I just started using my new D800e for commercial jobs last week. The biggest drawback that I can see is the demands of processing the files. I use lightroom for all my processing and then finish off the files in Photoshop for delivery to clients. The D800 files are incredible and well worth the wait. I read that Adobe was putting extensive work into its lossy DNG format so I decided to give it a try even though normally I would never even consider it. I started by converting 119 files to Lossy DNG and was surprised by the actual difference in file size.
119 NEF files 4.77 gigs of space 40mb ea 119 DNG files 1.27 gigs of space 8mb ea
What I was even more surprised about was the actual quality of the file. I tested 4 images side-by-side and couldn't see any real difference between the two files except maybe a slight color shift. The real difference was my machine now acted and performed the same way it did for Canon 21mpx files. Iv'e changed my workflow now by making two directories, one directory for the original NEF's and one for the Lossy DNG's. I only import the DNG's to start with and do my basic edits on these files which is extremely fast. I then save my editing as a preset and import only final files that I need in NEF format. To tell you the truth it's difficult to tell which files are better. According to Adobe there's more dynamic range available in the original files. This approach has greatly increased the speed of my workflow so I thought I'd share it with you. Would love to hear from other D800 users what their opinion of the smaller files is!
If it were assignments or projects, I would use regular RAW lossless compression but for some insignificant shots (if I knew from the beginning) I am starting to consider using crop mode with lossless RAW with FX lenses.
In addition to the lossy approach, you can also resize the images in terms of pixels and make your D800 DNGs more like D700 DNGs. You get a reduction in noise, as well as file size, but the files are linear DNGs, meaning they're demosaiced. You can still perform all the usual raw operations on them, though. It's an interesting option to have, and I've used it when e-mailing raw files to someone where having the original, larger size didn't matter.
>Rick: > >Are you referring to resize the file in software ?
Yes. You can do it via the Adobe Digital Negative Converter, LR4 or ACR 7.
> >Are there any solutions to make the in camera RAW file smaller >than lossless compression RAW files?
Yes, but it's not as powerful or sophisticated. You can use the compressed option (which is lossy) vs. the lossless compressed option on the D800/e. There's a small decrease in file size, but not the dramatic one you can get with DNGs if you change both the compression method and pixel sizes. You can also use 12-bit mode vs. the default 14-bit one.
Very interesting! I see how to do the lossy conversion using the DNG converter 7.2. I can see how to do the same thing in LR4.2/Library/Convert photo to DNG. However, if I go to Edit/Preferences/File Handling, there is no option to use lossy compression on NEF->DNG imports. Odd, don't you think? Or am I missing something?
I can't find any more preferences either but I also only use DNG Converter most of the time now. Adobe hasn't implemented the new format yet I bet. I kind of like doing the conversion as a batch outside Lightroom though, seem s a little faster. It would be nice to see Nikon give us an option to shoot smaller files in the next firmware release.
I have been importing my D800 NEF files as lossless compressed DNGs into LR4. I decided to check on the effects of using the lossy compression, so I created, using the DNG converter 7.2, two DNGs from a single NEF and imported them into LR's catalog. Using the Compare feature, I looked at both files at 100%, and I cannot see ANY difference between the two. The lossy files are less than half the size of the lossless ones, and they open more quickly.
I usually use LR4.2 to do my NEF->DNG conversion, but Adobe "forgot" to put a checkbox in the preferences to allow lossy compression on import. However, you can import them as lossless DNGs, then use the "convert photo to DNG" utility in the Library menu. Here you can opt for lossy compression. It will also allow you to delete the uncompressed file upon successful conversion. All your LR edits remain intact, and the catalog is unaffected.
Yesterday I converted about 55GB of lossless DNG files to the lossy variety using the LR utility mentioned above. It takes about 7.4 seconds per image on my HP laptop with a quad-core i7 proc and 8GB of RAM. I freed up about 30GB of HDD space (55GB->25GB).
Purists might argue that I'm throwing away some data, and I suppose that is true. However, if there is no discernible difference (that I can see), why not save space and improve speed? Your approach might be different, but this works for me.