5 Reasons Why You Should Not Convert Your Raw Files to DNG

It seems like every camera manufacture has their own raw file format. Adobe wanted to unify them all by coming up with an open sourced DNG format with many great benefits such as no XMP sidecar files, supposedly better multi-threading support, smaller file sizes, and more. However in the real world, most photographers choose not to convert their files to DNG. Here are five reasons why they don’t.

1. It Slows You Down

Lightroom makes it easy to convert your raw files into DNG but it’s not exactly a free process if you value time. DNG conversion takes a large amount of CPU power and processing time especially if you have large raw files. For a couple photos, this isn’t an issue but if you have thousands? You’ll be waiting even longer to process your photos. The fastest way to get your photos into Lightroom is to simply add them.

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2. Compatibility Issues with Other Software

DNG files work great with Adobe software – afterall, they’re the ones who made it. The DNG format is also open sourced to allow software developers to include DNG support in their software. However, many software are provided by the camera manufactures themselves such as Nikon Capture NX and Canon Digital Photo Professional.

3. Has Not Been Widely Adopted as Hoped

Adobe has been putting great effort into promoting the DNG format but it is still not used in many camera manufactures. In the perfect world for photographers, every camera manufacture would use the same raw file format. Leica, Pentax, Casio, and a couple other manufactures have built-in DNG support in their cameras but the big names like Sony, Canon and Nikon still don’t.

4. It’s Still Not the Original File

One thing all photographers agree on is that you should always keep the original file. When you convert your raw files to DNG, the original file is stored inside the DNG file. Converting raw files to DNG is easy. Extracting it back out isn’t.

Another thing to consider is that some photographic competitions do not accept converted DNG files. They will only accept DNG files if it was recorded in your camera as a DNG file. Some photographers keep two copies but I really don’t see the point of that.

5. You Don’t Have to Do It Yet

You can always convert your raw files to DNG at a later time. So why do it now?

Posted by Lightroom Tutorials

  1. Nice and informative! I use this: http://www.coreldraw.com/en/pages/dng-file/ to edit .dng files and it works pretty great

    Reply

  2. What about when exporting lightroom files? It always only export as a DNG files, I don’t know where to change them.

    Reply

    1. Unfortunately you can’t export it as original files while still saving your Lightroom adjustments. You can save an XMP data as a separate file but that’s about it. If you edit in Adobe Camera Raw (Photoshop), you’ll see it automatically saving XMP files. Those files hold the develop settings so that the next time you open the raw file in Photoshop, it’ll automatically apply the settings from the XMP file.

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