Most professional photographers especially those who are using digital SLR camera prefer to shoot in ‘RAW’ mode, which outputs image in file format that is proprietary to their camera make and model (e.g. .CR2, .NEF, etc.), which stores greater quality of details compared with JPG image file. However, unlike JPEG format, RAW image format cannot be easily opened in Windows operating system prior to Vista without RAW conversion program or third-party image manipulation software. With Windows Vista, the camera manufacturers can take advantage of extensible platform that allows support for these (and other) new file formats to be added to Windows by way of codec.

Other than Canon and Olympus, Nikon has also released Nikon RAW codec for Windows. The Nikon RAW Codec is a software module that enables you to handle RAW image files (.NEF or Nikon Electronic Format) under Microsoft Windows with the same ease as JPEG or TIFF images. With the Nikon RAW codec installed, users can view the Nikon RAW files and thumbnails throughout Windows, and perform most of the same tasks that can be performed on JPG files in the Photo Gallery on their RAW files, including but not limited to view, tag, rate and print.

Download Nikon RAW Codec for Windows from here.

Nikon RAW Codec supports 32-bit and 64-bit editions of Windows 8.1, Windows 8.1 Pro, and Windows 8.1 Enterprise; Windows 7 Home Basic, Home Premium, Professional, Enterprise, and Ultimate (SP1).

The RAW images from the following cameras are supported:

Digital SLR Cameras: D4S, D4, D3X, D3S, D3, D2XS, D2X, D2HS, D2H, D1X, D1H, D1, D90, D80, D70S, D70, D60, D50, D40X, D40, D810A, D810, D800E, D800, D750, D700, D610, D600, D300S, D300, D200, D100, D7200, D7100, D7000, D5500, D5300, D5200, D5100, D5000, D3300, D3200, D3100, D3000, Df

Advanced interchangeable lens cameras: Nikon 1 J5, Nikon 1 J4, Nikon 1 J3, Nikon 1 J2, Nikon 1 J1, Nikon 1 V3, Nikon 1 V2, Nikon 1 V1, Nikon 1 S1, Nikon 1 AW1

Compact digital cameras: COOLPIX A, COOLPIX 8800, COOLPIX 8700, COOLPIX 8400, COOLPIX 5700, COOLPIX 5400, COOLPIX 5000