How to Convert NEF to DNG for Further Editing and Best Alternative

Last Updated on November 26, 2021 by Peter Wood

What should I do if I cannot open the NEF files on my Photoshop? How to convert NEF to DNG for further editing? NEF is the RAW format of the Nikon digital camera and cannot edit with Photoshop or other photo editing software. Learn more about the benefits of changing NEF to DNG and the best methods to convert the NEF files from the article.

How to Convert NEF to DNG

Part 1: Why You Should Convert NEF to DNG?

NEF is the file extension for RAW photo files produced by Nikon cameras. Like other RAW image files, NEF can retain everything captured by your camera processor, including metadata.

DNG, standing for Digital Negative file, is an open-source RAW file format created by Adobe. Essentially, it is a standard RAW file format available to a wide range of camera manufacturers and image editors.

Here are several reasons that you should convert NEF to DNG:

1. Compatibility. The cameras from different manufactures can produce various RAW file formats. NEF, for example, is the RAW file extension for Nikon. CR2 is from Canon. DNG format is open source and not limited to specific manufacture or photo editors. So Adobe Photoshop, Lightroom, and other software support the DNG format.

2. File size. DNG files are around 20% smaller in file size than the RAW files but do not lose any quality.

3. Keep the data file. XMP is the metadata file for each original RAW file. It will contain instructions about how to process the file. Advanced photo editor can adjust exposure and temperature based on the XMP file. DNG files can store the XMP data along with your photo, so you do not need to save XMP files anymore.

4. Detect file corruption. The DNG format can detect file corruption, while RAW files do not have such ability.

Part 2: How to Convert NEF to DNG Format

Adobe DNG Converter is a dedicated DNG converter program developed by Adobe. Of course, it enables to convert NEF to DNG on both Windows and Mac with ease.

Step 1: Open the NEF to DNG converter, and click the Select the Folder button folder to import the folder storing NEF files you wish to convert. You can also drag the NEF files or entire folder onto the converter icon to open them directly.

Step 2: Go to the Select location to save the converted images section. You can decide to Save in Same Location or hit the Select Folder to set another destination folder.

Step 3: Set the filename rule in the Select name for converted images section. And make sure to select DNG from the File extension drop-down list.

Step 4: If you want to change the custom options, click the Change Preferences button to get them in the Preferences dialog. The Compatibility option, for example, can create DNG files for different versions of Photoshop and Lightroom.

Step 5: Once you are ready, click the Convert button to convert NEF to DNG. After that, you can manage the photos or further edit the RAW files within Photoshop or Lightroom afterward.

Note: Adobe DNG Converter is just a NEF to DNG converter. It does not provide other functionalities, such as photo management.

Adobe DNG Converter

Part 3: Best Alternative to Convert NEF to DNG

If you need to edit the NEF files, you can choose JPEG or TIFF file instead of DNG as they are applied for all the photo editors. Moreover, you can retain the original photo quality. WidsMob Viewer Pro is one of the best NEF to DNG converter alternative to view NEF/DNG files and convert the photo formats.

1. Convert NEF or DNG format to JPEG/TIFF/BMP files without losing quality.

2. Batch process to convert multiple NEF/CR2/DNG/HEIC at the same time.

3. View NEF within the different modes and even manage the photos with ease.

4. Provide extensive bonus tools, such as photo editing, filters, and slideshow.

Win Download Mac Download

How to Convert NEF to TIFF without Quality Loss

Step 1: Launch the NEF converter once you have installed the program on your computer. Insert the SD card into the computer and double-click any image to open all NEF photos within the same folder. It supports NEF, DNG, JPEG, and even videos.

View Media by Folder Viewer Pro

Step 2: There are several methods to view your NEF files directly. If you want to browse a photo on full screen, access the folder. And click the View option and choose the Enter Full Screen option. Select another file at the bottom to view the RAW photos.

Full Screen View

To view all photo thumbnails, select the album under Library. And all photos will display in a thumbnail. Move the slider below to adjust the thumbnail size.

Want to view EXIF information? Open the NEF file, click the View option and choose the Show Info to show the EXIF data.

Show Photo Detailed Information

If it is not convenient to view each photo manually, go to the album and click View -> Slideshow. Then all NEF files in the album will show up one by one.

Step 3: Choose the Batch option in the Edit list, and then select Batch Convert to open the profile dialog. Select a proper image format from the Format drop-down list, and adjust the quality based on your need. After that, you can click the Convert button to convert NEF to TIFF or other formats.

Batch Convert on Viewer


When you want to convert NEF to DNG for further editing, you can use the Adobe DNG Converter to convert the RAW format. Of course, you can also use the best alternative solution to view and convert NEF files with ease via WidsMob Viewer Pro, on the other hand, offers more bonus tools for NEF management and conversion. If you have more questions about converting NEF to DNG, leave a message in the comments.