NEF File: The Ultimate Guide to NEF Files

Sometimes, when one takes a photograph and uploads it to a computer, it may lose its original quality. But Nikon cameras solve this problem by using a NEF image file.

Most photographers are familiar with JPG, JPEG, or PNG file types. However, the problem with these formats is that they don't give you too much freedom when editing.

In that case, you need a raw format like the one Nikon offers using a NEF file extension. It is the right format for photographers who want to replicate high picture quality in digital images. Let's learn more about this format and how to open it.

What is a NEF file?

NEF file format is used on Nikon Cameras for RAW image files. NEF stands for Nikon Electronic Format. It helps maintain the same resolution and quality of a picture, whether in print or digital formats.

To understand NEF files fully, you have to understand certain related terms. These are:

File extensions

Computers have a file extension to let them and people using them know which type of file they're working with and the program to use to open those files. Video files often use .mp4 or .wac extensions, while text documents have .txt, .pdf, and .docxs. With photos you will see .jpeg, .png, .tiff, etc.

JPEG (Joint Photographic Experts Group)

JPEG is a file type produced by mirrorless cameras or DSLR. These are smaller images containing only the information needed for creating a final digital image. Meaning, when you edit these photos using apps like PaintShop Pro, you have limited choices. Therefore, you need a RAW file so that your image doesn't lose too much resolution.

RAW formats

These are larger images recording a lot of information captured by the camera's sensors and optics. As such, you can work with them in photo editing software without losing their quality. Nikon produces these RAW images called NEF. Thus, a NEF image file will have all the information the camera sensor obtained when the photo was taken.

Are NEF files dangerous?

NEF files are generally not dangerous. They're high-quality files with all details captured when the photograph was taken. However, some people have complained about corrupted NEF file extensions when transferring images. But while corrupted files can be a bit dangerous, there are some methods you can use to repair them.

How to open a NEF file

You can open a NEF file in various ways on your computer or mobile. As long as you have the right codec on your PC, your Windows can open NEF files without needing any other software. But, if they won't open on Windows, you can install Microsoft Camera Codec Pack software that allows you to use NEF, RW2, DNG, CR2, and PEW files, among other RAW pictures.

You can also open these files using PaintShop Pro. The software is easy and straightforward to use. Once you have it on your computer, you only need to go to the NEF file, choose open with and then choose PaintShop Pro as your default app for opening such files.

The best thing about the software is that you can use it for other things apart from opening NEF files. For instance, it offers various editing tools that can help you correct and adjust your images to your liking. Thus, you can use it to produce superb images from your Nikon Camera.


A NEF file extension gives you more power to edit and correct your pictures without losing the resolution. That's because the file holds a lot of information the camera sensor obtains.

Plus, there are many tools to use for opening NEF files. Thus, NEF photos will make you a supreme photographer.

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