Everything about NEF, JPG, and NEF to JPG converter

nef to jpg converter free nikon

Have you ever heard about raw files? Or about uncompressed and compressed images? Do you know what the main difference between them is? Are you familiar with JPG and NEF file formats? Do you know when to use NEF and when JPG file extension? Have you ever needed to convert NEF to JPG? Do you know why you should use NEF to JPG converter free, online, and offline?

These are not hard questions to answer, but they take time, or should we say words? For starters, let’s talk about raw files for a second. They come from different digital cameras and digital software programs. For example, Canon uses CR2, CR3, and CRW file extensions, Olympus uses ORF, Fuji uses RAF, and Nikon uses NEF file format. Unlike others, Nikon has only one extension – NEF, and that’s the format we’re going to put our focus on.

Images taken by a digital camera and saved in a raw file format are uncompressed, which means they have better quality, and more on-the-camera adjustment available. On the other hand, they require more storage space than compressed files. But we will talk about it later.

As far as converting goes, the main reason why anyone would convert their files from one format to another is compatibility with different apps, programs, and devices. Yes, you’ve guessed it NEF files sometimes need to be converted to another more popular file format, such as JPG. You can find NEF to JPG converter free and online, or you can use one of the existing photo editors.

Before we go any further with file conversion and story about the benefits of raw files, here’s some more about NEF and JPG file formats.


Let’s start with the basics. JPG file format is one of the most popular and widely used compressed image formats. In case you are wondering why, it is because this file format is used by digital cameras, different operating systems, and on the internet. You can compress it in a 10:1 ratio without losing any significant details. However, you can save image data with minimum or maximum compression.

NEF files, on the other hand, are saved in an uncompressed format.  Besides information about brightness, white balance, brightness, contrast, and details, it contains metadata about lenses and ID of the camera as well. Raw files allow you to make changes with photo editors stored separately from the raw image data. It means that no matter how many edits are applied, you can revert the image to the original.

Why should you use NEF to JPG converter?

Well, although NEF file extension has its benefits, there’s something that none of the other image file formats except JPG and JPEG have – compatibility. Whether we like it or not, files that are easiest to send or post to social media are JPG or JPEG file extension. If nothing, that is the perfect reason to use NEF to JPG converter, isn’t it?

Also, there is one more thing you have to keep in mind – JPG is perfectly fine for a family get-together. Because these memories are likely to be posted on Facebook, Instagram, or on any other similar social media network, so the quality doesn’t need to be high.

In the end, you can keep both files as well, NEF and JPG. If needed, you can always edit all NEFs later, and JPGs delivered via email and sent to the internet quickly and in every moment.

How to open NEF files without using NEF to JPG converter first?

Converting NEF to JPG is quite an easy process if you are using the right tools. Online NEF to JPG converter is the perfect solution. They are usually free to use and have high-quality conversions. Plus, you don’t have to download nor install any additional software or plug-in. But, did you know that you can open NEF files without using the previously mentioned tool? Well, you can, with the help of photo editing apps.

The most famous photo editing tools are Adobe Lightroom and Adobe Photoshop. Luckily for all NEF file owners, these programs support all raw file images. And that’s not it, after editing, you can export your photos with a different file extension. Lightroom opens raw files without a problem or prompt, but Photoshop might force Camera Raw – a raw file converter.

You can also open this type of file format using file viewer programs and some other image editors such as File Viewer Plus, Nikon ViewNX2, Corel PaintShop, Canvas X, Google Picasa, Apple Photos, ACD Systems ACDSee Photo Studio, Google Snapseed, etc.

Advantages and disadvantages of raw format

Both JPG and NEF files have their advantages and disadvantages, but in the end, we’re are slightly more on the NEF side. Why? Well, we’re about to give you ten main reasons. But first, a few not so flattering things about previously mentioned NEF file format.

The biggest problem with this file extension is its size. Because of the dynamic range and all the other features NEF files have, they require more storage space than some other formats. It also means that you can take fewer images on your memory card.

Also, if you want to post your images on social media, your images must be in JPG or JPEG file format. Luckily, you can use NEF to JPG converter free and online, and switch your files from one extension to another with the best possible conversion quality.

And that about it. Now, let’s get back to all pros of using raw images.

File quality

More details, more information about brightness, white balance, exposure, shadows, and everything that file contains, means better image quality. The same goes for the NEF file extension. This file format allows you to processes the image yourself, while JPG file format does it for you. And that is the main difference between these file formats when it comes to quality.

More detailed photos

Raw images have a higher quality than compressed ones, which means that the details are better on NEF than on JPG files. More detailed photos allow using a sharpening tool a denoise feature without affecting on a photography esthetic. These features will make your images sharper and with the less digital grain. After using them, you can always convert NEF to JPG if needed with our free NEF to JPG converter.

Better images for printing

Files with higher resolution, more details, and better image quality, in general, will print better. And raw images are, compared to other file formats, just like that – high-quality ones. Vibrant colors and tones will make NEF files better for printing and more appealing to eyes as well.

Dynamic Range

The dynamic range of a photograph runs from the darkest to the lightest, starting with Blacks, Shadows, Midtones, and then Highlights and Whites. It is the range of tones you can find in any given scene. With more detail and information about the range of tones, you can make manipulations and adjustments without losing any of the photo quality.

Non-destructive photo editing

A favorite feature of NEF file format for every photographer and designer is the possibility of non-destructive editing. It is a stunning fact that none of the file information is changed permanently. On the other hand, changes happen after exporting or saving images. But in that case, you’ll get a new file with a format of your choice, and you can keep the original image untacked.

White balance adjustments

In case you are wondering, white balance determines how accurate the colors of a photograph are. Our brain adapts to different lighting, but digital cameras don’t have this ability. They are practically guessing the right color temperature. If a camera detects the wrong temperature, your photos will look wrong, and you should make some white balance adjustments to fix it. Luckily, raw NEF file format records the white balance information, allowing you to change it later. It means that during post-production, you retain the quality of a photo.

Brightness and contrast adjustments

If you ever used Instagram or any other app that allows on-spot modifications, you are well-aware of the difference that contrast or brightness adjustments make. And those adjustments are made on a photo with a JPG extension that can record 256 brightness levels. Imagine what you can do with a NEF file format that records between 4,096 and 16,384 levels of brightness. It means that you can make adjustments and play with highlights and shadows without losing any quality. So, first, make the adjustments, then use free NEF to JPG converter and post those perfect shots all across the internet. 

Over and underexposed corrections

Every amateur and professional photographer at some point took over or underexposed photos, right? In times like that, you’ll need additional information from your sensor to make changes without losing too much image quality. Luckily, NEF files store the information you need and make it possible to correct all over and underexposed photos.

Multiple color spaces

For starters, let us explain the basics of color space. It is a specific organization of colors that, in combination with physical device profiling, allows reproducible representations of color, in both analog and digital. The two most used color spaces are sRGB that’s mostly used for web and RBG that’s perfect for printing. And here comes the good part, raw files can keep data in multiple color spaces, while JPG can only have one.