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Tips & Tricks

Shoot Film Styles On Your Nikon In-Camera, For Free

By Kishore Sawh on November 8th 2017

There are a lot of reasons to love a Fuji X-system body and shooting experience, and aside from the small form factor and throw-back styling, Fuji’s built-in film emulations are likely the next talking point. Love or disparage them, they are popular and broadly used. The thing is though, if you don’t shoot Fuji but like the stylistic nature of those emulations, you can have it (a bit different) with a DSLR.

Most modern Nikon cameras, especially their upper tier (both DX and FX) have a menu option called Picture Control, and what Nikon Picture Control system does is allow you a certain variety in personalization of your shots sort of how old film emulsions used to. There’s a standard bevy of them which are Standard, Neutral, Vivid, Monochrome, Portrait, Landscape, and Flat, and within each you can further adjust parameters for clarity, sharpening, contrast, brightness, saturation, and hue (coloration). Monochrome allows for adjustments to sharpening, contrast, brightness, filter effects and toning (I use this a lot when shooting in-camera B&W).

Portra 160

original

But if the popularity of VSCO and Fujifilm cameras and other presets are any indication, people want film stock simulations in-camera. Now, you can make your own, but if that’s not your cup of tea, there are already good free ones to download and you can find them at Nikon Picture Control Editor, and there’s a long list of them from Fuji Provia, Tri-X, Portra 160, and on and on. They are also dead easy to install on your camera and you can have them up and running in, no joke, about 2 minutes. Here’s how:

[REVIEW: NIKON D750 REVIEW | IT’S ACHILLES, LESS HIS HEEL]

How-To Steps:

  1. Go to https://nikonpc.com
  2. Select the ones you want and download them
    • Connect a memory card to your computer and do the following:
      Create a folder on the card and name it NIKON
    • Create another folder called CUSTOMPC within the NIKON folder you previously made. Drag the NPC files you downloaded into that CUSTOMPC folder.
    • Eject card and put into your Nikon.
    • Under the Shooting menu, select Manage Picture Control > Load/Save > Copy To Camera. The selections in your CUSTOMPC folder should be shown and you can load however many your camera can take (varied, most give you 9 slots).

And that’s it, and you can change as you wish. As per Nikon:

Custom Picture Controls can be edited and registered in the camera. You can change their names, delete them, and copy them to a memory card. You can also freely share files between cameras or photographers using a memory card, as well as importing custom Picture Controls created with Picture Control Utility and registering them in your camera. Moreover, you can import custom Picture Controls created in your camera to a computer via Picture Control Utility, then apply them to images using ViewNX 2 or Capture NX 2 software (and with newer cameras, launched after June 2014, using Picture Control Utility 2, which launches from within ViewNX-i or Capture NX-D).

A few things to note, it’s a bit annoying but you have to click through to load each one, and you are limited in how many you can store. If you use the Nikon Picture Control Utility you can store 150 or something like that, but again that’s not on the camera.

Also, when on Nikonpc.com you’ll see previews of the emulations and they don’t look good. Worry not, they don’t look like that once you get them in camera. Do I think there as good as Fuji‘s? No. But I haven’t tried them all. Give them a shot and let us know what you think.

Portra 160

Portra 160

Fuji Provia 100F

About

A photographer and writer based in Miami, he can often be found at dog parks, and airports in London and Toronto. He is also a tremendous fan of flossing and the happiest guy around when the company’s good.

Q&A Discussions

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  1. Espylacopa Irva

    Doesn’t work for D3300.

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  2. Austin Graves

    I have successfully downloaded some picture controls on to my d7500 but when I import them to Capture NX-D I can’t convert them, any ideas? 

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  3. Ian Kenneth Bicar

    Can this be done on a Canon?

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  4. Nikodem Binienda

    https://nikonpc.com appears to be broken, could you please update the page?

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    • Nuno Brandão

      Same problem here. Yesterday’s during lunchtime still managed to see something but after that nothing…

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  5. Dave Lyons

    It should probably be mentioned that there are TWO different file types, one NCP is for older models (pre d810) and NP2 for newer models. The site downloads the older version but newer models should be able to load both

    If you open up Nikon Picture Controls you can add the presets and your cameras and then export out the correct format for your camera and yes it will give you instructions or a button to do it for you.

    The two items available in [File Type] are [NCP] and [NP2].

    [NCP] is the custom Picture Control file type, which is introduced in D3 and D300.

    [NCP] offers the following features.

    – [NCP] can be used on all the models that support custom Picture Control.

    [NP2] is the custom Picture Control file type whose functions are available starting with the D810.

    [NP2] offers the following features.

    – The new picture control [[FL] Flat] can be used.

    – The new adjustment item [Clarity] can be changed.

    – Adjustments in units of 0.25 steps can be made, enabling you to make finer adjustments than ever.

    – The range of options available for “brightness” has been widened to -1.5 to +1.5 from -1.0 to +1.0.

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  6. Ziva Polydukas

    I have a D800 and want to add a Fuji Velvia style to the camera. Tried doing exactly what you instruct but the camera doesn’t find the downloaded file. Tried it on both cards. Tried deleting the DCIM file as per one suggestion. Tried renaming the file with .DPC rather than .DCP (as per a different site). Tried putting the downloaded file directly in the NIKON folder, no CUSTOMPC folder. Still no go. Any suggestions???

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    • Ziva Polydukas

      Just tried it again, following the instructions. Only this time, I put two files on the cards, one with the extension .NCP as it downloads from the linked site, and the second with the extension .NPC as given in the instructions above. I don’t know which one worked, but it showed up this time. Problem solved, or at least worked around.

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    • Dave Lyons

      Glad it finally worked :) I had issues a few years back but once I loaded them into nikons software and entered my camera and found the “save to card” button it worked.

      This is a great piece of software that’s really overlooked by most people. I really started using it last year to make profiles for shooting the milky way.

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  7. Dileep Lawrence

    my picture control 

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  8. Mark Cort

    I fixed it. I am using Mac and a D5 (XQD) for anyone that has the same. 

    * Format the card in-camera

    *Follow the instructions above (make Nikon folder > CUSTOMPC >drag downloads into CustomPC) 

    *I opened the D5 folder on the XQD card while on the Mac. 

    *I deleted the folder DCIM when in Finder and just left the ‘NIKON’ folder 

    * Put the XQD back into my D5 and the downloads were there ready to install!

    Thanks for this. I’m going to update my D500 and D750 in a moment! 

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  9. Mark Cort

    Hi. I’ve tried these and followed the instructions but my ~D5 say’s there’s nothing on the memory cards. Do you know why please? The D5 does have the option to download/save in Picture Control. Thanks

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    • Dave Lyons

      Mark, if you haven’t figured it out yet see my post above. If you use nikons software it will do it correctly for your camera, you just pop a card into computer, enter your camera model(s), select the camera you want and preset(s) you want and hit the “save to card” button.

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  10. Saud Yeahhea Al Rahul

    The web page nikon.pc does not open….What do I do now?????/

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  11. Sheleria Cushman

    AHHHHHHH, sweet.  thanks Kishore.

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  12. Kyaw Chein

    It said ” This memory card cannot be used it may be damage…………………….”” when i created the folder and insert the card into  my camera nikon d3200! But my memory card is fine without this folder!
    Any ideas???????????????

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    • Kishore Sawh

      Kyaw, hi there. I’m not sure if the D3200 has the option to Manage Picture Control. While you should still be able to choose between the common Picture Controls, the option to Manage them to add may not be available on that model. To my understanding it’s something to be found most on pro and semi-pro bodies. Perhaps that’ll change in the future with firmware but sadly that’s how Nikon has chosen to go for the time being. 

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  13. Theingar Tun

    how to do picture style update with nikon d3200

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  14. Joe Lopez

    Great idea, although not compatible with the old D40 I let my son use.  I did install these on my D7100 and Coolpix A (daily carry) today.

    Nice Hawkesmill Westminster strap on the Nikon in the post here – I just bought one for my F3/T – Love it!

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  15. Alfie Goodrich

    Have been shooting with these Picture Controls since 2007 when I got my first digital SLR, the Nikon D300. Shoot with them now in my D700, D3S and D800e. I’ve made a load of my own Picture Controls and probably my favourite is one that mimics a pushed Ektachrome aesthetic I used to get when developing my own E6 for crushed blacks. There’s always a ton of people saying ‘yeah, but it’s just JPEG’. Wrong. I shoot RAW all the time but I use Nikon’s software in the first part of my RAW workflow. I developed a nice workflow, that worked for me, before LR ever came on the scene. Although I have and use LR occasionally (mainly for shoots on which I’m using the Nikons and the Hasselblad and need to use just one RAW processor to save time), it’s never been my first RAW engine of choice because it fails to read the Picture Controls in my Nikons. So, in Nikon’s View NX or Capture NX-D – both of which are fine for basic RAW changes – I see my RAW files shot with Picture Controls exactly as I shot them. I also have a drop-down menu to put the shots into any other Picture Control of my choosing. I have an article on my website about how I use Pic Controls in my work. They’re a huge help for me and a core part of my pre-visualisation and workflow. You can read more about why I use this system here:

    http://www.japanorama.co.uk/nikon-custom-picture-controls-a-couple-of-mine/

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  16. Fabio Filipe

    Where is the Canon equivalent article you mention would be here last weekend?
    Thanks

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  17. Ryan Johnston

    I might be being a bit stupid here but will this only save if shot in JPEG? Love the idea but I’ve just loaded the files into lightroom and they initially view as the set style but once clicked on they revert to basic

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    • Kishore Sawh

      Hey Ryan, no need to feel stupid, and perhaps I should’ve made it clear in the piece that this will not hold on raw files, only JPEG. Cheers

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    • Ryan Johnston

      Kishore Sawh ahh that explains it! Definitely going to be playing about with this as I delve into street photography, thanks for this!

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    • Alfie Goodrich

      Use the free Nikon software. It ain’t perfect but it at least means you get what you’ve seen on the camera, in RAW and with all the options to change it into any of the other Pic Controls that you like. 

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  18. Stewart Norton

    I’m trying this with my d300 but it keeps saying no picture control files can be found…any ideas ?

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    • Kishore Sawh

      If you follow my instructions precisely and accurately name the file folders into which you dropped the files into, you shouldn’t have an issue

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  19. Robert Cavalcante Sr

    Will this work with a D3400?

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  20. Kyle Stauffer

    This is awesome! Thank you for the heads up!

    These make changes to the look of raw files correct? Or does the camera need to be taking jpegs to utilize the effects? 

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    • Vadim Podlevsky

      Just for in-camera jpegs. Raw files processed with the same film effects using VSCO presets in Lightroom look differently. Jpegs look better to me.

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  21. Kristiano Leme

    For some reason my D800 won’t take it? Too old?

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    • John Angulat

      Just put 7 on my D800, no issues. What errors are you getting?

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    • Kishore Sawh

      If I’m not mistaken there have been reported inabilities to use NPC functions in their entirety with the D810, but honestly I don’t really know why you’d be having an issue. 

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  22. Miguel Cunha

    I have been shooting with the D3s_look for about a year and really love it,  the main reason I have been using this is to get the colors of my old d700 and it comes ver close to the real thing. Haven’t tried the other presets if you can call it that but will give it a try. Realy would like to see a top 5 of your favorites 

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    • Kishore Sawh

      Miguel, I really like the Portra 160 and Tri-X, but haven’t used the rest enough to really give you a solid list. That curve I have highlighted in the photo though, that is really nice for particular situations.

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  23. Nicholas Hallam

    Would really love to know your favourites/top 6?! Thanks for the share Kishore… :)

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    • Kishore Sawh

      Hi Nicholas, and you’re more than welcome. So, as I mentioned to Miguel I haven’t yet used them enough to give a proper list, but I do enjoy the Portra 160 and Tri-x, and the curve I have highlighted. When I use them a bit more I’ll get back on here and let you guys know. Cheers

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  24. Quentin Deschamps

    [Quentin Deschamps has deleted this comment]

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  25. Markus Jöbstl

    Wow this is really cool, i would love to  do this with my 5D Mark IV :O

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    • Kishore Sawh

      Come check back with us over the weekend as we’ll have a post up on how to do something similar with Canon. 

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  26. Thomas Starlit

    Totally an eye opener for me! I was not aware – at all! – that this could be done. Great

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