Dear DXO Staff, when can we use Photolab for Nikon Z9 raw?

I know many people waiting for this feature. It’s important. DxO, please hurry up! :kissing_closed_eyes:


Search for previous threads and you will find @Marie has already stated they hope to release it in March.



I and all Sony A7 IV-users had/have the same problem. We have had a diskussion about this problem in this link: Dear DXO Staff, when can we use Photolab 5 for Sony ARW-files from A7 IV too? - #2 by sgospodarenko

Waiting until March is not an option for many users with these new cameras and I have suggested DXO to change Photolab, so it will be possible to open all RAW-files and not just the ones that already are included in Photolabs register over supported camera bodies. It isn´t okay anymore that users with new camera models have to put up with not beeing able to use Photolab even for new RAW-file variants. The RAW-file profiles does in the reality nothing else than giving us a slightly better starting point for the postprocessing and frankly, I don´t see much of a difference between the starting points for A7 III and A7 IV. It has no practical impact on my work.

**There is a work around as you can see there if you want to test Photolab 5 with your new Z9-RAW. You can always do like the rest of us and download a suitable HEX-Editor like “HDX”. **

In my case I just open an A7 IV-file in HDX and run a search and replace and change the version code from ILCE-7M4 to ILCE-7M3. You have to change your Z9 code to the Z7 code. In my files these codes are found on four places.

Today I walked through a batch of 80 files and it´s doable but not all that fun. As you can see I have opened the whole batch and then you have to repeat a four step cycle for every file:

- Type Ctrl+R (Replace)
- Type Enter to close dialog
- Type Ctrl+S (Save)
- Type Ctrl+F4 (to close active window)

You also need to add the codes in the Replace pop-up.

When a file is done you should be able to see your Z7-code instead of your Z9 before you close it with Ctrl+F4. The HEX-Editor saves the original file as a backup. After that you should be able to open the files in Photolab without any problems.

As you understand this is nothing but a workaround and I suggest you don´t use it in sensitive production before you have tested to process properly with your own files and test with a couple of files before processing the whole batch. Good Luck!



Could you not (for now anyway) do the steps you outline as a Macro?
Windows has a Macro recorder and I would be surprised if Mac doesn’t have one. It might at least reduce the pain a little.

Not with Microsofts application because it doesn´t see my keyboard or mouse as compatible but there might be other candidates.

I downloaded another one called just “Macro Recorder” that might work and it´s free too. It´s pretty basic but does what it´s supposed to do. It´s sensitive though for where you place your windows relative your mouse movements so you have to be consistent when you use it and maximize the HEX Editors Windows before you start.

First I tried Macro Scheduler 15 but that´s a lot of overkill and it´s not free either.


On windows I created a batch file that used exiftool to do it all at once before the Sony A1 was supported. Then you literally drop a directory on the batch file and it cranks away on all the files.

Check out Exiftool

Instructions here (I later found out the DNG conversion step was unnecessary.)

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March timeline is not great, I’ve already downloaded C1 2022 trial… the old thing, once someone get’s used to another program they drop the previous… I’m actually getting used to Nikon NX Studio and if I need NR I’ll revert back to using Topaz… I know others with the Z9 that are trialling different software/workflow also.

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DxO not allowing its wealthiest (or professional) users, and often the most enthusiastic users with the widest reach, access to their expensive brand new cameras is one of the most spectacular own goals I’ve ever seen for marketing.

Why does DxO think it’s okay to leave their paying users stranded with no way to use their new cameras?

I would understand in the case where there is no option for an interim solution (new sensor with nothing similar from the manufacturer) but in cases like the Sony A7 IV (where the A7 III profile works) and the Nikon Z9 where the sensor is mainly the same as the Z7 it seems just sadism or contempt.


It´s hard to believe these problems persists 2022 because it´s NOT that this type of discussions are new. As I have written earlier Michael Reichmann at Luminous Landscape and a few others lifted the issus with the “RAW Flaw” already in 2005 demanding a common RAW-format beeing the Adobe DNG-format or another business common “Open RAW”- format.

The Raw Flaw - Luminous Landscape (

Read what they wrote 2005 in the “The RAW Flaw”:

" Now we all know that there are quite a few companies that write generic RAW converters. Many of these are small cottage industries and are highly unlikely to be prosecuted by the likes of the large camera makers. But there are larger companies, such as Adobe and Phase One, which are much more tempting targets for lawsuits, and who have litigation and liability lawyers who try and look after their best interests.

This is what has happened in early 2005. Both Adobe with Camera RAW 3.1 and Phase One with Capture One 3.7 have refused to decode Nikon’s new white balance encryption on D2x and D50 camera files. Not that they couldn’t (individual programmers did it days after it was released), but because it exposes these corporations to liability.

This is an unacceptable situation. We can’t fault Adobe and Phase One. They’re simply looking after their own best corporate interests. But who then is looking after our best interests? Apparently no one, and certainly not the camera makers.

We write camera makers (plural) because while Nikon has put itself in the bull’s-eye of consumer scorn, almost all camera makers are guilty of promoting a seemingly never-ending succession of proprietary RAW formats.

This has to stop!

The Solution?

There are two solutions – the adoption by the camera industry of…

A: Public documentation of RAW formats; past, present and future

or, more likely…

B: Adoption of a universal RAW format

Proposal A simply requires that camera makers recognize that they are doing their customers a disservice by hobbling RAW files with various layers of proprietary processes and encryption methodologies. Once I, as the photographer, have pressed the shutter, the image file belongs to me; not Canon, not Nikon, not Pentax, or anyone else. Me! And by putting up roadblocks to my unfettered access to these files, they are acting against my needs and my interests.

Proposal B is a request that camera makers adopt a universal RAW file format. Adobe has put forward the DNG format as an open standard. Is this the one to adopt? We really have no axe to grind, one way or the other. If DNG is seen as a suitable standard, that’s great. A large number of independent software makers have already embraced it, and Leica has adopted it as their native standard for their new Digital Module R for their R8/R9 camera bodies. (End of Quote)

Today I´m fed up with this and have written here about it but it feels like screaming from a boat in a storm in the middle of the Baltic Sea (we had a storm yesterday in Sweden so I got a reminder of how that feels). Now we have to pick up this fight because Michael Reichmann is dead and can´t speak for us anymore. The problem is still there and the bigger camera manufacturers has shown very little or more accuratly none interest at all to solve this never ending issue. So where have all these photo journalist been since Reichmann and 2005!!! Aren´t they supposed to prove themselves at least a little useful for the users they use to say they are speaking for? The Raw Flaw is still a major problem waiting to be solved!

With this said and read where Reichmann earlier wrote about legal matters refusing companies like Adobe, Phase One and DXO to reverse engineer the vendors sometimes “patented” RAW-formats, I´m not sure there are obstacles like that making problems for DXO today. BUT, opening up Photolab so it will be able to open any Sony or Nikon RAW-file just can´t be a problem today when I or any one else can do it by changing the camera code in an unsupported RAW-version to a code of a supported earlier model.

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I think the universal format is problematic because the camera companies have their own IP with respect to compressing/packing those files as fast as possible already. I suspect, for instance, that Sony’s compressed raw format is compressed in real-time via FPGA type code and not by a microprocessor. Actually I believe this data is packed on the image sensor before transmitting to the image processor. Anyway these guys are pushing tremendous amounts of data and they have their own tricks to process images quickly and get them written to the card.

Isn´t the file just a container? If they can dump the data into an ARW I guess it must be possible to do it in a DNG-file too. In A7 IV we now have uncompressed-, lossless- and lossy- where lossy is the smallest and fastest I suppose. Even in A7 IV the lossy format is the fastest and easiest to handle for the system. At least before even DNG had a lossy variant. So there are restrictions even in an A1 if you should be able to reach 30 images per second. Not the least it´s dependent on having fast and compatible new lenses with fast engines.

Should it really be a problem to offer a DNG-option?

… and it is the last 5 years we have seen speed at and over 20 images per second and still nothing happened during all those years before that did it?

If there is a will to solve the problems I´m convinced they will solve the problems!

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It’s not just a container. The internal packing formats are all different. Compression methods all proprietary…

Hope? Wow, I can’t believe it takes that long. Sorry for being blunt but I recently purchased this for use with the Z9 at the recommendation of someone and now being told to wait until March. That’s 3 of the 12 months it’s useless.



DxO are going to have to work out how to deal with what called the Amazon Prime generation. Customers who now expect delivery the same or next day. I can understand that and the old way of just ignoring it isn’t going to keep on working?


An upvote for mentioning Michael Reichmann and his contribution to improve digital photography over many years, Stenis, as long as the camera makers feel that they have the opportunity to hide their innovations in proprietary RAW formats, it won’t happen.

My ire remains firmly directed at DxO who could handle the issue in two ways:

  1. allow interim use of previous profiles (similar models)
  2. prioritise immediate testing of significant new models

I didn’t mention that I have a Z9 in pre-order (not delivered yet), and I’m astonished that after spending over €600 with DxO over the years, I’ll not be able to process the files. I’m one of the few to consider the changes in PhotoLab 5 significant (allowing more control over masking and the Control Line are huge improvements for me), but between DxO not making PhotoLab 5 available for Mojave and DxO not making camera profiles available in a timely way, I have the feeling that whoever has grabbed the reins at DxO in the last few years has little respect for their paying users.

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Do you really think the DNG-fileformat itself should be the problem?

As a technician I refuse to believe the fileformat is the problem. There are a number of different proprietary RAW-formats that apparently has shown to be very compatible with higher and higher demands on handling more and more data per unit of time.

Do you really think it’s possible to make the Japanese managers agree on using a single format:

  1. Canon knows best and codes their own DPP which takes advantage of hidden information.
  2. Nikon jealously protects all their trade secrets (for no reason as Nikon has no particularly good image developer) and won’t share any .nef information with anyone.
  3. Fujifilm is more open to collaboration and a shared kind of environment and more innovative. Maybe they would participate willingly.
  4. Panasonic could probably be dragged in after everyone else was on board. Very change averse.
  5. Sony is very weird about file formats, making photographers suffer with weirdly encoded lossy RAW files for decades. Based on Sony’s enthusiasm for their own formats and unwillingness to move to open standards, participation in a common format goes against the Sony DNA.

So where are these camera manufacturers who will collaborate on a shared project where a rather evil US multinational (Adobe) will hold control and can potentially cripple their camera releases?

My own experience with DNG has been highly negative. For awhile I converted all my Canon 20D and 40D files to DNG and deleted the originals. Then it turns out that only Adobe would read those converted files. Maintaining, storing and backing up both DNG and originals, or inflated DNG with hidden originals inside seems like a colossal waste of space. Over time and in real life, DNG creates more problems than it solves.

A common DNG format would not make DxO support new cameras either. Each camera has to be tested, it’s not about the file format (as your tests with changing the ID of the camera have shown).

DxO here is firmly to blame for not:

  1. allowing interim use of previous profiles (similar models)
  2. prioritising immediate testing of significant new models

Let’s keep the spotlight aimed in a productive direction: encouraging DxO to change those policies.


I’m not part of any Amazon-generation, I’m getting 72 i February. :-).
We have had a just in time industry in decades now - shure quite disturbed by the Covid but I have hard to see that as a cause behind the the problem with the Raw Flaw.

The reasons behind that is pure neglect, lack of will to solve vital problems the users experience and a more or less paralyzed R&D without any fantasy at DXO and the big camera manufacturers. I also think it has become too cheap to neglect a passive user group.


I do not disagree with you and I wasn’t getting at you. My point is unless firms like DXO deal with changing expectations they will lose paying customers. My wife has a Sony camera and the bird lenses she uses is a very light Sigma that DXO have never produced a profile for. I fully agree that there may be gear that there isn’t enough use to make it worth profiling, there will be some that there are shortages off so takes time to obtain to produce the profile but for DXO to just bury its head in the sand and say we will have a profile in March or whenever but NOT allow users to use an acceptable (to them) existing profile is no longer acceptable and will push paying customers to different firms that do deal with these problems in a different way. Its this failure to deal with the change in what customers expect and will wait for that I fear will be damaging to what I regard as the best RAW processing program.
Im 77 and know I will not put up with the sort of delays I did 10 years ago so I think we all are part of the Prime generation as we all have less wiliness to be fobbed of with delays and refusal to deal with real problems.



I also think it will be the most productive way in the short run to target the converter manufacturers. They can easily address this problem as we have suggested in no time - read the next release.

… but, I’m not all that sure DXO is paying any attention even to these discussions in these treads we are writing in DXO Forums. If they had been on the toes like Camera Bits yes but Photolab is not a matter for Kirk Baker at Camera Bits. If it had this issue had been fixed a long tima ago.

I still think we have to get an industry standard format - DNG or not. I have also had problems with DNG - that lossed data completely in clipped black but that was maybe 15 years ago. DNG has also showed to be a fantastic RAW-format in Enterprise DAM-system i have worked with earlier and if other software manufacturers than Adobe’s have had problems implementing importfunctions it often boiles down to just the same control mechanisms as DXO has imposed on us in Photolab of different now highly dysfunctional reasons. They have imposed these controllogics and are the only ones that can take them away.

A common RAW-format is needed to get an end to this enormous waste of R&D-resources tied up in these nonsence activities around the never ending stream of proprietary RAW-formats.If the converter developers would have just one single standard format to relate to instead of many houndreds this should be a non issue.

Oh what a “toy”-industry this is with it’s protected work shops!