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A complete guide to convert the ORF to a NEF

by Casey Schmidt  |  March 20, 2020

3 min. read
Arrows pointing opposite direction.

The ORF and NEF file types are staples for photographers who use either of the Olympus and Nikon cameras extensively. There usually comes a time when these files need to be converted from their raw state. When this occurs, it’s important to have a solid understanding of your many different options. Here’s a guide to keep you informed.

What is the ORF image file?

The ORF image file is the digital format for photographs snapped using an Olympus camera. ORF is an acronym for Olympus Raw Format. It is a raw representation of the exact picture, in high resolution, downloaded to a computer for digital use. The Olympus Viewer software system handles most of the editing procedures, though it’s common for users to convert their ORF files in order to use different programs.

What is a NEF image file?

The NEF image file is a raw digital representation of any picture that is taken using a Nikon camera. NEF stands for Nikon Electronic Format. When a Nikon picture is transferred to a computer, the digital result is an exact duplicate of the original. Similar to the ORF, the NEF has its own flagship software system, the Nikon Capture NX-D, which allows users to edit NEF files.

A Nikon camera on a desk.
The NEF has its own software program through Nikon.

Is it possible to convert the ORF to NEF?

The ORF and NEF are similar image file types. They are both the direct result of digital downloads from different cameras. Because of this, they’re not compatible to save as the other or convert to one another. However, you wouldn’t want or need to make this conversion anyway. The only reason one would want to use one of these files is to have some way to edit and digitally manage a group of images from the Olympus camera. Since the NEF offers no different features and all of the same restrictions, changing from ORF to NEF is pointless.

It stands to reason, then, that the NEF is also incapable of converting into the ORF. Again, the same principles apply both to the possibility and to the practicality of the matter. It should be pointed out that both of these camera digital files have a dedicated software system to better navigate editing and altering them. For the ORF, it’s the Olympus Viewer program. The NEF can be used in the Nikon Capture NX-D system. Now, even though these are both helpful programs which give you extensive editing options, it’s likely you’ll still need to make a conversion at some point. When this is the case, what are some alternative options?

A digital electronic platform.
Unfortunately, the ORF doesn’t convert to the NEF.

What are some alternative solutions?

Now that it’s clear that we cannot convert ORF files into NEF, we should focus on alternatives to help with our editing and sharing processes. One possibility is to use the Olympus Viewer program to make our conversion. This gives us the option to convert to the following extensions: JPEG, TIFF and BMP. Determine which format best suits what you would like to do with your image files before making this conversion.

If you want to branch out and convert to a different file type, or you simply don’t have access to the Olympus Viewer at the moment, there are browser-based conversion programs that will suffice. Using a browser-based converter gives you the option of converting an ORF file into numerous file extensions, much wider-ranging than allowed in Viewer. The only requirements of a browser-based system is a fast internet and enough hard drive space to download a new file. I recommend using Convertio for this process, since it gives users a lot of different conversion options.

There’s no true way to convert the ORF to the NEF, though that doesn’t mean you’re helpless in the pursuit to edit and share these formats extensively. Find an alternative file type that works for you and use the above methods to convert it correctly.