I see now what’s happening. I was expecting NLP to operate somewhat like Nik Collection and it doesn’t. In other words, I expected it to leave the .nef file as is, and simply create a new .tif. So I was surprised to see that both files (.tif and .nef) were now positives. I discovered, though, that what it was actually doing was putting a multiple settings line in the history, then exporting rather than when I asked for a .tif creating a new virtual copy and adjusting and saving it. Then I discovered that I can run NLP a second time if I want and unconvert, which puts another Multiple Settings line in History which reverses the earlier ones and gets you back to the starting point of being a negative. History gets a bit messy but I’m not sure I care that much about that. So, I guess, in the end, my biggest concern turned out to be that the documentation didn’t tell me this up front and I had to spend time figuring it out. Having been a programmer for a number of years, I’m very biased that the job’s not ready to release until the document is in good shape. That seems to be a problem with the TIF prep, too. The documentation mostly does what it has to do, I guess, since the process turns out to be simple. I know I’m more detailed than most.
Having said that, I’ve mostly done B&W so far, and on them I get similar results from simply using Photoshop vs. using Negative Lab Pro. Sometimes one or the other is slightly better, but not enough to take the time to do them both each time and compare. Staying in Photoshop let’s me quickly put in a neutral soft-light Dodge/Burn Layer to do a quick fix on faces in shadows or highlight problems. So when that’s needed, it seems to be a little faster. And I can see clipping on the histogram when I adjust black and white points in Photoshop. But either way works fine. I plan to get to some color negatives today. Initial indications are that’s where NLP will be very much worth it as the first few I looked at gave me a much better color starting point than I could do myself with Photoshop, something more akin to Restoration of Color out of a scanner.
The negatives actually do serve an interim function. Since the best scanning has emulsion side toward the camera, the positive needs to be flipped horizontally from the negative. Sometimes I forget. But when I do a final check I can compare negatives and positives to be sure I flipped them. After that, mostly I won’t need them.
Anyway, that’s where I am now. I think I will want to do as you suggest and get rid of the raw files at some point. The reason I’m not ready to do that yet is that some of these old negatives from the 1920s have some more complex restoration needs (some of which I’ll eventually do, some I never will do) which could, but probably won’t, benefit from re-conversion. Not enough experience to know yet. But I don’t want to do a more time-consuming restore now; I first want usable images so I can get family identification as you talked about in our other conversation, while those who have the knowledge to do that are still around.
Anyway, I hope that makes sense. Thanks for the follow-up.