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How do I convert my PSD image files to NEF?

by Casey Schmidt  |  February 28, 2020

3 min. read
A layout of conflicting design.

It’s inevitable when considering our different image files that we discover a file type we wish to switch them to. The NEF image file, on the surface, has a ton of benefits that sound ideal for anyone managing images. If you’re working with a PSD and feel like it would be better suited as an NEF, here’s a guide to explore this and other options.

What is the PSD image file?

The PSD image file is the standard file type for the Adobe Photoshop software system. It contains a wide variety of image aspects and numerous different images. A PSD is designed to edit graphics extensively, making it a popular choice for users with advanced editing knowledge and requirements.

What is a NEF image file?

The NEF image file is a raw representation of any photograph snapped on a Nikon camera. This means that the NEF is exactly identical to the original picture from the camera with absolutely no resolution-loss. NEF stands for Nikon Electronic Format. It is an extremely large file that is difficult to edit, so users end up converting the file quite a bit.

A young woman uses a Nikon camera.
The NEF is a file from the Nikon camera.

Is it possible to convert from PSD to NEF?

It’s obvious why a lot of users attempt to find a way to convert their image files to NEF. They briefly read about the NEF and see it’s extremely high in quality. Unfortunately, this basic understanding of the NEF leads to failed attempts at conversion. The same result is inevitable for anyone trying to convert the PSD to a NEF – it just isn’t possible. As the NEF is a digital file from a specific camera, converting a non-camera file into it isn’t logical.

Where does this leave us then? Well, if we’re working with PSD files and want something different, it’s likely we need a file that is a little more accessible and shareable. If that’s the case, we should try converting our PSD into things like PNG, JPEG or BMP. All of these retain plenty of resolution, are easy to edit and quick to share. They don’t have the resolution of the NEF but that’s a sacrifice we’ll have to make for convenience-sake.

A building with symmetrical lights.
A simple conversion offers immense benefits.

Is the inverse conversion possible? How?

Now, let’s say we’re on the other side of this issue and we’re working with a lot of NEF files. Unlike the ORF, which has a very edit-friendly software system designation, the NEF leaves users with little editing options. For that reason it makes a lot of sense to convert the NEF into a PSD. Doing so will provide us with a more editable and accessible image file. Here’s a simple instructional to guide you through the process.

First, you’ll need to seek out a third-party conversion system, as no manual conversion method exists for this process. Fortunately, there are quite a few different browser-based converters available, all with different features and qualifications. If you’re not sure which to select, that’s fine, they’re all relatively straightforward and effective. Just to be sure though, I recommend using Convertio, a fast system with a simple interface. Keep in mind that this conversion requires a stable internet connection, so if you’re planning on being away from internet access for an extended period of time, it makes sense to complete all your conversions at one time.

The allure of the NEF is certainly its high resolution and absolutely untarnished image representation. In theory, it would make sense to convert our images to NEF to achieve these benefits. Unfortunately, it just doesn’t work that way. If you want an image file type with manageable size and high quality, you’ll have to seek out some of the more popular non-raw alternatives.