Posts Tagged ‘DNG’

Why Not Use DNG?

January 9, 2010

Adobe DNG LogoI read an interesting article on Adobe’s Digital Negative (DNG) format on Scott Kelby’s Lightroom Killer Tips blog here. I’m surprised that DNG has not become more widely adopted and disappointed (but not surprised) that more camera manufacturers have not supported/adopted it. I don’t think camera manufacturers should be competing with proprietary file formats. If I were them I’d be like Leica and get out of the software business entirely.

I made the following comment on the article:

I have been using DNG almost since it was released by Adobe. Initially I was cautious. After all, what if Adobe is acquired, goes out of business or decides that DNG isn’t “strategic” any more? But since Adobe opened the DNG specification I figured that even if they do abandon it there will always be software around that supports it.A while ago I did some tests where I used Adobe Camera Raw on an original RAW image and then with the same settings on an equivalent DNG file. The images were bit-for-bit identical.

But the thing that really convinced me that DNG is rock solid is that both Leica adopted it as their RAW format for the M8, M9 and X1. If it is good enough for Leica it is surely good enough for me.

I hope that manufacturers like Canon and Nikon will adopt it, but it does not seem likely.

Here We Go Again – Lightroom 2.6 Available

December 18, 2009

Adobe Photoshop LightroomAdobe Photoshop Lightroom 2.6 and its required DNG Converter (5.6) are now available for download from That’s a month since the 2.5 update came out.

This is the release many have been waiting for to support the Canon EOS-7D and Nikon D3s. I don’t know if they made any changes from the Release Candidate that has been available for almost a month.

What if for Lightroom 3 Adobe said that the product will only support DNG files? Then they’d only have to release a new DNG converter to support new cameras. I wonder if the photography community has enough confidence in DNG that they’d accept it. DNG is a mature technology: Adobe introduced it in 2004. DNG has immense advantages over a multitude of proprietary RAW formats. DNG is an open specification so it isn’t dependent on Adobe’s continued prosperity or whims.

Surely if DNG is good enough for Leica it is good enough for the rest of us.

Moreover Adobe could surely make the DNG converter more modular so users do not have to download the full product every time. They could release a new DLL (or the equivalent for the Mac).

This is a bigger concern for users on slower internet connections. I guess it isn’t on the radar screen for the Adobe team as they assume everybody has fast connections for their work machines.

I looked at the list of other defects fixed in Lightroom 2.6:

  • The crop tool would unlock a locked aspect ratio after a rotation adjustment
  • For Mac OS X 10.6 customers, visual artifacts could appear when panning an image viewed at 1:1 in the Develop module.
  • For Mac OS X 10.6 customers, the 10.6.2 update included a correction that prevented Lightroom 2 from opening more than two files using the Edit-in-Photoshop functionality.
  • Lightroom 2.6 provides a fix for an issue affecting PowerPC customers using the final Lightroom 2.5 update on the Mac. The issue, introduced in the demosaic change to address sensors with unequal green response, has the potential to create artifacts in highlight areas when processing raw files from Sony, Olympus, Panasonic and various medium format digital camera backs.
  • Lightroom 2.5 and earlier did not support the updated Panasonic DMC-LX3 aspect ratio modes added with the camera’s latest version 2.0 firmware.


The Crop Tool fix is the only one that affects me and I have never noticed the issue. Again I wonder how Adobe decides what to include in a point-release.

By-the-by, there is something wrong with the Adobe Support Forums I’ve been accessing to ask and answer Lightroom questions. For the past few days the site has been impossibly slow. Other sites are fine with the new Asia America Gateway so it must be something up with the Adobe infrastructure.

Leica S system specifications: Digital Photography Review

August 17, 2009

Leica S system specifications: Digital Photography Review.

Leica S2

I am definitely not in the market for a Leica S System (US$30,000 and up) but one thing caught my eye: it uses Adobe DNG as its RAW format.

Approximately 75MB per image!“.

Using Adobe DNG for raw imaging data gives photographers the ultimate flexibility because this open-source data format is supported by almost all major graphic-editing and workflow solutions. Leica supplies the universal Adobe Lightroom workflow solution as part of the camera’s equipment.

If Leica can do it at the very top of the digital camera market, why can’t makers like Canon and Nikon? Surely they’d like to get out of the software business and concentrate on their strength: camera hardware, lenses and accessories?

The DNG format is open so I’d like to dispense with proprietary RAW files and use DNG all the time. I don’t want to be dependent on any single manufacturer in the long term.

Carp: I dislike Leica’s weasel words “… almost all major …”. Who defines “major”? Presumably the writer of this copy. They could remove the “almost” if they re-define “major”. Then it would read better.

Adobe lists four cameras that support DNG as their native RAW format here. It includes one other Leica (so they have experience with it) and a Hasselblad.

The page also lists many of the software packages that support DNG. Curiously they do not include ACDSee.

Adobe DNG 1.3 Specification

July 14, 2009

Here’s an interesting blog entry on about the new Adobe DNG 1.3 specification: Unless otherwise specified: DNG gains lens corrections.

Dpreview doesn’t speculate about the background to all this and Adobe Senior Product Manager Tom Hogarty is of course too professional and reticent to comment.

Put in very simple terms Adobe want camera manufacturers to support DNG fully. The camera manufacturers want to keep proprietary advantage. I think only a company as influential as Adobe has any hope of breaking this open: not a job for a start-up. I should have learned that lesson in my Silicon Valley start-up days.

Adobe want to be able to apply the same sophisticated corrections and adjustments to a DNG file that the camera makers do in their own software with the proprietary Raw format. I have used Canon’s Digital Photo Professional (DPP) and my pre-Lightroom days tended to prefer it for certain operations. Now I bypass DPP entirely and never look at the Raw file. I’m trusting Adobe to do a perfect job rendering the DNG file – so I should be able to do anything in Lightroom + Photoshop that I can do in DPP.

In another entry I want to discuss what I think I lost making the “all Adobe” choice – Canon’s Picture Styles.

Lightroom Convert to DNG

July 13, 2009


Sometimes I forget to select the option on import to convert my Raw files to DNG. Lightroom lets you do it later. You can choose whether to keep or delete the original Raw files.

I would like it if it would offer to back the Raw files up to my selected backup device just as if I had done it on import.

Alternatively it could stack the Raw file under the DNG in case I need it. Currently it gets orphaned in Lightroom. It remains in the file system but invisible to Lightroom.

I have not tested this but I would not be surprised if I move the directory to another drive then the CR2 files will be deleted. Lightroom seems to do a logical copy rather than a physical one (getting obscure here).

That is, I think it enumerates the files that should be in the directory in the catalog (database) then moves them one by one, updating the catalog about the file’s location as it goes. Thus files not in the directory like these Raw files will disappear when the source directory is eraased.

The same problem occurs with Video files using Jeff Friedl’s Video Asset Management Plugin. It’s too easy to lose your video files if you move a directory and forget that there are files there that Lightroom doesn’t really recognize (Jeff creates a proxy image file for each video you catalog – that moves but the video doesn’t.)

I should do some more testing here.