I should point out that my current camera is a Nikon D7000 and before that, my first DSLR was a Nikon D80. So, I can really only speak to processing what Nikon calls NEF files when referring to RAW files.
Nikon ViewNX 2
For Nikon users like me, there is the free ViewNX 2, which lets you view, organize, print, and email image files. It also lets you edit images, including RAW images, by adjusting:
- exposure compensation
- picture control
- white balance
Here’s the link to the ViewNX 2 download.
Nikon Capture NX2
A step up from ViewNX 2 is Capture NX2 (I don’t get why these two products use different naming conventions). Capture NX2 offers tons more functionality than ViewNX 2, including:
- batch tools for applying adjustments made on one image to others, renaming and converting files to other formats
- color control points which enable you to modify color, saturation, brightness and other attributes to selected areas of the image
- D-lighting (including a better quality option)
- distortion control
- levels and curves and auto levels
- noise reduction (including a faster and a better quality option)
- unsharp mask and other focus corrections
Okay, it’s not cheap, and admittedly not as feature-packed as Adobe’s Lightroom (LR), which from November 23-29 is on sale for US$199. But in many ways I prefer it over LR which, like many of Adobe’s products, requires you to import your images before you can work with them. I personally find that to be a pain. Of course you can also test drive LR as I did a couple of times. When I looked the other day, the web site doesn’t actually indicate how long the trial period is, but probably 30 days.
Here's a link to the free 60-day Capture NX2 trial.