How to Repair Corrupt RAW Nikon NEF files

Summary : NEF unique format consists of the RAW data of an image, along with an instruction set that provides extensive image editing capability not available with other file formats. With a NEF file, the original RAW data of an image is never changed. So it’s a bit more complex to repair than other formats. This article shows how to repair them with ease.

How to Repair Corrupt RAW Nikon NEF files How to Repair Corrupt RAW Nikon NEF files

‘I had captured beautiful locales of Caribbean islands with my Nikon D850 camera. Over two hundred photos were shot in RAW format (.NEF files).  Back home, when I transferred the pictures to my system, most of them were either not opening, or were distorted. I tried different programs to repair NEF corrupted files but without success.

I cannot imagine losing these photos. Please help?’

Nikon Electronic Format (NEF) is used by all Nikon cameras to shoot in RAW. They are unprocessed pictures of high quality as perceived by the camera sensor. Shooting in NEF format gives liberty to photographers to enhance and creatively play with the images in the post-editing stage.

Naturally losing such photos can be seriously annoying.

If you have also lost your Nikon RAW files in NEF format due to corruption, and looking for ways to get back correct photos, here we bring in the best methods to repair corrupt RAW Nikon NEF files.

How can you repair Corrupt Raw NEF file format?

Although there are hit-and-trial methods that you can use to fix corrupt NEF files, but to begin with, let us get on to an assured (and the safest way) to fix corrupt NEF files— by using Stellar Repair for Photo software.

Why use Stellar Repair for Photo?

Stellar Repair for Photo is a powerful software to repair corrupt RAW files. It fixes all kinds of corruption in photos shot from any popular camera brand including Nikon models.

Being a do-it-yourself (DIY) software, it offers a simple utility to restore the corrupt photos in JPEG format in just 3 simple steps – Add, Repair, and Save.

Below is a step-by-step guide to repair corrupt raw NEF files with the help of Stellar Repair for Photo

  1. Run Stellar Repair for Photo software on your PC. Stellar Repair for Photo
  2. On the home screen of software click Add File. Choose the location to add NEF files. Click Open
  3. The selected NEF files are displayed. Click Repair. Add files on Stellar Repair for Photo
  4. Preview the NEF files before saving. Just select the file on left panel and watch its Preview on the right. 
  5. Click Save Repaired Files. Select Folder dialog box is displayed to select location for saving the repaired photos. Stellar Repair for Photo - Save Repaired File at desired location

Download the software and get back your Nikon photos lost due to corruption.

Other manual ways to fix corrupt raw Nikon NEF files corruption

JPEG REpair JPEG Repair Mac Sierra

  1. Open NEF files in another Image Viewer

If the Nikon camera photos are not opening in one program, try opening them in another, such as Gimp, Nikon ViewNX, IrfanView, etc.

  1. Use NEF image file converter

If the NEF files are not opening, convert them to another format using online image file converters. Make sure the program you are using to open NEF files is updated.

For instance, if a NEF file fails to open in Photoshop and displaying error, ‘Unable to open NEF file in Photoshop’, convert it to DNG format by using a free online image converter tool.

  1. Download Microsoft Camera codec pack

To view all kinds of camera-specific file formats on your computer, you can download the camera codec pack offered by Microsoft.

These free camera codec packs for different Windows versions are available at <>.

  1. Reduce noise in Nikon photos with Image Editors

Noise, chromatic aberration, grains, and other distortions in the photos shot from any Nikon camera model, can be fixed in image editors that support RAW files like Adobe Photoshop Elements 11, Gimp, Lightroom, DxO Optics Pro etc. However, these photo editing software cannot fix corruptions caused due to SD card problems or disk errors. To fix grey bands, tiles, invalid file structure, file system errors, or corrupt header issues in NEF image files, Stellar Repair for Photo is the recommended solution.

You can also use Capture NX2 or Capture NX-D, the official Nikon photo editing software to correct corrupt NEF  files.

  1. Use CHKDSK in command prompt

When the PC gives ‘Memory card error’ making the NEF files in the card inaccessible, you can restore the photos by CHKDSK in command prompt. CHKDSK command scans for bad sectors and fixes the logical errors in the storage media.

Follow the below steps to perform CHKDSK:

  • In Windows Start Menu type CMD
  • Right click on Command Prompt
  • Click Run as administrator and log in as Administrator
  • When Command Prompt launches, type the command: chkdsk C: /f
  • Once process finishes, restart the computer
Tips to protect Nikon NEF files from corruption

•             Use Class 10 memory card from a trusted manufacturer

•             Ensure continuous power supply during transfer of NEF files

•             Do not shoot when the camera SD card shows low or full storage

•             Do not use your Nikon SD card in multiple devices

•             Do not shoot in low camera battery

•             Properly insert/eject the SD card from the camera and computer

 Wrapping Up

Stellar Repair for Photo has made repair of corrupt raw NEF files easier. Now no need to fret over the loss of your precious RAW files captured from Nikon camera.

  1. Javier January 26, 2020
    • Sumona Chatterjee February 4, 2020
  2. Steffen Carlsen September 24, 2019
    • Sumona Chatterjee September 26, 2019
  3. Tam Nguyen July 12, 2019
    • Sumona Chatterjee July 16, 2019
  4. Lance Vastine June 20, 2019
    • Sumona Chatterjee June 25, 2019
  5. Robert F Smith May 22, 2019
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  6. Cal NewPort February 20, 2019
    • Sumona Chatterjee February 21, 2019
  7. Peter February 9, 2019
    • Sumona Chatterjee February 12, 2019
  8. Nick November 23, 2018
    • Sumona Chatterjee November 26, 2018

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