Recent weeks have seen a number of DNG related announcements:
- Casio EX-F1: A 6 megapixel camera that captures 60 full resolution DNG files per second!(John Nack scooped me on this one)
- Pentax K20D and K200D: These new 14.6 and 10.2 megapixel cameras from Pentax can capture directly to the DNG raw format.
- Samsung GX-20: The new DNG-capable Samsung 14.6 megapixel model is similar to the Pentax K20D but DPreview also looks at how it is different.
- Noritsu Koki has announced their intention to support raw workflows at the photo retail level by utilizing the DNG format.
For those not familiar with DNG, it’s the archival raw format that Adobe created to address the proliferation of proprietary raw formats. With hundreds of undocumented formats introduced since the advent of raw capture, it’s no wonder that the concept of a raw standard has elicited quite a bit of discussion. Much of the discussion revolves around the topic of file format obsolescence: Will I be able to open my raw files in 50 to 75 years from now? This is a good question and a valid reason why photographers choose to use the openly documented DNG format but there are other more immediate benefits to using a DNG workflow:
- Lossless compression of the raw data can reduce file size anywhere from 10 to 40% or more. In a completely unscientific test I converted a small folder of Nikon D300 raw files to DNG and the folder went from 243MB to 125MB! You could almost double the number of photos stored on a single drive. I know ‘storage is cheap’ these days but it’s not free!
- It provides a documented file structure that can support writing metadata back to the file. (No need for XMP sidecar files)
- You can store an updated preview of the image in the DNG file that accurately represents your latest non-destructive rendering settings. I think of it as a job jacket for my images. I have the negative, the processing instructions and a ‘work print’ of how I last processed the image all within a single file.
With all of those benefits it’s no surprise that 40% of Lightroom users who aren’t shooting with a DNG-native camera have already decided to utilize the Convert To DNG option while importing their photos.