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ufraw is the key to processing nikon's compressed nef format using standard tools and without needing nikon capture. ufraw can work in two ways, either as a gimp plugin or from the command line. as you can see from my transfer script I use ufraw's batch mode to convert raw files to jpeg on the fly.

$ ufraw --batch --wb=camera \
                --curve=camera \
                --out-type=jpeg \
                --compression=95 \
                --saturation=1.5 \
                dsc0001.nef
$ neftags2jpg dsc0001.nef dsc0001.jpg
              

besides the conversion to jpeg you need to copy the exif data from the raw file to the resulting jpeg, since ufraw won't do it for you. which is what neftags2jpg does.

at first I was a little skeptical about shooting in raw. specifically, I didn't want to be tied to opening up every image with the gimp just to see if it was worthy. I also didn't want to need to post-process every picture I took just to make it printable - a candid shot of my family at the thanksgiving table should be able to go from camera to lab without any intervention. anyway, these fears were set aside once ufraw began to support batch mode. I also occasionaly shoot in raw+basic just to save myself some cpu cycles, but I sleep easier knowing that I don't need to do that.

note that ufraw first supported batch operations in 0.3 and had a bug until 0.4. so, you will want to use ufraw 0.4 or later.

if you have done any research into processing raw files on linux you have probably come across dcraw. dcraw is somewhat limited in it's functionality - if you want to apply your in-camera curve to your images, or process in batch mode like I do, then ufraw is the best choice available. that's not to say that dcraw isn't valuable. in fact, it's just the opposite - ufraw includes and uses dcraw internally.

I also use ufraw as a gimp plugin, which makes it extremely easy to get high quality images from the d70's compressed nef files. while I'm fairly new to the gimp, everything I know about it stems from what I learned from the gimp guru. definitely take the time to digest that site in its entirety.

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