Many professional photographers prefer shooting RAW images — instead of the more popular JPEG — for the obvious benefits of this format. When set in RAW mode, the camera’s sensor captures everything, or as close as you can get to what you see with your naked eye. This translates into great image quality, wonderful view of details and high levels of brightness, among others. Plus, during post-processing, photographers have the chance to customize RAW photos according to several criteria, retouching and adjusting colors the way they want.
As RAW images tend to take up a lot of space and sometimes slow down the camera, not to mention they are not viewable or printable using regular viewers or printers, their conversion to more accessible formats is an actual must.
Nikon is one of the most popular brands of digital cameras, widely favored both by professional and amateur photographers. But if you are the fresh owner of a Nikon camera and you have just downloaded the first series of photographs taken with it, you might be puzzled by the extension of the image files stocked on your computer.
NEF is the trademarked extension of RAW photos taken with Nikon cameras. Many photographers prefer to take RAW photos (also called “digital negatives”), instead of the usual JPEG, because they contain minimally processed data and they can easily be customized using digital editing software. However, their size tends to be very large and they are not supported by regular image viewers. Plus, handling them requires the use of advanced digital editing programs, which are not particularly easy to use. Moreover, sending or uploading RAW images to photo sharing sites is impossible if you don’t convert them to a more accessible format.
Nikon cameras have lots of fans between both amateur and professional photographers. The brand provides such a huge variety of models and accessories, that it makes it really easy for you to start taking quality pictures, irrespective of the experience or training you have in the field of photography. However, as soon as you download the first set of photos made with your brand new Nikon D800, for example, you might notice they come in a format that your PC can’t decide how to open. The NEF image format is not supported by most regular viewers, and you might also notice it uses a lot of space on your hard-drive.