Understanding the RAW Camera Profiles in Negative Lab Pro

Hi friends,

I’ve been getting a lot of questions on profiles in the latest version of Negative Lab Pro, so I thought it would make sense to just lay out the most common profile-related questions here. If you have more questions about using the RAW camera profiles in Negative Lab Pro, add them to the comments here and I will try to answer them.

(In most cases, you really shouldn’t have to worry about this at all, unless you are getting an error!)


“What version profile should I see? And what should I do if it’s missing?”

First, the profile version will not necessarily match the Negative Lab Pro version. That’s because the profiles are only updated when I there is a very specific reason for me to do so (not with every release).

Second, the version number (and solutions for fixing issues) will be dependent on the type of file you are working with.

So let’s answer this for each file type…


DIGITAL CAMERA SCANS – v2.0

The latest profile for digital camera scans is profile v2.0.
If you see an error that it can’t find the camera profile, it either means the camera profiles are not correctly installed, or that there is not a profile yet for your camera (which could happen if you have a very new camera that it not yet supported by Lightroom, or has only recently been supported).

If you’re on Mac, the profiles should be added automatically when you run the installer. On Windows, you need to follow the instructions in the included README file to add the camera profiles if you haven’t done so already.


VUESCAN/SILVERFAST DNGS – v2.1

The latest profile for vuescan/silverfast DNGs is v2.1.
If you get an error that the profile is missing, make sure all of profiles from the “Vuescan Profiles” folder are added, and also try running the “File > Plugin Extras > Update Vuescan/Silverfast DNG” - which will update the metadata in DNG file to make sure Lightroom correctly recognizes which profile to use. You may also need to restart Lightroom after adding any profiles to make sure that LR recognizes them.

If you’re on Mac, the profiles should be added automatically when you run the installer. On Windows, you need to follow the instructions in the included README file to add the camera profiles if you haven’t done so already.


TIFF/JPEG Scans
These will not have a raw profile.
Because they are not raw files. You will initially see the profile displayed as “color” or “embedded”


“It says the “profile is missing”, but it still seems to convert fine… do I really need to fix it?”

Yes, I strongly advise fixing this…

While Negative Lab Pro will do it’s best to convert RAW images even when the profile is missing, there are two problems this causes:

  1. This will hurt conversion quality. Because the non-NLP camera profile is introducing changes to the negative that will effect the accuracy of the conversion.
  2. If/when you do get the profiles correctly added later, you will then see problems with the files you already converted. That’s because even when the profile is missing, the Lightroom metadata is still trying to use the Negative Lab Pro profile (and when it doesn’t find it, it is defaulting in most cases to “Adobe Standard.” So the initial conversion happens with Adobe Standard as the base, but then when the profiles do get correctly added, Lightroom will update the image and use the Negative Lab Pro profiles as the base, throwing off the conversion and leaving you scratching your head as to what has just happened.

“When I click the profile dropdown in Lightroom Classic, I don’t see Negative Lab Pro profiles listed.”

That’s because the dropdown now only displays your “favorited” profiles. If you want to see all the available profiles for a given image in Lightroom Classic, you need to click the “four squares” icon to the right of the profile dropdown to display the profile browser. This will show you all the available profiles. If you want one of the profiles to show up in the dropdown, click the “star” icon next to the profile to favorite it.


“Do I need to change the profile manually?”

No, Negative Lab Pro will do this for your automatically when you first open it up. If you notice that image appears “dimmer” when you first open Negative Lab Pro, that is because it is setting the appropriate linearized, untwisted profile for your camera.


“When I apply one of the new LUTs, I see the profile change. Is that right?”

Yes, just to make matters more confusing, there are now two separate concepts of “Profiles” in Lightroom… there is the standard raw camera profile, and “enhanced profiles” that embedded look up tables that work on top of standard raw camera profiles. So, for instance, the standard raw profile for digital camera scans right now is “Negative Lab v2.0” – this is the profile being used to interpret the underlying RAW color data. If, for instance, you then apply the “Frontier” LUT, you will see this change to “Negative Lab v2.0 - Frontier” - which is just the name I’ve given this enhanced profile. Inside the enhanced profile, it is still telling Lightroom to use the “Negative Lab v2.0” profile to interpret the RAW data, but then on top of that, it is also giving instructions on additional adjustments using a look up table.

You really shouldn’t need to worry about any of this, but many users have asked for me to explain.


“I have my own custom RAW profile I want to use. How do I use it instead of the standard Negative Lab Pro profile?”

If you want to use your own custom RAW profiles, here’s how to do that. First, select the RAW profile you want to use. Then, when you open up Negative Lab Pro to convert, change the “Color Model” to “none” - this will puts your camera profile and calibration settings back to the settings you had prior to opening Negative Lab Pro. You can then convert with Negative Lab Pro, and it will use the RAW profile you selected as the base.

Just note that if you do this, the LUT emulations will not work. The reason for this is that the enhanced profiles themselves which contain the LUT need to statically state the underlying RAW profile to use. Without this, the enhanced profile would throw off the conversion by changing the underlying RAW profile after the conversion analysis.