DNG or NEF?

Well that’s a question.

Just had a conversation on google+ about the RAW vs DNG file formats. For those of you who don’t know what I’m talking about, DNG is Adobes effort to standardise the RAW file format.

Camera makers at the moment have their own file formats, which can change between camera models. As you can imagine, supporting all these formats is nothing short of a nightmare, enter DNG to sort this out. I shall not dwell on this, but for further information check out Adobes DNG page.

Anyway, my buddy is a staunch supporter of keeping all his RAW data as it came out of the camera. I exclusively use DNG files. Converting all the camera output on import to light room. Why do I use DNG files? Well

  1. Smaller file size
  2. Better future guarantees
  3. No sidecar files
  4. DNG is an open file format.
The smaller file size has led many people to believe it is going compression on the data. Well it is, but is non-lossy. And that small saving in file size, maybe 2-3mb soon adds up to a considerable space-saving when your dealing with 30-40Gb of image data.
The second point is future proofing your images. I doubt Canon or Nikon is going anywhere anytime soon, however when a camera drops out of production, whose to say they are going to keep supporting that cameras output? With DNG, it will be there, always available and ready. And as Adobe has released the DNG file format to the world as an open format, where they will never claim copy right, or intellectual rights (unlike MP3, JPEG etc) Any one can develop programs to read and deal with DNG files. One of the main reasons why the US government and loads of other large organisations has chosen DNG as an archival medium.
No sidecar files, DNG is encased. Ie, all meta data is written direct to the file, no annoying XMP files littering up the drive.
Thats some of the reasons I use DNG files, and will continue to do so. Its very well summed up over on this blog here.

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