JPG files have a positive default image format and are widely used as a picture format option. The output of NEF files are also called as RAW, and JPG files are also called as JPEG, and both the files have the same content but with different formats.

The option to choose between the NEF format and JPG format depends on the priorities and conditions such as:


The JPG files can be easily accessed, viewed, edited, and shared whereas, RAW files in NEF are proprietary format also referred to as digital negatives which tie the outcome of sensors and camera manufacturer. The RAW data files preserve more information about the images and the camera or device used to capture.


The NEF file images are just like raw material of food, and JPG images are the processed raw materials that are the outcome fully cooked and is ready to be used. The images captured with NEF format are raw and divided into 2 that are: RAW data and JPEG preview that is processed by JPG.  The NEF files are of dynamic range and stores intensities of maximum and minimum measurable light and black, whereas with JPG, you can change or recover the overexposed and underexposed part of a picture.


The NEF raw format consists of 12-bit images that include 4,096 shades of each green, blue, and red. Whereas, JPEG file formats only includes 8 bits that are 256 shades of each blue, green and red color. The colors and display of images depend on the format and shades changes when converted from NEF to JPG.


Both JPG and NEF images use glossy compression that means, the unnecessary details or artifacts will not be focused and will not suffer from image compression. NEF files do not use image sharping algorithm which leaves the processing part in other software or JPG. The raw files of NEF cannot be viewed without proper tools or until they are converted into a compatible format.


The NEF to JPG files requires lesser storage space as JPG files are smaller than RAW files and take less processing power and can be accessed faster, increases the picture quantity or number that fits in memory. Smaller size results in faster and efficient back up for JPG files.

The NEF files cannot be accessed or modified by any third party software until a separate sidecar file is stored that is more robust file management and requires larger storage space. The NEF files provide authority over the image and prove that the image is free of any manipulations. They take more time to be back up or archived.

JPG files are referred to as fully processed files with all settings that include color saturation, white balance, tone curve, color space, and sharpening.

By Linda

Linda Green: Linda, a tech educator, offers resources for learning coding, app development, and other tech skills.