html

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Jun 15, 2017

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Thank you for responding!

I see, so I should be able to import NEF files directly into Lightroom in the future after Adobe tackles the new model update? That is certainly good news!

And thanks for the link, Axel. From that chart, it appears one would need Lightroom 6 for the D7200 camera. I assume then I'll at least need Lightroom 6 for the D7500 camera model (I currently have a standalone version of Lightroom 5, so I don't get free updates).

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Jun 15, 2017

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haleyp31027075  wrote

I assume then I'll at least need Lightroom 6 for the D7500 camera model (I currently have a standalone version of Lightroom 5, so I don't get free updates).

Adobe always gives you two options in this situation: one free, one paid.

  1. Pay to upgrade to Lightroom 6. Then import and edit your NEF files in LR., or
  2. Download and install the free DNG converter. Batch convert all NEF files (which LR5 does not support but the DNG converter does) to DNG format then import the DNG files into Lightrom 5 and edit the DNG files. An extra step for you but no extra cost and maintains your Raw file workflow since DNG is a Raw file in another container.
    Digital Negative (DNG), Adobe DNG Converter | Adobe Photoshop CC
    Camera Raw: How to use Adobe DNG Converter - YouTube

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Jun 16, 2017

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Great. Thanks for explaining the options, John!

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Jun 17, 2017

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I have the D7500. Only problem is...the current version of Adobe DNG Converter (released in April) does not handle D7500 NEF files.

How it _should_ work:

Nikon should be able to release a small "codec" plugin file which could be imported into existing versions of Lightroom by users with new cameras which aren't yet supported. Then, when a newer version of Adobe s/w is released, the codec would be supported without the need for a plugin.

That way everyone is happy, but we don't live in that world, yet.

Currently - the only way to read a D7500 NEF file is with Nikon software (Capture NX-D) which is a free download from Nikon - but beware, I think it is a destructive editor unlike Lightroom so save a pristine copy of important files first.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Jun 17, 2017

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The way it is right now is the way it has been for years. You stand in line and wait just like everyone else does who buys the "latest and greatest". You'll have to complain just like all the Canon and Fuji and Sony and Panasonic and every other camera maker users. The one you should be complaining to is the camera maker. If they would agree on a common file formats such as DNG, then we wouldn't have this problem. But that's another story.

It isn't a matter of a codec to support the NEF file. The file format is the same. Lightroom and Camera Raw have to distinguish between the exact camera models. And that's what takes the time.

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Jun 18, 2017

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I have Lightroom 6.10 and the NEF files still don't come across. This is absurd. We shouldn't have to go through convoluted transformations with other software just to make two of the most widely used systems in the world work together.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Jun 18, 2017

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No, it isn't absurd. It takes time for Adobe to roll out a new update of Lightroom to support new cameras. You have to realize that if you're talking about the Nikon D7500, it isn't the only new camera being released. To Adobe, that model is just another camera. There are also models being released from Canon, and Fuji, and Sony, and Panasonic, and many other companies. Each individual model has to be supported specifically. What's absurd is blaming Adobe for this problem. If the camera makers would agree to a common file format this waiting for support would go away. But it appears that that is never going to happen.

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Jun 19, 2017

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I realise it's not the core of the discussion here, but as Capture NX-D maybe the temporary fix, it's worth noting that its editing isn't destructive. It leaves the original files untouched and adds a sidecar file with the adjustments. This approach works reasonably well, apart from needing a bit of thought when it comes to file storage, as a single sidecar file typically applies to multiple NEF files and needs to reside in the same folder as the associated NEFs in order to be applied.

Incidentally, for anyone who does choose to use Capture NX-D with the new D7500, it requires an update to work with this camera (at least mine did). To confuse matters, the 'update' option in the application reports no updates available. The solution was to uninstall the current version and download the new one from the Nikon website. Not ideal, but somewhat less painful than some 'technology experiences' 🙂

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Jun 19, 2017

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Hi there, its seems to me from what others have said that all current versions of Lightroom will need to be updated in order to support the new camera model. So while your Lightroom 6 won't work now, if you install the update once Adobe releases it, the camera should be supported. That's how I've understood it anyways - I hope that's the case! Good luck.

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Mar 04, 2018

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From what I can tell, the DNG converter will not accommodate NEF files, either.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Mar 04, 2018

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The latest DNG convertor supports all the cameras listed here: Cameras supported by Camera Raw

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Mar 04, 2018

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zenadventurer123  wrote

From what I can tell, the DNG converter will not accommodate NEF files, either.

Unless Nikon has come out with a new camera in the last 4 weeks I believe both the newest version of LR, ACR and the DNG converter work with all Nikon camera NEF files.

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Mar 04, 2018

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Indeed, I had checked that.  Perhaps I am doing something wrong?  I can't get it to work with NEF files for some reason.  I can convert from Lightroom (NEF) so that I can create a camera profile but can't get it  to open in DNG converter.  Shooting a Nikon D800.  Thanks for the input.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Mar 04, 2018

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The D800 was supported back in LR 4.1, ACR 7.1 and DNG converter 7.1.

LR is now up to 7.2 and CR 10.2

Exactly what version of LR are you using? Go to Help >>> System Info and post the first 6 lines of what comes up.

Google Adobe DNG converter and look for version 10.2.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Mar 04, 2018

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The DNG converter works at the FOLDER level. If you opened the folder you probably got the message there are no images to convert. The other option is to drag/drop a single NEF file onto the DNG converter desktop icon.

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Mar 04, 2018

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Jim, thanks.  That was it.  If I select at the folder level, voila.  It's just that if you tried to select the actual file, it was grayed out.  Much appreciated.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Mar 04, 2018

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I'm glad you got that sorted. That seems to be the most common mistake new users of the DNG converter run into.

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Jan 27, 2020

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Jim,

I beg to differ. Would you pay for a new car that isnt compatible with current fuels? Would you be pleased with paying a premium for what is supposed to be a finished good only to find out that you are the one that is testing it for the manufacturer? It isnt acceptable, this software should be compatible with existing files if the manufactures intent is for you to use their software with the top 3 or 4 current camera manufacturers. Its called rushing to production before the saftware is properly beta tested and it is absolutetly unacceptable. Microsoft does it too and it shouldnt happen. There is a reason gaming producers have alpha and beta releases, to weed out issues BEFORE customers pay. One developer Bohemia interactive kept their Arma 3 game in Alpha Beta for multiple years before releasing. Another developer, wargaming gives out software as an "Im sorry" when something screws up with their software. Unfortunately larger companies like the Adobe's, microsoft's and apples of the world dont seem to care about their customers so long as their profits are healthy. In some cases they like to screw over thier customers to increase profits (slow down of Apple Phones). It should not be tolerated and I'm glad to see others on this thread think the same.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Jan 28, 2020

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First: you're answering an old thread from 2017. 

 

Second: by now the problem has been solved... but in the meantime new cameras have shown up and needed to get supported. Each new version supports new cameras. Adobe has 4 programs that are released +/- simultaneously to support new raw file formats: ACR, DNG Converter, Lightroom and Lightroom Classic. 

 

Third: Adobe has a beta test program.

 

Fourth: the car is the Camera, not an existing program. The game here goes like this:

  • New camera -> new raw file format (the camera manufacturer imposes this) -> Adobe needs to adapt the raw file reader for that new camera -> alpha & beta testing ->public release.

 

As for the rest of your post: I think you have not read prior posts as this is not about long existing cameras but about new cameras.

 

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dj_paige LATEST
Jan 28, 2020

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Would you pay for a new car that isnt compatible with current fuels?

 

People buy cars all the time that cannot be run on current fuels at MOST gas stations. Tesla and other electronic vehicles have limited fueling ability, you can't go into any old gas station and fill them up.

 

But anyway, Adobe isn't going to change, and the real problem is that most camera manufacturers insist on proprietary formats for their RAW files. If the used open source format such as DNG, then Adobe software could read the camera's DNGs immediately. If you're angry at anyone, it should be the camera manufacturers.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Jun 15, 2017

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The D7500  is not yet supported. When a new camera comes out, Adobe has to examine the raw files from it, and then include support for it in a future update. Nobody can tell when the next Lightroom update will be, but it could take a few weeks.

Until then, you will have to use the NIkon software.

This happens with every new camera that comes out, so you just have to patient.

Your NEF files will be supported.

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Jun 15, 2017

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My Nikon D90 has support inside Lightroom but this is good news to note.  I am hoping for the next model of the D810 (whenever it comes out - D820/D850, etc.- whatever they name it) and know it will be a while before it has support inside Lightroom.

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Jul 03, 2017

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Hello! I found an easy workaround while I wait for Adobe. Time-consuming, but easy. In a PC environment I am able to right click a NEF and select Properties. Under Details tab I go to the Camera Model line and click on the field stating NIKON D7500. I delete the 7 and click OK at the bottom of the tab. This changes my camera to the D500 which has the same sensor and processor. And Adobe now recognizes my NEFs. Possibly there is an EXIF editor that could do this in batches.

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Jul 03, 2017

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and just so everyone is aware, there is no guarantee that this gives you the right result (although it might work fine). The issue is not that the D7500 and D500 have the same sensor and processor, the issue is that the file formats may not be the same and the in-camera processing might not be the same. If that's the case, you could wind up with a relatively poor conversion of the RAW sensor image (or not as good as the final Adobe software release that supports this camera will have), and in rare cases, worse things might happen.

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Adobe Employee ,
Jul 19, 2017

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Hi All,

Lightroom CC2015.12/6.12 has been released and this camera is now supported. Please update your Lightroom to the latest version and let us know if you continue to see the issue. Thank you for your patience.

See Lightroom CC 2015.12 now available

Thanks,

Akash

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Jul 19, 2017

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Wonderful news, Akash! Thanks for the update and for providing the link - I was just looking into it this morning to see if the update had been released.

Has this update been released in a stand-alone Lightroom version too, in addition to part of the CC? I don't have a subscription to the CC and so would have to buy an updated version of the program, I believe.

Much appreciated!

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Jul 19, 2017

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The update is identical for both versions.

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Jul 27, 2017

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It does not appear in my Lightroom 5. Is that normal?

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Jul 27, 2017

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What doesn't appear in LR5?

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Jul 27, 2017

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The update for Nikon D7500. (Raw -NEF)

Is the version of LR too old?

(I want to import my NEF files to LR 5. )

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Jul 27, 2017

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Cameras supported by Camera Raw

The D7500 was first supported in Lightroom 6.12.

You'll have to use the DNG converter to convert D7500 Raw files to DNG format. Then edit the DNG files in Lightroom 5.

Digital Negative (DNG), Adobe DNG Converter | Adobe Photoshop CC

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Jul 27, 2017

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Hi there, I had the same issue as you with Lightroom 5. Since I did not want to convert my NEF files to DNG any longer, which is what Lightroom 5 can read, I purchased the stand alone Lightroom 6 application and updated it with the newest one released, 6.12, which is what was mentioned above. Now Lightroom 6 works seamlessly with my NEF files without having to convert. I found that converting my files drastically reduced the quality of my photos in the interim (not sure why), so I would definitely recommend upgrading if you can to the newer software and getting that update. Hope that helps! It took me a long while to figure this out, phew!

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Jul 27, 2017

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There must've been some other contributing factor. Converting to DNG has no effect on the quality of the raw image data. It is the same data that was in the original file. The DNG file is just a new container. However, I'm glad you are happy with Lightroom 6.

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Jul 27, 2017

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Thanks, Jim. I'm not sure what the issue was exactly, but it was most pronounced when I converted to TIFF. I wasn't able to convert most of them to DNG at the beginning because the Adobe converter didn't work for me or the NEF files (who knows!). I didn't think quality should have been affected, but something definitely happened once I changed the file type...? Anyways, all's well now! I'll stick to NEF.

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Sep 19, 2017

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When will Lightroom CC support camera profiles for the Nikon D850?  The DNG converter work-around is only good for so long, its a controverted and time consuming process.  Camera RAW has already been update, its just a matter of integrating that update into Lightroom CC.  When will this finally happen?

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Sep 19, 2017

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As mentioned at many places already ... nobody here knows and Adobe doesn't tell.

As a matter of fact, there's only one thing you can do: Wait.

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