ViewNX: View raw image files

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ViewNX is a free utility by the Nikon Corporation that allows you to view RAW NEF and JPEG images that come from their cameras as well as edit and organize them.

Installation & Requirements

During the setup, you will be able to read a small tutorial about the application’s features, create a few shortcuts and set the application to run immediately after the installation is over. The supported operating systems are Windows XP SP3, Vista SP2, 7 SP1 and Windows 8x.

Interface

Although it is mostly marketed as a simple NEF viewer, ViewNX is actually much more than that. Apart from being a powerful tool to view RAW images and videos, the application will also allow you to manage, edit and organize all of your pictures. The interface is very well designed, something that is quite rare for a utility designed for such a specific format. The company obviously cares about having a functional and elegant utility that people will use and will not have to revert to third party programs.

The RAW format is very neat for a lot of reasons and this application showcases some of them. Just as an example, you can fully edit the white balance of your pictures, something that you would not be able to do with a lot of other formats. The editing tool provides tons of different options such as this one, including some that are Nikon-specific like Picture Control. This latest feature allows you to change the color and contrast of a picture fast and easily whenever you feel like it.

It definitely helps that all of those tools are extremely accessible. Navigating between different areas of the program is a breeze as the top menu provides loads of options without being cluttered. Each menu also has specific settings and options but their own toolbars are not as well defined. For example, the file explorer on the Browser tab is on the left while the options menu in the Edit tab is on the right. Still, all of that is obviously easy to find as they retain a general structure.

When you spend a bit of time with the program, it becomes obvious that Nikon has spent quite some time perfecting its aspects. You will find features that you probably did not expect, like Google Maps, but everyone should be familiar with most of the other features. Both the picture and the movie editors are more than enough for the average crowd and even beyond that. Finally, the various Nikon web services will definitely make your life easier as you can edit your photos and then send them off the web, saving you all that precious time for other things.

Pros

-Very decent picture and movie editors
-Beautiful interface with a focus on functionality
-Loaded with features
-Web integration

Cons

-Heavy on resources

Conclusion

If you have a Nikon camera, this is definitely the best application to manage your RAW NEF and JPEG files. The application is equipped with tons of utilities that will benefit you greatly and since it is free, you really cannot go wrong with this one.