Nikon’s Raw (NEF) Vista Codec Updated

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Nikon has released an updated version of their Raw (NEF) Codec for Vista that resolves an issue that caused it to suddenly stop working last week. Apparently the problem had something to do with an expired certificate.

The new codec is still labeled version 1.01. However, if you uninstall the old 1.00 or 1.01 codec, and install this new one, you’ll be back in business.

I mentioned back in January that I have stopped shooting JPG images, in favour of only shooting RAW (NEF) images. I am still using the following photography pipeline:

  • View, sort, and triage NEF images: from Vista’s File Explorer and Windows Photo Gallery.
  • Load into Nikon Capture NX: for post-processing. This program has earned my respect with its ability to store my edit history in the RAW file, and also one ingenious feature (yes, I think ingenious is exactly the word for it) called Color Control Points. However, I have nothing positive to say about Capture NX’s user interface: it desperately needs keyboard shortcuts, and lacks basic navigational functionality like mouse-wheel zoom. I found a great resource for Nikon Capture NX tips and tricks here at
  • Batch export to JPG: using Nikon Capture NX’s batch processing
  • Upload: to Flickr.

There are two challenges with this pipeline:

  • First, the Vista codec still isn’t particularly quick, even on a relatively beefy laptop (Vista Overall Experience Index: 3.0; Processor: 4.6, Memory: 4.7, Graphics: 3.6). You can flip through photos quickly enough, but if you want to delete a photo, Vista spins its wheels while the codec renders the high-res image. To work around this, I use the keyboard shortcuts (1, 2, 3, 4, 5) to quickly “rate” all my photos, and then delete all the bad ones in one go.
  • Second, although you can associate metadata (“tags”) with NEFs in Photo Gallery, using the above-mentioned codec, the tags don’t show up anywhere I can find them in Capture NX. Therefore I am not tagging my images on Vista (defeating a lot of its organizational potential) and instead am just tagging the JPGs on Flickr, which, by that point, have become disassociated from the original NEF images. Some day, if I want to sync them, it may be an intractable task (or at least an image processing challenge).

So my Vista-Flickr NEF pipeline experience is good but not great. I am still going to keep shooting RAW (NEF) only, as I am learning how to make subtle and powerful changes to my photos using Capture NX, which I find very valuable. After all, if it’s worth shooting, it’s worth trying to shoot it right!

[February 2009 Update]

I posted some updated thoughts on NEF Codecs for Vista and Windows 7 for 32- and 64-bit installations. Thank you for all the thoughts and discussion here and I hope this continues to be helpful.


  1. I am shooting with a D3 and using Vista 64-bit but I can not open any Raw files. I have CS3 and have the camera raw plug-in as well. But with the D2H, I have found that I can read the files without any problems. Can someone please assist me with this? Thank you!

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