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.
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?
Maybe if camera manufacturers would kindly conform to a single RAW format that all software could read, it would save the rest of us this headache. Do Panasonic, for instance, think we'll use their software instead of Adobe by using a proprietary RAW format? No. If I'd known in advance that they did that, I just wouldn't have bough the damn camera.
Glad to report it's now widely accepted in 2020!
- Lightroom mobile iOS and Android support it
- iOS Camera roll supports it
Lightroom has been the #1 most downloaded desktop photo editing app for a few years now and is statistically updated more than any other desktop photo editing app.
It's top two competitors Luminar and Capture One both fully support DNG so the pro's outweigh the con's
Any update to this in 2019? I like the ideal of one format.
I am upgrading to an AMD 3900X 12-core CPU so I don't think the CPU processing will be an issue for me.
I have never converted to DNG myself. This gives a good insight on why. Great article!
What about when exporting lightroom files? It always only export as a DNG files, I don't know where to change them.
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.
Nice and informative! I use this: http://www.coreldraw.com/en/pages/dng-file/ to edit .dng files and it works pretty great