TIF save changes NEF / Documentation for TIF Scan Prep

Hi. Did a couple of images with the trial, liked the results, so bought it today. But I have a couple of questions for which I’ve not been able to locate answers.

  1. I worked on a file today in NLP, saved it as a TIF because I wanted to keep the NEF file unchanged for the time being. Great results…but…I noticed today what apparently I’d missed on the trial – despite my saving it as a TIF the original NEF file was still changed. How do I prevent this?

  2. I decided to try opening a NEF file in Photoshop, saving it as a TIF, then running it through NLP. I decided possibly I should use the TIF Scan Prep, but I can’t find any documentation on it. So I don’t know if I SHOULD use it for this circumstance (hopefully there’s a better flow for doing this anyway) or if I should, what do I need to know? If you would point me toward the documentation on it. It would be much appreciated.


Re (1) “the original NEF file was still changed” - what do you mean “changed”?

Hi Linwood,

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.


Actually, I must need another cup of coffee this morning! Granted it’s a quick and effective visual check to look at the horizontal layout of the negative against the positive, but since flipping it is not a conversion function, comparing the nef against the tif would do the same thing, even with both being positives.


The clue is in the “copy” I think, it does the conversion then exports it. I really do not see a lot of purpose in doing that in NLP. I’m now going through pretty aggressively and getting rid of the raw NLP images in favor of TIFF or JPG. Most of these are just not of such quality or purpose I’ll ever want to re-edit, they are basic family snapshots, and having all the faces tagged is a lot more important than a miniscule improvement in sky gradients or improved ability to re-edit.

So what I do is finish off a folder in NLP until I’m happy, then select-all, export/import (there’s a checkbox to re-import the exported shots). The select remains when it is done and I just remove those raw leaving the JPG’s with all the metadata intact. Then I do face recognition and done.

No more awkward stacks. How Adobe did stacks is one of my least favorite aspects of LR.

As to photographing the emulsion side – never heard that, if I find more negatives may give it a try. Though to be fair, I found a few where I apparently did that anyway – signs are the main clue. Funny because just things like which way hair parts should be, but I find I really can’t look at a shot and tell, unless it’s me, and then I have to mentally look up and think.

You’ve convinced me, I think, that when I’m done I won’t need the raw images. The few that aren’t good enough probably need better scans rather than re-conversion. The very, very few that I may want to re-edit have some glaring flaw that can be fixed—significant tarnishes, mildew spots, stains, an abundance of scratches. At that point since I’ll have a scan already, I’ll probably take a chance on using some PEC-12 on the film to see if it actually works cleaning stains and spots. And Ctein has what appear to be some good ways to address these problems in his book, and it will improve my Photoshop skills. But I don’t expect I’ll need to reconvert in any extent. And I may never get to it. I agree with you that the face tagging is significantly more important. I think you’ve done me a favor by suggesting getting rid of the raw files.

I first heard of having the emulsion side toward the sensor on scanners. But I didn’t always remember to do it. Then, when I started doing some camera scanning as well, I found it actually useful. I need to zoom in to the max on the monitor to get a good focus, but the original image quality is such that there are seldom sharp lines on which to focus. With the emulsion side up it is easier to focus on the film grain, then I know I’ve got the best focus possible without being distracted by soft focus on the original image. Sometimes I have to move the red square to a different part of the image to get good grain on which to focus. Usually light colored areas or hair seem to work best for me. I try to keep it near faces where possible but I don’t really think it matters since my focus on the film is sharper than the original image focus anyway. Does it matter a whole lot? I’m not sure. It gives me a warm, fuzzy that at least I’ve done the best I can and can move on.

Probably the biggest thing I found is consistency is good – I know if the emulsion side is toward the screen that I need to flip it horizontally and it will be right. Removes guesswork. But on some films I have trouble determining the emulsion side. In those cases, I know I’m on the emulsion side if the writing on the film edge is backwards. That’s one reason I always make a shot (for temporary use until I’m done editing) that has the writing on the film edge. That removes all doubt. For slides I’ve developed a little chart that I use for some of them, though for Kodachrome, as you know, it’s no problem .