What Is A NEF File And How Do You Open & Edit NEF File?

What Is A NEF File And How Do You Open & Edit NEF File?
What Is A NEF File And How Do You Open & Edit NEF File?

Various file extensions have different features. The more knowledgeable you are with these various file types, the more control you will have over your digital collection.

Today, we’ll go further into the NEF file extension. We’ll examine what it is and the characteristics that comprise it. By the conclusion of this tutorial, you will be able to utilise NEF files with confidence!

What Is An NEF File, Exactly?

NEF files are digital picture files. An NEF file extension (.nef) indicates that it is a RAW file made by Nikon cameras. “NEF” stands for Nikon Electronic Format. NEF files are based on the TIFF file format. Depending on the camera used to take the picture, they may accommodate 12-bit or 14-bit data.

NEF files save data precisely as it is captured by a Charged Coupled Device (CCD). A CCD is a sensor used in digital cameras and video cameras that records both still and moving pictures.

What Data Is Stored In NEF Files?

Changes to the picture are saved separately from the original data in a NEF file. This is the fundamental advantage of NEF files. When a camera applies parameters such as white balance, colour, tone, and sharpness, they will appear as instructions. These instructions are kept separate from the raw data in the NEF file. This implies that no matter how much you change your picture, you will always be able to return to the original RAW image file.

Nikon electronic format files also provide a lot of information. This information will contain camera settings, lens settings, the date the picture was shot, the file name, and much more.

How To Open NEF Files

We are fortunate to live in an era when these data are freely accessible. Not long ago, you would have had to download additional imaging tools to see your photographs. You should be able to open a NEF file if you have an up-to-date operating system.

Apple Preview is the simplest method to open a picture in NEF format on a Mac computer. This is the standard software for opening photos on any Mac. Because it is a new feature, it may not function on Macs older than 10 years.

Microsoft Photos is the quickest method to open a NEF file on a Windows machine. Again, this is the normal software that will open any picture on a PC. It is also a relatively new function, so it may not work on older computers or operating systems.

Opening NEF Files With Photo Editing Software

If you can’t access your photographs using these methods, any photo editing software will suffice. Keep in mind that a lot of software is a paid choice. Adobe Photoshop is the most apparent choice. Adobe also offers image applications named Camera Raw and Lightroom that can read and edit NEF files.

NEF files may also be opened with other editing applications, such as Capture One. Access to these files is also possible using Corel PaintShop Pro for PCs and Google Photos. Nikon even offers Capture NX2 software to read, edit, and export NEF files.

Adobe offers a Photoshop Express app for camera phones and tablets. It enables you to access NEF files from these mobile devices!

How To Convert A NEF File

NEF files may be opened by a wide variety of picture editing tools. However, only a handful of them will be converted to the new file type. Now I’ll walk you through the process of converting NEF files to various file formats, step by step.

Converting your NEF file is required since you will want your photographs in more universal formats, such as JPEG or TIFF. These are file types that may be viewed on most digital platforms.

Easiest Way To Convert NEF Files In MacOs

The simplest approach to converting NEF files on a Mac is to use Apple Preview. Anyone with a Mac is in luck since this is a really simple and fast method to convert files.

  • First, open your picture in Apple Preview.
  • Then go to the top menu. Go to File > Export.
  • You will now see a dialogue window. You may choose the format to which Apple Preview will convert your NEF file. If you pick JPEG, you will be able to adjust the file’s quality using a slider.

    Easiest Way To Convert NEF Files In Windows

    Using commercial picture editing software like Photoshop is the easiest way to convert a NEF file on Windows.

    • Open your file in Photoshop.
    • Go to the top menu. Select File > Save As…
    • You will now see a dialogue box with information on where the file will be exported to. You may also alter the file format. Photoshop provides a plethora of additional choices for various file formats. As a result, even Mac users may choose to employ this strategy.

    Other Software To Convert NEF Files

    To do simple file conversions, you may also use the native picture editing applications on your Macs and PCs. However, their picture editing skills do not match those of Adobe applications. However, many other tools enable the conversion of Nikon electronic format files. Most picture editing software should be able to handle RAW image files. Other wonderful tools for this include the previously mentioned Adobe Camera Raw and Adobe Lightroom.

    If you have a smartphone or tablet, you may use Adobe Photoshop Express to convert your NEF files. This is done in the same way that you would change a picture in Adobe Photoshop.


    When photographing with Nikon cameras, you can’t escape Nikon electronic format (NEF) files. You should not have avoided them. NEF RAW files are designed to include as much information as possible in your photographs. And more information implies that you can extract more information from your picture.

    This makes a significant impact when using picture editing software. When working on overexposed or underexposed photographs, you will see that you can extract more information from the shadows and highlights. Knowing the file extensions of various picture file formats allows you to utilise the appropriate image files at the appropriate times. This is particularly crucial when attempting to maximise the possibilities of your camera and software. Now that you understand the intricacies of a NEF file, you are better prepared to play with your Nikon photos!