NEF is Nikon’s RAW image file format, captured with Nikon digital cameras. It stores the raw image data as captured by the camera sensor as well as metadata about the image such as camera identification, its settings, and other related information. It is stored to the camera memory card as uncompressed or lossless compressed form.
NEF File Format - More Information
NEF files are written to the camera memory card as binary files in Nikon’s proprietary file format. These are written to the camera’s memory card in raw form that doesn’t require any adjustments to the image’s feature data such as white balance, hue, tone, and sharpening. User edits are saved as instruction sets along side the raw image data. This benefits in terms of keeping the original contents of the image data intact and reverting to any previous instruction sets.
NEF files can retain 12-bit or 14-bit data depending on the camera, thus providing an image with a far greater tonal range as compared to an 8-bit JPEG or TIFF images.
Software that can open Nikon NEF File
Nikon NEF files can be opened using the following software.
Microsoft Photos - Windows OS
Apple Preview - MacOS
Corel PaintShop Pro
Convert NEF Files
You can convert Nikon NEF files to other image file formats such as PNG an JPEG. Nikon provides NEF Raw Processing option to convert NEF files to JPG from within the camera menu option.
NEF files can also be converted to other image files using Adobe Photoshop, Corel PaintShop Pro, Apple Photos, or Corel AfterShot Pro on Windows and MacOS operating systems.