DNG Specification and Vista DNG Codec

The DNG Specification has been revised and the version number incremented from to This is not an area of frequent change given that the format has done a good job of addressing the progress of raw formats over the last three years.(The last update was finalized in February of 2005)  This update addresses several industry requirements for the DNG format including the formalization of the concept of a “camera profile” and a metadata tag to validate your image data. 
The definition of a camera profile for the DNG format as well as the allowance for multiple camera profiles to be embedded in a single DNG file will provide the industry with the ability to characterize raw data in an efficient and standardized format.(Think ICC profiles but for raw data)  
Additional metadata tags have been defined for the DNG format including a field to indicate a ‘hash’ or the integrity of the raw data within the file, providing a valuable tool for validating the safety of your image data.  A DNG file is comprised of three components: raw data from the sensor, metadata to describe the raw data and an embedded preview to represent your interpretation of the raw data. (See my earlier blog post on DNG if you need more background) Writing metadata back to a standardized file format like DNG is a common operation but many are concerned about the sanctity of the image data from the sensor.  The opportunity to ‘fingerprint’ that block of data and check it from time to time to ensure that there hasn’t been any disk corruption or I/O errors is a significant step forward in ensuring the archival safety of your images.  For the developer crowd, the DNG SDK has also been updated to reflect the changes to the specification.

The DNG Codec for Windows Vista users is also now available as a free download from Adobe Labs.   This is our first release for the Windows Codec platform and before finalizing the release we’re offering it as a ‘Release Candidate’ on Adobe Labs.  A release candidate is a version of the technology that is nearly complete but we would like the community’s help in ensuring compatibility across a wide variety of hardware and software configurations. 

On a final note, If you missed it earlier, you’ll want to check out John Nack’s blog post on the DNG format submission to the ISO.

27 Responses to DNG Specification and Vista DNG Codec

  1. Where’s the 64-bit codec for Vista?[Sean, it’s not available yet. You’ll notice that a number of the current Codecs (Nikon, Canon) are not 64-bit compatible yet. We’re working with Microsoft to add support in the future. -TH]

  2. Dorin Nicolaescu-Musteaţă says:

    32-bit only?Why in the world would one move to Vista if not for 64-bit to be able to use more than ~3.5G of RAM? (And photographers are just those who have and need a lot of RAM.):([I just responded to this topic and I agree with you. My Windows computer is also running 64-bit Vista in order to utilize Lightroom 2 64-bit native functionality.(As well as anticipate Photoshop CS4’s use of native 64-bit code.) -TH]

  3. Hub says:

    Any chance to get the DNG SDK under the same license as the XMP SDK, aka a 3-clause BSD ? Because so far the DNG SDK does not allow it to be used in conjuction with several Free Software licenses including the GPL.I already asked that a while back in the Adobe Forums and I got a less that receptive answer.[Hub, I’m working on that topic but it’s obviously languished for a while. Can you walk me through a few of the use cases it’s preventing? -TH]

  4. Hub says:

    And the DNG Specification link still point to spec 1.1[From what page? -TH]

  5. Brandon says:

    Not providing 64bit support is unacceptable. Just because Nikon and Canon hasn’t done it yet doesn’t mean adobe cannot lead the way. Step up and be an industry leader. I’m disappointed Adobe, I really am.[Sorry to disappoint you Brandon. It’s not that we don’t want to provide a 64-bit version but the release had been delayed long enough and waiting for 64-bit development and testing would have led to an initial release date for the Codec that would have been more than disappointing. -TH]

  6. Christer Grimsæth says:

    And where is the Win XP download? As you know WIC is also available for Win XP.[Christer, the DNG Codec only supports Vista at this time. -TH]

  7. Thanks Tom. I don’t understand why the manufacturers haven’t come up with 64-bit codecs either, but frankly, I expected better from Adobe. You guys are trying to come up with a universal standard, and it’s still not universal. Just like Dorin said, why else would we all switch to 64-bit Vista if the manufacturers aren’t going to support it. Who do they think is using things like Codecs anyway? The regulare users who still have XP machines or the power users that have all upgraded… This issue drives me batty![Sean, I didn’t mean to use the lack of 64-bit support from camera manufacturers as an excuse. If it was straightforward and easy to test we would have included it. But to be honest I think it’s more important that we validate the DNG codec’s behavior on one platform before we expand a release candidate to address multiple platforms. I don’t think our ability to support Microsoft’s imaging component system is an accurate way to measure the effectiveness or universal nature of the format. The fact that a third party, ArdFry, was able to create a solution based on the format’s open documentation validates the appeal of the DNG format. In the long term you don’t want any one single company to be a roadblock to providing support for your image files. -TH]

  8. Brandon says:

    I don’t mean to be overly critical, I just hate being frustrated with things I love, like photography.To Adobe’s credit, the announcement of 64bit support for Photoshop and Lightroom are wonderful. I use the lightroom 2 beta 64 bit and love it. It does seem quite a bit faster (probably not due to the 64bit, but maybe, for me x86 is faster as well with the 2.0 version).In the future though, nothing, I mean *nothing* should be released without proper support for the 64bit platform, I and many others have moved on, it is important to cover all bases. We’ll notice when good things happen. That is why I had to comment on Photoshop and Lightroom 😉[Thanks Brandon. My daily work machine is a MacBook Pro running Vista 64-bit so I’m definitely biased in one direction. -TH]

  9. Brandon says:

    I’m glad to actually see people using Vista, with all that FUD out there saying it is another ME….Totally unrealated, but it certainly is nice to see that not everyone is stuck in 2001.

  10. Ed says:

    Just want to add more moral support for 64-bit compatibility. If you’d have told me ten years ago that 64-bit software would still be like exotica I never would have believed you.

  11. Hub says:

    The link is OK now (it has changed).As for the DNG SDK licensing, mostly the indemnification clauses and the choice of jurisdictions.IANAL, but that my understanding. Using a well know and identified version (like the one for the XMP SDK) is probably the best (and it is compatible with the GPL), and would be more consistent with the XMP_SDK.That’s the sole reason originally I started writting my own XMP library, until XMP SDK 4.1.1 was released.

  12. Thanks for the mention of ArdFry. I had never heard of them before and did not realize that somebody else had created a 64-bit codec. I will definitely be giving that a go…

  13. Will Green says:

    I installed the DNG codec on my Vista Home Premium laptop. My DNGs don’t show a preview in Explorer, and opening them in Windows Photo Gallery, it says “The file appears to be damaged or corrupt.”The files open just fine in Bridge and Camera Raw.I had no such problems with the Ardfry DNG codec.[Will, can you provide any more details on the DNG forums so that we can track down the issue? (Camera model, operating system specifications and hardware description) http://www.adobeforums.com/cgi-bin/webx/?14@934.gMyqi1vvPzI@.3bb5f0ec -TH]

  14. Dan Carter says:

    Had a little difficulty with the new codec and Vista. Soon after installing the codec, Vista’s search indexer began pegging my CPU and hanging. So bad I had to disable the indexer.A Microsoft tech on another forum mentioned several cases of the codec causing this issue. I uninstalled the codec and all it well.

  15. David Blake says:

    For those looking for 64 bit codecs, Ardfry continues to lead the way.DNG x64http://www.ardfry.com/dng-codecCR2 x64http://www.ardfry.com/cr2-codecNEF x64http://www.ardfry.com/nef-codec

  16. When do you suppose to release 64bit DNG Codec?[No schedule has been announced at this point. -TH]

  17. john_jk says:

    Great info about Vista DNG codec.What is the pros & cons of this codec? just likePros & cons of Video Codecs What is the licensing cost for such software codecs [John, the video codec analogy really doesn’t fit. And there’s no charge for using the DNG Codec. – TH]

  18. Something very infuriating is happening with Lightroom, and I am sure that I am not the only one running into this.In a nutshell, if you edit an image in LR, even using the sRGB color space, the image will not look anywhere near as good when viewed on a browser like Firefox or Internet Explorer, especially with regard to color quality and saturation.In other words, if you shoot in sRGB, edit in sRGB, and export in sRGB … the image will look great in LR, will look great in Safari, will look great in iPhoto, will look great in Preview … but will dramatically diminish in color quality if viewed in Firefox or Internet Explorer.If I set my color space to “Monitor RGB -iMac” in PhotoShop, then I get exactly what I see on-screen if Iexport a JPG and view it in web browsers or any other software.This makes sense, because I guess I’m telling it, “Use the same colorspace that my monitor uses.” Duh. So if I do my Photoshop work inthat color space, my exported JPG’s will look like they did to my eyewhen I created them.The first catch: LightRoom has no such option. It only has:sRGBProphotoAdobe RGBThe closest of those is sRGB, but we’ve seen how that loses saturationand warmth when exported, compared to the monitor. So as far as I cantell, there is no way to adjust something in LR and have it come outlooking in a web browser like it does on-screen during editing. Thisis infuriating.The second catch: If I did my work in Monitor RGB, and then laterwanted to make a print of the image, I may have sacrified some of thepotential quality by working in Monitor RGB which has less color rangeapparently than Adobe or Prophoto. I could still convert it to oneof those and make a nice print (I’m assuming), but perhaps not quiteas nice as I could have made if I worked in one of those modes allalong. On the other hand, if I worked in one of those modes, my webJPG’s would suck and that’s what I do with 99% of my images. But thisis a minor issue for me compared to the other.I’m starting to conclude: There is no way to work on an image that isdestined for both web and print without basically doing the worktwice. Once adjusted for the web, and once adjusted for print.And if I am working on an image for the web, I can get a very accurateappearance in PhotoShop by using the Monitor color space. But in LR Ihave no way of doing that. That’s the kicker. The best I can do in LRis sRGB, then export to PhotoShop and adjust it some more until I getthe look I want. Which kind of defeats the purpose of being able todo all this editing in LR!

  19. Joseph Chiang says:

    I recently took an NTFS formatted USB2 external hard drive that was being used to back up my PC laptop and connected it to a Mac. Afterwards, all image files were unreadable by Photoshop CS3, on either Mac or PC. I get a “not right kind of document” error message. Is there a way of recovering the image files?[Joseph, how is this related to the DNG spec or Vista Codec? -TH]

  20. Suman Chakrabarti says:

    At this point, I’ve decided that I’m no longer using Adobe’s DNG format until Adobe provides 64-bit support. I don’t understand why it hasn’t happened after a year, now, especially since Photoshop and Lightroom are 64-bit.Please tell me this is going to completed soon.[I assume you’re referring to a 64-bit DNG Codec. We are working on one. Is the Codec available for your proprietary format 64-bit compatible? From what I can see only Olympus is providing a 64-bit Codec. -TH]

  21. Nick says:

    Nikon’s NEF codec works in Windows 7 x64 (even though it only states 32-bit compatibility). So my NEFs are right there in Windows Explorer and Windows Live Photo Gallery, but my DNGs still aren’t. I’m with those who say that this is unacceptable. If DNG is universal and an “archival” standard, it needs to be something viewable by everyone, not just us with hundreds of dollars in Adobe software. The fact that Adobe is failing at this basic thing means I too am no longer using DNG.

  22. Ed says:

    Any new news on the expected release date of a 64-bit DNG Codec? I was converting to DNG for a while, but I don’t anymore. I shoot an Olympus so I keep my RAW files in .orf since I can see them.

  23. Eric Lawson says:

    It’s been well over 3 months since the last post here, are we any closer to a 64 bit codec??? This is taking WAYYYYY too long Adobe!

  24. Kevin says:

    Should we give up on waiting for an Adobe DNG codec for 64-bit Windows 7?

  25. Sarah says:

    It has been a long time waiting for the 64-bit DNG Codec. It has been long over due and people are waiting for updates. It was a great idea and probably solve lots of issues but people are waiting for too long.Sarah

  26. mike says:

    So much for the “universal” RAW format, cannot get a CODEC for XP, VISTA support has disappeared as well, so when Windows 8 comes out I’ll have to find another CODEC over and over again to view the “universal” file format for the rest of us, forget it. Will just keep using Nikon and Canon RAW formats, at least I get support. All my best images I convert to the existing universal file formats, TIFF and JPEG which, thank the powers Adobe can not mess with.

  27. Mike Rudinsky says:

    OK, I bought both Lightroom 3 and Photoshop CS5. I switch between my 64 bit home box and my traveling laptop running 32 Vista.

    I am now wondering whether I made the wrong decision switching from NEF to DNG. The posts on this board span three years. Three years? That is a technological lifetime!!!