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To DNG or not to DNG?

How do you shoot and store? DNG, RAW, RAW+JPEG?


  • Total voters
    63

Denis de Gannes

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Surprising that this thread generated so little participation!
 

Bryan Conner

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I do not know exactly how I missed voting in this poll. But, I did. At the moment, I am not converting my raw files to dng. The reason is that I may use DXO 9 on my high iso images because of the PRIME noise reduction that has been released. DXO 9 will not open (or even see) the files that I converted to dng over the past 2-3 years. I wish DXO would accept the converted dng files from Lightroom/Adobe DNG converter!!

So, I did not vote in the poll as there is not an appropriate choice for me. I am in conversion limbo at the moment.
 

Bryan Conner

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So does nobody use Smart Previews?? - they are DNGs!!:surprised:
I do not use Smart Previews. They do not seem like an intelligent :whistling: use of disk space since I do not use Lightroom without hard drives plugged in. Thanks for turning me on to the fact that they are dng files. Learned something new today.
 
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Oh, Geoff, technically you are correct, of course. But now you've outed smart previews, won't the anti-DNG crowd spread their usual FUD about them too?! (I'll just use one extra exclamation mark :) )

John
 

Denis de Gannes

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That is reason enough Bryan, Lightroom will not use the smart previews when the "original files" are available.
 
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So does nobody use Smart Previews?? - they are DNGs!!:surprised:
I don't think the use case is all that relevant for Smart Previews yet. If you are highly mobile and keep your master images on a NAS or other detachable drive, then you might want to create and carry Smart Previews along. At some point in the future when low powered tablets and smart phones are more integrated into our workflow, accessing SPs via the cloud may become practical. Adobe is looking to the future in developing the SP concept now. (Built it and the need will develop for the apps to support it.)
 
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Oddly, the four selections in this poll don't cover the way I shoot.

I shoot Raw and Jpeg appropriately, but never Raw+Jpeg. I suspect there are more like me.
 
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Entertaining read, thanks Bryan
 

Jan Erik Edvartsen

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I converted to .DNG after watching Julieanne Kost talking about this wonderful file format. (Julieanne Kost is awesome. Her creativeLIVE workshop is fantastic. I bought it in an instant. You can even hear the presenters mention my name when taking questions for Julieanne. My AKA online is Eddy the Teddy so you hear that nick on day 2!)

For me the pros of .DNGs far outweigh the potential cons.

1. You get file validation. This is a big one!
2. Metadata changes can be written directly to the file instead of those pesky .XML sidecar files.
3. And .DNGs take up slightly less space than RAW files, so the more RAW files you have, the more space you save when you go .DNG.
4. Adobe constantly update and improve this file format - with added functionality being added once in a while. Like File Validation.

One more thing. In System Specs, we can't choose DNG as a file format. Would be nice to have this added to the options.

Oh and I voted 'RAW Converted to DNG'
 
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It's amazing how often people still claim it's a disadvantage of DNG that you have to keep backing them up. That's just not so.

The fault is that you haven't re-assessed your backup strategy. Keep a virgin copy of your DNGs - they are the backup of the photo data. You can then go on saving metadata from LR but think of it in terms of sharing metadata with other apps. Don't worry that you need to back up the DNGs to which metadata is written by LR - it doesn't include all your LR work anyway. Instead, backup your catalogue - the combination of the catalogue and the virgin copies gives you 100% coverage.

John
I think part of what seem to get in the way is when one is running a cloud backup service in the background (CrashPlan, Dropbox, etc.). All of those apps can be configured, of course, to exclude certain directories, which is what one would have to do in order NOT to be backing up the revised DNG files whenever the metadata changes get written out to the DNG. [After reading the DNG vs RAW discussion over at Luminous Landscape I want to be clear that I am NOT claiming that this need to fine tune the backup strategy to accommodate a DNG workflow is in any way an argument against the existence or use of DNG! My only point is that it adds a bit of complexity to the backup process, which for some seems to be a disadvantage that overcomes the advantages that come with DNG and leads them to eschew the use of DNG]

Just to make sure I understand what you're suggesting, John...Are you proposing that one convert to DNG (perhaps upon import) and then keep the DNG file instead of (or in addition to, depending on preference) the straight-out-of-the-camera RAW file as the "virgin" file (the one one goes back to if all else is lost!) and then not bother to write out metadata to the "working" DNG files because the LR catalog is a superset of whatever gets written out to the DNGs? (Unless, of course, as you suggest, one uses the "written out to DNG metadata" as a way to communicate with other apps that can read that stuff.)
 
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I don't think it adds any complexity to the backup - just the need to think it through. But shouldn't we be thinking it through continually in any case and always checking backup is indeed happening and is appropriate? I just drag pictures from an area that is covered by backup to one that isn't, which isn't exactly complex or time-consuming.

You've mostly grasped what I wrote. But I don't think it makes sense to convert to DNG upon import - it's better to do so when you've decided which pictures are worth keeping. After ensuring the new virgin DNGs and the raws are backed up, raws go onto an archive drive and are removed from LR (no harm, good to have another backup in a different format) and the virgin DNGs now go over to the working drive which isn't covered by backup. I'll just write metadata to those files as and when I need, and that's to communicate with other apps, not for backup purposes.

My point here is not to say people should use DNG, but that "huge backups" is not a convincing reason to avoid it.

John
 
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...My point here is not to say people should use DNG, but that "huge backups" is not a convincing reason to avoid it...
I solved that problem for myself when my SOOC RAW files were DNG by simply not updating the metadata in the original files. The LR catalog keeps all of the metadata Catalog backup are routine and backups of those backups are too. If I ever move away from LR, I'll have time and opportunity to merge XMP metadata to the originals.
 

darky

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If you manage and edit your image files mainly in Lightroom (LR) a proper workflow and backup can be achieved of course with or without DNG conversion.

But it can turn much more complicated if the camera provides only DNG, if other tools than LR have to manage, read or edit DNG files and finally if you like to have a simple backup strategy. With simple backup I do not mean backup speed or backup size, but I mean ONE source directory structure which includes originals AND working files and I mean a backup trigger based on file modifications (e.g. archive attribute, date, ...). With DNG files a correct and fast backup it is still possible, but the backup setup can be more complex.

I was suprised to detect, that LR is able to ignore the read-only setting of DNG files. See also http://www.lightroomqueen.com/community/showthread.php?20958-LR-disables-read-only-attribute-of-DNG
Why are Adobe products so inconsistent with DNG and XMP files? This does not create trust...

Damian
 
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Damian

I think that inconsistency over read-only files is related to the Import process, and is not related to DNG. Let's say I create a NEF and lock it in the camera, then import it - so no DNG involved. LR copies the NEF but removes its read-only flag. I think this is undesirable, but nothing to do with DNG.

Inconsistency is partly the Lightroom way - its ethos was to start from zero and not necessarily repeat what other products did.

John
 

Den

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A decision as difficult as deciding whether ObamaCare is a good or bad idea, and just as controversial!:crazy:
 
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A decision as difficult as deciding whether ObamaCare is a good or bad idea, and just as controversial!:crazy:
Oooh...if we go down THIS road the fireworks over "to DNG or not to DNG, that is the question" will seem quite small...we'll probably overwhelm the server and Victoria will have to move the board again.:rolleyes:
 
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Oooh...if we go down THIS road the fireworks over "to DNG or not to DNG, that is the question" will seem quite small...we'll probably overwhelm the server and Victoria will have to move the board again.:rolleyes:
It won't happen. Politics and religion are not subjects for conversation here. Although "To DNG or not" is bordering too close to religion.
 

jndm

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For me one big advantage of DNg is that verification. Another good point is that in Windows I can search directly from explorer for keywoards as they are "burned" into DNg.

On the other side i am not prepared to throw away my original RAWs, so the only possibility can be DNG which include original RAW. I have tested several times on different RAWs extraction of original RAW and it is working fine.

So in case I will decide to switch to DNG I will probably go this way:
- include original files into DNG
- set LR to write metadata to files (because of tjhat search possibility).

I am using CrashPlan for backup, so I do not care too much about backup size. More than this, if DNG is changing it is backed up again and again so i have several versions in backup which can be useful in case some damaged version is backed up.
 

Denis de Gannes

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For me one big advantage of DNg is that verification.
Can you explain what this "verification" means to you? Why do you consider it so important?
 
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Can you explain what this "verification" means to you? Why do you consider it so important?
It's often the canary in the coalmine. For example, I had an email this week from a guy whose Time Machine backup drive got fried by a lightning strike. He was trying to back up to a new drive, but it kept failing. Why? Because some of the files had become corrupted. But they were NEF's so he didn't know. Hadn't looked at them in a while. If they'd been DNG files, he could have run the DNG Validation overnight every few months. He'd have discovered that they were corrupted, and copied them back from his backups. Except he wouldn't have just copied them back - he'd have hunted down the cause of the corruption too, before it affected too many of his files.
 

Denis de Gannes

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Thanks Victoria.
 
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