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Peter, is this true about DNG?
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Author Topic: Peter, is this true about DNG?  (Read 15531 times)
jccrtv
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« on: April 17, 2006, 05:07:12 PM »

Peter,

I was posting on another site about Nikon's new Capture NX software coming out. The software info said it did special things for the NEF format, so I posted that I was sorry I had dumped my NEF's. When someone asked why I would delete the NEFs I mentioned all the good reasons for converting to DNG for the future and that recently it's been suggested that once you back up your DNGs you might not need your NEFs anymore. I got this reply for some guy:

"No! There is too much Adobe propaganda around DNG and there are too many authors who are buying into it. The license grants Adobe and no other company the right to grant and to revoke the license to DNG. It also isn't completley open because nobody else has any right via the license to change the format without Adobe's permission. As a matter of fact, if they do, then Adobe has a right to revoke their license."

I thought DNG was open source. Am I wrong?
« Last Edit: April 17, 2006, 05:55:54 PM by peterkrogh » Logged
peterkrogh
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« Reply #1 on: April 17, 2006, 05:55:02 PM »

DNG is not yet Open Source, as open source is defined generally.  Rather, DNG is openly documented.  This means that the structure of the file is openly documented.  I may be wrong, but I was under the impression that Open Source was a term for software when the source code for the software itself is uncompiled, and therefore open to examine.  One is a format, and one is software.  And even in Open Source software, like Linux, you can't make any change you like: it has to be approved.

That said, Adobe controls the DNG spec currently.  Like the TIFF format and the PDF format, the DNG spec will be evolving over time until has fully matured. Someone has to mind this process, and no one else is stepping up to the plate.  If you would like to see a vigorous and informed discussion take a look at the OpenRAW forum:

http://openraw.org/node/1482

The poster is right that nobody does have the right to change the DNG spec.  Anyone is welcome to get in contact with Adobe and make a case for changes in the spec to allow needed functionality.  As a matter of fact, the spec is currently being adapted right now to include good new functionality, including some stuff that makes it friendlier to other applications.

Let's be clear about a few things:
Anyone can decode a DNG file.  Apple does it on a system level in Quicktime, and Vista will do it as well.  I really can't imagine a situation where you will be unable to open DNG files, since they will be openable by Apple and Microsoft without needing any additional software.

Nikon (and others) are CHOOSING not to open a DNG file. Not because there is any loss of information, but because there is a bit more engineering time involved, and because they choose not to.  Even if Adobe were to stop development and turn very nasty, third-parties would still be able to open DNG files as they are currently written.  That genie cannot be put back in the bottle.

Adobe has profited by open standards (like TIFF and PDF) and they are comfortable competing in this space.  Which of the other major players can you say that about?

Although you will not be able to open your DNG files (for now) with capture NX, the functionality they promise will be far from unique (and it has not even delivered yet). Expect a lot of applications to deliver this same kind of selective adjustment, and be able to do it to Adobe-created DNG files.  By choosing to not support DNG, software manufacturers are only locking out an ever-growing market.

As to deleting your NEF files, I have been pretty clear (I think) in saying that while I am deleting my NEF files, I am not necessarily suggesting that you do it.

Please feel free to bring up any other concerns you have about the format.  The more I find out about it, the more reassured I feel, and I take this VERY seriously.
Peter
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jccrtv
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« Reply #2 on: April 17, 2006, 06:16:35 PM »

Thanks, I knew you were the right man to ask about this. A thorugh and well written answer. I can certainly use Photoshop, Bridge, Lightroom and Aperture to open my DNGs. For all the reasons you lay out in the book about 1000 RAW dialects being dangerous going into the future, I'm going to continue to convert to DNG. Thanks.

Jim
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peterkrogh
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« Reply #3 on: April 17, 2006, 06:31:28 PM »

Jim,
Take a look at that link.  Both Thomas Knoll and Kevin Connor from Adobe weighed in, and they turned some people around.

You can also open them with Raw Shooter Premium, Silkypix, and Lightzone(?).  And the list is growing.
Peter
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Marc Rochkind
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« Reply #4 on: April 18, 2006, 05:33:57 PM »

Just a quick post to connect this thread with the DNG SDK thread started today in this section. Adobe has released source for manipulating DNGs. (But not for converting other raw formats to DNG.)

--Marc
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danaltick
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« Reply #5 on: April 19, 2006, 07:43:45 AM »

Peter,

Something I want to make sure I'm clear on here.  If Thomas Knoll were to remove all support for CR2 files in ACR today, would ACR still be able to open, adjust, and import my DNG files made from CR2's into Photoshop.

If the answer to this question is yes, then I have no reservations about deleting my old CR2's once they have been converted to DNG's.

Thanks,
Dan
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peterkrogh
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« Reply #6 on: April 19, 2006, 08:34:59 AM »

Dan,
Essentially, the answer is yes.

For instance, you can convert D2X (or 1DSMK2) files to DNG and open them with CR 2.4 inside Photoshop CS, even though CS cannot open files from those cameras.

As I keep saying, I delete my RAW files, but I am not telling you to do it.  Make that (hopefully informed) decision yourself.  I do believe, however, that you are very safe in doing so.

InfoTrends reports (according to PhotoshopNews) that 18% of Professional photographers are using DNG.  This growing trend will make the format impossible to ignore for RAW file conversion software makers.

Peter
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danaltick
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« Reply #7 on: April 19, 2006, 09:06:04 PM »

Well Peter, I certainly have no intention of turning back now.  I'm wholly convinced that DNG is here to stay.  It's essential role in the DAM workflow has convinced me of that.  I jumped ship with my CR2's a long time ago and have never looked back ;-).  The only way I could see DNG not surviving would be if some other upwards-compatible format comes along that supercedes it, but instead of that, I expect DNG to be enhanced even more; which I'm sure you're probably already on top of Smiley.

Dan
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jeremyrh
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« Reply #8 on: April 19, 2006, 09:30:20 PM »

Something I want to make sure I'm clear on here.  If Thomas Knoll were to remove all support for CR2 files in ACR today, would ACR still be able to open, adjust, and import my DNG files made from CR2's into Photoshop.

If the answer to this question is yes, then I have no reservations about deleting my old CR2's once they have been converted to DNG's.

And if Canon release some really good conversion software .. ?   Can you really not afford a few DVD's to archive your CR2s?
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johnbeardy
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« Reply #9 on: April 19, 2006, 10:00:07 PM »

I'm with Jeremy on this one. Though I've worked exclusively with DNGs for over a year now, unlike Peter I don't have to eat my own dog food and happily burn extra DVD's of my Nikon files. I don't think I'd be taking a big risk not doing so, but I've never seen a backup that didn't give me a warm feeling inside.

John
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peterkrogh
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« Reply #10 on: April 20, 2006, 02:13:44 AM »

The only caution I would have about this thinking is that if you only have one copy of something, then it's because you don't mind losing it.

So you can kind of back up your RAW originals by burning a DVD, but that might be unreadable in a year or two, or get scratched.  If it's really important to keep the RAW, then you will want to follow established best practice and have three copies, on two different media, with one stored offsite.

That said, I think Nick Rains method of making one of his backups the original RAW files is a reasonable solution, as long as having a copy of the RAW is not considered truly essential.

Everyone sets their own threshold of risk, hopefully in an informed way.
Peter
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Joe Reifer
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« Reply #11 on: April 20, 2006, 01:54:35 PM »

Quote
And if Canon release some really good conversion software .. ?

Then hell will freeze over, AND I'll eat my hat?  Grin
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jeremyrh
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« Reply #12 on: April 21, 2006, 05:25:36 AM »

Quote
And if Canon release some really good conversion software .. ?

Then hell will freeze over, AND I'll eat my hat?  Grin

Well, as a Nikon user I don't want to intrude on private grief by commenting on Canon products  Wink. I am happy using Nikon Capture as a RAW converter, but I still keep a DNG file as a backup just in case at some point some "computer weirdness" gives me a problem opening a NEF file. I have another shot with a different format. I'm not relying on it, but it gives me another chance.

As Peter says, it's up to individuals to make their own informed choice.
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