What Is a PEF File?

How to open, edit, and convert PEF Files

A file with the PEF file extension is a Pentax Raw Image file that stands for Pentax Electronic File. It's an uncompressed and unedited photo taken with a Pentax digital camera. The image is yet to be processed in any way — it represents all the raw data taken in by the camera.

Other PEF Files

Other PEF files may instead be Portable Embosser Format files; they're sometimes called PEF Braille Book files. Those types of PEF files use the XML format to represent physical braille books.

Pentax Raw Image files are sometimes in the PTX format. Both PEF and PTX files are similar to other image file formats that digital cameras use to store unmodified data, like Nikon's NEF, Canon's CR2 and CRW, Sony's ARW and SRF, Panasonic's RW2, and Olympus' ORF.

Screenshot of several PEF files in Windows 10
PEF Files.

How to Open a PEF File

PEF files from a Pentax camera open with the software that comes with the digital camera, as well as with Able RAWer, UFRaw, Windows Live Photo Gallery, Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Photoshop Elements, and probably some other popular photo and graphics tools.

If you can't open the PEF file in Windows using Windows Live Photo Gallery, you might need to install the Microsoft Camera Codec Pack.

Braille Utils open PEF Braille Book files. These files open on an iOS device (iPhone, iPad, iPod touch) too, using the PEF Viewer app.

See this list of software at pef-format.org for some other programs that use PEF files. However, some of those programs may only create braille files but not actually be able to open them.

If your file isn't opening using the suggestions from above, it's possible you're misreading the file extension. Even though their file extensions look similar, PEF files have nothing to do with PDF, PEM, or PEG (Peggle Replay) files. So, if you're dealing with one of those files instead, you'll most likely have to use different software to open it.

How to Convert a PEF File

Some free image converter tools convert PEF files to a different image format. Zamzar is one example — it's an online PEF converter, which means that you have to first upload the PEF file to Zamzar and then choose an output format to convert it to, and then download that converted file back to your computer before you can use it.

Zamzar converts PEF to JPG, PNG, BMP, PDF, TIFF, TGA, and other similar formats.

Adobe DNG Converter converts the PEF file to DNG on Windows and macOS.

  • How do I convert PEF files in Lightroom?

    In Lightroom, select a file or go to Edit > Select All. Then, select File > Export to choose a file format.

  • How do I fix my Pentax camera?

    If you see an error message, look up the Pentax error code. Otherwise, you'll need to troubleshoot your Pentax camera by checking the battery and settings.

  • What is the best graphics file format?

    The preferred graphics file formats for online publishing are GIF, PNG, and JPG. For print, EPS and TIFF are preferred. The best graphic format to use depends on your specific needs.

  • What's the difference between JPEG, TIFF, and Raw image files?

    Raw images are not compressed, so they contain more detail than JPEG files, but they are also larger. TIFF files are compressed, but they are larger than JPG files because they do not lose image details during the compression process.

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