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Is there a functional DNG viewer for Win 10 ?

XEyedBear

Never knowingly cynical.....
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I'm sure this topic has been done to death here and elsewhere, but I'm obviously dumb because I don't see the answer to my specific needs:

For personal reasons I'm frantically spending all my time scanning and processing a life time collection of slides going as far back as 60 years. LR is the obvious choice of Digital Asset Manager, but I cannot expect my children to have or even want to have LR to hand. The question of the format of the images that I leave for them is key. I'm sufficiently persuaded by Adobe's argument to choose DNG as output, along with jpeg for ease of use.

The 2 chief weaknesses of jpeg, in my view, are (1) that even when I select an output of 1920 pixels on the long edge, at 96 DPI (I'm not catering for Apple or Android devices), the jpegs might contain as little as 25% of the available pixels I've scanned from my slides. (I'm using a Nikon LS V ED, together with Vuescan). (2) the quality will be quickly corrupted if the images are viewed and saved multiple times.

So, DNG is important. It also allows them to properly re-edit the images if my children have the skills and software to do it. For ease of use the DNG files must be directly browse-able in Windows, especially as the Adobe DNG codec frequently referred to on the Internet appears to have been effectively hidden from me by Adobe. However, when I tried to view the DNG files exported from LR, with no embedded jpeg (I already have a big jpeg as a standalone file), using Win 10 Photos app. the results are unusable. Win 10 Photos completely misunderstands the image size properties. If I embed a jpeg then the image is viewable in Photos - but I'm only seeing the jpeg and not the full-fat file, so there's no point in exporting the DNG file.

If I switch to using a much more functionally capable image viewer - like IrfanView - the DNG files are browse-able with or without an embedded jpeg. But without the jpeg IrfanView presents the image as it is BEFORE adjustments have been applied in LR - and that's of no value to me or those that look at these old, colour-faded, dust-ridden slides. With a jpeg embedded, IrfanView shows me only the jpeg - again making the DNG file irrelevant.

So, how can DNG files be viewed correctly, and as LR intended, in Win 10?
 

sty2586

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Export full size JPEGs AND full size TIFFs (= RAW). Then you have both worlds - lossy and lossless.
And independent from Adobe!
Greetings from Vienna
Franz
 

XEyedBear

Never knowingly cynical.....
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true - but that would mean that I don't really believe Adobe and their claim that DNG is the only secure long-term archival format. But currently my view is that Adobe might be correct. For example, I never thought that all the work I put into learning and using Nikon scan 15 years ago would be wasted when Nikon just walked away from that software. Or that Google would tip NIK software down the toilet, to join Picasa. There are lies, damned lies and corporate greed.
 

Gnits

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If you had 35 mm film you could not send it or show this to anyone as a finished photograph.

Think of a dng in a similar way to the 35 mm film. The 35 mm film needs a suitable enlarger, with adjustments made to individual light sources, etc, magnification, crop and ultimately the papers and solutions needed to create a print. Like film you need to protect it by keeping backups. Lightroom will help you remember the settings you want to use.

So.... the dng is a container of the raw information and related metadata. Lots of people create tiff and /or jpg versions as an extra means of future proofing and archiving (and seeking independence from Adobe).

Comparing a dng to a digital version of a negative can be a subject for debate. I use this concept for illustration purposes only.
 

XEyedBear

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.. and your point, in the context of my original post, is .....?
 

Gnits

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.. and your point, in the context of my original post, is .....?
Raw files need converters. Generally these are not free or universally available. Adobe does provide a free DNG converter but not a DNG Viewer.

Both Microsoft and Apple release codecs so that raw files can be viewed as thumbnails in Explorer or Finder, but the release schedule may be some time behind camera release dates. Different codec suppliers may be using a raw conversion but without, say, Lr adjustments. Some will only use the embedded jpg. FastPictureViewer looks interesting, but that is neither free or universally available. Their Fastpicture Viewer Pro also looks interest but costs approx 50 dollars.

There may be an open source community who provide dng edit/ review tools. I do find it interesting that the Microsoft raw codec does not appear to include support for DNG . Download Microsoft Camera Codec Pack (6.3.9721.0) from Official Microsoft Download Center Expand the details section.

The 2 chief weaknesses of jpeg, in my view, are (1) that even when I select an output of 1920 pixels on the long edge, at 96 DPI (I'm not catering for Apple or Android devices), the jpegs might contain as little as 25% of the available pixels I've scanned from my slides. (I'm using a Nikon LS V ED, together with Vuescan). (2) the quality will be quickly corrupted if the images are viewed and saved multiple times.
You can also export full size jpgs, with various levels of compression.
 

XEyedBear

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Re the question of whether or not I had looked at FastPictureViewer: I have now, after your suggestion. It works fine, of course. However, I'm trying to avoid making anybody in the future (who wants to see or use my digitised slides) buy additional software on top of a Windows licence. I really am expecting that being able to browse .dng files is a standard function in a decent operating system
 

GingeraMan

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Export full size JPEGs AND full size TIFFs (= RAW). Then you have both worlds - lossy and lossless.
And independent from Adobe!
Greetings from Vienna
Franz
TIFF is a bitmap, it's completely different to DNG and is not suitable for editing and reprocessing as DNG is.

DNG is literally the original negative and it also stores it's own processing metadata in the actual file so it can be viewed just fine.

I have a codec installed, can't remember what it is, but DNG files view fine on my PC including in Explorer. They just open. Sometimes they look a little different to JPEG's or even more dull if not processed but it's fine.

But more important than anything else in the world - DNG is openly documented and is an open standard - this alone makes it worthwhile. Someone in the future will always be able to create a viewer for it. If Adobe disappeared tomorrow this would have absolutely no effect on the ability to use DNG except that development of the standard may stop unless / until others back it to continue - just like with any other open standard or open source project. It is free to use and one could even print the specifications if they wished, and stash them with super duper archival quality gold plated disks in a vault or something and they could still be read in a century.

This cannot be said for proprietary and non-documented formats. Such as CR2, etc.

I stopped converting to DNG in Lightroom for some time after some people said meh don't bother, you lose some specific metadata like focussing points or something.. and recently I've thought meh I'll start converting to DNG again for images where that doesn't bother me (which is most). Having the original CR2 RAW is only useful as long as Canon is around. But that format is at their mercy.

DNG is at no ones mercy.

And DNG, unlike TIFF etc is far better suited to processing and editing due to non-destructive processing and editing. The original remains untouched, and the changes are stored as instructions in the file. It literally is a digital negative.

I think the format is brilliant and I am bitterly disappointed that camera manufacturers have not taken it up as the only reason not to is competitive protection of some kind. It's intentional. And the BS about it being larger is irrelevant. There is a marginal saving on space with CR2's - maybe.

And if one has a lot of space (100MB per image or so) - one can even embed the original RAW in the DNG too.

I am fairly confident that your future self will thank you profusely for using DNG rather than TIFF or JPEG.

Some programme will always be able to convert from DNG to any other format, which is not guaranteed with other formats. And DNG will always allow non-destructive processing, which TIFF etc can't do.

And I don't see why an open standard will ever require paid software to use it. If someone has the time a free viewer or codec will always be around...

Do NOT use JPEG or any other lossy compression whatever you do - your future self or future family will curse you - I guarantee this. A lot of information is lost including colour depth (JPEG is 8 bit, DNG is up to 14 or 16 bit per pixel).

I don't know where this idea comes from that one must pay money to use DNG. That's just rubbish - it is a free and open documented standard. There are free codecs around that work fine but that being said DNG is not for viewing - it's for processing. It will always need to be 'rendered' and 'processed' to look decent (just like printing a negative) - but honestly - it opens fine on my PC without needing Lightroom and I didn't spend a cent.
 
Last edited:

AndreasM

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My practical suggestion would be:

- Export the pictures as JPG with full resolution (why should you limit it to 1920?) at 75 % quality
- Share these around and everyone can use them on every device without any problem
- Even if someone will make small changes once or twice, this won't affect quality in a noticeable way

- Use unique filenames for all pictures and provide the DNG versions separately, so when someone wants to make bigger changes or seeks the ultimate quality he/she can find the corresponding DNG to every JPG quickly
 
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