.NEF too dark

I am seeing that my Nikon D7500 .nef are loading and thy are dark. It appears, and I am a novice so forgive if I get the terms wrong, that the left side, dark side of the histogram is getting compressed. I use a FLAT picture control. Capture NXD and Rawdigger are the closest to. Adobe LR is a little brighter and so is FastRawViewer. But DxO is by far the darkest. And I have disabled all adjustments that I can.
Perhaps I am missing something in DxO? Or is that a behavior of DxO?

Hello @wjgo and welcome to the Forum!

Could you, please, show us at least a screenshot to see what difference you are talking about? And could you, please also upload the original .NEF image to upload.dxo.com under your name (instead of support ticket number) and let me know when ready.

Svetlana G.

I downloaded a jpg/raw pair of D7500 images and this is the default raw conversion in DXO compared to the jpg.

Why would you want to remove the default conversion settings?

Can you post examples?


You say you are new to all this - so let me explain some stuff.

The picture control settings on a Nikon camera are only relevant to jpeg images, not RAW ones.

What you see on the back of the camera is the jpeg rendition, according to the picture control settings in the menus - the NEF file may look nothing like that.

When you open a file in Nikon’s own software, it tries to render the image to match the jpeg preview that is embedded in the RAW file.

DxO doesn’t attempt to use the jpeg at all - instead, it just uses the RAW data, with its own adjustments, according to which preset you choose as the default in the preferences.

Therefore, it is up to you as to how you want the image to appear.

My advice is usually to use Smart Lighting to start with, which tends to “even out” the dynamic range, then start to play with other adjustments.

In short, DxO is not intended to replicate the jpeg version without being worked on. That is to be expected.


Hello and welcome William.

When you take a photo with the Nikon, the camera looks at your settings, picture control and adjustments done to it.
If you shoot raw/nef all those settings will be recorded and written into the nef file and will be used as the camera produces/develops the preview of the raw file in camera.
If you only shoot jpeg or nef + jpeg the camera will use the same settings and picture control to produce the final jpeg.

When you then open the nef in a Nikon software application, the settings will be identified by Capture NX-D for example and the raw/nef will be adjusted or developed accordingly. But as these settings only are flags or like a recipe for development of the nef, you can change everything and create a new developed style in Nikon’s software.
Or reset your settings or picture control and redo everything according to taste and creative style.

These flags are only read and used by Nikon’s software and no others.
Other software are simply parsing some of them or none of them and tries to develop the nef according to their own preset and your own preset defined and saved by you in the application.

DxO are using presets built on their idea of optimising that particular nef and you can turn it on, off or adjust or define one yourself.
Pretty much the same idea as Nikon does it in their own application. But not using the same internally saved setting flags.

Every independent raw software does this on their own.
So a photo taken with a Nikon does only look as Nikon them self intended when you look at the jpeg it produced or the raw/nef in a Nikon developer application using the saved flags.
When opening it in DxO PL you see DxO:s interpretation of the nef.
In Lightroom you see adobes initial idea of the same nef photo.

Nothing is static for a raw/nef as it can be developed to your own taste.
DxO are masters of a lot and PL produces some amazing images with very little input from the user. Or with a lot of input from the users. You decide how much time you want to spend on development.

But the image quality of the final output in relation of the users invested input - DxO PL is very hard to beat.


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