I am trying to develop a more formalized workflow for my pics. At this time, photography is a hobby, not a profession (although that could change when I retire). My current view on the flow is to ingest with Image Ingester, catalog with Media Pro, and create any derivatives with Lightroom. Right now, I am doing things the old fashioned way with folders that are event oriented and very heirarchical in structure.
I have a few questions for some of the more experienced folk ... 1) After editing pictures in Lightroom and updating the side car with metadata, can Media Pro display new pictures or will it go back to the original RAW file? 2) After placing RAW files in DNG folders, do you literally delete the original files? 3) Currently, I have my camera set to generate a JPG file alongside the RAW file. As a result I have two of every pic. Would I be better served to just shoot in RAW and create a full size JPG when I convert to DNG?
Appreciate any and all advice/comments. Thanks in advance ...
I'm not sure that you would either need or be happy with using both Media Pro and LR. If you're planning on doing edits in LR, and since LR has the capability of cataloging your NEFs and handling all of the same metadata tasks that Media Pro would do, then using both seems to me, anyway, to be overkill. As well, you'll get the two of them competing over which "owns" the thumbnails and previews.
Media Pro, after Phase One took it over, became a cataloging system that was truly targeted at Capture One. Then, Phase One added a RAW file cataloging capability into Capture One v7. IMHO, Media Pro remains very useful as a cataloging tool that goes beyond NEFs, TIFFs, and JPGs, allowing you to take a broader range of image file types and hook into a broader range of image processing applications and workflows. For example, I use it to be able to have one catalog open of NEFs from the camera, one of TIFFs from Corel Painter, and one of PNGs for backgrounds and decorations, in order to handle painted composite images. With LR5, handling of PNGs was added; but LR still allows you to have only one library open at a time, while Media Pro allows you to create multiple catalogs, based in this case on file types, and open several at once. This means being able to reduce the size of a catalog and only open it when necessary. I personally like that ability, but I think it's not useful or necessary for everyone.
In the workflow that you're describing, it seems to me that LR would handle all of your requirements on its own. IMHO, you could simply shoot the NEF and forget the in-camera JPG as well. My own, very personal, opinion is that doing a DNG conversion is also not essential, especially if it means erasing the original NEF. My reasoning is that you can possibly lose information that could be used by other RAW converters, like DxO or Capture One. There are ways of building DNGs that include the original NEF data, as well as the Adobe, camera-independent data; but then you've about doubled the size of your RAW files for what I see as little benefit. It would expand my response here a bit too much to provide all the detail about color management and lens correction behind my conclusions; but suffice it to say that if you're using a common pro camera body and lens kit, converting all your files to DNG limits the range of post processing options down the road. (There's a can of worms...)
Thanks for the response ... it was very helpful. And, I think I fully understand your points except the comment on DNG conversion. In any event, given the low cost of storage, hanging on to the RAW files is no problem so I will do that. As for the DNG conversion, my understanding is that would be the best way to move RAW files to other platforms for post processing as well as making metadata transferable to different platforms. If I were to make more extensive use of metadata and potentially use another post processing software "down the road" would your comment on DNG change? I hope this question makes sense ... again, thanks for your time.
I agree on the complexities of having both Media Pro and Lightroom. I'd eliminate one.
>Thanks for the response ... it was very helpful. And, I think >I fully understand your points except the comment on DNG >conversion. In any event, given the low cost of storage, >hanging on to the RAW files is no problem so I will do that. >As for the DNG conversion, my understanding is that would be >the best way to move RAW files to other platforms for post >processing as well as making metadata transferable to >different platforms.
If by other platforms you mean other software products, not necessarily. Some things will read and process NEFs converted to DNGs, but some will not. NEFs are more universally supported right now. Products like Photo Mechanic can read and write metadata to either xmp sidecars or DNGs, so the DNG format doesn't help there, either. The advantages with DNG are updated thumbnails that are more universally read by browsers and all the different compression and sizing options. There isn't a clear decision for DNGs or a clear one against them. If you're committed to an Adobe environment, they can be good, but if you're not, I'd hold off on those DNG conversions.
If I were to make more extensive use of >metadata and potentially use another post processing software >"down the road" would your comment on DNG change? I >hope this question makes sense ... again, thanks for your >time.
See above. I'd stick with NEFs based on current trends. For the same reason that camera makers like their own formats, companies who make raw converters like their own methods of handling metadata. Both have shied away from a universal raw format.
As to DNG vs NEF, first of all, let me agree thoroughly with what Mr. Walker stated already. Without repeating his points, let me expand a little on what a RAW file includes. First, there are data elements that describe the camera body, the lens, focal length, aperture, any flash, and similar descriptions of the equipment used and its settings. Then, there are the data points having to do with the image itself. For each picture element, corresponding to some location on the sensor and having some associated R, G, or B color filter, there will be a data value.
Different camera bodies, from different manufacturers, will naturally have somewhat different responses to colored light. One of the many functions of any commercial RAW converter is to produce a given value of color, in terms of say, R, G, & B values on a 16-bit scale, using the individual values from the picture elements on the sensor that have responded only to red or green or blue light from the scene. So, for example, it would be desirable to have a RAW converter that gave the same, correct, green shade from some green element in a scene whether the image was shot with a D700, a D800, or a Canon D5. Hence, an application like Lightroom or NX2 or Capture One, or whatever, would ideally deliver a correct (and maybe calibrated) color value for something like the Gretag Macbeth color patches no matter what the camera body had been.
So what is DNG about? To be camera independent, it has to represent a color model for the image data that doesn't depend on the original camera. Hence, it is a representation of color information that has been, to some extent, through part of the RAW conversion process. Naturally, this conversion is what Adobe engineers believed to be best at the time that the NEF->DNG transformation was done. Think about this a moment... In my experience, LR5 is a much better product than LR3 was. If one does a NEF-DNG conversion with LR3 when it was the leading edge, do you get a better, equal, or poorer result than if you made the conversion with LR5 now. OR, do you just keep your NEFs and when you upgrade or change your RAW converter, let it do the best it can with your original data?
If you throw in the possibility of completely changing away from the Adobe line-up at some point in the future, say to some brilliant new offering from DxO or Capture One or something completely unheard of now, then retaining your original data in NEF form seems to me to be the ideal.
Having said all that, it *is* possible to build a DNG that includes both the Adobe partially converted "universal" color image data as well as the original NEF. Doing this seems to me to add almost no value at all, since one has just doubled the image information by retaining both the DNG version and the NEF version in the file.
You mention a possible merit in using DNGs for platform independence; and I could take that to mean moving between different h/w and operating systems (Win, Mac, Linux, ...) but that seems a non-issue. Assuming that we're talking the use of professional grade RAW converters and post processing s/w, then products like Adobe's Creative Suite apps and other similar products like DxO, Capture One (of course, not Aperture), all run on Win & Mac with equivalent results. The DNG option doesn't seem to add anything to a workflow like you outlined, IMHO.
In summary, I don't see the merit of the NEF->DNG partial RAW conversion step for most pro-grade bodies. Maybe maybe maybe, that might turn out to be a viable option for a set of image files that were produced from some old camera body at some point in the future. For example, say you've got old NEFs from a D1 fifteen years from now. Doing a NEF-DNG conversion might future proof those digital files at that point. I'd still keep the original NEFs even then. But that's just me.