How to Open and Edit D5300 RAW files (.NEF)

The Nikon D5300 is a new camera model and to edit its RAW format .NEF files you will need to update your software. The software included with the camera, ViewNX2, will open the RAW files, but it can only save them in JPEG or TIFF and has limited editing capabilities. You can purchase Nikon’s CaputreNX2, which offers more powerful editing.

Adobe software: You can now open the D5300 RAW files in Adobe Lightroom 5.3  and Photoshop CS6. Using the latest updates from Adobe, Lightroom 5.3 now supports the Nikon D5300. Adobe Camera RAW version 8.3 (used in Photoshop CS6) also supports the Nikon D5300. If you have Lightroom 4 or CS5 or earlier, it will not open the D5300 RAW files directly. You can use the DNG converter version 8.3 to convert to .DNG and then open using the old program versions.

There is also a work-around to open your D5300 .NEF file. You can modify the EXIF data in your images. By changing the camera model to something the program can understand, you will be able to open the RAW (.NEF) files and edit them as if they were taken by a different camera. The most similar model is the D7100, which the D5300 shares its sensor and also lacks the optical low pass filter. Use the ExifTool program to edit the EXIF data in your RAW (.NEF) files. First, download and install the ExifTool. Then go to your command prompt and navigate to your image folder. Enter the following command line:

exiftool.exe -model="NIKON D7100" *.NEF

This will change your image files so that the program will think they were taken using a D7100. You can then open and edit them in any program that can read the Nikon D7100 files.

9 thoughts on “How to Open and Edit D5300 RAW files (.NEF)

  1. I run exiftool.exe -model=”NIKON D7100″ *.NEF on my D5300 NEF files, and Lightroom 4.4 now imports them correctly. Unfortunately the image in PS Lighroom results compromised and the original colours appear blueish…. too bad
    Silvio

  2. Hi !
    I think it is not smart at all to impose a format that requires specific programs to get opened! I have lightroom 5.7 and the .NEF file won’t open, and I have PS5 and I cannot BUY the newer edition because in my country it is not that easy! Why can’t I just capture the image and edit it as any normal camera user?? I have spent the whole afternoon looking for a solution. And eventually, I truly think YOU should provide me with one.

  3. Have D5300 and was able to open NEF files previously. Now they will not open in LR 5.7 or PS5. ….. help! I wonder what went awry.

    1. Hello Marshall, The .NEF RAW file changes with each camera model. The D5300 is supported by Adobe in Camera Raw updates only with CS6 and Photoshop CC. You can download the DNG converter and convert your D5300 .NEF files to .DNG and then open in CS5. You should be able to open using Lightroom 5.7. Is there a chance you used an old version of Nikon Connect to transfer the files? If so, it may have corrupted the RAW files so they will no longer open. There is a fix that covers many camera models, but I don’t see the D5300 listed: http://owl.phy.queensu.ca/~phil/exiftool/fix_corrupted_nef.html

  4. Even the simplest things these days are loaded with hidden pitfalls. Your exiftool command line example is corrupted with non-ASCII characters and will not work in a DOS command window. Behold:

    exiftool.exe -model=”NIKON D7100″ *.NEF

    The quote characters are prettified and will not paste properly. You need this:

    exiftool.exe -model=”NIKON D7100″ *.NEF

    As always, caveat emptor…

  5. Actually, the second command line in my comment above is still prettified, even though I typed it in correctly. Why? Because this web page’s HTML processing INSISTS ON PRETTIFYING EVERYTHING.

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