Nikon Z7: get Lightroom to support the Raw-Files!

Nikon has introduced the new mirrorless Z7 camera, but of course Lightroom does not officially support importing, displaying and developing those raw files yet. Here’s how to get Lightroom to support the Nikon Z7’s raw files.

Update (2018-10-09): If you set your Z7’s RAW file settings to 14bit Lossless compression, Lightroom CC Classic 7.5 will recognize your RAW files directly.

Update 2 (2018-10-12): Adobe has just released their updated DNG Converter 11.0 which directly supports converting the Raw-files of the Z7 into DNG which will then be natively processed by any Lightroom version.

This means, there is no need to use the workaround below anymore!

First you need ExifTool, you can download it for free from here:

  1. Unzip it to a folder, e.g. c:\program files\exiftool – on Mac you start the installer, exiftool will then be installed to /usr/bin.
  2. Now copy the pictures from your memory card into a temporary folder, e.g. c:\temp\convert on Mac for example ~/Convert
    (do not do that on the original pictures, always use a copy!)
  3. Open a command prompt (Mac: a terminal session) and switch to the directory with the pictures.
    Windows: cd c: \temp\convert
    Mac: cd ~/convert
  4. Now let ExifTool write the model name of the D850 into the pictures.
    Windows: c:\program files\exiftool\exiftool.exe -model=”NIKON D850″ *.NEF
    Mac: /usr/bin/exiftool -model=”NIKON D850″ *.NEF

That’s it. Exiftool writes the new camera identification in the metadata. The original file is kept for security with the suffix _original.

For safety’s sake you should, as I said, keep the original images so you can replace them later, as soon as Lightroom officially supports the camera.

Note: When doing so, we claim that the images are from a D850. Although the sensor of the D850 and Z7 is apparently similar, according to Nikon it is not identical. So it’s possible that the prepared raw files will not be developed to the exact quality that will later be achieved, when Lightroom officially supports the camera. In my attempts however, everything looked very good! 🙂

More information about the new, mirrorless cameras from Nikon can be found in my detailed review.

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