From Nikonians Wiki
Nikon Electronic Format. Nikon's proprietary Raw file format which is based upon TIFF (it has a standard TIFF header). It contains 12-bit or 14-bit of information and thus retains much more tonal range than e.g. JPEG with its 8 bit or TIFF with 8 bit.
A 12-bit NEF file can contain 4,096 colors per RGB channel or over 68 billion colors. When you combine the RGB channels you have: 4,096 x 4,096 x 4,096 = 68,719,476,736 colors.
A 14-bit NEF file can contain 16,384 colors per RGB channel or over 4 trillion shades. When you combine the RGB channels you have: 16,384 x 16,384 x 16,384 = 4,398,046,511,104 colors.
Using Raw files, you can do Non-destructive editing of your images once you are back home from the shoot.
The NEF format has evolved over the years and there are device specific implementations / variants. Modern Nikon cameras can be set to produce
- NEF losless uncompressed
- NEF losless compressed and
- NEF lossy
NEF Format description
- Phil Harvey's exiftool process NEF files and has seemingly a complete tag description.
- There is a NEF file format description on lclevy.fr from the year 2009 and it does not cover the modern cameras.
- Former Nikon shooter and Nikonian blueknight made a draft PDF of the NEF format back in 2003.
- This page was last modified on 22 January 2021, at 15:34.
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