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Adobe expands DNG format with inclusion of smaller, Lossy DNG option

By dpreview staff on Oct 5, 2012 at 20:52 GMT

Alongside its ACR and Lightroom updates, Adobe has extended the specifications of the DNG format, including the creation of a more compact, Lossy DNG option. The format has also been extended to respect in-camera cropping and allow for the inclusion of full HDR data and the non-image areas around merged panoramas. We spoke to Lightroom Product Manager, Tom Hogarty, about the changes made in v1.4 and the reasons behind them.

Probably the biggest change is the inclusion of a lossy DNG format, which Hogarty pitches as being a middle ground between JPEG and full Raw. 'If you look at the output of a [Canon EOS] 5D Mark II, its Raw files are about 25MB, while its JPEGs are about 6MB. The difference in quality and capability between the two is significant enough that many photographers are happy to put up with the additional demands of the larger files.'

'Lossy DNG allows something in-between the two in terms of size but retains the flexibility in terms of adjusting White Balance and preserving detail,' he explains: 'For example, the out-takes from a wedding shoot, that the photographer is unlikely to ever be able to sell or make any money from. This gives them a way of reducing the amount of storage space they need, but they still have the file if they do ever need it.'

'It's based on standard JPEG compression. What's lost is some of the range of the adjustments you can make - if a file is four or five stops underexposed, you'll find it's not quite as flexible as the full file. You can still do a lot, though and it's only in extreme case that you might notice.' he says.

'Lossy DNG allows something in-between Raw and JPEG in terms of size but retains the flexibility in terms of adjusting White Balance and preserving detail'

The amount of compression in the Lossy DNG is fixed, yielding files that are typically around a third of the size of Standard DNGs. There's also an option to reduce the pixel size of the file when you create a Lossy DNG, giving what Adobe is calling DNG Proxies. These make it possible to create more readily portable and shareable files with Raw-like processing flexibility.

Beyond this, the v1.4 specifications also add the ability to record details of a crop that should be applied to the Raw data (such as a camera shooting its non-native aspect ratio, but capturing the whole sensor's data). This crop can later be over-ridden (and option available using the 'DNG recover edges' plugin for Lightroom), but means the starting point for processing is the one you selected at the time of shooting.

In addition, DNG v1.4 files can include 32-bit floating-point data, allowing them to retain all the information from multiple Raw files combined as part of an HDR process. 32-bit floating-point data allows the retention of hundreds of stops-worth of dynamic range information. Another change that allows the data from multiple files to be combined in a single DNG is the ability to include undefined (or transparent) pixels, such as the non-image areas around a merger panorama.

Both changes come from Adobe looking forward, Hogarty says: 'It's where the industry is going. No cameras or software yet offer this, but we can imagine them wanting to.' And this coincides with Adobe's continued efforts to see DNG accepted as an industry standard - 'we talk to a lot of manufacturers and other software makers to find out what they want - we take a lot of feedback and look to maintain an open dialogue on the directions DNG should develop in.'

Comments

Total comments: 127
Osvaldo Cristo
By Osvaldo Cristo (Oct 18, 2012)

DNG is not an industry standard (as JPEG, for example). It looks one more format for raw files aggressively suported and promoted by Adobe. I prefer to stay with the camera manufacturer format yet.

On the other hand Adobe trying to impose their "standard" offers translation from camera manufacturers custom format to theirs (but not vice-versa). One more reason to stay with the camera manufacturer original format.

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
0 upvotes
sproketholes
By sproketholes (Oct 11, 2012)

Id be really curious to know what anyones take is on its malleability with a Fuji X-Pro1 X-Trans RAF file after conversion.
Im assuming that their testing was done with the most popular cameras using the most popular sensor designs based on Beyer Pattern sensors.

Anyone out there with a copy of LR4.2 and an X-Pro1 who would volunteer a test and post their findings?

1 upvote
bebgsurg
By bebgsurg (Oct 9, 2012)

What happened to Microsofts' JPEG XR format. It was lossy or lossless and was quick for the computers to process. I thought it would be a good improvement over JPEG but it didn't catch on. Why?

0 upvotes
alan_potter
By alan_potter (Oct 8, 2012)

So... to use this format, you need to upgrade to CS6 or the latest Lightroom.

Which means it's a device to drive revenue.

That's fine, Adobe is a commercial organisation. But it might be a little less disingenuous to admit that, rather than pretend it's an attempt to produce an industry standard.

0 upvotes
Lee Jay
By Lee Jay (Oct 9, 2012)

It is an attempt to produce an industry standard, and they offer the standard for free and offer their own DNG converter for free.

2 upvotes
alan_potter
By alan_potter (Oct 9, 2012)

All of which would be lovely if they didn't then force you to up-rev to the latest version of their software in order to USE the files!

1 upvote
nells1821
By nells1821 (Oct 8, 2012)

I NEED HELP IM LOST I NEED TO SAVE A FILE AS DNG BUT DIDNT SHOOT IN RAW ... CAN I STILL SAVE IT AS A DNG ON CS5.5? PLEASE HELP

0 upvotes
guyfawkes
By guyfawkes (Oct 11, 2012)

This won't be possible. DNG converts camera RAW files only.

1 upvote
wkay
By wkay (Oct 8, 2012)

So will an original DNG archive still work in 100 years as was the intent. Looks like the spec is already migrating away.

0 upvotes
Lee Jay
By Lee Jay (Oct 9, 2012)

They are backward compatible. That is, the latest converter can generated DNGs for the previous versions (obviously without the new features), and the new applications can process the old DNGs.

2 upvotes
DougRight
By DougRight (Oct 8, 2012)

Ashamedly, jpg and a fairly predictable camera almost gets me all I need. Lossy RAW pegs exactly what I want - white balance control a chance at recovery all at a minimal cost beyond jpg storage. Bravo!

0 upvotes
Matthew Miller
By Matthew Miller (Oct 8, 2012)

No need for shame. If it works for you, you're winning.

1 upvote
TOF guy
By TOF guy (Oct 7, 2012)

Thank you Adobe for this initiative. I hope Adobe will continue in this regard and have a look at how Biking does lossy compression. The pixels values are rounded only in mid-tones and highlights. The differemces due to rounding are always kept much smaller than the unavoidable noise from counting statistics ("shot noise"). The storage savings are less but these is loss whatsoever in image quality.

1 upvote
duartix
By duartix (Oct 7, 2012)

What is the support for this novelties outside the Adobe Ecosystem? I don't use LR, I'm a Capture One user but anything that can come close to JPEG filesizes with most of the RAW flexibility is a good move in my book.

1 upvote
Lee Jay
By Lee Jay (Oct 7, 2012)

Because the spec is public, Phase One could choose to support it. Of course, they won't unless their users want them to.

0 upvotes
Glen Barrington
By Glen Barrington (Oct 7, 2012)

Capture one doesn't HAVE to support this. Bibble never supported it in spite of user demand and look where they are today!

0 upvotes
Severn Bore
By Severn Bore (Oct 7, 2012)

Is it possible to create a DNG version while also keeping the RAW original? If so how is this done on Lightroom? Advice please.

0 upvotes
paulwright
By paulwright (Oct 7, 2012)

Ummm is this new? I've had the option of converting to lossy DNG for months now with the free Adobe DNG converter. It's quite useful.

1 upvote
AV Janus
By AV Janus (Oct 6, 2012)

Apart from the cool smaller files option I find the HDR and in camera crop retaining a much more useful features!

I just wished more manufacturers offered DNG as shooting option.
Who does support it?
Or are we gonna have to wait 3zears for Leica's new M to see this in real life?

1 upvote
Andrew Booth
By Andrew Booth (Oct 6, 2012)

Seems like a good addition to the standard. I often shoot 15GB of pictures in a half day, and I don't like deleting images.

If I could tell Lightroom to re-compress any image that didn't make at least a star in my rating system, I'd probably save half my storage, and that would be a big win.

1 upvote
hehejo
By hehejo (Oct 8, 2012)

Hello Andrew,

filter your files in Lightroom (e.g. <= 2 stars) and go to »Library->Convert to DNG«. Choose »convert to lossy compression«…

@via http://protogtech.com/adobe-lightroom/lightroom-4s-new-dng-spec-allows-lossy-compression/

0 upvotes
T3
By T3 (Oct 6, 2012)

How's the highlight recovery and dynamic range on these lossy DNG's? If that data is gone, then that defeats a big advantage of shooting RAW in the first place.

Frankly, if you want to reduce RAW file size, just shoot M-RAW (if you're a Canon shooter). Not every image needs to be shot at 18+ mp, especially if you're not printing really big (or not printing at all). M-RAW on an 18mp Canon gives you a 10mp image, which is plenty of resolution for an 11x14 print.

0 upvotes
Lee Jay
By Lee Jay (Oct 6, 2012)

The dynamic range is largely unchanged by the process. It scales its own range to the range in the image.

These are vastly superior to mraw. They are full-res, linear, and scene-referenced. mraw only has one of those (linear).

Comment edited 44 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
Lee Jay
By Lee Jay (Oct 7, 2012)

By the way, they don't have to be full-res, they can be downsampled as well, if you like.

0 upvotes
paulwright
By paulwright (Oct 7, 2012)

I've been using lossy DNG for months now. mRAW does have its place, but lossy DNG gets useful for crunching down the out-takes from a job. For me these are files that just might need to be recalled at some future date. Previously they would have been dumped in my studio. Full size DNG files from the "keepers" are retained.

1 upvote
JoshKline
By JoshKline (Oct 6, 2012)

Seems like a good idea. As a working professional photographer though I use JPEG 95% of the time. JPEG's can be edited fine for most of my editorial, corporate and event work.

1 upvote
Photomonkey
By Photomonkey (Oct 6, 2012)

Hooray!!!! Something new to whine about. Just when we were getting tired of complaining about prices, specs and manufacturer strategies we can carp about file formats.
Thanks Adobe for giving us new life in the online whine country.

3 upvotes
servic
By servic (Oct 6, 2012)

I thought it should take at least 1000 years till camera designers would have eventually started supporting jpeg2000 but now I see that something a lot more useful is coming.

1 upvote
Dan Ortego
By Dan Ortego (Oct 6, 2012)

Boring as hell subject but I read the comments and learned a lot, so thanks!

0 upvotes
Barney Britton
By Barney Britton (Oct 6, 2012)

We aim to please.

3 upvotes
DuncanDovovan
By DuncanDovovan (Oct 6, 2012)

Nobody is forced to use this. So keep on using your proprietary RAW if you want.. Keep on using normal DNG if you want. Hell, keep on using TIFF or JPG if you want!

Adobe is just desperately trying to make DNG a standard that suits everybody.

For the guy who wanted to use lossy DNG for dark frames for astrophotography: that is a very bad idea. The quality of Astro-stackers entirely depends on knowledge about the sensor. Save your end result as TIFF.

1 upvote
gl2k
By gl2k (Oct 6, 2012)

Great idea because storage is soooo expensive. LOL
2 TB about €100

0 upvotes
fuego6
By fuego6 (Oct 6, 2012)

Its not all about storage... for those with "older" machines that aren't i7's, processing 25MB RAW files can be a test in patience... if I can get pretty similar results with a 12 MB file that takes 3-4 minutes less per image to process.... sign me up!

3 upvotes
Lee Jay
By Lee Jay (Oct 6, 2012)

Try internal storage in a laptop. The biggest drives are 1TB - not much help if you've got 5TB of files.

4 upvotes
andrewD2
By andrewD2 (Oct 6, 2012)

Enterprise class drives are double that cost.
I have 2x 3TB manually mirrored on this machine, another copy goes on an external and similar at another location. Storage isn't that cheap.
I also like to keep a copy of unculled sets, just incase gran dies and they ask if there were any more of her that didn't make the cut. That set I've converted to lossy DNGs, the quality is very good, I can pull them apart to tell the difference but its quite hard on most images.
There are other reasons, you could upload a lossy reduce size DNG for someone to else to adjust and get back the .xmps. Save hours uploading a full set of images on the average connection.
The new option is great, you don't have to use it if you haven't got a good reason.

0 upvotes
gl2k
By gl2k (Oct 6, 2012)

@fuego6
After the PC has read the file into memory it gets expanded to its full size = no advantage in processing

2 upvotes
gl2k
By gl2k (Oct 6, 2012)

@ljfinger
Every modern laptop has USB 3.0
You can attach as man USB drives as you want which then can read data very fast.

0 upvotes
Lee Jay
By Lee Jay (Oct 6, 2012)

I have one (three, actually). Carrying around a multi-disk array of 3.5" disks kind of defeats the purpose of having a laptop.

I use my eSATA and USB 3 disks as backups only.

0 upvotes
Matthew Miller
By Matthew Miller (Oct 8, 2012)

Robust, business-class storage costs something like 10¢/month per gigabyte. For real. That €100 stand-alone drive is just one part in a big system.

0 upvotes
zlatko
By zlatko (Oct 8, 2012)

The lossy DNG sounds like a great idea! Storage isn't expensive, but it's not free either. I shot 250GB of Raw files in the last 3 days, and that's using a lot of mRAW. I already have dozens of hard drives taking up space, so I'm not eager to buy more of them.

0 upvotes
dpreviewblog
By dpreviewblog (Oct 6, 2012)

Next strange Adobe's decision around DNG... BTW... Why I never shoot in DNG-format and d't use this format as archival for images - http://www.libraw.org/articles/2-ways-to-nowhere.html

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
1 upvote
PicOne
By PicOne (Oct 6, 2012)

Interesting article.. from how I read this, it seems the original DNG format is already lossy; apparently this new format is even more lossy.

0 upvotes
Lee Jay
By Lee Jay (Oct 6, 2012)

The Library of Congress only includes one raw format in their list of archival raw formats - DNG. It's not lossy, and it's the only one that's publicly documented.

0 upvotes
PicOne
By PicOne (Oct 6, 2012)

Library of Congress = authority on archival raw file properties? Maybe because Adobe is one of a very few companies that are US based that have created a raw format?

Comment edited 43 seconds after posting
1 upvote
Lee Jay
By Lee Jay (Oct 6, 2012)

"Library of Congress = authority on archival raw file properties?"

Yes, that's correct. Note the name of the web site.

http://www.digitalpreservation.gov/formats/fdd/fdd000188.shtml

0 upvotes
win39
By win39 (Oct 6, 2012)

re: 2 ways to nowhere
Never trust any article outside of a theoretical physics text that uses the term entropy, or "armature" when amateur is meant. The first is used to put you in your place and the second just shows sloppiness. Seriously, there is nothing to be learned from someone who uses "put down" rather than explanations when questions are asked.

2 upvotes
Button Pusher
By Button Pusher (Oct 6, 2012)

A lossy RAW format seems to be a contradiction in terms as isn't the primary reason that you store and keep RAW files because they are lossless so that you can always revert to all the information that was captured in the original shot in the first place?

2 upvotes
Joe Bowers
By Joe Bowers (Oct 6, 2012)

As he clearly explained, the lossy format is for long-term storage of less important photos. For your important shots, use the lossless format.

2 upvotes
Lee Jay
By Lee Jay (Oct 6, 2012)

Think of it as a drastically improved version of mraw/sraw.

1 upvote
Button Pusher
By Button Pusher (Oct 7, 2012)

I'm not knocking the merit of any new lossy image format, but moreso suggesting that it have a different name/extension so that there is no possibility that anyone would be saving as lossy when expecting it to be saved as lossless. If I save an image as GIF, I know that it will be limited color depth, if I save an image as PNG, I know that it will be a lossless format with certain limitations, and so forth. The DN in DNg = Digital Negative' which implies 'lossless' and has been up until now. The new change is needlessly confusing.

Comment edited 37 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
StanRogers
By StanRogers (Oct 7, 2012)

No, you don't know much about a PNG file based only on its extension. Is it paletted or full-colour? What is the bit depth? Is there transparency, and if so, is it indexed or alpha? And there are lossy PNG implementations as well (whether they'll be folded into the standard is under discussion), as well as ways to do lossy transformations from PNG-32 (full-colour plus alpha) to a reduced-depth paletted image with alpha transparency. PNG just tells you what standard to look at; you need to look inside the file to see which parts of the standard were used.

1 upvote
Button Pusher
By Button Pusher (Oct 8, 2012)

Would one format/extension for all graphics files of all types would be a good idea? Should all files have the same format (word processing/spreadsheet/programming/graphics) and the same extension? Maybe all files could have the same name and the OS would have to dig into their metadata to figure out what was going on inside. There are reasons we use different filenames and extentions for file and they start with clarity. Call the lossless format of the Digital Negative Graphics format DNG and the lossy DNL or DLG and things are much clearer for humans, who use the files. Less ambiguity. From the PNG spec "There is no lossy compression in PNG. Existing formats such as JFIF already handle lossy compression well. Furthermore, available lossy compression methods (e.g., JPEG) are far from foolproof --- a poor choice of quality level can ruin an image. To avoid user confusion and unintentional loss of information, we feel it is best to keep lossy and lossless formats strictly separate."

0 upvotes
Shamael
By Shamael (Oct 6, 2012)

what camera manufacturers should do is selecting a unique format, DNG is ok, but one that offers loss-less compressed raw, smallest file-size and that has for ever the same base information and can be opened with all photo workflow and raw converter soft. This would also resolve this stupid racket to have to buy a new PS or Phase one soft every time a few new cameras appear. All they have to do is update the base information to match the development.

0 upvotes
Shamael
By Shamael (Oct 6, 2012)

I had some cameras in view I am interested in, but those can only open with CS6, and for that I have to change my computer. Photoshop memory leak is tree times more important in CS6 than in CS5. Before CS5 updated to the last version and latest CR, the soft worked ok. Now, every 3 to 6 pictures, depends on what I rework, I have to close and reopen PS, and, Adobe does nothing against that, it just gets worse. One can not tell me that with a 2.3 gig quad-core and a 3.2 gig ram in 32 bit, it is not possible to work continuously, it worked before, why does it not work after the last update and runs out of RAM all time.

0 upvotes
Thomas Traub
By Thomas Traub (Oct 6, 2012)

I have an old computer with WIN XP and a PS 4. For my new cams I change the RAWs to Adobes DNG by using the free DNG-Converter. Then every Programm and also the older versions of PS can read the files.
I don't want to by new software only because I've got a new cam.

0 upvotes
Lee Jay
By Lee Jay (Oct 6, 2012)

DNGs are losslessly compressed already. This lossy compression is a new option.

1 upvote
Noirist
By Noirist (Oct 6, 2012)

Why don't they offer lossless compressed? That's a no brainer for anyone who shoots RAW.

0 upvotes
Lee Jay
By Lee Jay (Oct 6, 2012)

That's how they are in the first place.

10 upvotes
Barry Pearson
By Barry Pearson (Oct 6, 2012)

For interest, DNG uses the same type of lossless compression as Canon's CR2 format. Dave Coffin's "dcraw" uses the same code for both.

0 upvotes
LWW
By LWW (Oct 6, 2012)

I see this as a practical storage for raw files. I will still shoot full DNG, as I have done with Pentax for a few years now, flick those rejects and store the keepers as the the lossy format. Still gives me the full blown option in the first instance and a better store and editing option there after.

1 upvote
ddolde
By ddolde (Oct 6, 2012)

Why compromise ?

1 upvote
Model Mike
By Model Mike (Oct 6, 2012)

They're not compromising, just offering us and the camera manufacturers more choice. Standards have to keep pace with needs.

3 upvotes
12x
By 12x (Oct 6, 2012)

I wish adobe would include a 16 bit lossy format. That way you could retain the full dynamic range and it wouldn't be very expensive in terms of space. 16 bit JPEG is not significantly bigger than 8 bit.

I would like to use it for archiving scanned negatives. I like to scan them at 7200 DPI and then do some noise reduction. Then convert to a lossy format for archieving. The process is: Scan at high resolution to 16 bit TIFF, then noise reduction, then conversion to 16 bit JPEG - this gives much better output than scanning at lower resolution with same archive file size.

For those who say: Why use a lossy format? First the files can easily get to 100 MB each. 20 years to negatives takes up a lot of space. Secondly, you digital camera already does the same. In general there is a little bit of noise reduction done before data is written to RAW files.

0 upvotes
DaveMarx
By DaveMarx (Oct 5, 2012)

Anyone remember the Y2K Bug? Data storage costs were so high in the day that they dropped two digits off dates (12/31/1972 vs. 12/31/72). The cost of storage continues to drop dramatically. So, if you shoot about a Terabyte's worth of images a year, why worry about what that'll be costing you even a few years from now? Pixel density is not growing nearly as fast as storage prices drop, so even if file sizes increase, there will still be savings.

I don't see many RAW-shooters stepping down to a lossy format, but Lossy DNG could be very appealing to JPG-shooters looking to step up. I also think it has a better chance of being adopted as an in-camera option than "full" DNG.

More intriguing to me is the 32-bit floating point capability. Let's call this "extended dynamic range," rather than HDR - it can encompass sensors with greater dynamic range, as well as in-camera processing of multiple, bracketed exposures. Gotta look to the future!

1 upvote
Model Mike
By Model Mike (Oct 6, 2012)

It's not just a question of storage cost. Backup times and performance are also issues with collections of very large files.

1 upvote
theyowlingcat
By theyowlingcat (Oct 6, 2012)

Cost of storage matters to me as I have gone from shooting JPG on a 6MP camera to RAW on a 24MP one over the past decade. I have hundreds of thousands of RAW photos that I need to keep backed up. Storage remains a significant business cost. This will give me an alternative.

0 upvotes
mu55
By mu55 (Oct 5, 2012)

I've been using the lossy compression for a while now (since the beta release) and when uploading RAW's over FTP it's making a difference of about 5 hours, meaning i don't need to leave my computer on over night - fantastic.

I have also been using it as the text above suggests - compressing the unused images of a wedding so they take up less space (i previously converted them to JPEG after making minor adjustments - which has never been an issue either)

and sorry - but if your underexposing your images by 4~5 stops you should probably look for another career... I can usually guess the exposure closer than that before i even open my camera bag.

0 upvotes
G Davidson
By G Davidson (Oct 5, 2012)

Sounds very good. Major reasons to use Raw for me are white balance corrections, adding my own choice of sharpening and, of course, more flexibility with exposure. In all these cases, a lossy Raw would be a lot more useful than a jpeg and these days Raw files are just getting too big to store, growing at a much faster rate than hard drive sizes.

I think all manufacturers should include a 'save to DNG' option, as the format will definitely be more survivable than their jumble of proprietary ones. Or it's part, if Adobe is going to have newer versions that are incompatible with their older software, there should be free tools to 'convert' them to be usable. It's not much of an open format if there aren't free tools avaliable to access it.

Comment edited 6 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
Barry Pearson
By Barry Pearson (Oct 6, 2012)

There have been at least 290 products that support DNG in some way from at least 250 companies. That includes a number of DNG converters - the Adobe DNG converters are not the only ones.

0 upvotes
sigala1
By sigala1 (Oct 6, 2012)

"adding my own choice of sharpening"

Yes, one of my biggest annoyances at out-of-camera JPEGs is that they have sharpening which can't be turned off (even when dialed down) and introduces sharpening halos which you are stuck with.

0 upvotes
l_d_allan
By l_d_allan (Oct 5, 2012)

Something odd I've noticed about "compressed lossy dng" ... with a dark frame (or "star trails") from a Canon 5dm2, the file ends up significantly larger than uncompressed. I'm curious if anyone else has observed this.

0 upvotes
StanRogers
By StanRogers (Oct 7, 2012)

The problem you're experiencing is that there is nothing compressible in your image(s) in any real sense. Unlike a normal scene, where you can look at adjacent pixels and say "these aren't so very different", and there are areas of smooth tonality where the compression scheme can describe things as "really light blue here, a bit darker blue over there... fill in the blanks, please", you have an image composed almost entirely of pixels that are different from their neighbours in unpredictable ways. Since the compressed files consist of descriptions of how the pixels differ, when the difference description takes more "words" than describing the individual pixels, the file will be bigger. You'll find the same sort of thing applies to zipping a zip file; all the redundancy has already been removed, so all the re-zip adds is a lot of "this sentence is unique" statements to the story.

0 upvotes
Uaru
By Uaru (Oct 5, 2012)

DNG as Digital Negative is OK.
If it is lossy, it is no longer a Digital Negative in my opinion. The idea of Digital Negative is to retain all information.

They should have renamed it completely.

7 upvotes
Barry Pearson
By Barry Pearson (Oct 6, 2012)

It's an option, not compulsory.

1 upvote
Lee Jay
By Lee Jay (Oct 6, 2012)

DNGs have long been able to store JPEGs too.

1 upvote
RedDog Steve
By RedDog Steve (Oct 5, 2012)

JUST SAY NO ! to lossy formats.
Adobe will ruin the future of .dng.
The whole idea was to have a 'future-proof' open archival format.
Compression is OK, but lossy compression is not.

rd

Comment edited 16 seconds after posting
5 upvotes
Lee Jay
By Lee Jay (Oct 6, 2012)

A lot of my "negatives" (originals) are JPEGs for reasons of size. Would you rather have JPEGs are your originals or lossy-compressed raws?

0 upvotes
sigala1
By sigala1 (Oct 6, 2012)

"Adobe will ruin the future of .dng."

Adobe is offering this as an OPTION and not something you have to do. Adobe is making DNG better by making it more versatile.

1 upvote
Jim Evidon
By Jim Evidon (Oct 5, 2012)

DNG has all of the advantages of all other formats and none of the disadvantages, since it is an open format. For those who are committed to their camera proprietary formats nothing more can be said. Serious photographers use post processing in LR, CS, DXO, etc. and find it damned annoying that every time they buy a new camera, they have to wait until these excellent processing engines incorporate yet a new format among another 1000 or so other proprietary formats. Surely camera manufacturers, Leica and Pentax excepting, should realize by now that serious photographers do not use their clunky proprietary processors that they supply with their cameras. But I suppose it is like p-----g in the wind to say this. As the saying goes, you can't teach a pig to sing. it's a waste of time and it annoys the pig.

6 upvotes
Jim Cockfield
By Jim Cockfield (Oct 5, 2012)

You've got to be kidding ("none of the disadvantages...")

I've already seen issues where users didn't select the correct compatibility options with the DNG Converter to allow older versions of Adobe Camera RAW to work with files converted to DNG, because newer conversion options wont' work with some of the older Camera Raw Plugins..

DNG is just another file format that's going to cause confusion.

Camera owners are much better off sticking to their camera's native RAW format, versus trying to convert to DNG and hoping that the software they want to use supports the latest DNG format they converted to.

At least that way, they know that the original format as produced by the camera is intact, versus trying to choose between multiple DNG formats that may or may not be compatible with the software they're trying to use to view/edit those files.

1 upvote
nixda
By nixda (Oct 5, 2012)

DNG in fact is a container, not a file format per se. Any manufacturer can decide what information to put in that container. There is no standard. It's better to stick with the original file, because in many cases, conversion to DNG does introduce artifacts. There is a reason Aperture doesn't support DNG - it's because DNG is not a widely accepted, agreed upon standard.

1 upvote
Patco
By Patco (Oct 5, 2012)

nixda wrote: "There is a reason Aperture doesn't support DNG"

Apple lists DNG on their Aperture system requirements page:
http://www.apple.com/aperture/specs/

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
1 upvote
nixda
By nixda (Oct 5, 2012)

Patco wrote: "Apple lists DNG on their Aperture system requirements page"

If only it wasn't for that pesky, little disclaimer that Apple also shows on that page.

1 upvote
Lee Jay
By Lee Jay (Oct 6, 2012)

"Camera owners are much better off sticking to their camera's native RAW format, versus trying to convert to DNG ..."

That's probably true, but there' no reason for camera manufacturers not to make DNG their native raw format.

2 upvotes
nixda
By nixda (Oct 6, 2012)

As mentioned, DNG is simply a container. RAW is a container as well. Every manufacturer is free (within certain boundaries) to put into these containers what they want. As long as there isn't an accepted standard, DNG will be as uniform as RAW currently is, i.e., not very uniform at all.

0 upvotes
Barry Pearson
By Barry Pearson (Oct 6, 2012)

DNG is a true raw file format, not "just" a container (whatever that means). I examined one NEF and its DNG conversion and found that the DNG was a superset of the NEF. DON'T say that can't happen! Of course it can - the DNG adds metadata giving camera details that the NEF didn't contain.

It is the only raw file format capable of becoming a standard, which requires comprehensive metedata and openness. And for the same reason it is the only archival raw file format.

Given the number of cameras that have used DNG in-camera, it has almost certainly significantly reduced the total number of raw file formats in the world. It has reduced confusion, not increased it.

0 upvotes
nixda
By nixda (Oct 7, 2012)

"Container" means it's a file that contains data in certain, and often several formats. It's not a true file format in itself. If it was, one wouldn't expect any incompatibilities between converters and programs that read DNG files.

DNG can store, e.g., TIFF, jpeg, various RAW formats, as well as various metadata formats. How data are stored in a DNG container is up to whoever writes the file. And that's the problem. There is no standard for what data a, say, camera manufacturer must put in a DNG file. In addition, whenever someone comes out with a new sensor, the format would have to be adapted.

It's a nice idea, but of limited value if manufacturers and software developers don't pull in the same direction.

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
Jim Cockfield
By Jim Cockfield (Oct 8, 2012)

"...it has almost certainly significantly reduced the total number of raw file formats in the world. It has reduced confusion, not increased it."

There are too may options that are not well documented. Look at the compatibility choices in the DNG converter. I've already seen users state that they couldn't open DNG files with the Camera Raw plugin they're using. There's no doubt the same issues occur with third party software.

Now, we've got compression and I've seen software developers state that lossy DNG is just an attempt to lock users into Adobe Products because it's not well documented in their outdated SDK source code..

As a result, only Adobe products may be able to use them.. Take a raw file from a popular camera and you can find loads of products that can convert it. But, with so many options now if you convert it to DNG, good luck unless you're using an Adobe product or are very careful to stick with older compatibility options and avoid compression.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 5 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
Barry Pearson
By Barry Pearson (Oct 11, 2012)

Yes there is a standard for what a camera maker must put in a DNG file! It is described by the (freely available) specification. And it is very rare that a new sensor needs a new version of DNG. A radical new sensor format, such as the Fujifilm sensors, needs special features in DNG. But a typical new sensor just needs new values to lots of existing parameters.

DNG most certainly IS a true file format. In fact, it is easy for you or anyone else to learn far more about the details about information is stored in a DNG file than for any other raw file format. Those others are the ones to beware of!

100s of products have supported DNG in some way. It is certainly not just Adobe and their products!

0 upvotes
StevenE
By StevenE (Oct 5, 2012)

I can't see much value in DNG. It just adds an extra step in the workflow.

I'll switch to DNG when it is created in camera.

1 upvote
Henry M. Hertz
By Henry M. Hertz (Oct 5, 2012)

well i guess you have only one camera......
otherwise the benefits would be obvious to you....

and what extra step?
it gets converted via import.
i don´t have to bother about it at all once i set my defaults.
and if you don´t have a 486 DX 33 you won´t notice it.

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
3 upvotes
micahmedia
By micahmedia (Oct 6, 2012)

Not true. Many of us don't use importing software, since it slows down the process of downloading our images. My faster cards pull down at 50-80 mb/s. Anything that's converting them is going to slow that down, and I don't waste my time with it.

Then again, some people like to wait around for lightroom to mess with their files. It's a personal choice. I deal with a large amounts of files, and I don't want to add any time to the import process. I'd rather be out shooting.

0 upvotes
fuego6
By fuego6 (Oct 6, 2012)

^^ makes little sense... so, you just copy your files to your machine with a drag/drop from your memory cards? Why would "importing" them slow down this process? I rename my files, add basic metadata (copyright, etc), and auto locate them in no time at all (and my computer is kinda old too).

1 upvote
tim73
By tim73 (Oct 5, 2012)

This is great. The biggest weakness of the manufacturers' RAW formats is uncertainty over long-term support, and DNG has the best chance of overcoming this. I'd really like to see more brands jumping on the DNG bandwagon.

10 upvotes
Henry M. Hertz
By Henry M. Hertz (Oct 5, 2012)

buy leica.... i have. :)

0 upvotes
Karl Gnter Wnsch
By Karl Gnter Wnsch (Oct 5, 2012)

DNG is a seriously flawed concept - to try to press several hardware dependant formats like the different RAW file formats into a common mould is a complete misconception.
It was always lossy (even when it wasn't meant to be) and with every evolution step it got closer to the encompassed RAW formats - thus replacing several disjunct, well specified standards with a absolutely messy jumble of parts that DNG has become over time.

2 upvotes
Lee Jay
By Lee Jay (Oct 5, 2012)

Only a small number of raw formats are hardware dependent, and many are now so similar to DNG it's hard to tell them apart (including CR2 and NEF).

It's never been lossy until now, and lossy is only an option.

4 upvotes
Henry M. Hertz
By Henry M. Hertz (Oct 5, 2012)

LOL of course the normal DNG is not lossy.
and Karl Günter will not be able to prove the opposit.

when one RAW format is translated into another there is sure some changes in the numbers. but this absolutely to be ignored.

the changes in RAW converters we see all day have 1000 times more influence then the conversion from a proprietary RAW into DNG.

http://www.barrypearson.co.uk/articles/dng/safety.htm#completeness

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
1 upvote
micahmedia
By micahmedia (Oct 6, 2012)

If you don't embed the original file, it can indeed be lossy.

0 upvotes
Karl Gnter Wnsch
By Karl Gnter Wnsch (Oct 6, 2012)

@Henry M. Hertz,
try to read the specification with regard to black level storage and evaluation. The first evolution steps mandated the removal of the covered rows of the sensor data an replacing them with a single calculated black level value. So converting your files to DNG would have lost you the status data about the column variances - leading to excessive banding which you only could tackle with stronger noise reduction instead of the proper solution of using the covered sensor cells as reference.
It now may contain this data but previously it didn't - if you converted the DNG with the old converter you have botched your RAW files.

3 upvotes
D1N0
By D1N0 (Oct 6, 2012)

Just buy a Pentax KGW then you can just make your camera shoot DNG. No evil conversions needed mᷰkay?

Comment edited 25 seconds after posting
1 upvote
Barry Pearson
By Barry Pearson (Oct 6, 2012)

DNG achieves the ability to support lots of different hardware types by extensive use of metadata. In effect, it can cater for every hardware type that ACR and Lightroom can support, because it mirrors the sorts of data that raw converters need to cater for the multitude of camera they support.

0 upvotes
vFunct
By vFunct (Oct 5, 2012)

No photographer is going to be interested in a medium compromise for archival purposes. There's no reason to save hard-drive space, since hard drives comes in terabytes now, so they're going to shoot full RAW so they can keep the full dynamic range that this Lossy DNG doesn't provide.

0 upvotes
Lee Jay
By Lee Jay (Oct 5, 2012)

I have 200,000 images saved up. If each were 25MB, that would be 5TB - 5 times bigger than the biggest current laptop hard drive and nearly twice as big as the biggest desktop hard drive.

D800 raws can approach 100MB each. 200,000 of those is 20TB - a 7-wide array of 3TB disks.

Not everyone wants to carry an array around with them.

Also, saving files 1/3 the size of raw to your flash card would effectively increase your raw buffer depth in-camera.

1 upvote
DavidZvi
By DavidZvi (Oct 5, 2012)

Actually yes I am. The batch process including sub-directories was easy and saved me about TB.

0 upvotes
fotonavolge
By fotonavolge (Oct 5, 2012)

Don't speak for all the people around. I'm personally VERY glad they did it. And (surprise, surprise!!!), yes, I'm photographer.

I won't be explaining why I need it, let's leave it upon my own.

And I'll tell even more: I squeeze the pixels when use the lossy compression. It's the great option 'cause it get compressed up to 7 times.

Comment edited 4 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
NetMage
By NetMage (Oct 5, 2012)

Not quite as far away as you think - 4TB Hard Drive:

http://www.hgst.com/internal-drives/desktop/deskstar/deskstar-7k4000

0 upvotes
micahmedia
By micahmedia (Oct 6, 2012)

DNG is pointless for pros dealing with large amounts of large files. It's great for people who's cameras put out DNGs or for measurebators who have ample time to wait for conversions.

I like the idea of a unified format. But if your camera doesn't already put out DNGs, who cares?

0 upvotes
Barry Pearson
By Barry Pearson (Oct 6, 2012)

DNG is the ONLY archival raw file format. It is the only raw file format that includes sufficient camera details for raw conversion without needing examination of an instance of the camera.

0 upvotes
dbateman
By dbateman (Oct 5, 2012)

This is good. I do hope more cameras come with DNG. I only know of Pentax now that has DNG. It would be great if all cameras had the choice of DNG. Then you don't have to upgrade your adobe software so often :)

8 upvotes
Lee Jay
By Lee Jay (Oct 5, 2012)

Don't forget Leica. Of course, they're not known for quality so they can use the crummy DNG format.

Oh...hang on a sec....

0 upvotes
Karl Gnter Wnsch
By Karl Gnter Wnsch (Oct 5, 2012)

DNG is one unholy mess of things - it has no place whatsoever in a camera!

2 upvotes
Lee Jay
By Lee Jay (Oct 5, 2012)

DNG is a defined open spec just like JPEG. And many of the camera raw formats of today are essentially DNGs already, except for a bit of metadata.

2 upvotes
Henry M. Hertz
By Henry M. Hertz (Oct 5, 2012)

well my leica used DNG.. now what you clown?

1 upvote
Shamael
By Shamael (Oct 6, 2012)

we talk here about file formats, not publicity for a super expensive crappy camera with super expensive excellent glass.

0 upvotes
Tapani Tarvainen
By Tapani Tarvainen (Oct 6, 2012)

Ricoh also uses DNG (in the GRD series at least).

0 upvotes
Barry Pearson
By Barry Pearson (Oct 6, 2012)

At one time or other about 47 camera models from about 14 camera manufacturers have used DNG in-camera. It is mainly used by niche and minority camera manufacturers, who might not otherwise stand much chance being supported by software products. (See Wikipedia).

0 upvotes
Lee Jay
By Lee Jay (Oct 5, 2012)

Every camera maker should start giving us DNGs, especially with this lossy raw option, which is vastly superior to the downsampled not-very-raw files we get from the likes of Canon (m-raw and s-raw).

9 upvotes
Mark Roberts
By Mark Roberts (Oct 5, 2012)

Has anyone been ASKING for a middle ground, or is this just a push for another proprietary standard that Adobe can license?

1 upvote
Lee Jay
By Lee Jay (Oct 5, 2012)

DNG is free and open (not proprietary) and has been submitted to ISO - same as TIFF (also invented at Adobe).

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Digital_Negative

"Adobe has submitted DNG to ISO for incorporation into their revision of TIFF/EP."

And, yes, I would LOVE a middle ground - files that are a third the size of a raw, but are still linear, still scene-referenced, and still full-resolution.

Comment edited 3 times, last edit 10 minutes after posting
3 upvotes
mandophoto
By mandophoto (Oct 5, 2012)

The TIFF format was invented by Aldus before Adobe acquired them, but Adobe does now control it.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tagged_Image_File_Format

0 upvotes
Lee Jay
By Lee Jay (Oct 5, 2012)

That's correct, but when everyone is constantly buying everyone else, it's easier to keep track of where they end up. Isn't Flash and Adobe thing too? ;-)

0 upvotes
Vasyl Tsvirkunov
By Vasyl Tsvirkunov (Oct 5, 2012)

Let's see if it ends up like TIFF - in the years past you could get Aldus TIFF, Kodak TIFF, Adobe TIFF, whoever TIFF... The format allowed to put pretty much anything in so no single app could open every TIFF file. DNG is a little better defined but it still allows a lot of leeway which may be abused by manufacturers. After that happens it is quite pointless -- you get the same proprietary data in a different container. Not even that different considering that DNG is largely a subset of TIFF. BTW, from what I can tell, Canon, Olympus, and Panasonic (probably others as well) RAW files are actually TIFFs -- Canon even left the "version number" field at 42. If you have Canon CR2 and ACDSee installed, try renaming one of .CR2 to .TIF and opening with ACDSee. The result is rather interesting.

Comment edited 3 minutes after posting
2 upvotes
Uaru
By Uaru (Oct 5, 2012)

It has already started. When I bought Panasonic GF1, it was not supported by Aperture yet. I thought I convert the files to DNG... but I still could not open them in Aperture.

0 upvotes
Chekr
By Chekr (Oct 6, 2012)

What did you use to convert to DNG?

0 upvotes
Ron Poelman
By Ron Poelman (Oct 6, 2012)

So true.
It smacks of a fairly half-baked marketing ploy
to gain a lot of free inches in the Photo press.
Ultimately, it's a shot in the foot
and confirmation for most of us,
that no, they couldn't be trusted with the future.

0 upvotes
Barry Pearson
By Barry Pearson (Oct 11, 2012)

It is always fascinating to see criticisms of DNG that apply even more so to every other raw file format! It is always useful before writing a criticism of DNG to ask "would this also apply to the raw file format I use?"

As far as I know, DNG is the only raw file format that everyone has a published license to use and write software for! Of course people will get away with handling other formats, but not by such a license. DNG is vastly more open than any other raw file format, and we can all have far more confidence that our future software of choice will handle today's DNGs than we can have for other raw file formats.

0 upvotes
Total comments: 127