What is RAW (NEF)?
RAW or NEF (Nikon Electric File) is a file format that captures the image straight from the sensor without any heavy compression. Other file formats, such as JPEGs, apply a large amount of compression to an image and do not allow you to edit the file in the same way. By shooting RAW, photographers are able to capture more information about an image, affording themselves more technical details to work with in post-production. RAW files are also a great 'safety net' file format, allowing you to rescue mistakes or correct wrong settings. JPEGs do not have the same level of control in post-production as a RAW file does.
Here as some major advantages to shooting in RAW format: