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Old Aug 11, 2006, 9:53 AM   #1
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I've seen references concerning NEF files as compressed NEF and just plain NEF. Are there 2 (or more) types of NEF files? Also, what, if any, are the differences between Nikon's NEF format & other manufacturers' RAW format?

Thanks for any info.


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Old Aug 11, 2006, 10:24 AM   #2
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Nikon has used both compressed and uncompressed nef formats in some of it's cameras, and with some models, you can select which way to take your photos.

There is some evidence to suggest that Nikon's compression is not totally lossless, though. You can read a bit about it here:


Chances are, it's not going to impact your photos (depending on which side you believe). I've also seen comments from Dave Coffin (the author of dcraw.c) that imply that Nikon may be modifying the data that comes from the sensor in it's compressed .nef files in the past.

Personally, I wouldn't worry about that part, as long as you are getting the results you need. There is a very fine line between "lossless" and "visibily lossless", and most opinions I've seen on the issue lean towards the Nikon's algorithms for compression being "visibly lossless" ;-)

As for raw files, they are proprietary to each manufacturer. That's one of the big problems in the industry right now.

With each new camera model, software developers need to decode the information in order to give you usable images, since the manufacturers don't like to publish this information -- often taking a lot of time and resources trying to reverse engineer the file's formats (and the formats tend to change some between models, even when they are from the same manufacturer with the same filename extension).

You can read more about the problem at http://www.openraw.org/info/

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