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nrothschild Neil is an expert in several areas, including camera support Registered since 25th Jul 2004
Wed 05-Mar-14 11:34 AM

When Adobe introduced DNG I didn't think much of it at the time. I've been working with computers since before the IBM XT and in that time I've seen many file formats come and go.

I also had serious concerns about going out of my way to be beholden to Adobe for the very structure of my raw images. And at the time, DNG was an open standard used by exactly one vendor, so to me it looked like a proprietary format hiding behind a facade of openness.

In the meantime, DNG seems to be becoming more accepted. And now Nikon has done what I previously thought was unthinkable- to abandon an architecture with which its installed user base has collectively millions if not billions of hours of editing effort. The idea of Nikon someday abandoning the current NEF format is only one step away from what they have done.

So now, in terms of how I view future proofing my image data, my ideas of greater and lesser evils in this regard are changing dramatically. Those, like me, that initially dissed DNG as being "dangerous" to long term raw image preservation might need to rethink things.

There is a general school of thought (not shared by all, of course) that what Nikon did with Capture and View, directly editing the raw file, is "bad", "dangerous", nonstandard, and etc. Not just here, but, for example, Thom Hogan has been blogging that point recently in his discussions of the demise of Capture.

And yet, here we have Adobe creating the DNG standard, which does EXACTLY the same thing. Why is it ok for Adobe but not Nikon?

(I don't follow Thom Hogan enough to know how he feels about DNG, and certainly it is not mandatory to store edits and updated previews in DNG, but still...????)

Personally I use a 3rd party catalog app (iMatch). And my workflow with iMatch is, of course, very Capture-centric. I will probably continue to use IiMatch for various reasons...

And I am pondering the idea that if I use Lightroom (or Bridge/PS), convert Adobe rendered raw (NEF) to DNG, and keep the DNG updated with metadata and up to date edited previews, then I have a far more consistent workflow between my old (capture) world and my new world. It may solve a lot of problems for me.

One of those problems is what to do about future edits in LR to old shoots originally edited in Capture. If I were to re-edit an old image previously worked in Capture, then I would probably use Capture; why reinvent the wheel there?

But if I were to edit an image never before edited in Capture, but shot in the "capture era", I think I would want to do it in LR or whatever raw app I chose to use. And as time goes on and the terminal version of CNX2 becomes more and more stale, this will be more compelling.

So if I continue to store images in original NEF, I have a peculiar problem of figuring out how any particular raw image was edited. I would end up with original raw shoot folders with mixed editing.

If I were to do all my LR editing against DNG files then I would have an unambiguous marker- the image file extension (format).

Because of the increased risk of file corruption when raw files are edited directly, and because of general concerns about long term data corruption, I have long had a practice of setting aside a secondary copy of the original NEF files, never to be touched, and stored offline.

If I were to convert to DNG I would continue to keep that secondary copy of my *NEF* files, for the same reasons, and a side benefit would be that all my raw images would be in two different formats.

As I start to ponder all this I thought I would throw this out for discussion.


my Nikonians gallery.

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