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Recover Nikon's NEF files

Recover NEF (Nikon's RAW file format) files from Digital Cameras

April 8, 2016


A brief about NEF File Format

Ever heard of NEF files? Well, these are the exclusive files of Nikon’s or we can say Nikon’s RAW file format! The reason being why these files are said as exclusively Nikon’s is that, all the image details and the meta data (the camera's identification and its settings, the lens used and other information) are captured by the camera’s sensors. The files hence created are termed as RAW image files which are also called as “digital negatives” by many photographers.

As far as RAW files are concerned, there is no scope of processing the white balance, hue, tone to the NEF file. In fact, the values are preserved as instruction sets included in the file.  The user can edit and manipulate the instruction set as many times as he wants without distorting or disrupting the original image's RAW data. So it can be said that, raw files are those digital files which are not ready for processing, printing, or editing with bitmap graphics editors. Therefore the Raw files can be perceived as the exact mirror image with respect to the lighting, intensity, and colors present in the original image.

In addition to this, Nikon’s RAW images are converted to a printable format (like TIFF) using Third Party Software. Also, one more fact is that, RAW images are larger than TIFF and JPEG images. Nikon RAW NEF files can be edited in Nikon View Editor, Picture Project, Nikon Capture Editor (ViewNX 2, Capture NX-D, Capture NX 2) and Nikon Adobe Photoshop plug-in.

Note: Nikon's NEF raw files are based on TIFF/EP, and include a tag which identifies the version of TIFF/EP they are based on.

A little bit about RAW Files

The Raw Files contains the RAW image as well as an instruction set that provides image editing capability, which is not available with other file formats. Whatever edits you make, the original RAW description is never changed. Whatever manipulations you do are actually preserved in the file's instruction set and the RAW data is kept intact. You can change the shooting White Balance; adjust Exposure Compensation as well as basic color, sharpening and levels controls.

How to recover lost NEF Raw files

Many users may not know that the raw files deleted or lost can be recovered with the help of a Photo Recovery Software. Stellar Phoenix Photo Recovery Software recovers all the lost or deleted NEF files from external or internal storage media. The software runs in both latest Mac and Windows platform. Moreover, it also lists the deleted files and folders in a tree hierarchy (for FAT, exFAT and NTFS file systems) and supports recovery of files with original date timestamp, camera model / name, resolution and file name, if available. The software also supports Raw file Recovery from corrupt or formatted memory cards. With Stellar Phoenix Photo Recovery, you can also create an image of the memory card of your digital camera and save it to recover images in future. Get the Software Now

Here’s how you can recover your NEF files from Nikon Digital Camera

Go to the official site of Stellar Phoenix Photo Recovery Software. From here, download the Stellar Phoenix Photo Recovery Software and install the software in your system. You can download Mac or Windows version, as and whatever is required. Run the software and proceed with the following steps.

  1. Launch “Stellar Phoenix Photo Recovery Software
  2. Click on the option “Recover Photo, Audio and Video” from the main interface
  3. Select the desired storage media (Internal or external) from a list of displayed storage media
  4. After selection click on “scan now” option
  5. You can also select the desired “file type” from the next screen
  6. As the scanning process progresses, all the files are listed in a tree like structure in the next screen
  7. After scanning, the recoverable files can be previewed on the screen. You just select your desired file and click “recover” to recover and save files at your selected desired location.

So by following, all the above steps you can recover back and save all your lost and deleted NEF files.

Let us see the Nikon Cameras which support NEF RAW file format

Nikon DSLR cameras include: D3-series, D2-series, D700, D300(S),  D200, D100, D7000, D5000, D3100, D3000, D90, D80, D70s, D70, D60, D50, D40X, D40, all support the NEF RAW file format.

Few Nikon Digital SLR and Coolpix cameras will continue support the NEF RAW file in future also.

NEF file format saving options

Here are the different options for saving NEF files:

  1. Uncompressed:  In this format, there is no compression of image and the original large NEF file is saved out of the RAW data.
  2. Compressed: In this format, the RAW data is saved in a Compressed NEF file format and there is a small change in the quality between the two. However this format is preferred when you want a smaller file size and save more number of images to a memory card.
  3. Lossless Compressed: As the name suggests, there is hardly any loss or change in quality after saving the RAW files in this format. Nevertheless, you can edit the images and also resave them in uncompressed mode.
  4. RAW S Small: Few Cameras have the option to save in RAW S Small file which is uncompressed format. This file format is preferred when there is a need faster post-processing and editing of images.

Hope all the above information is adequate for the Nikon users to recover back the NEF files from their Digital Camera! If you are dealing with files other than NEF, and want to recover them from Nikon camera, then read our another post on recover deleted photos from Nikon camera.


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