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Author Topic: Several (newbie) questions about DNG  (Read 4475 times)
« on: November 03, 2008, 08:38:51 PM »


I’m a photographer from Belgium and I recently bought the DAM Book which I almost read completely. I’m using Nikon gear, Adobe Lightroom and Adobe Photoshop.

I'm new to this forum and have several questions about DNG for which I couldn't directly find an answer.

In my search for information about converting to DNG (this forum, Adobe forums, Luminous Landscape, other testimonals, etc.) I have still some doubts about this whole process because of the lack of uniformity of the gathered information. I have the impression that everybody knows something about DNG but not everything, which is very confusing to someone like me who is a potenial user of the DNG-format.

1. I’m still not quite sure or convinced why I should convert to DNG. For me as an outsider it’s hard to imagine that for instance within a few years Nikon Capture NX won’t support a NEF file from their own D70 or D100.

2. I shoot RAW 14-bit Uncompressed, my files are 25MB. When I convert to DNG, will all the data be converted? When I open a file in NEF and DNG in Lightroom, basically there shouldn’t be any difference in the appearance on screen?

3. I’m also a little sceptic about the “compressed lossless? option. Some professional photographers, who are testing the different RAW files provided in the camera (12-bit, 14-bit, compressed, uncompressed, etc.), advice to use the 14-bit Uncompressed option. If I choose a convertion to DNG and I use the lossless option, my NEF files are 50% smaller. As Peter mentions somewhere in this forum “I don't think there is a downside to compressing the files? I’m asking myself the question why a camera manufacturer still provides the 14-bit Uncompressed option when a compressed lossless recording contains no loss of data?

4. When converting to DNG, do you recommend to embed the original RAW file or not? What is the benefit of this option? When I don’t embed the original RAW file I will be limited to future DNG-compatible programs. When I embed the RAW file, more software applications will be able to read the DNG file. Is this correct?

Today, nobody can confirm that soft- and hardware manufacturers will all be able to record/read/write the DNG-format. It can easily turn out some other way where a new digital format becomes the standard.

Thanks for your help and advice!


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« Reply #1 on: November 03, 2008, 11:19:06 PM »

1. I think Nikon will probably support their files long into the future.  But in the 90's it would have been hard to imagine that Kodak would be so crippled financially that PhotoCD would be in danger of ebeing unopenable, or that the images from their professional cameras would need legacy hardware to ope.  Stuff happens.

I think that the danger of being unopenable is probably less pressing than some of the other reasons, like multi-application interoperability, data validation hash, and lack of sidecars for metadata.

2. Right.

3.Do believe that LZW compression in TIFF is lossless?  Personally, I don't believe that we could have ever gone to the moon. ;-)

4. Correct.  Up to you.

5. DNG is an openly-documented format. (Download the spec for yourself and see). If Adobe went out of business tomorrow, DNGs would be openable.  Apple supports it on a system level, and so does Vista. 

Yes, it's likely that there will be another format that you will want to convert to in the future.  I bet it will be called something like DNG2, but maybe it will be something different entirely.  Converting DNGs to the new format will be easier than converting an archive with 10 flavors of proprietary raw.

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