I am a proficient LR user but have no experience at all with CNX.
What is the best way to process these RAW files now? I have about 1500 photos.
1. Learn CNX from scratch.
2. Process them solely in LR as I would with any other underexposed image.
3. Adjust in CNX for levels, WB and turn sharpening off. Then batch export as 16bit TIFF’s to edit further in LR.
All help gratefully received!
I like ADL and have it on about 90% of the time. CNX2 processes NEFs accordingly and is all I use in the majority of cases: it speeds up post processing by opening them to look just like the OOC images that I strived to create. Its rendering engine is continually updated and a touch better than the competition, although not miles ahead as it used to be. I also think it is better than the rest in a few automatic little things under the hood (CA and Moirè corrections for instance). Selection/Control Points are great as is having the Raw data, all the adjustments and a final jpeg rendition neatly stored in a tight package (the NEF). On the other hand its sharpening and noise reduction could use a face lift - I tend to make up for those with InFocus and Denoise when needed. Should you wish to invest the time to learn CNX2, Odell's ebook is highly recommended
Alternatively you could run a batch with your CNX2 trial copy to set in-camera Sharpening to 1 (I would advise against turning it off completely because apparently that way you lose the benefit of the mild low-level sharpening applied during demosaicing), save your 1500 images to TIFF and do the processing elsewhere from there. There is also one more (manual but cheaper) option:
4. Open the images in free Nikon ViewNX2
, adjust if needed Picture Control, image lightness (Exposure Compensation but not Brightness or Contrast) and/or WB, then convert to TIFF and finish them off in LR. I don't think you can turn off sharpening completely in VNX2 like you can in CNX2 though.