DxO support for Nikon's new HLG Tone Mode setting in the Z8 (and Z9 soon)

The release of the Nikon Z8 and its ability to produce HEIF rather than JPG files a “new” issue has emerged.

Thom Hogan posted in his blog - Here is an extract: " RAW+HEIF — I think Nikon didn’t think this one through quite enough. HEIF uses a different color space than Nikon typically uses (BT.2000 instead of sRGB), plus Nikon’s implementation is straight hybrid log gamma, which is completely different way of placing tonal values in the digital numbers within the file than Nikon uses for JPEG. What’s happening is that programs that seem to understand a Z8 Lossless compressed NEF just fine will suddenly do weird things in some converters if you were recording that raw file using a setting of NEF+HEIF. I and others are still looking into what exactly is causing this, but you may have noticed that the live histogram changes when you move from SDR (JPEG) to HLG (HEIF). There’s a lot going on here that needs further examination. However, technically only NX Studio currently supports the Z8 files. What I think we’re seeing in the “raw support” for the Z8 that currently exists is that the converters simply treat a Z8 raw file as if it were a Z9 one. But that isn’t exactly true because of the possibility of RAW+HEIF."
THanks to Thom H for as usual summarizing the points so well. I consider I should reinforce Thoms point re HFC. by repeating a key point from the thread I posted on DP Review Forum and Thom summarised.

Changing the Tone Mode setting from SDR to HLG has a profound impact on post production of RAW files for those of us who do not use NX Studio.
SO PLEASE DO NOT USE HLG when shooting saving with ANY TYPE of RAW.

As Thom notes we simply do not understand what changes and I can only report what I saw and after checking with other the “issue” was repeated. Shooting Lossless RAW (or both HE formats) is impacted by the Tone Mode setting and the results when processed in LCR/ACR or Capture One are TERRIBLE.

As Thom notes using HLG setting changes more than just JPG to HEIF (should one be shooting with these) BUT it also changes the colour space AND this has a direct impact on what is saved in the RAW files – as a result the current versions of both LRC/ACR and Capture One incorrectly process these RAW files. ANd as noted the results are bad.

BUT - if you happen to have shot RAW with Tone Mode set to HLG then not all is lost – you will have to use NX Studio to conduct basic raw conversion, while the other software houses understand and update their own products to recognise HLG and the “new” colour space.
Somehow I expect this may not be an overnight fix.

DxO has indicated that its updates to provide support for the Z8 may be delivered in July 2023 – Ladies and Gentlemen of DxO please understand and address the Tone Mode choices (SDR and HLG), the impact on colour space and what this means for your wonderful products. I hope and expect that Nikon will issue a firmware update to the Z9 to add these and other options to the Z9 as well so you may find that many users are looking for this help as well.


You do realise that this is a user forum and that DxO rarely contribute anything here? You probably need to submit your request here:

DxO is equally expert at ignoring support requests as the forum. Otherwise, support for mobile phone DNG would have been re-introduced many years ago (phased out, post-iPhone X).

@ajm057 Thanks for the detailed notes on DxO support for Nikon Z8/Z9. Very helpful!