Feature #11968

Nikon Capture NX2 history is ignored.

Added by Christophe Beugnet 11 months ago. Updated 10 months ago.

Target version:
Start date:
Due date:
% Done:


Affected Version:
git master branch
hardware architecture:


[Hi, this is my first post and I take the opportunity to thanks all the contributors to Darktable for their work!]

I made few improvements to he attached picture. This is not my best, believe me. And after these improvements, it still is not a very good picture.

However, these changes have been made using Nikon Capture NX2 (essentially I cropped and I made some contrast and saturation changes).

Then, when loaded in Darktable 2.4.1 Windows, only the original version is shown.
None of the alterations I made are visible.

  • in Lighttable, the alterations are visible
  • in Darkroom, none are visibile
As far as I know, the NEF format is similar to the TIFF, and :
  • a small JPEG vignette is stored in addition to the RAW for fast browsing. This explains why the final result is shown in Lighttable.
  • the original is not altered at all. Modification are stacked upon it by Nikon Capture NX2 (the more recent NX-D put them in a sidecar XMP file). You can always go back to the unaltered picture.

I guess that, without Nikon support, this can be very difficult to support.
In addition, Capture NX2 include the Nik Software U-Point features. These have been bought by Google, killing Capture NX2. And now, DxO bought them and included them in DxO Photolab I think.
Just to say that I don't believe that Darktable will be able to handle U-Points soon.
But what about more basic operations like crop, color, white balance and so on ?


#1 Updated by Christophe Beugnet 11 months ago

Problem attaching the file. New attempt.

#2 Updated by Christophe Beugnet 11 months ago

Sorry, attachment does not work. I can provide the file upon request.

#3 Updated by Tobias Ellinghaus 11 months ago

  1. Having any software write to a raw file is a terrible idea. Maybe it's less terrible when it's done by a program coming from the camera manufacturer, but even then I would be very wary.
  2. When the raw file was altered it might very well be that darktable is no longer able to read it. You broke it, you may keep the pieces.
  3. When the edits are just in an Xmp file then some code to support existing edits would be possible. Similar to what we have for Lr.
  4. It would need someone to add that code. I guess only those affected by the lack of support are motivated enough to do anything about it.

#4 Updated by Roman Lebedev 11 months ago

  • Subject changed from NEF support is incomplete - history ignored to Nikon Capture NX2 history is ignored.
  • System changed from Windows to all
  • Affected Version changed from 2.4.1 to git master branch

I'm somewhat wary about adding any such migration code to the dt directly though.
It will always be partial at best, etc..

#5 Updated by Roman Lebedev 11 months ago

  • Tracker changed from Bug to Feature

#6 Updated by Christophe Beugnet 10 months ago

Thank you both for your remarks. And sorry for my late answer.

Before adding some remarks, I'd like to say that I didn't expect this feature to be developed any time soon, or any time at all. I perfectly know that there are huge difficulties, essentially because of the lack of documentation from Nikon (I guess), but mostly because of the U-Point feature story (already told in the initial description).

Also, sorry for what follows. I know I talk/write too much ... And it may be a bit confuse. But I'm so angry at Nikon ...

My remarks :

  • yes, Tobias, it may be a terrible idea to (re)write a RAW file.
    But what would have you done, back in 2004, when starting to process the first RAW files from your first digital camera ? I did it the Nikon way : using Capture NX, and later NX2. There are good and bad points in the way they deal with RAW files, but I see a very good one : I don't have to worry about the sync between the RAW and the XMP files, I don't have to take care of two files for one picture.
    And how are the RAW and the XMP files linked ? Is it "looking for the same file with .xmp instead of .nef ?". Or is there a tag in the XMP file that points to the original file name ? If it's the latter, I see a big problem when renaming RAW files. I always use a piece of code of mine which renames, using many exif tags, the _DSCxxxx.nef or _D8Xyyyy.nef into something like 2017.08.10-08h14m53-36386-D800-1_60s-f8-140ISO-(+2)-(12stp6)-(Cont, Exposure Bracketing,A-ISO)-Fl(NoComp,DNF)-28.0mm-f1(0,0,MF)-FX.nef (yes, that's huge, I've already been told that !). I like to get pictures sorted and showing some of their parameters without opening them. Do I have to worry about the XMP files ? For sure, I can add a special case, looking for the .xmp sidecar ... Sorry, I made this point bigger than it should have been ;-)
  • This other point will probably become a rant against Nikon ... I'm desperately looking for a solution to a problem that have essentially been created by Nikon.
    • First, they did not secured the access to the U-Point feature. By that, I mean that U-Point feature had to disappear from Nikon software after Google bought Nik software. That's why the latest Capture NX-D is free (as free beer): it doesn't feature U-Points (it doesn't feature anything really interesting in fact ...). By the way, NX-D uses the XMP way of dealing with adjustments. I should check, I'm not sure, but I think that means that even basic adjustments, like White Balance, are lost when you make them in NX2 and then load the file in NX-D ... Applause Nikon !
    • I'm using Capture NX2 on both Windows and Mac OS. During the last few years, I spend most of my personal time on Mac OS (under Linux on the professional side, for the records ;-) and Windows for games). On Mac OS, I began to have problems running, and later, installing Capture NX2 since Yosemite (10.10). It still installs correctly on old setups using Mavericks (10.9). See where is problem ? I'm nearly certain that the Nikon programmers (or the third party they hired) employ noobs that compared OS versions as strings, not numerical values. And I guess that Capture NX2 requires at least, say, Mac OS 10.6 or 10.7. So, 10.10 < 10.7 for them (because it's like 10.1 < 10.7), making installation is impossible. They locked me out of the usage of the software I payed because they are noob programmers and they don't want to patch (may be they don't know how to build the software today ...).
    • So, today, on my Mac, the only solution to run Capture NX2 is to use BootCamp and run a native Windows instead of Mac OS, or use Windows in a virtual machine. Not very satisfying.
    • I'll admit that the case is rare, but imagine that, looking at an old picture, I feel the need to either add some modification because I missed something, or go back because I've done too much the first time, or because now, I know a better way to achieve the result: without NX2, I would have to start again from scratch, with another software that may lack features I'm used to.

In fact, I feel trapped and betrayed by Nikon !

OK. To end this discussion, say it ! I dare you to say it ! I should make the modifications to DarkTable myself, and contribute. I know. I should. Software is my primary activity, not photography. But be sure I feel ashamed for this, you have to know that, during the night, I sleep ...
I honestly respect those who can maintain and develop such huge projects ! KUDOS !

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