Raw and DNG: what is your strategy?

Discussion in 'Digital Darkroom' started by dallalb, Aug 4, 2010.

  1. Hi, in order to improve my digital workflow, I'm just curious what is your strategy regarding original raw files and their conversion to .dng... I mean, is it better converting the original raw file in dng files and develop the latters or viceversa? If you convert raw files into .dng, then can you discart original raw file?
    Thank you for your suggestions, Alberto.
     
  2. RAW vs DNG its the same.. or close too.
    the good thing about DNG is you can included all the development preset in it + your raw.. kind of a folder that included everything and then you zip it. Of course you can also take the raw + the xmp sidecar file and do the same thing, but for some people / OS it is not that easy to find and do (i think on a PC the xmp file are invisible by default, on a mac you see the file just aside your raw by default)
    I rarely use DNG, could say close to never as other than what i just say i dont see the point of it (even if i totally understand what is DNG)
    Some people trasnfert everything to DNG and also keep the raw file.. i think its a bit over, but if you feel comfortable and secure doing so.. why not ; )
     
  3. I second Patrick's comments. a) I don't see a real advantage in doing this, and b) I don't have any use for them, either for my print services or storage. Is there a particular reason you want or need DNG files?
     
  4. DNG files have simply not gained the traction Adobe had hoped.
    I see no advantage in it.
    Editing in RAW + saving as (RAW+TIFF) works fine for me.
     
  5. I use DNG, but only because CS3 doesn't support RAW files from the EOS 5D2. There's no discernible difference in quality between RAW and DNG that I can see. I also save the original CR2 files (which I consider to be the "real negatives") on DVD. For me, DNG is just a necessary tool to get the images through the editing and to the TIFF stage...
     
  6. No interest here in converting to DNG...
     
  7. it is a necessary tool because you dont have a newer version of Ps then.. correct?
     
  8. 1. I do not like Nikon software for processing NEF files.
    2. I do not use undocumented file formats for MY pictures.
    3. I like Adobe Lightroom and I hate Sidecar .xmp files.
    So I convert all my NEF files to DNG. I am doing this for two years now and have no regrets.
    Regards, Marko
     
  9. For my workflow there is no advantage to DNG, and there are a few minor disadvantages. Should that change in the future, I'll convert then. Everyone needs to make their own assessment.
     
  10. "it is a necessary tool because you dont have a newer version of Ps then.. correct?"
    Exactly, Patrick. I'll upgrade PS.....someday.
     
  11. I shoot all raw, Canon cr2, and I convert all cr2 to DNG and then delete the original cr2. The DNG is just as archival, and it can store both user added metadata (keywords and captions, etc.) as well as Lightroom develop settings in the file itself, without the need for sidecar files, which is a much nicer way to work.
    After tweaks in Lightroom, DNG is exported to 16-bit Adobe RGB tiff, which undergoes final tweaks in Photoshop. Everything is backed up in triplicate.
     
  12. Thank you for your suggestions! I was thinking about DNG mainly for storage and maybe for future compatibility.
    Besides, I'm quite confused with .xmp sidecar files (I'm a Windows OS user) and I like more the idea of a unique file with the original raw data + development settings...
    Patrick, what does it happen to the sidecar .xmp file if I move the raw file (I cannot see the .xmp file in Windows OS)?
     
  13. if you move the raw without the xmp file you will loose all development setting you have done in the future.. its the "what did you do to this file" instruction manual.
    Some PC user tell me you can make them visible by going somewhere in the control panel and select "make file visible " or something...
     
  14. Yes, other companies have not flocked to DNG, so I think there is no need to archive as DNG. I am keeping mine as CR2s.
     
  15. I use Nikon-Raw (NEF) only. If something should happen in the future, so NEF's are not supported, I might take on the task of batch-converting NEF's (+xmp) to DNG, but for the time being, I cannot see why I should do it. Just one more time-consuming task as per now.
    On the other hand, if you have an earlier version of PS/LR, that will not read your Raw-files, then the situation is quite different, and I would batch-convert the files to DNG as soon as the Raw-files are on my harddisk
     
  16. Robin, the Leica M9 (now come with Lightroom 3 instead of C1 Pro) and the Blad H3 both shoot in DNG directly (finally you could use somehting else than the bad Phocus software), and that should be the case for all the camera.. user then could choose whatever software they want to process instead of the propriatary software.
     
  17. Patrick, if the xmp is separated from the raw file by moving of the raw file to another folder, you have to find the xmp's again. These are probably in the same folder as the original placement of the raw-files. They should be spotted using the Windows Explorer tool (Start>Programs>Accessories). You can also turn visibility on by going to the control panel and choose (I'm on a non-english version of Windows, but I think the names is something such as) "Folder Alternatives" and then choose the tab "Show??", and turn the radio button "Show hidden files and folders" on.

    If these xmp's also are moved to the new location, the files belong to each other again, as long as you have not changed name of the files, or have made a new xmp at the new location.
     
  18. Patrick, one of the issues with the DNG is that not all 3rd party software will process it nor will certain proprietary software--unless you embed the original raw and extract it before processing--kind of defeats the purpose! DxO is one that won't process DNG's. Now that ACR has actually developed some better controls, including some lens/camera algorithms, noise reduction and sharpening, it might be less an issue, but I don't think it has any corrections for the H series cameras whereas PHOCUS does.
    I think until the DNG format is more universal, it is probably not the best to change to it from the native raw for storage. If you want to process a DNG, then convert a copy of the native raw, process it and save it if you want to or discard it. I like DNG's for the reason it embeds the sidecar in one file, but like the flexibility to use one of 3 or 4 raw processors that will address the native but not the DNG.
     
  19. david_henderson

    david_henderson www.photography001.com

    DNG to the working file, CR2 to the backup drive. Just don't ask me why. Probably thats going to continue as I use CS2 , though in conjunction with Lightroom.
     
  20. Per Christain, agree with you.. the OP ask "what append if i move the raw without the xmp"...so that was my answer about he will loose is preset.
    Guys im not fighting against you.. i dont like the DNG format either, and dont see the point of it for 99% of the user out there.. dont throw rock at me ; )
    i was simply saying that;
    1_some camera use it as there native format
    2_dng is a package for the raw and the xmp file
    thats it!
     
  21. Marko-
    If NEF is an undocumented format, does it really matter if you keep the photos in NEF and have them handled by LR on the fly or convert them to DNG and have Lightroom handle that? Either way you've got a step where the ACR backend converts the file, but if you convert first and don't keep the NEF you lose the option of later converting the NEF with another program or version of ACR that might be better at the task.
     
  22. Patrick, I don't use DNG either, and I really believe that Adobe just as well as Nikon could go bankrupt or seize to support the DNG-format without us being able to do something about it. If all cameramakers could skip their proprietary formats in favour of DNG it would be something else, but for now, I'll stick with Nikon's NEF-format and the xmp-files, as in my opinion DNG only adds a time consuming extra step.
    However, I used the DNG converter for some of my cameras when they were new, and Adobe had not upgraded the CameraRaw software yet.
    I think we agree. If you thought I was rock throwing at you, I am sorry, but English is not my mother tongue, so we might have misunderstood each other.
    :)
     
  23. Andrew,
    Nikon makes excellent cameras but their history with the NEF format and their software in not good at all. I am so angry with Nikon because they wanted to encode vital data of MY pictures taken on MY gear (remember the story with the white balance data). They want to lock my pictures to their mediocre software and that's the reason that I do not want to have NEF files on my computer and I do not want to use their software (never, ever).
    My decision to get rid of NEF files seems to be a little irational, but for me, taking in the account the buggy and very user unfriendly Nikon software and their very slow responding time (I have Nikon Coolscan 4000 and Nikon did not bother to develop Win 7 64 bit Nikonscan), it's logical. I think that my odds with Adobe are much better.
    Many photographers use NEF files and Nikon software to make use of camera settings. My reason for using raw is that I can make the creative decisions on my computer so I do not need camera settings to be transferred (I could live without white balance data too but my anger is a matter od principle).
    By conversion to DNG on imporing to Lightroom all the editing can later be saved to DNG file, so I do not need annoying sidecars. With DNG option I am not locked to the moment of conversion. If the engine gets better I only appy improved conversion process. The conversion engine in Lightroom was not very good at the beginning, but now with the camera profiles and 2010 process I get much better results from old dng files with minimal effort. But it is true that I am locked to Adobe software for the time beeing. So far Adobe was fair to me and I think that DNG has better chances to survive because it's much more open and documented standard.
    I think that developing engines are becoming mature so one can not expect revolutionary progres on conversion so I think I am not loosing anything by convering to DNG. On the other side I am getting a quick and convinient way to deal with raw data.
    Regards, Marko
     
  24. I think the raw files don't matter for archival purposes. It's the jpegs that you produce today that you want to be around in the future. Do you really ever think you might want to go back to a raw file 10 years down the road and make some minor adjustments? Even if you do my guess is there are plenty of other people that will want to do the same and your raw files will be readable.
     
  25. Marko, I sense some unresolved issues here :)
    But all I'm saying is, however your order the operations, you start with an NEF file, then ACR processes it, and LR does adjustments to what it got from ACR. Inserting a step of saving the ACR output as a DNG file doesn't seem like a necessary step, unless you just like Adobe stuff better than Nikon stuff.
     
  26. You can batch convert cr2 or nef to DNG with Lightroom overnite as you sleep. On my computer Lightroom converts 600 21mp cr2 to DNG per hour, so that's 5,000 per night. 3 or 4 nights and the average portfolio is pretty well taken care of.
    It doesn't have to be done at the time of import. You can bring in your cr2 or nef, adjust them, assign metadata, etc. and it will all carry through seamlessly into the dng. In this sense if you convert overnite it takes zero extra time.
     
  27. >>> I think the raw files don't matter for archival purposes. It's the jpegs that you produce today that you
    want to be around in the future. Do you really ever think you might want to go back to a raw file 10 years
    down the road and make some minor adjustments?

    Not for me. It's only the RAW files and edits that I want to archive. And be able to re-interpret in the
    future. Saving jpegs is pointless. If I need a (another) jpeg, I'll just export one off the (re) edited RAW at the
    resolution and sharpening I need at the time, for whatever use (web, print, magazine, book, whatever) at
    the time.

    Why would I want to archive single-purpose lossy jpegs with baked in processing edits?
     
  28. 'I think the raw files don't matter for archival purposes. It's the jpegs that you produce today that you want to be around in the future. Do you really ever think you might want to go back to a raw file 10 years down the road and make some minor adjustments? Even if you do my guess is there are plenty of other people that will want to do the same and your raw files will be readable.'
    I shoot jpeg and raw together, and with my D300 or a D700 when available, I edit extensively in the camera in slower periods, so my thoughts are fully formed by the time I download in most cases -- e.g., I convert for testing in camera to monochrome, do some minor cropping (as allowed minimally by the camera software), etc., and even try some color balance from time to time.
    I archive extensively with duplicate sets of downloads on two (or three) continents, safely out of reach of a region-wide disaster. Fires don't just stop at the house's sides or even a city limits but can engulf whole regions, even much of a county or a good part of a state; same with a major earthquake or a tornado.
    I've heard of too many people losing their entire archives to a fire, a spouse or lover who threw their negatives out a window on the grass, a member here whose movers lost his precious negatives during a move while he was away, and so forth.
    An older friend, a former editor of Ladies Home Journal and Harper's Bazaar (a friend of Richard Avedon) lost his entire archive when the publisher's warehouse burned to the ground in Florida, I have heard. Nothing was backed up; all was film. Photos of Jackie O' (burned) Sophia Loren (burned) and so forth. He has almost nothing to show for his life's work except old copies of the magazines that have survived with their faded dies.
    Anything that can go wrong will go wrong, and redundancy is the main answer.
    Even in those places where I have a duplicate file set, I also keep more than one identical archive hard drive with each set of numbered download photos. In certain cases DVDs too, but those can suddenly become unreadable, whereas with a hard drive, so long as the drive spins and its read arm is working there is software available which will scan the disk almost an infinite number of times --- days or weeks if need be -- until it reads all or nearly all the data. (source -- Leo La Porte)
    Dropped or damaged drives in other senses are another matter, which is why if I have one drive nearby copying, I almost invariably have from two to four more copies spinning almost immediately and often simultaneously. You can even duplicate download from Adobe download software, but I don't recommend it; it's cumbersome if you make an error.
    At ten minutes a downloaded 8 gig CF card, and multiple copies to various hard drives from one computer possible at one time, it's a small distraction.
    Then physically isolate the drives once again.
    I have had every brand, make and size of drive I've bought fail on me at least once, most form internal difficulties - a couple from problems of my own making (I tipped over two upright drives identically, days apart with the toe of my shoe, and vowed nevermore to use an upright drive stand.)
    JPEGS are OK for printing, though frankly the print house I consulted prints from files at 700 dpi or above on their light jets, so if you're starting with JPEGs (8-bit) then they're having to upconvert from jpegs to a higher dpi that they can use, you're not going to get the same quality large or very large print from a jpeg file that you can get if you send them a 16-bit .tiff of equal size (they don't accept 'raw' files such as NEF without charging for Photoshop time.)
    Just the fact that a world quality print house won't accept proprietary formula files, such as NEF should tell you that NEF is fine so long as you believe Nikon will support them or support will exist through third parties such as Adobe or others, but bankruptcy can happen to anybody or any company for a variety of reasons. (who foresaw that BP might be floating bankruptcy trial balloons, eight months ago - it was a 'widows and orphans, dividend paying stock' and now lately has suspended its dividend and has had to sell off assets and even is considering changing its name to AMOCO - a name it discarded when it bought out AMOCO'.
    Things change, companies go bankrupt, undocumented file formats can go unsupported.
    If that troubles you, pick up a copy of Corel's photo editing software, and look at the 'save as' choices and gaze on the tens of possible formats that one can save a photo as. It makes Adobe's 'save as' choices look positively anemic.
    There currently are two universally accepted file formats: jpeg and .tiff that I would rely on.
    JPEGs by definition are 8-bit so one cannot get the greatest quality from them, though one can get high quality prints and files from a jpeg. Editing choices are very limited, though. .jpegs are lossy, .tiffs are not.
    .TIFF files that are saved from Photoshop (.PSD) files, saving all the 'layers' and not 'flattened' provide for me the greatest flexibility, and since hard drive space is dirt cheap these days and headed cheaper, I've decided (and counseled my photoshopper(s) to save every change, even if they do 'flatten' a photo for use, also to keep a 'layered' version for tweaking later, and it's the layered version that's the 'archive' version.
    But unless and until Nikon goes bust and Adobe which makes conversion software goes out of that business, I'm also keeping for archive NEFs, which have all the data, not just the data about, say, white balance, that Adobe has (1) been able to unlock and (2) been able to fit into its common photo editing 'raw' software.
    I'll be damned if I will buy Nikon's lousy software for doing any sort of substantial processing, though for just a print and if someone wants to sponsor me by paying the fee, and the photoshopping time, then I might consider using it, but would have to have substantial justification (since it is so slow and cumbersome) in trying learn how to manipulate it.
    Proprietary software is Nikon's Achilles heel, in my opinion.
    Nevertheless I have tens of terabytes of hard drives filled with (from first in my career) digital jpegs, then NEFS and JPEGS shot simultaneously, and will continue to have both for the foreseeable future.
    For processed photos, I process them in to .psd (Photoshop) files, keeping the initial download (it's a small move to save that version) from the raw, then the layered .TIFF version, and any 'flattened' .tiff version.
    From the .tiff versions, I make at least one size of jpeg file, as almost all applications require a genuine jpeg file for practical use.
    It seems like a lot of work, but if one structures one's workflow just right, and saves in batches, it's not a lot more work to process AND save NEFs, .PSDs, layered .TIFFS and then the resulting jpegs . . . .
    Consider the following:
    In transferring files from a camera, I invariably review my transfer before erasing the chip (usually just before reusing it in case of an interim hard drive or computer failure and a need to redownload), and on more than one occasion, I've found a file that needed to be recovered because of a voltage drop, a file error (a misplaced + or - in the file, that can't or I don't want handled by file recovery software).
    The result will be half a file or photo in my download; or the same can happen during a copy job from one hard drive to another and it might not be discovered immediately among the thousands of photos copied. The error might be perpetuated through copying and recopying until discovered.
    If one shoots raw plus jpegs, one always has ONE file to go back on, as it's almost unheard of for two adjacent files to be affected by a voltage spike, a cosmic ray or some such.
    If this saves from total loss 'THE GREAT FILE on which a reputation is made', it may be worth the extra trouble.
    I've used these methods to rescue a substantial number of damaged files which if I had not used such redundancy would be lost forever . . . . and some are among my best (and most viewed) photos.
    It takes a lot of work to get our photos; they're in effect the photographer's children.
    It doesn't take much to orphan them, and not much more to keep them for several lifetimes, if one uses some extra care . . . . .
    So:
    I opt initially for jpegs and NEFs shot together, then for archive, jpegs, .PSDs, and layered .tiffs for worked up photos. In a real pinch, I can alway grab a jpeg from any source and use it rather than bringing out photo editing software, too, so I always shoot jpegs at 'fine' setting, for highest quality - it's saved my bacon a few times for otherwise lost captures that a bad chip , a voltage spike, or a cosmic raw partially demolished.
    All duplicated files are kept in different countries on more than one hard drive for both archives of initial captures and worked up captures.
    [About 'cloud' backups]
    A member here highly touted 'Digital Railroad' to me as 'The Way to Go' for my captures.
    I told him 'no, I didn't think form a legal standpoint or a business choice that was wise.'
    A year of so later, I read that a bankruptcy judge gave the trustee who was running the bankrupt company permission to erase the hard drives so many photographers' photos were stored on. Many had rescued their photos; I'm sure a few didn't get notice.
    In another case of on-line photo storage, without anyone's permission, some bonus-hungry executive, not conversant with the finer points of photo quality, unilaterally decided to reduce those big floppy customer photo files to little files without telling anyone or asking anyone's permission . . . .
    One day there was a huge computer full of photos from all over the USA and other countries and the next there was just a bunch of thumbnails or just larger.
    The only person you can really trust with your photos is you. Even the most trusted company can fail.
    Then it's a bankruptcy judge (or some hotshot executive with a bonus in mind) who may have control over your precious captures, and you may never get a notice of their intentions.
    [Don't ever trust a company to tell you 'it's financially sound' either. I once was a business reporter, and the mantra of the executives of every failing company was 'we're basically financially sound' just before they pulled the bankruptcy plug . . . . and they knew and people in their industry often knew they were in trouble. They just don't want their customers to know, so they playact and keep secrets]
    Best to trust yourself and be super redundant.
    Even now trusted girlfriends get future jealous boyfriends . . . . . if you get my drift.
    The more copies the better.
    One stored photo in a less desirable format of a great capture is better than a 100% lost capture in the most desirable format.
    john
    John (Crosley)
     
  29. When importing in Lightroom I convert to DNG and save a raw in external drive. They both open in raw and don't see any major difference.
     
  30. When importing in Lightroom I convert to DNG and save a raw in external drive. They both open in raw and don't see any major difference.
     
  31. Never saw the reasoning behind DNG. My co-worker swears by it. For me it's an extra and un-needed step.
     
  32. DNG is an archival, open standard that eliminates the need for sidecar files and creates essentially no extra work (see my previous post). It's a much nicer way to work IMO.
    Also, you could lose your Lightroom catalog and all of your sidecar files, and, provided you have written the metadata to the files, years of work would be maintained if the files are dng. Just open Lightroom, import, and you're done, all of your metadata, all of your develop adjustments. With cr2 or nef you would be screwed in this scenario.
     
  33. >>> Also, you could lose your Lightroom catalog and all of your sidecar files,... With cr2 or nef you would
    be screwed in this scenario.

    Well, if you allow for the possibility of "losing" a catalog, or sidecars (haven't lost one yet), then you can
    just as easily lose DNGs. Then what? Screwed as well. That's what archiving is about.

    As with others, no real advantage going to DNG for me... When mainstream cameras start recording in DNG, the decision
    would make a lot more sense. But that's not going to happen.
     
  34. I use Capture One 5 for raw conversion, since Adobe announced that the new .3-version of Lightroom would bring a better conversion than the .2-version. The by Adobe so promoted DNG-format may have a better archival value, but the basic quality of DNG made by LR has a certain level, I concluded.
    I am happy with the qualtity of the conversion by CO5. IMHO it beats LR. I also hate sidecar files. It is an odd and confusing way of working. After conversion I switch over to LR to catalogue and archiving the files. My basic archive of the original files contains NEF, my master archive TIFF. I seldom use DNG as step between anymore.
     
  35. ...Just another question: can I extract a .xmp file from a developed DNG file? And can I re-convert a DNG file to the original raw (e.g. CR2) file?
    Final: are sidecar .xmp file generated by all raw converters?
     
  36. My vote goes to staying with Raw files. Editing software will keep improving and you will be able to extract more information out of your Raw files that otherwise could be lost by converting them to DNG. Why convert unless there is a benefit and I can't see any just the negative that i have already mentioned.
    Just my thought.
     
  37. John McCosh wrote: ... "Editing software will keep improving and you will be able to extract more information out of your Raw files that otherwise could be lost by converting them to DNG" ...
    But the DNG file is Raw file by definition. Original raw data is not going anywhere. Only the package is different. The only thing you lose is the possibility to edit with camera manufacturer's software.
    I personally prefere DNG package because it is better documented and all my edits and jpg preview can be saved within the file.
    Regards, Marko
     
  38. Personally I shoot and archive both NEF and JPEG as well as PSD. For me I make some adjustment in LR, then go to PS, and then back to LR with sometimes a few minor tweaks. Then output JPEG with LR. In the end I archive everything including the PSD, but to me the JPEGs are most valuable as they are the finished product. The fact that they are lossy is a total non issue for me as they will never be edited again. You don't have to have any special software to read JPEGs, which is something to consider. When I'm dead my kids will have no trouble with the JPEGs, but they probably won't know what to do with NEFs or DNG.
     
  39. digitaldog

    digitaldog Andrew Rodney

    Thank you for your suggestions! I was thinking about DNG mainly for storage and maybe for future compatibility.​
    That’s good reason to consider DNG among others (see http://www.ppmag.com/reviews/200709_adobedng.pdf)
     
  40. Thanks for that link Andrew, I needed a good and current overview.
    I convert to DNG at import and then move the NEFs to an independent external drive, like Iftikhar Ahmad mentioned earlier... t
     
  41. 'But the DNG file is Raw file by definition. Original raw data is not going anywhere. Only the package is different. The only thing you lose is the possibility to edit with camera manufacturer's software'
    It's 'raw', but it's not the original file. Throwing away the NEF can have unfortunate consequences, e.g.:
    http://www.photo.net/casual-conversations-forum/00WQjJ
    http://www.photo.net/digital-darkroom-forum/00Usgn
    You also permanently lose access to Nikon's camera profiles that specify how colour values are converted between the camera's internal colour space to a standard RGB space - these are only available when using Nikon's own software. Adobe, of course, has its own proprietary camera profiles, but these aren't identical to Nikon's. Apart from this issue, there's no reason to fear that NEFs (or DNGs) will become unreadable in the future, provided your files have been successfully backed up! Although Nikon does not publish the technical details, all the key features of NEF (including the silly encryption used for white balance etc.) have been reverse engineered, and Open Source code is available to process them (e.g. http://www.cybercom.net/~dcoffin/dcraw/ ).
     
  42. digitaldog

    digitaldog Andrew Rodney

    You also permanently lose access to Nikon's camera profiles that specify how colour values are converted between the camera's internal colour space to a standard RGB space - these are only available when using Nikon's own software.​
    Unless there is some spectral sensitivity data there (and I don’t know if its supplied or not, its proprietary), its simply an assumption like any other raw processing engine. One could say, there is no color space of raw data, or one could say there is an assumed color space which each converter can decide upon. The only other and really useful way to define this is having the spectral sensitivities of the sensor and ideally the illuminant of each capture (otherwise assume some more, daylight, D50 etc). One could argue the same algorithms and data are used to convert camera JPEGs and ultimately raws with host software and I’d say for those who (for whatever reason) use raw+JPEG workflows, that be useful. Newer tools like the DNG profile editor and X-Rite Passport make it possible to get a close match using Adobe raw processing.
    I’m not saying you don’t lose some proprietary data, you do. Is it useful? Outside of a Nikon proprietary accessible converter, its not useful at all.
    You can have your cake and eat it if you are OK with increased storage (which cost little compared to images), keep both. Lightroom can spin off the proprietary raws to a drive, convert to DNG and import at the same time.
     
  43. You can argue, of course, that Nikon's camera profiles are no more or less valid than (e.g.) Adobe's. Subjectively, I find the default NX output more pleasing than ACR's, even with Adobe's 'camera matching' profiles applied (haven't tried ACR6, though). With NEF you have the option to use either (unless you're Marko!), but with DNG you're locked out of the Nikon workflow. Saving the NEF as well seems like a very sensible precaution even for hardcore Adobe users, and the potential need to show the original file to competition judges (or perhaps news organisations, etc.) should be a further consideration for any photographers who might find themselves in this situation.
     
  44. I convert all raw to DNG. In Adobe Lightroom that is the efficient way to work on your files. I don't think that Adobe will get rid of that file format for a while, even if so I am sure there will be a way to convert to the new file format in the future if the need arises. Adobe is a pretty smart company, I am not affraid to use their DNG format. Is it better then any other raw format. Probably not, but I got used to converting all the files a while back and there is no turning back for me. I used to keep the original raw files in the past, but not any more.
    Tom
     
  45. I convert all raw to DNG. In Adobe Lightroom that is the efficient way to work on your files.​
    In what way is this "efficient"? It's more efficient to leave them alone; then imports don't take as much time because there's no conversion process. Other than that, there's no performance difference.
    And all the discussion of sidecar files misses a key point -- sidecars only matter if you need them. If your workflow doesn't have any other programs which read the XMP data (e.g. Camera Raw), you don't need 'em. And if you don't write out the XMP data at all, then you don't have to back it up, which saves backup time and space as well.
    My workflow doesn't use external XMP data at all. Which means that the folder hierarchy containing my image files is write-once. The raw files get renamed and backed up at Import time, then never need to be backed up again... That's the efficient way to work with Lightroom.
    If you do need external XMP data, then arguably raw files + sidecars are more efficient than DNGs, because the XMP files are what changes, and they're much smaller -- which means they take less time to back up. If your XMP data is written into the DNG, then the entire DNG must be backed up again.
     
  46. Mark
    then imports don't take as much time because there's no conversion process​
    DNG conversion can and should be done overnight as you sleep. There's never any need to do them at the time of import. Any changes you make to cr2 or nef carry over. Doesn't matter when you do then conversion.
    because the XMP files are what changes, and they're much smaller -- which means they take less time to back up​
    You're very right about this. It's the only major drawback to using dng. However, as long as you are backing up your LR catalog, covering yourself as far as metadata and develop changes, it's very easy to tell your backup software to skip existing dng files, so it's really not a big deal. Personally I back up the dng once a month overnight, so no big deal. LR catalog is two or three times per week.
     
  47. digitaldog

    digitaldog Andrew Rodney

    In what way is this "efficient"? It's more efficient to leave them alone; then imports don't take as much time because there's no conversion process. Other than that, there's no performance difference.​
    Data verification is done when converting to DNG. Its real useful to know you have good data before you format that card. Just one of the advantages to doing DNG conversion and backup from cards as you import.
     
  48. Data verification is done when converting to DNG. Its real useful to know you have good data before you format that card. Just one of the advantages to doing DNG conversion and backup from cards as you import.​
    Good point. I was harping on the use of the term "efficient", but data verification is indeed an advantage of DNG and of converting early in the workflow. (And those reading should know that this is a relatively new function -- if you're reading old articles about the pros and cons of DNG, they may not include this.)
     
  49. The point made by Richard Williams about saving original captures for competition judges and news organization inquires should never be denigrated.
    Remember the member here who posted an urgent question? He had converted all his captures to DNG but wanted to enter a competition, and if he won he would be required to show his original files. He was in a quandary and no one really could help him other than to advise him to ask leniency from the judging if he happened to win . . . . and it was a major competition. (no one could assess his chances at winning, but someday it's going to happen for someone who converts captures to DNG and discards their 'originals' . . . they'll 'win' a competition maybe to 'lose' it later on the issue of 'not having the original file' to show authenticity.
    Until the issue is resolved, I'd advise, like Richard Williams, keeping all raw files if there's any thought of news use or competition entry.
    john
    John (Crosley)
     
  50. Well. I guess I should have said "In Adobe Lightroom that is the efficient way to work on my files" I don't really know why everyone thinks their way is better or more efficient then others. What works for you may not work for someone else. Point of interest. I convert my files to DNG at import. I input all the information that I need and let it rip. My catalog right now has about 32,000 photographs and I do not see much performance difference when it had only few thousand. That said, any computer (hard drive) that fills up with data slows down, that is just the nature of the system. The conversion process and photo processing can be done pretty much at the same time. Once I import first 20 images from a particular CF card, I do my initial walk through the files, rating, star system and so on. I can work pretty fast, but to this day I have not out ran the computer yet (unless most of my photos are _crap_001 and that is a different case. Do I see a did a slow down on the system performance. Not too much. Not enough to bother me. And that is what "efficient" means to me.
    TOm
     
  51. Hello, I am not sure if it was addressed yet, but there is an option where you can embed the original raw image in the DNG, and using the Adobe DNG converter, you can extract it again later if you need it. Provided of course that it is exactly the original file, bit for bit, or else it is quite useless.
    Since I am a systems administrator by trade, UNIX and UNIX-like, I've had to learn of ways to verify the integrity of files, and one of them is to make an MD5 hash of the file before conversion, and then you make another one after it was extracted from the DNG.
    Both hashes were the same, which is enough to convince me that the file that is extracted is exactly the same as the original file.
    If you go to Wikipedia and search for MD5, you will find that it is broken as an encryption mechanism, but it will work well locally to verify integrity of files.
    So there you have it, the best of all worlds, one file that contains everything. HD space is so cheap now I am also embedding a full JPG preview in the file. As other mentionned, the transfer can be done during one's sleep. Actually with the machine I've got now, I can do about 600 files per hour with lightroom 3. (quad i7-920 / 8gb ram)
     
  52. Don't think anyone mentioned that DNG's save some space on your computer. That is my biggest reason for converting all my raw images to DNG.
     
  53. Don't think anyone mentioned that DNG's save some space on your computer. That is my biggest reason for converting all my raw images to DNG.​
    Converting to dng is a big price to pay when hard drives are so cheap today. There's also no speed difference on modern computers.
    I used to convert dng but then NX2 came out. Then a light bulb went off, and I wondered what other software I might not be able to use in the future and have the insight that Adobe might not be the only software I buy in ten or twenty years. You have more options with your nef's and if at some point down the road you need to convert to dng, you can. Until then, I wouldn't paint yourself in the dng corner.
    I'm with status quo here and stopped and don't do dng anymore. I really hoped so when they launched dng and see the benefits to us, the consumers, if there was a raw standard like there is tif and jpg, but dng hasn't taken off like we hoped.
     
  54. digitaldog

    digitaldog Andrew Rodney

    Converting to dng is a big price to pay when hard drives are so cheap today.​
    What price? Drives are cheap. Smaller files are still beneficial compared to large files of the same data. Price in time of conversion? I do that when I’m sleeping. Data loss? Just proprietary stuff I don’t need (and I could store the original). What exactly is the big price to pay?
    I might not be able to use in the future and have the insight that Adobe might not be the only software I buy in ten or twenty years​
    There’s lots of software that reads DNG. Lots. I love the argument that a Canon or Nikon proprietary file is more likely to be something one can utilize in 20 years but Adobe, we shouldn’t trust, (beside the fact that anyone with a raw converter that wishes to access this data can at zero cost and in a very easy fashion). You are more likely, based on the history of proprietary data, have less change of opening your proprietary data in 20 years than an open format. That’s already happened several times in less than two decades for me.
    That doesn’t stop people from using scare tactics regards to DNG despite the fact that DNG is at least as likely to be a supported document based on its openness than a proprietary document.
     
  55. Maybe Andrew, do what the rest of us have done and go full circle and stop using dng? It obviously doesn't suit our work-flow and maybe if you give it a shot, you'll see why?
     
  56. Call me crazy, but I think Andrew is fairly experienced (coughs) in digital workflow and probably understands the pluses and minuses. Anyway, to each their own. Personally I hate sidecar files and like having one smaller file that has all IPTC metadata and develop edits embedded.
     
  57. digitaldog

    digitaldog Andrew Rodney

    Maybe Andrew, do what the rest of us have done and go full circle and stop using dng? It obviously doesn't suit our work-flow and maybe if you give it a shot, you'll see why?​
    I’m trying to understand your points (“Converting to dng is a big price to pay when hard drives are so cheap today“.) but your post above does nothing to clear this up. You are welcome to not use DNG. But if you are going to make statements as to why others should not use DNG, back em up. Writing “It obviously doesn't suit our work-flow (nice of you speaking for others) and maybe if you give it a shot, you'll see why?“ doesn’t wash unless you can explain further.
     
  58. Hi,
    I just tried to generate xmp files in an effort to use the LR3 changes in LR2.
    Made a catalog in LR3. Did some changes. generated XMP files.
    Generate new LR2 catalog and import the files with the XMP's.
    This does work. BUT! I misses some data, like stacking, which I think is not most important.
    But I think you also loose all your virtual copies. This would also be a problem for people relying on the xmp files as picture 'settings' backup.
    has anybody else noticed this? Not meant to hijack the thread, but this could change ones opinion.
     
  59. Very interesting Mark. I always wondered that. So those things are written to the DNG?
     
  60. No, these things are only in the catalog. What's in DNG files is XMP data, the same stuff that would be in sidecars for proprietary raw files.
     
  61. digitaldog

    digitaldog Andrew Rodney

    Very interesting Mark. I always wondered that. So those things are written to the DNG?​
    That’s a reason to consider using optional metadata, like keywords to track some of this stuff. I always use P for Pick in Lightroom, then from a smart collection that gathers this, apply a keyword called “Pick” which is now embedded into the document. Same with images that end up in a slideshow or images that show up in a web gallery. I don’t “trust” proprietary LR database data to track this, but by adding keywords, any DAM that accesses this metadata can. Proprietary solutions are scary!
     
  62. I've read that they are slightly smaller file size , for archiving, than the original RAW files. I do it after all deleting and editing is done on my sports image galleries.
     
  63. I was just thinking about this thread last week and how I regret converting years of files to dng.
    I had to open a 5 year old dng and CS5 (or what it Lightroom 3?), wouldn't recognize the b&w changes I had saved. I had to revert inside ACR to an older engine. I thought this was odd and time consuming. So for giggles, I tested nef's and crw's that were older than that dng and I didn't need to do such disruptive adjustments to ACR. DNG = USELESS.
     
  64. digitaldog

    digitaldog Andrew Rodney

    I had to open a 5 year old dng and CS5 (or what it Lightroom 3?), wouldn't recognize the b&w changes I had saved.​
    Sounds like you didn’t save it, otherwise the changes would have been visible. DNG’s don’t age like cheese and lose their XMP settings. You need to actually go about saving the XMP inside the DNG if you didn’t have the Auto save XMP on in LR (assuming you even used it, you don’t seem to recall). Lose a sidecar file, or not update it, you’re in the same boat if you don’t let have the original lrcat file with the changes updated.
    Disruptive adjustments? What’s that mean?
     
  65. Sounds like you didn’t save it, otherwise the changes would have been visible.​
    I wish that were the case. The issue is big enough that a solution was easily found in google. I had to go into camera caliabration > camera profile and chose 4.2 or whatever it was and *poof* back to how I saved my dng half a decade ago.
    dis·rup·tive [dis-ruhp-tiv] -adjective. causing, tending to cause, or caused by disruption; disrupting: the disruptive effect of their rioting.
     
  66. digitaldog

    digitaldog Andrew Rodney

    The issue is big enough that a solution was easily found in google.​
    A link would be useful... to the problem that is.
     
  67. digitaldog

    digitaldog Andrew Rodney

    A link would be useful... to the problem that is.​
    Well, I will have to assume unless shown otherwise, its just user error...
     
  68. Assume whatever you want. I find you snide and condescending to me and others in this community. You don't play well with others that differ in opinion. I won't trip through google and help you. I'm surprised I even wrote these few sentences.
     
  69. digitaldog

    digitaldog Andrew Rodney

    I opened a PSD and did some work but didn’t save the changes and now they are gone. The fault is of course the PSD. If you Google this, you’ll find its so.
    Yup, user error seems like the proper assumption unless otherwise explained. Sorry if asking for details about this so called “big issue” that produces your statement that DNG is useless makes you feel I’m snide and condescending.
    I had to open a 5 year old dng and CS5 (or what it Lightroom 3?), wouldn't recognize the b&w changes I had saved. I had to revert inside ACR to an older engine.
    Engine? Or whatever? You sure seem unclear here. Clarification before pronouncing DNG as useless would serve your point well!
    I had to go into camera caliabration > camera profile and chose 4.2 or whatever it was and *poof* back to how I saved my dng half a decade ago.
    4.2 or whatever? A camera profile has no effect on existing rendering (you can update and retain the rendering settings with the benefits or alterations of the DNG profile taking affect over that rendering).
    You seem confused and unclear about the process and are unwilling to provide this link that presumably proves you saved the data and there is some underlying issue with DNG that loses savings all by itself. So again, until you are willing to explain clearly and fully (no whatever stuff), anyone reading your opinion of DNG based on this example above will likely believe as I do that you are the cause of this problem and that the point DNG = USELESS is more rant than anything else.
     
  70. On re-reading this entire thread, which once again has become active, I am reminded of an interim post by a member.
    He was about to submit to a prominent photo contest, but the rules that worried him and about which he asked a question in a post were what happens if he wins and all his files already have been (as they were) converted to DNG and the originals discarded.
    Would he be thrown out of the winner's circle, for failure to provide appropriate proof of authenticity of his win?
    The question was rhetorical of course, but the issue is whether a DNG file from conversion is an 'original'
    Having once practiced law long ago for nearly two decades I can make real convincing arguments that despite arguments about DNG being 'the same', it really is not. A digital (not of a JPEG) 'copy' might be 'the same' potentially, but not a DNG conversion, for legal purposes and this might really apply to forensic work, where authenticity and 'chain of custody' are paramount.
    I can just see a matter being thrown out of court because some enterprising detective or DA's investigator converted raw files into DNGs then offered them in evidence as 'originals', but a judge agreed with defense and said they were not, and threw them out (and freed an otherwise guilty defendant.).
    Judges are very reluctant to do that, but sometimes must to prevent bad practices from cascading.
    Remember the Miranda warnings came about because of long interrogations, threats, beatings and so forth. Cops got confessions any old way they could, sometimes lied about how they got them and the defendants, often inarticulate, and without adequate counsel, could not argue their way out of prison, even if a confession was coerced and false, designed to save one from further pain or starvation or threats a wife would be arrested and thrown in the hoosegow (even falsely, which was a common practice once).
    If one or another cop believes you are guilty, he/she may do some unlawful things to 'extract' a confession, however close to torture it becomes . . . . hence we have the Miranda rule. Such confessions and things obtained from unlawful interrogations often are forbidden in Court (with exceptions).
    For the same reason we have the 'Best Evidence' rule which states that in most cases 'originals' are required, (not always but in most cases), and I could easily argue to a judge that a DNG is not an original and should be barred. If that is the main evidence to convict, too bad.
    (I haven't practiced in over 20 years, never did a criminal practice, but some things are fundamental).
    If DNGs had become widespread, as Adobe had hoped they would be, that would be one thing; they have not and are almost a side note in photography -- except for Leica and Hasselblad.
    Too bad, perhaps, but that's life.
    john
    John (Crosley)
     
  71. >>> He was about to submit to a prominent photo contest, but the rules that worried him and about which
    he asked a question in a post were what happens if he wins and all his files already have been (as they
    were) converted to DNG and the originals discarded. Would he be thrown out of the winner's circle, for
    failure to provide appropriate proof of authenticity of his win?


    I don't understand this notion of "proof of authenticity" with respect to photo contests. I've not come
    across that in contests I've entered in years past.

    Curious, what exactly is being proven?
     
  72. i dotn get it either.. but it seem that many contest have this rule, where in case you win you need to show them the raw file so they can see that nothing have been add / remove.. and they only accept raw file? what if you shoot in jpeg?... you cant enter this contest?
     
  73. digitaldog

    digitaldog Andrew Rodney

    Agreed, and there’s no way I’d give a contest (or client) my raw files.
     
  74. >>> what if you shoot in jpeg?... you cant enter this contest?

    Last time I submitted a photo to a contest was six years ago. Back then the camera I used only produced
    jpeg.

    I don't do contests anymore, but if I did, I certainly wouldn't provide a file, jpeg or RAW.
     
  75. I remember that contest and all the uproar as I believe the year before someone won with a manipulated/composite jpg.
     
  76. digitaldog

    digitaldog Andrew Rodney

    So getting back OT, here’s yet another advantage of DNG which was just discussed on Luminous Landscape. You have a DNG profile you’ve built or wish to use. Its embedded into the DNG such that should you lose that profile or you are processing on a machine where the profile doesn’t exist, no problem. But with a proprietary raw, if you pick “MyDNG” profile and then throw it away, it gets deleted, you work on a machine without that profile, LR and ACR will default to the Adobe Standard profile (assuming that profile is accessible). With DNG, your DNG profile lives inside the doc.
     

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