View Full Version : DNG format to archive your pictures?

10-14-2012, 04:39 PM
Hi photo peers!

I'm not sure if this topic was discussed in detail before. Ok, so we are shooting in RAW mode to keep all details ready for later processing. We all know RAW files use a proprietary format (Canon, Nikon, etc) in addition to being heavy. Adobe strongly proposes turning all these into DNG files which still keep all the detail (contrary to JPEG), use about half the space and can tentatively become a standard for the future.

Now my question to you: I'm considering translating all my RAW files to DNG and only keeping the latest for the future; in other words, throwing away all the original RAW files.

Can you give me your comments about how you archive your files (format)?

Thanks in advance

Enrique Waizel

10-14-2012, 10:52 PM
I want you to think about what you are saying. You want to convert all your proprietary RAW images into proprietary DNG images for long term storage because a corporation is going to call it a "standard". Do you really believe that you will no longer be able to read Canon RAW or Nikon RAW in 20, 30, or 40 years time? I suspect that we will have developed new methods to store the files and new versions of the RAW format, however, I would find it hard to believe that you will not be able to find software that will be able to read in any RAW file regardless of manufacturer. I really think that taking the time to convert them is a waste of time.

10-14-2012, 10:54 PM
Personally...I am very comfortable with my tens of thousands of raw files and very uncomfortable with extra work.
I see no compelling reason at all to make this switch at this time. I archive in raw.

10-14-2012, 11:39 PM
I can see your concern if the manufacturer decided not to support their RAW format and you are left with an unreadable file, but I doubt that will happen anytime soon. I would not delete my RAW files. But if I heard that Canon (the brand of camera that I own) had discontinued support of their RAW format I would create a copy of my RAW files into DNG. If DNG does become a standard I wonder if the manufactures will switch? I don't see any benefit for each manufacturer to have their own. Although it wouldn't be the first time a large company has refused to support an Adobe design, Apple has refused to support Flash on the ipads and such.

10-15-2012, 12:19 AM
Thank you for your feedback. I'm probably spending too much time in frot of Adobe documents that could be a bit oriented to their own formats.

Here is a section I took from a recent book named "Photoshop CS6 and Lightroom 4, A Photographer’s Handbook" by Stephen Laskevitch

-Every camera manufacturer has its own proprietary RAW file format—
one that contains all the data recorded by the sensors. Tese include NEF
(Nikon RAW), and CR2 (Canon), as well as many other formats. Adobe
Photoshop CS6 supports most RAW file formats. Unfortunately, that
support does not extend to adding metadata or saving edits into these
manufacturer-proprietary formats. For that, there is the Adobe Digital
Negative (DNG) format. Unless you use DNG, metadata is saved in an
accompanying “sidecar” file or a central database—indirect at best.
Terefore, I recommend converting manufacturer-specific RAW files
into Adobe’s published format, DNG. Adobe has pledged to be the steward
of this format in much the same way they have for TIFF. Files you save in
this format can be archived safely as they will be supported by Adobe far
into the future. Some camera makers have adopted it as their format, too.
DNGs will contain all the image data of your camera’s RAW file and
will not require any support files as they are processed or have metadata
applied. Tere are a few cameras that store nonstandard data in the proprietary
RAW file that is lost in the conversion to DNG. Tis data is relevant
only if you’re one of the very few who use the camera-maker’s soſtware to
process the images. I use Lightroom and Photoshop, and therefore I don’t
need the esoteric instructions that are “lost”. So DNG it is. -

10-15-2012, 09:16 AM
Yup most of us have read similar stuff (was this published in a book with obvious spelling mistakes?) and for me this is just Adobe marketing being re-spit out.

Nobody knows what file format will win long term, so this 'guessing' and changing file formats now, seems to me like a waste of time.

11-02-2012, 05:53 PM
I can select either DNG or PEF Pentax own RAW format. Because I thought DNG would be long lasting at a Wedding I selected DNG. It was a mistake. With DNG there is no sidecar and as a result instead of 10M per picture I ended up with 15M files. Going back to orignal was a real pain so never ever again will I set camera to record as DNG. I use Pentax RAW every time now.