DNG vs. Canon CR2 Raw files

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by tmagman, Oct 10, 2012.

  1. tmagman macrumors 6502

    Nov 7, 2010
    Calgary AB
    I use LR4 almost exclusively for my photo organization and editing and shoot entirely in RAW. I've been hearing lots of buzz and talk these days about when importing photos, to convert them to DNG rather than leaving them in the CR2 canon raw format. Just wondering what experience people have had with switching or with using DNG overall. Anything added or lost in terms of data flexibility and quality?
  2. r.harris1 macrumors 6502a


    Feb 20, 2012
    Denver, Colorado, USA
    Here's an article on the "against" side from Thom Hogan (he's a Nikon shooter but a good all around writer). Worth checking out on general principals. I leave mine in RAW (NEF) as I don't see a big benefit in changing at this time.
  3. Laird Knox macrumors 68000

    Jun 18, 2010
    The biggest argument for DNG is having an open standard for saving your RAW images. Should your camera company of choice go out of business then there is no guarantee that AwesomePhotoApp 3.7 will support the departed manufacturer. If this is a concern to you then you might want to consider converting your fils to DNG.

    This is similar to questioning if you should save your Photoshop document as PSD or TIFF. (Except TIFF, unlike DNG, is a standard.)

    Personally I don't find DNG compelling enough to make the switch. Who knows what the future will hold.
  4. Prodo123 macrumors 68020


    Nov 18, 2010
    I view DNG as a format for camera manufacturers too lazy to develop their own RAW format. For example, Leica.
    Good concept, failed implementation at best.
  5. MCAsan macrumors 601


    Jul 9, 2012
  6. steveash macrumors 6502


    Aug 7, 2008
    I started using DNG when I got a new camera that wasn't supported by the version of Photoshop and ACR I was using at the time. By converting to DNG with Adobe's free software I could then open my raw files and adjust them without paying for the latest software update.

    I also found that the files where considerably smaller and after I had got comfortable with the idea of DNG I converted my entire archive. This saved my a huge chunk of previously wasted hard drive.

    The final benefit is that DNG should be more openly compatible with future software so that in twenty years time if I want to find a treasured family photo and open it up on my light-speed hologram image viewer there is a better chance of them working than a a Canon 5D Mk II specific CR2 file.

    I know use DNG as part of my workflow and although the conversion takes a few seconds extra the benefits seem worth it.
  7. mtfbwy macrumors member

    Apr 29, 2005
    I think DNG is also more future proof as well since it is published and free to implement. The RAW formats are not even standard among the same manufacturers from model to model and proprietary.

    That said, I've not changed my library since it is pretty large and I have it all backed up in the cloud.
  8. Randy McKown macrumors member

    Randy McKown

    Jun 24, 2011
    Huge DNG fan here .. Read the article DNG vs RAW on XposurePro
  9. Zerozal macrumors 6502

    Apr 3, 2009
    I use DNG exclusively--converting from my camera's original RAW file. The main reason is that the DNG contains the XMP "sidecar" file within the DNG itself (as opposed to maintaining a separate file when using the original raw format), so there's no chance of losing it when moving files/backing up/etc.
  10. Razeus, Oct 19, 2012
    Last edited: Oct 30, 2012

    Razeus macrumors 603

    Jul 11, 2008
    I used to convert to DNG when I first started 3 years ago. DNG is a waste of time and not needed in one's workflow. I keep the ORIGINAL files as produced by the camera. DNG is NOT the original file.
  11. blanka macrumors 68000

    Jul 30, 2012
    Don't! I did it the first 3 months I had my D700 because the buzz already was there in 2008, but it rendered some very nice photographs useless. I found out NX2 was much more capable than Adobe Camera RAW, and there was no longer a way to edit these photo's in Nikon's software. ACR has improved quite a bit since 2008, but I never found any raw converter having trouble with an old camera. You can always open the CR2's in the future, don't worry.



  12. ocabj macrumors 6502a


    Jul 2, 2009
    I would not convert RAW to DNG and just archive the DNG. You're going to lose data from RAW to DNG because technically, the translation is dependent on the converter tool.

    It's best to just work from (and keep) the file that was natively written by the camera.

    I would only use DNG if my camera actually recorded directly to DNG.
  13. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    I've been using dng for a couple of years now without any problems. Since I'm largely in the adobe word (LR + PS) I'm not seeing any downsides.

    I think it really boils down to personal preference.
  14. hoylen macrumors newbie

    Dec 3, 2009
    Examine the benefits to see if they are real benefits

    The main argument for DNG seems to be it is a open format, so it is more likely that software will support it rather than proprietary RAW formats. But I don't find this compelling.

    Firstly, has any software vendor actually dropped support for any proprietary RAW formats yet? So far, they like adding more and more features rather than removing any.

    Secondly, you can always convert the RAWs to DNG in the future when/if the software stops supporting RAW. The RAW to DNG converter will not suddenly stop working, leaving you with RAW files you can't convert. Not to mention the software you currently use (assuming you don't update it) should still keep working with those RAW files.

    If that day ever comes, converting your entire library will take a lot of time. But no more time than you would have otherwise used if you converted them incrementally. In fact, it might be quicker, since computers will be faster in the future. It seems a bad investment to pay for something that might never happen and if it does happen it might be worth less than what you put in.

    Saving space is another argument, but only if you don't use the "embedding the RAW inside the DNG file" form of DNG and you permanently delete the RAW file after conversion. Is that something you are comfortable doing? The RAW file is the original source; the DNG file will always contain less than or equal information than the RAW file.

Share This Page