What is NEF Files? How to Open NEF Files in Windows 10?

This article is an introduction of NEF files, we will tell you what is an NEF file, what programs you can use to open such a file, and how to recover it if a NEF file got lost. Keep reading and check more details.

Table of Contents

Speaking of image files, most of us would think about JPG, JPEG, or PNG files. Of course, those are the most common image formats. When users encounter NEF files, they might wonder what are they, and how to open these files. Don't worry, we will tell you the answer one by one.

how to open nef files

What is NEF File?

The NEF photo format was created by Nikon, stands for Nikon Electronic Format. Photos captured by the Nikon CCD camera will be stored in this format. Like many other camera-created file formats, the NEF photo is a RAW image. 

The RAW image file contains more extensive data than compressed photos and records the maximum amount of information obtained from the camera's optics and sensors. Some professional photographers prefer to shoot in RAW because RAW images allow them to process and edit photos more freely without compromising the details and quality of the photos.

Although almost every camera manufacturer provides a RAW image file format, there is no standard format. When shooting with different brands, you will encounter different file formats. For example, Canon saves RAW digital images as .CR2 or .CR3, while Sony saves RAW images as .ARW.

How to Open NEF Files?

Since the NEF files are not common image file formats, you might need to download additional software to open NEF images.

For example, Nikon has developed two software - Capture NX 2 or ViewNX 2, to help users open NEF files. You can search and download either of the two. The former can only be obtained by purchase, but it gives users a 60-days free trial. The latter one is free for anyone to download and install to open and edit NEF files.

What's more, there is much third-party software that also enables users to open and edit NEF files. 

  • Able RAWer
  • Adobe Photoshop
  • IrfanView
  • GIMP
  • AfterShot Pro
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Recover RAW SR2 Photos/Files from Camera

This article will focus on SR2 photos, and introduce how to recover RAW SR2 photos from a camera with EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard.

recover RAW SR2 photos

How to Recover NEF Files If They Got Lost

If you lost the NEF files by accident, such as the camera SD card got formatted or damaged, you might not have backups. Here we’d like to recommend you to try data recovery software - EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard.

This tool specializes in data recovery. No matter how you lost your files, it can search deep in your computer and try to recover the files for you. It supports the restoration of more than 1,500 formats, including common image formats such as JPG and JPEG, as well as rare image formats such as NEF, ORF, and SR2.

You can download EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard free version now. Watch a video guide for photo recovery, and then follow the step-by-step guide to see how to recover NEF files.

Step 1. Connect the SD card and start scanning

Connect the SD card to the computer via a card reader. Then launch EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard, select the SD card and click "Scan".

select a location and click scan

Step 2. Select the photos you want to recover

Wait until the scanning completes and then select the photos you want to recover. To locate the items faster, click "Filter" > "Pictures" > Check lost files via tree view. Or type file extension on the search box.

Choose files to recover

Step 3. Recover photos

Click "Recover" and choose a location on another device to save the photos.

Recover lost data

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Updated by Jean

Author Jean has been writing tech articles since she was graduated from university. She has been part of the EaseUS team for over 5 years. Her special focuses are data recovery, disk partitioning, data space optimization, data backup and Mac OS. By the way, she's an aviation fan!

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Written by Gemma

Gemma is member of EaseUS team and has been committed to creating valuable content in fields about file recovery, partition management, and data backup etc for many years. She loves to help users solve various types of computer related issues.

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