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Help! RAW coming out darker than JPG

DJ LeMay DJ LeMay 20 posts

Is anyone else having an issue with their RAW images coming out darker than JPG’s on the D90? I’ve had a D200 for a couple of year’s and don’t have this issue with it. But on the D90 it’s starting to frustrate me! I don’t know when I had changed the white balance from Auto to 5000K but I changed it back today, and altho it made a bit of a difference, I’ve still got noticeably darker RAW images. Can anyone shed any “light” on this issue?

Ecto1 Ecto1 24 posts

I have never had a problem like you are having. When you say that RAW is darker then JPEG, have you tested this, like taking a shot in JPEG then retake it in RAW. If it’s shooting dark in both formats then it could be your exposser is set to low. Check it, it’s the button on the right hand side of the info screen on top the camera thats -/+ if you press it and it shows a minus then use the command dial and set it to 0. If that dose not fix the issue then get the camera serviced.

wolfcat wolfcat 26 posts


I must say that I have noticed that as well… all the raws do seem a lot darker than the jpg’s…but I just tweak them in PS…

but will see what others have to say.

DJ LeMay DJ LeMay 20 posts

Dan… I shoot in fine JPG and RAW… I like to review my images before downloading. The EV is 0… that doesn’t seem to matter…

I’ve tweaked them in Lightroom, Adobe Bridge, and PS3… but just can’t seem to make the lighting as good as the unedited JPG…

Interesting that you’ve noticed that too, wolfcat.

Raoul Madden Raoul Madden 5 posts

Yes, I had that situation with my trusty old D70….but I assumed that it was normal as I had nothing to compare it to. On seeing your post I checked it with my new D90. Both Raw and jpeg images were the same.

DJ LeMay DJ LeMay 20 posts

Thanks for sharing that, Raoul.

I’m wondering if it possibly has anything to do with the software used for downloading the shots from the camera… I don’t use Nikon’s Capture NX.. I had already purchased PS3 and Lightroom.

What do you think?

GTPhotographic GTPhotographic 8 posts

Hi DJ.
Dont forget that the RAW file is your digital negative, and from where you process your capture to whatever you you want to do.
RAW always looks different to jpg, as jpg is already processed in camera as soon as you click that button.
RAW, the easy way to do it, is to process it on your pc with CS3 or similar.

I hope this helps.


Lenny La Rue, IPA Lenny La Rue, IPA 74 posts

This was a good discussion for me to read since I’m new to the RAW + Fine shooting I’m doing now. I have a terrible time comparing the two side-by-side because I can’t get any single program to open them the same way side-by-side! What I think I see is considerable Nikon pre-processing in various ways when I see a “untouched” shot in the camera. There are a lot of settings for things like noise reduction that leave you wondering if “normal” is zero or a Nikon baseline. This has been my standard tool for my last 4 cameras. It boldly goes a lot deeper than Nikon’s manuals go. :-)

I’m about to post a question in the PhotoShop help group. Maybe someone here can help keep my ignorance “in house” rather than flinging it across the entire digital camera model realm. LOL!

Why in the world does my PhotoShop CS4 Extended only now choose NOT to open my NEF files from my Nikon D90? Whether I hook the camera directly to the computer or transfer them by SD card, PS says they are unsupported. And since this seems to be a new wrinkle, I’ve gone thru my Preferences and can’t find more than a seemingly non-related camera RAW option. Same thing is happening with PS Elements 7 but Corel opens them with no problems.

Any clues I’m obviously walking right over? :-/

DJ LeMay DJ LeMay 20 posts

I think there is an update to the camera profiles for Photoshop CS3 and 4 to add support for the D90. Should be. I use Lightroom for downloading and had to buy the upgrade from vs 1.4 to 2.something to be able to download the shots from it! What a bother and expense, eh?!

I recently discovered that the first thing I should check out when editing… right from the get-go… is which Camera Profile to use. There are several. They make a huge diff in the images… if I just accept, which I have been doing, the defaults for hte Develop Settings, it applies the adobe standard camera profile. When I mess around with that, and the white balance, and perhaps the default black clipping settings, I’ve been able to get solve this problem. Should have posted it… but I JUST solved it like in the last week. I’m going to post a question in the As Is group about developing RAW with your own settings…. and about using other camera profiles for developing. The default black clipping seems to make my images toooo dark! Oh… forgot to mention that in Lightroom you can make your own default develop settings and then those settings will be applied to every image that is imported from a device.

I’m going to check into your question further… right now…. hopefully I’ll be able to get back on here. It’s snowing quite heavily and I’m quite expecting that my satellite internet’s gonna go!

Lenny La Rue, IPA Lenny La Rue, IPA 74 posts

Ah! I’d forgotten to mention that LightRoom is quite fine with Nikon Raw files too but the export function changes them by file type since NEF files can’t be run thru another program and be saved as RAW. (Another reason why the Great Debate between Canon and Nikon was an easy one for me since only Nikon’s NEF files are accepted as proof positive in an American court of law. I’m pretty sure I had LightRoom default to my Nikon D90 RAW profile when I downloaded the special codex. HOWEVER, that said, I promptly forgot about that when using the same program for D80 shots. The first thing that comes to mind is the baseline ISO for the D90 is not the same as the baseline ISO for the D90. Arrgh!

I thought satellites were supposed to stay ABOVE the snow. ;-)

DJ LeMay DJ LeMay 20 posts

Lenny… clarification…

Had CS4 been opening your D90 NEF files and now it won’t?

DJ LeMay DJ LeMay 20 posts

I export the NEF as 16-bit TIFF and check the box to open it in CS3 for further editng. A TIFF is a HUGE file… like somewhere around 50MG or more… Then after editing in CS3 I save the TIFF for my own printing, change the Mode to 8-bit and save as JPG for uploading.

I didn’t know that about NEF files being accepted in an American court of law. How interesting!

LOL…. yes… they are SUPPOSED to! ;)

DJ LeMay DJ LeMay 20 posts

Ummm… just realizing that I made it sound like I never change any of the settings in LR. Of course I do… but AFTER import. I knew you could change the default import settings but find think that every image is unique and rarely, rarely ever apply any of the same settings to images. Couldn’t imagine applying the same settings to a portrait image as a lanscape, for instance. Anyway… just wanted to clarify that.

I guess I just never paid any attention to those camera profiles. Sure did a LOT of reading about them in the last couple of weeks tho!

DJ LeMay DJ LeMay 20 posts

Adobe RAW camera support update

darrenmars darrenmars 9 posts

I saw this on another camera I’ve used… don’t remember the model.

The issue I found was that I had in-camera settings switched on that affect the picture output. Sorry I can’t remember the details exactly but it was something like brightness settings and colour settings that I changed from the default. These setting ONLY AFFECT the jpegs. They may look similar in the camera but once you upload the files to your computer and open them in your image editor (like LightRoom) the settings are stripped and the RAW file is loaded. Someone explained this to me a while ago but I forget the technical stuff.

I guess this doesn’t really help much, but that’s basically what’s going on.