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Convert to DNG?

Discussion in 'Managing your Photos & Video' started by Unbroken Chain, Nov 2, 2012.

  1. Unbroken Chain

    Unbroken Chain New Member

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    Folks,

    I have just purchased a digital SLR -- my first -- so I have entered the brave new world of shooting in camera RAW. I know, I am years behind the times, but that is beside the point. :crazy: My question is, should I convert my RAW files to .DNG or leave them in the .CR2 Canon RAW format? If yes, should I convert on import, or later? Finally, I note that LR allows when you convert to .DNG to keep a copy of the .CR2 RAW file as well. This seems to defeat the advantage of the space saving RAW file. Thoughts?

    UC

    P.S. My first attempt at "developing" a RAW file using Lightroom was last night. I loved the additional White Balance options available to me over processing a .jpg or .tif.
     
  2. clee01l

    clee01l Lightroom Guru Staff Member Lightroom Guru

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    I see no advantage to deleting the CR2 originals and therefore no advantage to creating the DNGs Lightroom will works as well with the CR2s as it does with the DNG.
     
  3. Jim Wilde

    Jim Wilde Lightroom Guru Staff Member Moderator Lightroom Guru

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    "Space saving" is just one benefit of converting to DNG, and is possibly the least compelling given the relative cheapness of storage these days.

    Have a quick google of "DNG vs RAW" and you'll find the relative pros and cons of each, and plenty of contrasting opinions. My best advice to you would be to do the research and then decide for yourself.....for each of the questions you've posed there will be some who say "yes" and some who say "no", only you can decide which is right for you.
     
  4. Anthony.Ralph

    Anthony.Ralph Active Member

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    Firstly, as the space issue is not really relevant in these days of very inexpensive storage I always keep two copies of the files coming off my cameras. The original raw file, untouched and stored away into archive and then a dng version to use as a master file for use in Lightroom. From this master I *may* create various virtual versions depending on needs such as treatments, sizing, etc. I admit to backing up all this stuff too. to lose this data is unthinkable...

    Anthony.
     
  5. Unbroken Chain

    Unbroken Chain New Member

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    OK there is not a right answer to this question. What do others do?
     
  6. Kiwigeoff

    Kiwigeoff Lightroom Guru Lightroom Guru

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    I use DNG exclusively for raw files. For me it is the convenience of having one file on my HD to deal with. (No xmp sidecars) I Like have metadata saved and not just in the catalog.
     
  7. Victoria Bampton

    Victoria Bampton Lightroom Queen / Owner Staff Member Administrator Moderator Lightroom Guru

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    There's a pros and cons here: http://members.lightroomqueen.com/i...Article/View/1159/183/should-i-convert-to-dng

    Personally - yes, I convert to DNG, but not particularly for space saving reasons. There's a verification hash in a DNG file, and if the file later becomes even slightly corrupted, the file will no longer match the hash. LR currently only checks when it looks at the file, but there's software called Image Verifier that you can point at the folder of images and it'll check that all of the files are ok. I tend to run it before I update my offsite backup (every couple of months), to check that my files are all ok before I overwrite my backups. I also like the fact that the preview can be updated with the Develop settings applied, so when I'm browsing in other software, I see my edited version instead of the original.
     
  8. clee01l

    clee01l Lightroom Guru Staff Member Lightroom Guru

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    Along with the convenience comes a price. You should have a system-wide backup scheme that will back up all of your critical files to a safe HD either located off site or with one of the cloud services. The XMP file is quite small compared to the DNG. Each time the metadata changes the whole file containing that metadata needs to get updated at the back up site. Before I got my Nikon, my Pentax created DNGs in the camera. While this was fine, I ultimately gave up on syncing the metadata back to the master original DNG. since this added lots of network traffic updateing the DNG evertime I made a metadata change. Now that I have NEFs I haven't bothered creating XMP sidecar files.

    So there are lots of "not a right answer to this question". Ultimately, you will have to make a choice based upon the pros and cons that you receive here. There will not ne a single one right answer. And if like me you do try to consolidate RAW data and XMP data into a single file you may decide later to amend that decision.
     
  9. Paul Treacher

    Paul Treacher New Member

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    Same for me.
     
  10. Denis de Gannes

    Denis de Gannes Active Member

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    For me there is no definitive answer, certainly if you will be using "Adobe software forever" to the exclusion of everything else then there are more benefits from DNG. However there is always the possibility that Nikon or Canon could update their software to provide superior output for your NEF or CR2 files than ACR or LR. :sneaky:

    For me I am comfortable with a no DNG and no XMP workflow and rely on backups of my catalog file and raw files. Even so DNG is still being developed and changes are made from time to time.

    When raw processing software including DNG development approach maturity, the time may come to convert my raw files to DNG for archival purposes.
     
  11. LouieSherwin

    LouieSherwin Active Member

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    Hi,

    After looking at all the resources I think that you need to ask the question is there a compelling reason to take the extra step to convert to DNG. I have been on both sides of the issue and have decided that for me there is no such reason. You can always convert from your native raw to DNG at any time in the future. However, you cannot do the reverse.

    Some are uncomfortable with the .xmp sidecar files. In the early days this was a problem as many applications didn't handle them correctly. But these days all of the mainstream photo editors and management tools handle them transparently.

    My guess is that you will be quite satisfied to leave everything in the native raw format.

    -louie
     
  12. sloscheider

    sloscheider New Member

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    I like the fact that it's an open standard - 10 or 20 years from now it's far more likely that a given peice of software will natively support DNG files than the proprietary Nikon or Canon RAW formats....
     
  13. Denis de Gannes

    Denis de Gannes Active Member

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    In 5 or 10 years from now digital files may have evolved into something far more superior to existing raw files (including DNG) and there will most likely be a way to convert existing digital files to new media. Just as it is possibility at present to scan slides/negative film/prints to digital files. I am not relying on "Adobe" to be the savior of the universe.
     

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