High Resolution Transmission Electron Microscope and Electron Energy Loss Spectroscopy and have been used to characterize the structure and chemical composition of niobium carbonitrides in the ferrite of a Fe-Nb-C-N model alloy at different precipitation stages. Experiments seem to indicate the coexistence of two types of precipitates: pure niobium nitrides and mixed sub-stoichiometric niobium carbonitrides. In order to predict the chemical composition of these precipitates, a thermodynamical formalism has been developed to evaluate (i) the nucleation and growth rates (classical nucleation theory) and (ii) the chemical composition of nuclei and existing precipitates. A model based on the numerical resolution of former equations, is used to compute precipitates size distribution evolution at a given temperature. The predicted compositions are in very good agreement with experimental results.