Which Raw Format?

Started Oct 6, 2012 | Discussions thread
Barry Pearson
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Re: Which Raw Format?
In reply to awaldram, Oct 12, 2012

awaldram wrote:

Now lets imagine a raw converter software is coming to the market , What formats do you think will be must haves and what optional.?

I can find you many converters that either do not or only partially support DNG can you find me any that don;t support Nef and Cr2 ?? (for this exercise you have to ignore converters from Adobe,Canon and Nikon)

So given the obvious that DNG is a fringe format how can you possibly recommend it as an Archival format ?

It seem ludicrous to me and very dangerous to advance DNG as an format to archive data, If the image is crucial and has to be editable in 100 years time jpg is safest followed by TIFF.

Until DNG is controlled and operated by a consortium it will always be  subject to the vagaries of it master (Adobe) so in my eyes cannot be considered an open protocol.

There is no such things as "supporting NEF" or supporting "CR2"! Neither of those is a self-contained file format that can be properly exploited without reference to camera-model details that are not within the file.

That is why there is always a delay in support, by raw conversion software, of new Nikon and Canon camera models. The software developers have to obtain those details from somewhere, typically by testing a live model of the camera. Then they have to build those camera details into their software. So the software supports a D800 or a 650D or whatever.

These camera details are held within a DNG file, a unique characteristic of DNG. This is what makes DNG a true archival raw file format, and why it is the only one. Here are more examples than you probably wanted to know:
DNG and camera innovation

I have been studying this topic for most of the last 8 years. That doesn't mean guessing and taking other people's word for it. It means testing lots of software products with lots of native and DNG raw files to see what works in what circumstances. It means using file-analysis tools (from the DNG SDK and various others) and examining the match between know camera characteristics and DNGs and others. It means changing DNG and other files with a hex-editor to see the effect on software products. It means studying the specifications for DNG, TIFF, TIFF-EP, and various other relevant formats. It means evalutaing the use of DNG by various archival units throughout the world.

I am confident that anyone else who had performed similar research and analysis would have compatible views. But there are only a few such people outside Adobe, one or two of whom post here, so I've published my results on my website, 30 or more large pages at the above links, so that other people don't have to. Here is my history of studing DNG:
The origins of these pages

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