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View Poll Results: DNG v RAW
I have a digital camera that natively provides DNG files E.g. Leica M9 48 43.24%
I never use DNG or convert to it from RAW file formats, such as NEF 31 27.93%
I sometimes convert my RAW files to DNG and delete the original RAW files 2 1.80%
I always convert my RAW files to DNG and delete the original RAW files 12 10.81%
I sometimes convert my RAW files to DNG but I don't delete the original RAW files 7 6.31%
I always convert my RAW files to DNG but I don't delete the original RAW files 7 6.31%
I used to convert RAW files to DNG but don't bother any more 4 3.60%
I plan to convert my RAW files to DNG but haven't got round to it yet 0 0%
Voters: 111. You may not vote on this poll

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DNG v RAW Poll
Old 01-03-2016   #1
lawrence
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DNG v RAW Poll

I have been assessing the merits of converting my RAW files to DNG and would be interested knowing the practises of other RFF members.
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Old 01-03-2016   #2
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If you convert to DNG, there is no reason to delete the original raw.

I save my raws on a separate external HD (which is backed up) and consider this to be my virtual file cabinet of negatives.

A 1 TB HD costs about as much as an OEM camera battery or a high-performance SD HC card costs. This is not an extraordinary expense.
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Old 01-03-2016   #3
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Is there an advantage to converting? Quite often to save space and processing time I shoot medium raw files from a Canon 5d iii , I tried converting these to dng and the file size increased.
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Old 01-03-2016   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bobbyrab View Post
Is there an advantage to converting? Quite often to save space and processing time I shoot medium raw files from a Canon 5d iii , I tried converting these to dng and the file size increased.
Normally there is a decrease in size when you convert to DNG using the default settings in the Adobe Digital Negative Converter software but I think this may depend on the options ('Preferences') you select E.g. The size of the JPEG preview and whether you embed fast load data.
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Old 01-03-2016   #5
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I haven't done this in the past but will be selectively doing this as part of the Photo merge options in LR6. That will take multiple RAW files and either HDR merge them or blend multiple shots to a panorama and save the resulting file as a DNG.

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Old 01-03-2016   #6
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I always shoot RAW, post process and export to JPG in LR, and then delete the original files. Duplicates of the final JPG version(s) are stored on several hard discs and on Flickr.
I used to convert RAW files to DNG but don't bother any more.
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Old 01-03-2016   #7
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I didn't use to bother with DNG (apart from my Leicas in which case RAW==DNG), but I recently bought a Sony RX1RII with grossly inefficient RAW that can get 50% lossless compression, zip-style, from DNG, and am toying with the idea of converting to DNG in Lightroom, archiving the RAW files to offline hard drives, and keeping only the DNG in my online catalog. I would consider the same if I had one of the Nikon cameras with lossy compressed NEF.
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Old 01-03-2016   #8
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So the advantage is all about file sizes then?
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Old 01-03-2016   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bobbyrab View Post
So the advantage is all about file sizes then?
Not at all. More important is the incorporation of data that otherwise has to be written to an XMP sidecar file as well as format standardisation. A full description of DNG is given here.
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Old 01-03-2016   #10
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Also that all edits can be stored into DNG itself, no sidecar file.
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Old 01-03-2016   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jarski View Post
Also that all edits can be stored into DNG itself, no sidecar file.
Will this allow different editors to write to their info to the same file? That would be very handy for when I edit certain RAW files outside of LR.

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Old 01-03-2016   #12
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Some of the earliest raw formats are no longer supported by raw converters. In theory raw converters will stop supporting Canon and Nikon raw formats before they stop supporting dng. That would be many years away.

I'm always confused about the concern over file size. RAM is expensive but is still far larger than the file sizes, in any computer used for photo purposes; storage memory is dirt cheap, ignoring SSDs. jpeg is a poor format for editing since you lose the all-important metadata and critical bit depth.
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Old 01-04-2016   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shawn View Post
Will this allow different editors to write to their info to the same file? That would be very handy for when I edit certain RAW files outside of LR.

Shawn
I know it works across Adobe family. Write changes with LR, and Bridge & Camera Raw (step before Photoshop) will show them as expected. And vice versa, but you probably have to read metadata again from file, if it was in LR catalog already.

Can't comment on other raw editors, can they save changes to DNG as well.

Am fan of this feature of DNG, as it saves time if I ever return to old photo and need new jpeg from it. No need to edit again.
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Old 01-04-2016   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by majid View Post
I didn't use to bother with DNG (apart from my Leicas in which case RAW==DNG), but I recently bought a Sony RX1RII with grossly inefficient RAW that can get 50% lossless compression, zip-style, from DNG, and am toying with the idea of converting to DNG in Lightroom, archiving the RAW files to offline hard drives, and keeping only the DNG in my online catalog. I would consider the same if I had one of the Nikon cameras with lossy compressed NEF.
Thanks for clarifying this point. I see only DNG in my M8/M9 and no RAW. The Olympus E-P2 and E-PL1 have RAW but no DNG.

If the images are poorly composed or exposed, is there really a need for these?
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Old 01-04-2016   #15
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I use a camera that produces DNG, I then convert these DNG files to TIFF using MakeTIFF. Then with very little post processing convert the MakeTIFF TIFF file to a visual file with PerfectRAW. Works very well, especially if I'm careful shoot so I have a 'good' histogram.
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Old 01-04-2016   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bobbyrab View Post
Is there an advantage to converting? Quite often to save space and processing time I shoot medium raw files from a Canon 5d iii , I tried converting these to dng and the file size increased.
It's possible you inadvertently selected a conversion option that includes the original raw file in the DNG file.

There is a completely different conversion option that invokes lossless compression during DNG conversion. In this case the files will be approximately 15% smaller. And no data is destroyed during the conversion.

In 2012 Adobe included a lossy compression mode for DNG conversions. This is a space saving compromise that is somewhere between a highly compressed JPEG and the lossless DNG in terms of how much data is irreversibly lost during compression.

To make matter more confusing, some Adobe products offer the option to store large amounts of metadata with the individual DNG files as well as within the rendering software's data base. When this option is invoked, the DNG file size increases.
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Old 01-04-2016   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by raid View Post
...

If the images are poorly composed or exposed, is there really a need for these?
Yes.

Because there is no way to be completely certain the image is poorly composed or exposed before you view it. There is no remedy for poor composition or severe overexposure. Often underexposed images can be rescued by increasing the global rendering brightness in post production. In this case the result will always be superior for a raw file compared to a JPEG file since the raw contains all the available information you recorded.

I believe the M9 offers both a lossy compression and lossless compression options for in-camera DNG files. If I remember correctly lossless M9 DNG compression is not linear. Instead it compresses data for highlight regions more than shadow regions. Since highlight regions contain more photon noise, many photographers conclude Leica's lossy DNG compression is harmless. Other brands use similar schemes.

The M9 has a DNG + raw option. DNG and JPEG are not mutually exclusive. If storage space is an issue, deleting unneeded DNG (and JPEGs) is trivial.
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Old 01-08-2016   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by raid View Post
Thanks for clarifying this point. I see only DNG in my M8/M9 and no RAW. The Olympus E-P2 and E-PL1 have RAW but no DNG.
RAW is just a generic name for a data format that (in theory) stores data exactly as read from the sensor without any processing applied to it. DNG is Adobe's attempt to make a standardized RAW format, but they released it as an open standard.

Leica made the laudable decision to use a standard format (DNG) instead of a proprietary RAW format. As did Pentax IIRC. No one else followed: Canon has CRW, Nikon has NEF, Sony has ARW, Fuji has RAF and Sigma has X3F.

Quote:
If the images are poorly composed or exposed, is there really a need for these?
Modern sensors have better dynamic range and color gradations than the JPEG format itself, usually 12 to 14 bits vs 8, and you can usually salvage one or two stops' overexposure from RAW compared to JPEG. Also, if you correct for white balance or change the tone curve, you don't suffer from the rounding errors introduced by a coarse format like JPEG. It's like the difference in range between a negative and a print. The workflow is slightly more complex (although software like Lightroom makes it nearly effortless), but if you don't shoot RAW, it's as if you threw away your negatives once you made a print, i.e. it's like shooting Polaroid.
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Old 01-08-2016   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bobbyrab View Post
So the advantage is all about file sizes then?
When each frame is 85MB and you store everything on SSD because spinning rust hard drives are too unbearably slow, that's nothing to sneeze at.

DNG is also more future-proof than proprietary formats.
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Old 01-09-2016   #20
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The big issue is the possibility that the software of tomorrow won't be able to read the files we create today in anything but the most important filetypes.

I see DNG as an Adobe creation, more exposed the whims and business currents that drive Adobe. I want images to be available to my grandkids, say 40 years from now. Will Adobe be around 40 years from now?

I'm keeping my .NEF files. I use Lightroom, but I export the sidecar files, because I'm not counting on my Lightroom catalog being usable forever, more likely something will open the .NEF with the sidecar. I make good jpegs of every image and for special images a TIFF as greater insurance of future usability.

I'm betting someone will keep producing software that opens .NEF files.

Will future software be able to open DNGs? PSDs? Lightroom catalog? The iPhoto catalog? I'm not counting on any of these.

I'll bet on NEF, but I hedge by keeping good jpeg and/or TIFF.
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Old 01-09-2016   #21
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To manage hard-drive space, I delete ruthlessly.

Preserve the good ones. No one will ever care about the mediocre shots.
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Old 01-09-2016   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by majid View Post
...
Leica made the laudable decision to use a standard format (DNG) instead of a proprietary RAW format. As did Pentax IIRC. No one else followed: Canon has CRW, Nikon has NEF, Sony has ARW, Fuji has RAF and Sigma has X3F.
...
My older Pentax K100D wrote only the proprietary raw PEF files, and one was expected to use the bundled Pentax editing software. With my K20D they added an option in the camera menu to write either PEF or DNG, as you say a laudable move! And that dual option still exists on my newer K-3 as well. Using Adobe DNG Converter, I converted the old PEFs to DNGs in the interests of standardization.

I choose to have those Pentaxes that can do so output DNG, and of course the Leicas too.

After processing with Lightroom, I save the output as full-size TIFF files as a source for further uses, and there's a future-proofing aspect to that too.
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Old 01-09-2016   #23
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Use RAW format with Adobe ACR.

Tried saving duplicate as DNG but quit.

As I understand, some cameras use DNG format.
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Old 01-09-2016   #24
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I usually work with just the RAW files. However, I use Photoshop CS5 and some RAW files are not supported by an Adobe Camera RAW update for CS5. In that situation, I convert to DNG before other processing.
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Old 01-09-2016   #25
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Two small points:

1. Adobe has us over a barrel, pushing us to the annual subscription program. CS5 and Lightroom 5 won't handle raw from the newest cameras. Whatever software, you need to keep updating it to use the newest cameras.

2. There are risks of future readability anyway you go, and I think this risk is the biggest factor to guide the strategy for what file types to keep. Each of us has to make our own choices. Some redundancy (i.e. keeping jpeg and/or tiff) reduces risk.
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Old 01-09-2016   #26
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Hope this helps someone:

https://www.adobe.com/support/downlo...jsp?ftpID=5261

I use CS4 and it works with my Canon cameras. Mine are a wee bit old but still work just fine. The portrait shown here was made with a Canon 10D! I did RAW update, sometime ago, and it works for me. I don't intend buying any new digital cameras but if I do I'll see if something like Photoshop Elements works.
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Old 01-09-2016   #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ColSebastianMoran View Post
Two small points:
1. Adobe has us over a barrel, pushing us to the annual subscription program. CS5 and Lightroom 5 won't handle raw from the newest cameras. Whatever software, you need to keep updating it to use the newest cameras.
You can always download the most current DNG converter (free), convert your RAW files to DNG and then open them in CS5 (not sure about LR5).

If Adobe tries to make LR go subscription-only, I am switching to DarkTable: http://www.darktable.org/

Quote:
2. There are risks of future readability anyway you go, and I think this risk is the biggest factor to guide the strategy for what file types to keep. Each of us has to make our own choices. Some redundancy (i.e. keeping jpeg and/or tiff) reduces risk.
DNG is fully documented, but it is a complex format. NEF and many other RAW formats have been reverse-engineered by Dave Coffin and implemented as open-source libraries like dcraw or libopenraw. On the balance of probabilities, I suspect DNG is going to be readable longer than NEF et al.
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Old 01-09-2016   #28
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Quote:
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If Adobe tries to make LR go subscription-only, I am switching to DarkTable: http://www.darktable.org/



RAWtherapee is open source that will work with Windows. It is a good piece of software with maybe too much loaded on to it, but you don't have to use it all. Another down is you don't have the crossover from Adobe so you will have to learn the interface. I like it and use it often, I find it great with exposure control, contrast, and lightening (without blown highlights).
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Old 01-10-2016   #29
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RAWtherapee is open source that will work with Windows. It is a good piece of software with maybe too much loaded on to it, but you don't have to use it all. Another down is you don't have the crossover from Adobe so you will have to learn the interface. I like it and use it often, I find it great with exposure control, contrast, and lightening (without blown highlights).
+1 for Rawtherapee. Admittedly, a difficult interface (initially) but once mastered, a great piece of software offering superb Raw conversions (IMHO). It also has some excellent film simulations, if that's your thing.
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Old 07-06-2016   #30
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You may end up wedded to Adobe forever. Software companies are poachers for your money.

been on CC rent for 1.5 years now and have yet to find anything useful that was not in CS6. Fortunately 6 is still on 3 computers.

And do not go higher than Capitan or 6 will no longer work so I was told July 4.
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Old 07-06-2016   #31
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I should download raw therapee and give it a try again. It's been a while. I've tried multiple programs and downloaded trials of many others and keep on winding up right back where I left off, with Photoshop and Adobe Camera raw. For me, it's been the best interface and workflow.

Cost? It is, what it is. I could stop buying new bodies too, or at least slow it down to maybe every other or every third generation. I don't need to be having dinner out virtually every night of the week too. There are so many things I waste money on. Photoshop isn't one of those things.
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Old 07-06-2016   #32
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Btw. Bridge CC (alone) is free of use, no need for monthly programs or one time costs. Realized this only recently and was gladly surprised. Adobe ID is needed naturally to complete the download.
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Old 07-20-2016   #33
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My workflow policy when it comes to raw files:
  • I archive all original, native raw files off-line from my image processing system. I have not yet found a need to retrieve a single file from that archive.
  • Most of my working copies of original files now are native DNG since i'm using mostly Leica M and SL cameras at present.
  • When there is a significant file size advantage or when I need custom camera calibration profiles, I convert native raw files to DNG.

G
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Old 07-20-2016   #34
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I did not vote above, because I need two choices to accurately describe what I do. I both own an M9, which I shoot in RAW format, and convert Fuji, Olympus, Sony, and Ricoh RAW files to DNG. Then I can see everything in PS Bridge (v.12, which is getting a little long in the tooth, RAW conversion-wise).

I use DNG because I don't want to switch software packages often. How messed up is that? A LR upgrade is inexpensive, and LR converts all RAW to DNG. If I then need to do extensive image manipulation, I can do it in PS 12 without further PS upgrades. I find the camera companies RAW conversion software in general inferior to or clunkier than LR. But really, I think the constant upgrade cycle is a huge distraction to the creative process. I have been off that merry-to-round (new camera-->need new software + more RAM-->need new computer . . .ARRG) for about five years now and it is just fine. Honestly, I "upgraded" to PS 12 from PS 10 when 12 came out and I have yet to learn all its features. It has been years. The "monthly fee" thing is not for me, whatever its merits may be.

So I try to obsolescence-proof my files by having at least one version of them all in one format. Sigh. Gotta shoot some film instead, I think.
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Old 07-20-2016   #35
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What? No "jpeg" option? Because making these adjustments in most cases is done faster, better, cheaper by the nth generation chip in your camera. You're just wasting time, most (but not all) of the time doing what a computer does 10.000X faster and way more accurately, than doing this manually. Computers -- they're better at driving cars, better at making calculations, and better at adjusting your photos (and way, way, WAY faster) usually. It's what they do.

100% with Ken Rockwell on this.
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Old 07-20-2016   #36
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I always convert to DNG when importing from a digital camera. I have had Nikons, Canons, Olympuses, etc. etc. and I like having all my files under one format that is always supported. Adobe is able to organize and archive all my files in a straightforward manner as well. I need to do a better job with my film scans....
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Old 10-04-2016   #37
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DNG only if native. Not really confident that converting from RAW to DNG will preserve all info contained in original.
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Old 10-04-2016   #38
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Not yet have a camera that can output dng so I never use it. Filesize is no issue, storage is cheap compared to my time managing a few MB here and there (shooting less instead of just keeping pushing the sutter release is more helpful). Programs enough that can open any raw I need. So I see no use for yet another file format.
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Old 10-05-2016   #39
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ckuwajima View Post
DNG only if native. Not really confident that converting from RAW to DNG will preserve all info contained in original.
It may or may not... depending on whether the DNG conversion option is lossless or lossy.

At any rate, upon import to LR CC I convert all the raw files to lossless DNG. During the LR import I select the LR option to copy the RAW files straight to an external HD as well (no DNG conversion). Then both my working HD with the DNGs and the external drive are backed up to two separate HDs.

The DNGs are deleted from the LR HD as part of my image selection (a.k.a. editing) work flow. The only time I ever needed a raw version was when I discovered a LR 'keepers' was flawed (motion blur, focus issues, exposure error, etc) then I would import the raw versions deleted DNG files from my external HD (without the automatic raw copy option of course).

Otherwise I have not needed the raw data. This is similar to not needing negatives or transparencies but keeping them in notebooks or file folders... jst because.
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Old 10-05-2016   #40
ckuwajima
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Quote:
Originally Posted by willie_901 View Post
It may or may not... depending on whether the DNG conversion option is lossless or lossy.

At any rate, upon import to LR CC I convert all the raw files to lossless DNG. During the LR import I select the LR option to copy the RAW files straight to an external HD as well (no DNG conversion). Then both my working HD with the DNGs and the external drive are backed up to two separate HDs.

The DNGs are deleted from the LR HD as part of my image selection (a.k.a. editing) work flow. The only time I ever needed a raw version was when I discovered a LR 'keepers' was flawed (motion blur, focus issues, exposure error, etc) then I would import the raw versions deleted DNG files from my external HD (without the automatic raw copy option of course).

Otherwise I have not needed the raw data. This is similar to not needing negatives or transparencies but keeping them in notebooks or file folders... jst because.
Nice workflow.
I guess the conversion to DNG is mostly ok, but there may be proprietary information embedded in RAW that can not be readily mapped to DNG format. The new Canon EOS 5D IV dual pixel RAW is an example.
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