Do you convert NEF to DNG?

Started May 22, 2012 | Discussions
konoplya
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Do you convert NEF to DNG?
May 22, 2012

if you do, for what reason other than to reduce file size?

also, is any information lost during the conversion or not? i mean image information, not metadata etc.

thank you in advance.

Jan Morales
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Re: Do you convert NEF to DNG?
In reply to konoplya, May 22, 2012

I convert all my raw files to DNG on import. I started years ago when Bridge was my image library because I didn't like the separate XMP sidecar files that got created during processing. I was also sympathetic to the argument that DNG is an open format that is less likely to be orphaned. When Lightroom came around it made the conversion on import fully automatic and effortless.

I imagine a scientist or extreme pixel peeper could determine if there is real image quality loss converting to DNG, but I have never felt like anything was missing from my images.

By the way, in my experience the file size savings are minimal, at least for the cameras that I have used. File size was not a reason why I started converting to DNG.

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beshannon
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Re: Do you convert NEF to DNG?
In reply to konoplya, May 22, 2012

konoplya wrote:

Do you convert NEF to DNG?
if you do, for what reason other than to reduce file size?

To process the file

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mwphotog
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Re: Do you convert NEF to DNG?
In reply to konoplya, May 22, 2012

Always. Smaller file size, no sidecar files to keep track of, NO loss of image quality....so, why not?

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ThePaleRider
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Re: Do you convert NEF to DNG?
In reply to konoplya, May 22, 2012

konoplya wrote:

if you do, for what reason other than to reduce file size?

also, is any information lost during the conversion or not? i mean image information, not metadata etc.

thank you in advance.

Eventually, each old camera's RAW file format will fall off the list of those supported by the processing software, meaning that you will have to run an older version of the processing software if you want to be able to continue to view them or process them.

Eventually, that processing software will no longer be supported by the latest operating system, so you will have maintain a legacy operating system just for your raw processing application.

Eventually, support for that legacy OS will be withdrawn and you will not be able to find the hardware to run it.

What then?

No camera maker guarantees to support any of their file formats for ever, so it all boils down to how long you want to look at your digital files for. Five years? Maybe ten is closer to the mark, but I doubt whether you will be able to open D800 NEFs in fifteen or twenty years.

Now, whether being tied to an Adobe format (albeit a supposedly "open" one at the moment) is any more comforting, I don't know, but something is needed. Clearly.

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tankahn
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Re: Do you convert NEF to DNG?
In reply to mwphotog, May 22, 2012

My FastStone Image View (version 4.6) would not display the new LR4 compressed dng files properly so there might be some compatibility issues. Better stick with nef instead of getting a nasty surprise down the road.

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Russell Proulx
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Re: Do you convert NEF to DNG?
In reply to konoplya, May 22, 2012

konoplya wrote:

if you do, for what reason other than to reduce file size?

If you embed the original NEF in the DNG then the file size is not larger. I prefer to keep the file my camera created as that's the only true 'original'.

I don't think there will ever be a image format that cannot be opened and used because it was not converted to DNG. Any historian who might care will find a way and there will be no problems my lifetime. For all I know I might prefer to one day use Nikon's own software if it's the best one to use with Nikon files.

I prefer sidecar XMP files and it makes backing up my edits that much easier. I only have to move tiny XMP files to my backup media rather than HUGE DNG or NEF files. If ever there's a write error it won't affect the original.

Them's my 2 cents

R

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konoplya
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Re: Do you convert NEF to DNG?
In reply to konoplya, May 22, 2012

these are all interesting perspectives, thank you all for contributing.

is there software that you like the most for the conversion?

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calson
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Re: Do you convert NEF to DNG?
In reply to konoplya, May 22, 2012

Meta data is definitely lost with the translation to DNG which is important with the D800 and a number of its exposure features.

It is really quite silly to take the time to do the conversion to save space with a 1TB hard drive selling for under $100. DNG is also "open" in the sense that Adobe has published the spec but it is by no means a universal file format.

Worry more about the availability of hard drives as standards change. IDE are no very difficult to find and the same will happen with SATA in 10 years time. And even if the enclosure has a Ethernet or USB port the drive itself will be IDE/eSATA/whatever.

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Russell Proulx
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Re: Do you convert NEF to DNG?
In reply to Russell Proulx, May 22, 2012

Russell Proulx wrote:

Correction (typo): If you embed the original NEF in the DNG then the file size IS LARGER.

fwiw: I still prefer Bridge/ACR for my processing as it works better with my own workflow.

R

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Alejandro Daz del Ro Fery
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No ... Re: Do you convert NEF to DNG?
In reply to konoplya, May 22, 2012

konoplya wrote:

these are all interesting perspectives, thank you all for contributing.

The only present universal file format is the TIFF, but I use NEF and/or JPEG, managed by ViewNX2 and/or CaptureNX2.

is there software that you like the most for the conversion?

-- hide signature --

Un saludo.

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Kaj E
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In reply to konoplya, May 22, 2012

I use Capture NX2 to process my NEFs. If I need to continue in Photoshop I do it on a 16-bit tiff.

In my opinion Capture NX2 is a better NEF converter than ACR. The NEF is saved with all edit steps (including Color Efex Pro edits) completely reversible and non-destructive. I can save several edits of the NEF in the same file. No sidecar files.
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Mato34
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I use ACR but never convert to DNG
In reply to konoplya, May 22, 2012

Let's say you converted your raw files to DNG.

Do you want to process them using some DNG capable program? No problem.

Do you want to process them using Nikon Capture? Uuuuoooopss!!...

Let's say you didn't converted your raw files to DNG and kept original NEFs.

Do you want to process them using Nikon Capture? No problem.

Do you want to process them using some "only DNG" capable program? Well, convert them to DNG at the moment using the DNG Converter that you downloaded once, and... no problem.

I see no problem keeping original NEFs, but I can see one when converting them to DNG and erasing NEFs...

Saludos!

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Please, excuse my poor english...

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Patrick McMahon
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Re: Do you convert NEF to DNG?
In reply to konoplya, May 22, 2012

As someone who loved the .NEF container, DNG originally appealed to me, but using Lightroom pretty much took that away. I think the side care file is great because it doesn't mess with my .NEF if I want to open it in NX2. (there is still a part of me that believes there will be an NX3 - silly me )

I also move my files from within LR and have metadata updated, so I am not scared of 'losing' a sidecar file. I completely understand that it is possible, just not something I found plausible in my work-flow and computer use.

Furthermore, as mentioned, storage is cheap.

But - perhaps the most persuasive for me, is having become a NAPP member and discovering a lot of the Adobe pros not using it. And the ones that do, do not point to a convincing argument.

Great idea, good luck and keep us posted.

ThePaleRider wrote:

No camera maker guarantees to support any of their file formats for ever, so it all boils down to how long you want to look at your digital files for. Five years? Maybe ten is closer to the mark, but I doubt whether you will be able to open D800 NEFs in fifteen or twenty years.

This I don't follow...

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tarnish
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In reply to konoplya, May 22, 2012

Not because DNG is "compact". It's because the TIFF alternative is obese.

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konoplya
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Re: Do you convert NEF to DNG?
In reply to konoplya, May 22, 2012

i mostly use NX2 also to mess with NEF files before exporting to photoshop. i never thought about NX2 not being able to work with DNG files. good point as someone mentioned. ACR and lightroom automatically assign their profiles to the raw file which i don't like.

i think i've just made my decision to not bother converting to DNG for now

thanks guys!!

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Joesiv
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Re: Do you convert NEF to DNG?
In reply to ThePaleRider, May 22, 2012

ThePaleRider wrote:

Eventually, each old camera's RAW file format will fall off the list of those supported by the processing software, meaning that you will have to run an older version of the processing software if you want to be able to continue to view them or process them.

You think?

It's funny several of my old discontinued cameras still are fully supported by lightroom (ACR) (Nikon Coolpix5000 from 2002 for example).

The way I understood it is, once a profile has been created and put on the list, it isn't removed. Why would they?

It's actually the other end of the chain that is more concerning, new cameras with that need new profiles, are they supported, and when, and will you be forced to upgrade to the newer photoshop/lightroom to view them.

I used to convert to DNG with my old RAW files since compressed RAW was a feature of DNG and not of older NEF's and panasonic .RAW files, not to mention that newer bodies that I bought were out of "support" for older adobe software. But actually now I don't, I keep them in NEF. I may have to go back to DNG if I get one of the new Nikon bodies though :S since Adobe seems to be forcing the upgrade again...

Kudos to Pentax and such companies for natively supporting DNG as their raw format, thus avoiding such choices.
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tdptdp
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Re: Do you convert NEF to DNG?
In reply to konoplya, May 22, 2012

I need the sidecars, so no. I might process one shot three different ways, and as long as I've got the NEF and the sidecar, I can copy the NEF without the sidecar to a new directory and begin again with the original data.

I could do the same, I suppose, by keeping a reference DNG somewhere, but it's easier for me with NEFs.

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KenEis
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Re: No ... Re: Do you convert NEF to DNG?
In reply to Alejandro Daz del Ro Fery, May 23, 2012

Apparently NX2 does not recognize DNG
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Skipper494
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Re: Do you convert NEF to DNG?
In reply to konoplya, May 23, 2012

No. I convert to tiiff and process, saving as tiff, then produce whatever jpegs I need.

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