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Import Changing from DNGs to original NEFs.... Curious question

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HawaiianEye

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Since I first started using Lightroom, ( ver 5 ) I bought into the reasoning of converting to DNG.
I do not refer to "buying in" as bad. I mean choosing / deciding.
Any fears ( not concerns ) discussed in the choice, of not using DNG, I still believe are based on just that; Fear.
Stating my thoughts on this, does not open this thread to a discussion on "whether or not".
My decision is based on what time I need to spend, and the space being taken up.
As a regular DNG user, I have no fear of deciding to switch to just NEF images either.
So as of yesterday, I am trying out NEF straight into Lightroom, and see what the difference is.
I have a sign with DNG with red circle and slash posted above my monitor.

But, here is the 1st questionable surprise:
In my simple workflow, I create in my dedicated HHD under "Images", a new folder that contains
the property address, and date. ( Yes, I do real estate photography, here on Maui. )
After downloading my raw files to that folder, I used to the use Lightroom to import and convert to DNG, in the same folder as the NEFs.
Of course Lr would put the new DNGs in their own separate folder within the NEF's folder.
Later, I needed to go through all my many, many Lr folders and delete the NEFs, leaving behind the DNGs. This opened up much space.
All my images are backed up to several exterior backup drives, that are only attached to PC, during backup.
So the unexpected happened with my 1st attempt to use only NEFs.
After following my prescribed workflow, I imported the NEFs into Lightroom without copying as DNGs.....
WAIT A MINUTE! In writing this, I just noticed I was gonna say, " and Copied them to folder without changing..."
My question was gonna be; "How come I got another folder of NEFs inside my NEF folder, just like DNGs, that I now have to delete?" LOL!
OK, it seems in order to do what I want to do, with less deleting of copied files is ADD photos to catalogue without moving them.
So, there's the new question. Does this make sense to the experts on board? i.e. "ADD".

Please note: DNG conversion of approx. 300 raw nefs, used to take around an hour, on an older i5, and 32 GB ddr3 system.
I built a new computer, i7 8700, 32GB ddr4, RTX 2060 6GB ddr6, plus many upgrades.
My Lightroom DNG conversion now takes about 30 seconds for the same.

SO, workflow time, and diskspace, and time to manage diskspace and extra folders produced, are the reasons I am trying NEFs only.

Otherwise, if this is a huge fail, I will post my shipwreck.




Mahalo! Coe Burnett Photography
 
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It's tough to tell for sure, but "add" leaves the files right where they are, so if they start in the right place that's fine.

The more typical case is to import from a card, so a "copy" is a bit more normal.

It all depends on whether you want the files to end up in a different place than they start.
 
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"Add" works fine if you copy/move the RAW files to their desired permanent location, outside of LR prior to doing the import. Pro: OS level copy/move runs faster then LR's Copy/Move. Con: Can't rename files during import process. I use this method quite often. Depending on how you want your image folder structure set up, if you copy/move first outside of LR then you can't take advantage of LR's automatic folder creation based on capture date. So, if you use "Organize by date" then the "Add" option would not be a good choice. However, if you use the "Into one folder" option then "Add" will work fine and you will create the new folders with your OS when you first copy/move the images outside of LR

"Copy/move" option in Import dialog is also quite valid and I use it many times as well. Con: runs a bit slower than OS level copy/move. Pro: can rename files if desired, can convert to DNG on the way if desired, can take advantage of "Organize by date" feature.

In the case of Move, Copy, or Copy as DNG, it is important to understand the "Destination Panel" so you should read up on that. Just before you click the "import" button at the bottom right of the import dialog, look at the folder structure in the "Destination" panel. It will show you a preview of the folder structure that will result from the import - new folders will be shown grayed out.

Back to your DNG vs NEF decision. DNG's are 20% smaller than NEF's in general. To me this is not a significant factor anymore as disk is so cheap these days. What swayed me back to using CR2 (Canon version of NEF) after using DNG's for several years was backups. I have "automatically write XMP to image files" turn on in LR. With DNG's changes get written directly into the DNG file but with CR2's they get written into a small side car file with an extension of xmp. Functionally pretty much the same, but with DNG it required the big 24mgb DNG file to be re-backed up each time I did anything to the image, even something as simple as changing it from 2 to 3 stars. With CR2's it only has to re-backup the small (couple of K) XMP file. When using DNG's, for local backup to another hard drive on my system this was just a tad annoying. However, with cloud based backup it was a disaster as it could never keep up and at times was several days or a week or more backlogged. And, as the backup service was taking files in order modified, more important things like the backup of financial records and the like were many times queued behind a week or more of images. So, I stopped using DNG's and went back to CR2's.
 
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I used to the use Lightroom to import and convert to DNG, in the same folder as the NEFs.

I am curious as to what you see the advantage of converting right away to DNG? I import NEF, doing my editing against that, then, if needed, export to DNG or TIF. I, like Califan, write edits to the XMP side car. I have an nightly backup to an external disk which means many times it's only the XMP that needs to be saved. I also get nervous about frequent updating of my image files.

I'm also concerned with the retention of MAKER NOTE information in the METADATA. There has been discussion threads in these forums but my experience is that, at least as reported by EXIFTOOL, MAKER information is not saved by LR when exported to TIF so is lost.
 
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