According to Nikon, NEF Codec is a module that makes Nikon RAW (.NEF) image files as easy to work with as JPEG and TIFF images. In a less nebulous explanation, it allows users to view the thumbnails of NEF raw photos and embedded metadata and preview raw images from within Windows Explorer and Windows Photo Gallery. There is no official 64bit support yet. The demand for official 64 bit support has grown louder and louder but Nikon is still slow to respond. That has caused some grief among certain Nikon RAW shooters.
Well, if you really want NEF raw codec with 64 bit support, there is a third-party codec offered by Ardfry Imaging, LLC. It is not free, unlike the official Nikon codec, but it is not very expensive either: $19.95. Some even reported that it works in the upcoming Windows 7.
On NikonCafe forum, a visitor called Greg_B mentioned the following:
FYI…I was playing around with Windows Photo Gallery on my Vista 64-bit system today and discovered a way to view NEF photos using the available Nikon codec.
How I did it? I just ran the 32-bit version of Windows Photo Gallery which is located in the ‘\Program Files (x86)\Windows Photo Gallery\’ directory. When using this 32-bit version of Windows Photo Gallery the Nikon codec works fine and you can see NEF files properly. I then just created a shortcut to the 32-bit version on my desktop, so that I could access it easily.
I know this isn’t an ideal solution, but I don’t think it’s too bad until they release a proper 64-bit version.
I haven’t tried it because I don’t have a 64-bit system. Please let us know if it does work this way.
Personally I found raw codecs little useful even on the supported 32bit system. It seems to be able to display thumbnails only for unedited NEF photos in Windows Explorer. NEF photos edited in Capture NX show up as not thumbnails but only small part of the photo. If you don’t want to spend the extra money, you can get by with the Capture NX 2 that is not officially supported on 64-bit vista but actually works fine.
Update (November 23, 2011): Nikon has release NEF Codec 1.12.0 that supports 64bit OS. You can download it here.
Keywords: 64-bit, Ardfry Imaging, Codec, NEF, NEF Codec, RAW, Vista, Windows 7