6 best software for raw editing Nikon photos on Windows 10

Radu Tyrsina
by Radu Tyrsina
CEO & Founder
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  • Nikon is a Japanese multinational corporation that is very well known for its imaging products (cameras and lenses) in the photography world.
  • To get the most out of your images you should save the files in a RAW format, then import them into something like Adobe Lightroom and start organizing and editing them just the way you want. 
  • Check out the Photo Editing Software section for similar articles.
  • A good digital artist needs good, dependable tools. Look for recommendations and find the best software for Digital Photos here.
best software for raw editing Nikon photos
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If you’re looking for software that allows raw editing Nikon photos, then you’re at the right spot.

Lots of photographers are really picky about details, and even if the market offers various tools for raw photo editing, not all of them work as expected, especially if you’re a more advanced photographer searching for results as closest to perfection as possible.

We gathered five of the best tools that are ideal for raw editing Nikon photos, so make sure that you check out the main features that we listed for each of them just to see which one seems closer to your needs and skills as well.

What are the best Nikon raw editors to use in 2019?

Adobe Lightroom (editor's choice)

Adobe Lightroom ProductYour Nikon camera is a powerful and high-quality device. What works best with it if not a photo management and editing software that is high quality, fast and powerful. We are talking about Adobe Lightroom

A cloud-based tool that gives you ultimate controls and helps you quickly sort out and organize thousands of files using machine learning algorithms.

After you enhance the colors, add filters and effects and create the best version of your photo, you can also use the sharing function to let specific people that you want to view, to download, or to even add photos of their own.

Are you a fan of nature and take lots of landscape pictures. Or are you more of a portrait type of photographer. Food blogger?

It doesn’t really matter because you have all the right tools to adjust black levels and exposure, work with HDR images, improve shadows, and more.

Here are the key features of Adobe Lightroom:

  • Great at performing photo enhancements
  • Non-destructive changes can be made
  • Profiles and presets that you can import
  • Available on all platforms (Windows, macOS, iOS, Android) to take your work everywhere with you

Download Adobe Lightroom free

Corel’s PaintShop Pro 2018 Ultimate

This is one of the best choices that you have available, and this photo editing software and bonus collection will definitely blow your mind.

It’s safe to say that this is the ultimate photo editing and graphic design tool and you will be able to do wonders with your raw Nikon files.

Looking for an advanced photo editor for Windows 10? Check out this list with our top picks.

Take a look at just a few of the best features and functionalities that you will find packed in this amazing software:

  • Using this program, you will get results similar to the ones that are obtained with Photoshop but for less cash.
  • This pack includes a faster, more comfortable PaintShop Pro and an exclusive bonus collection of premium software.
  • You will be able to automatically correct your images and edit the raw Nikon files with Corel AfterShot 3.
  • Using this massive software pack, you can edit your photos just like a pro using a complete set of professional image editing tools for photo composition and adjustments.
  • Here, you’ll find everything that you need to produce a variety of fabulous graphic design projects.
  • You can turn your photos into works of art and realistic paintings.
  • You will get the chance to restore color, details, and more.
  • Using this pack of software, you will quickly learn professional-grade raw photo editing with AfterShot 3.
  • The interface is straightforward to use and easy to understand for the best overall experience.

Corel’s PaintShop Pro 2018 Ultimate offers users fast results and enhanced tools along with brand new ways to express creativity.

It’s best to check out the complete and extensive set of features that are included in this pack by paying a visit to Corel’s official website and taking a look at it.

Download now the Trial version from the official website

DxO Optics Pro 9

DxO Optics Pro 9 is another software that works great with Nikon raw files. DxO Optics Pro 9 uses the revolutionary PRIME denoising technology, and it manages to push the limits of high ISO photography further.

This noise reduction technology offers spectacular performance that will result in detailed and vividly-colored images taken under the most extreme shooting conditions.

DxO Optics Pro 9 integrates lots of powerful tools for automatically processing raw Nikon files and more.

Want a software that’s compatible with Fuji RAW photos? Find the best ones in this article.

Check out the best features that are packed in this software:

  • It provides precise optical and geometric corrections.
  • The software comes with intelligent optimization for exposure and contrast.
  • You will be able to enjoy excellent preservation of colors and details.
  • The PRIME technology stands for Probabilistic Raw Image Enhancement, and this fantastic technology analyzes the structure of raw images in depth in order to be able to differentiate fine details from noise.
  • The various presets that are packed into this software can be adapted according to the photographers’ tastes, needs and it will turn out very helpful in creating the best photos with just a few clicks.
  • DxO Optics Pro 9 offers a Smart Lighting feature that optimizes the overall contrast of a photo by intelligently adapting to its contents.
  • DxO Optics Pro 9’s library of presets includes presets that respond to different use cases.
  • Atmospheres is a brand new set of creative renderings.
  • There’s also a new visual presets window that will make it much easier for you to choose which preset to apply to an image.
  • You will be able to use the new export tools in order to share your perfect photos.

The software’s interface is more evolved than ever before, and it comes with a new workspace that highlights the correction tools, reorganizes palettes and toolbars and optimizes vertical space.

You can find out even more exciting features and functionalities that are included in this software by heading over to DxO Optics Pro 9’s official website.

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You can download a fully-functional trial version just to see how the software works on your raw Nikon files.


LightZone also works amazingly with your raw Nikon files. You have to be a fully registered member of the LightZone Project in order to have the ability to download the software.

After the registration process is completed and you have logged in after approval, you will be able to download the version of the software for Windows and start testing it.

Need a great cheap monitor for your photo editing? Check out this article with the best options available.

Check out the best features that you will find packed in this tool:

  • LightZone is a free raw converter that is quite similar to Adobe Lightroom.
  • It allows you to make non-destructive edits to your Nikon pics and this means that you will always have the ability to go back to the original image.
  • The software offers a robust feature set for photographers who are looking for an alternative for Lightroom or to simply convert their raw files.
  • The tool’s user interface is clean and stylish.
  • LightZone’s Browse window is the location where the app will open when it’s first launched.
  • The Edit window is the place where this software really shines and where you’ll be doing all the creative work.

LightZone comes with quite an impressive package of features that can offer users a lot of power while they’re converting their raw Nikon images.

It’s best to check out all the tools and functionalities for yourself, so we recommend that you head over to LightZone’s official website right now.


RawTherapee is another option that you have available to work on your raw Nikon files. This program is also packed with tons of useful features so make sure to check the best ones here:

  • Using this software, you will be able to obtain high image quality really quickly.
  • While using this software, you will be able to enjoy enhanced efficiency, batch processing, copy/paste editing parameters, parallel editing, basic tools, the opportunity to use an optional secondary display and more.
  • The software is really versatile and supports lots of cameras.
  • It can, of course, load most raw files.
  • There is also a command line besides the standard graphics interface.
  • There are various layouts included in the software.
  • There are lots of handy features included in the program such as advanced color handling, non-destructive editing, enhanced exposure and tonality tools, multiple denoising methods, various tools to enhance details and more.

RawTherapee is a free and open source software that is also available in 25 languages. Take a look at the complete set of features and functionalities on RawTherapee’s official website.

Nikon Capture NX-D

This new Nikon software promises to speed up your post-processing workflow.

Capture NX-D is a non-destructive raw image processing app that uses a new sidecar system in order to save adjustments for Nikon photographers who are looking to make various modifications to their .NEF or . NRW files.

Photographers who have been using Nikon Capture NX2 or Nikon View NX2 will see that this new tool called Capture NX-D is much quicker and provides better processing time.

If you’re a pro photographer, check out the best software for Parametric Image Editing in this article.

Check out more important and useful features that you will be able to enjoy if you decide to try this tool:

  • The program is intuitive to use and easy enough to understand even for users who are not pros.
  • After your .NEF or .NRW files are processed, you can move them to other imaging apps in a 16-bit TIFF format effortlessly.
  • Nikon Capture NX-D is designed to get the most out of Nikon raw files.
  • The final result will look as great as the ones obtained by using the latest Nikon cameras.
  • Even the older files can look amazing if you use this software to adjust them.
  • Nikon Capture NX-D is a non-destructive software for your files, and this is thanks to the fact that it saves the adjustments to a sidecar instead of the original file.
  • You will always be able to reprocess an image without having to undo all your changes.
  • The software’s interface is ideal for digital photographers.
  • The floating pallets can be arranged in a workspace that best supports your workflow.
  • You will have seven different styles to choose from.

Find out more exciting details about the software’s features and advantages by heading over to Nikon Capture NX-D’s official webpage.

All these five tools are ideal for editing your raw Nikon files, but make sure to head to their official website and take a look at their complete sets of features just to make sure that you’re getting the right software for both your needs and skills.

If you have any other suggestions or questions, feel free to reach for the comments section below.

FAQ: Learn more about editing Nikon raw photos

  • What is a NEF file?

The NEF file extension means Nikon Electronic Format and it’s the Nikon Raw Image file used on Nikon cameras. See how to open .nef files.

  • What is the best photo editing software for Nikon?

You can’t go wrong with any popular photo editors. See our recommendations for photo editing. All of them open the Nikon Raw image format and each one has strengths and weaknesses.

  • Does Nikon have photo editing software?

Yes, Nikon does offer its own Imaging Software called Nikon ViewNX-i.

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in March 2018 and has been since completely revamped and updated in April 2020 for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.

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Editor's Note: This article was originally published in March 2018 and was revamped and updated in October 2020 for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.
  • what was the procedure for determining “the best” was it cost? I note the more costly options arent here. For a photographer wanting to process a large number of images none of the 5 above do that well. Perhaps for an amateur wanting to process 50 images after a morning sunrise shoot, yes possibly.