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Thread: Do I keep RAW when using DNG? HD filling up too quick!

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    Ausphotography Regular glennb's Avatar
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    Do I keep RAW when using DNG? HD filling up too quick!

    Hi all, I just finished emptying my PC hardrive into a external as it was getting very full very quickly as I now have too (thanks to photoshop trying to force me to purchase elements 12 just so I can open up my raw file on my D610) convert my files to DNG in view nx2 so my elements 11 that I have had for only 18mths can read and edit them. So I now get 2 large files of each image!
    Q1 from what I can tell I just loose a small amount of meta data in DNG and loose no IQ for raw pp so would it be safe to delete the raw file? Is anything important lost?
    Q2 Is there a program so I can view the file in windows my pictures folder, at the moment I just get folders with DNG writing on it and can only view in elements and view nx2.
    Cheers
    Glenn
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    Administrator ricktas's Avatar
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    With the price of HDD relatively cheap and even if you do delete the RAW files (yes you can as long as you treat your DNG as you would your original RAW file), you are going to fill your HDD up with DNG files fairly quickly also. Invest in a couple of external drives, and move your RAW or DNG (whichever you decide to keep) on the external drive.

    It is also prudent to mention getting a couple of drives is a good move, and have one as duplicate of the other, then keep it at a friends, at your parents etc. That way if you get burgled or your house catches fire, or a HDD fails, you still have all your photos, on the drive stored off-site. Just regularly bring it home and update the files on it so that it reflects ALL your photo that you want to keep.

    All to often we hear of someone having a complete HDD failure and losing all their photos, forever!
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    Quote Originally Posted by ricktas View Post
    With the price of HDD relatively cheap and even if you do delete the RAW files (yes you can as long as you treat your DNG as you would your original RAW file), you are going to fill your HDD up with DNG files fairly quickly also. Invest in a couple of external drives, and move your RAW or DNG (whichever you decide to keep) on the external drive.

    It is also prudent to mention getting a couple of drives is a good move, and have one as duplicate of the other, then keep it at a friends, at your parents etc. That way if you get burgled or your house catches fire, or a HDD fails, you still have all your photos, on the drive stored off-site. Just regularly bring it home and update the files on it so that it reflects ALL your photo that you want to keep.

    All to often we hear of someone having a complete HDD failure and losing all their photos, forever!
    Thanks Rick, I think elements treats DNG as a raw file, as long as I can use the image to its full potential in ADOBE RAW ,I can then delete the RAW neg and just have the DNG and save some space.
    Cheers
    Glenn

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    Administrator ricktas's Avatar
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    yes DNG is a RAW format, so you can delete the original RAW file and keep the DNG one if you wish to.

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    A royal pain in the bum! arthurking83's Avatar
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    A couple of things:

    1/. ViewNX2 is unable to convert to DNG!

    2/. If you are sending to an external application via VNX2(eg. PS) .. it will almost certainly be TIFF.

    3/. If you are converting from NEF to DNG(as you assume) and that is, saving in PS as a DNG .. it's not a true raw file type!!

    That is, you can save a jpg or a tiff image in your editor as an NEF .. but it's not a raw nef, it's a psuedo NEF whereby it's a tiff/jpg with the ability to remember the edit steps.

    Note that only a raw file is a true raw file!!


    FWIW: I'd delete the DNG files once they've been edited and converted to a raster image(ie. tiff or jpg).

    You can always reconvert any NEF to a DNG file type, but you can't convert a DNG file to a (true!)NEF.
    Raw NEF files have intrinsic and unique properties about them.
    Whether this is important to you is the unknown variable.


    4/. I know 4 points isn't equal to a 'couple of points' but I'm sure you'll survive that encounter!
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    Quote Originally Posted by arthurking83 View Post
    A couple of things:

    1/. ViewNX2 is unable to convert to DNG!

    2/. If you are sending to an external application via VNX2(eg. PS) .. it will almost certainly be TIFF.

    3/. If you are converting from NEF to DNG(as you assume) and that is, saving in PS as a DNG .. it's not a true raw file type!!

    That is, you can save a jpg or a tiff image in your editor as an NEF .. but it's not a raw nef, it's a psuedo NEF whereby it's a tiff/jpg with the ability to remember the edit steps.

    Note that only a raw file is a true raw file!!


    FWIW: I'd delete the DNG files once they've been edited and converted to a raster image(ie. tiff or jpg).

    You can always reconvert any NEF to a DNG file type, but you can't convert a DNG file to a (true!)NEF.
    Raw NEF files have intrinsic and unique properties about them.
    Whether this is important to you is the unknown variable.


    4/. I know 4 points isn't equal to a 'couple of points' but I'm sure you'll survive that encounter!
    Thanks Arthurking, you are right, I use the DNG CONVERTER, not sure why I wrote that I use nx2, think cos I first used too Change to tiff 8bit before I downloaded DNG converter but I think I had issues with it which is why I down loaded DNG converter.

    Q. What process would you recommend where I would loose the lest amount of Nef raw info and not have multiple files of the one image(before editing) ?
    Should just going into nx2 and transferring the Nef to tiff 8bit be enough?
    Cheers
    Glenn



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    A royal pain in the bum! arthurking83's Avatar
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    OK.. makes sense then.

    1. editing the NEF in VNX2 and then loading that into the DNG converter is a wasted effort.
    Why? .. because the edits made in VNX2 are not seen in any Adobe software.

    2. recommended workflows:

    2a. Stick with VNX2, and do some raw tweaking(what ever you think is needed .. WB, exposure colour, etc) .. and then simply open with your editing software.
    Don't convert to nothing. VNX2 will do that automagically for you. Look for the Open with function, and you can enter an icon into the lower toolbar. The larger one where the Convert function is located.
    if you go into the Edit-> Options section, you will see an Open with Application feature. Add whatever app you like. Once done, it adds an link to it within the system.
    if the Link is not seen in the lower toolbar(near the convert function), right click that toolbar and choose Customise. You will see a list of available options, one of which will be the application you just created(eg. Adobe Photoshop or something). I have many links added to that toolbar.
    Note that the image will be a 16bit tiff file which opens in the external editor/viewer program.

    2b. Keep all NEFs as is, Do not delete.
    Send all the images you want to work on in the DNG converter, edit as needed, save as jpgs or whatever and then your options vary from here.
    I'm not sure how large the DNGs become(don't see any reason to use it) but if they're not too big, keep them and delete the jpg offshoots immediately after upload, or saving to whatever device.
    Once you have NEFs and DNGs all other file types are superfluous. You can make either jpgs and tiffs from raw easily enough if needed.

    If you like, as already said somewhere .. you could keep on one drive a copy of all the important NEF files worth keeping, and on another drive, in a sense as a mirror(backup copy) you could keep all the DNG versions.

    The problem exists tho if you lose the NEF drive .. you have no way to recreate those NEF files again. Once lost .. lost forever. BUT! as a consolation, you at least still have the DNG files safe.
    As the DNG files are made via DNG converter, they are true raw files, and have therefore the same capability as the NEF files in many ways(re WB exposure, etc) .. it's just that they are not the files that originated in the camera!

    Personally, I wouldn't rely on DNG as the supposed default raw file type to be. That's not to say that it wont be .... but as not everyone has agreed on the format in a cohesive manner, I think there will be some changes wanted by the big two(who seem to hold the most weight for some reason???) and that this may even enforce some sort of possible change to the format structure.

    The tide is slowly turning tho .. even some smartphone cameras are now natively supporting DNG.
    if the tide becomes a tsunami of interest by everyone but the big two boofheads .. I reckon they'll have to change their tune tho.

    But remember one thing .. you can always make a DNG from an NEF now .. hopefully one day you could make an NEF from a DNG, but until Nikon supports this notion, it's not possible.

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    Given that you are sensible and are keeping a back-up of all of your images, you're going to have two copies of each file anyway. Why not one RAW and one DNG? They are named identically, aren't they?

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    Really appreciate your help Arthurking think you and Warbler have a good idea about about keeping backups with NEF on one hd and DNG on another.
    Cheers


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    DNG is a perfectly fine RAW image format. It has as much chance to survive into the future as any camera manufacturer's format.

    That said, I wouldn't bother converting files into DNG unless I was only using software that could make use of them. There's little point in editing a NEF file and then converting to DNG at the end of the process. Converting to DNG at the start and working with that (ie. typical Lightroom workflow) is good though. Lightroom will actually import the RAW files as DNG, saving you from having to use an external converter.

    Yes there is software that lets you see your files as images in Windows Explorer. I've been told that Windows 8 does this natively, but if you're using Windows 7 or earlier you'll need to get the Adobe DNG codec, which is free from Adobe's website. Nikon also has something similar to show NEF files.
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    A royal pain in the bum! arthurking83's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MrQ View Post
    DNG is a perfectly fine RAW image format. It has as much chance to survive into the future as any camera manufacturer's format.

    .......
    I think the point missed here is not about it's survival as a file format of the future.
    Irrespective of that, it exists and the tech exists to read and write to it.

    The major point is a sort of highest common denominator effect.

    You can always make DNGs from NEFs that's for sure .. and in the future you always will. That's not in question.

    But what if some software comes along into the future that can't read DNG files(ie. slothful Nikon software dopey brainses!!) but somehow create the most super cool NEF editing experience beyond waht others are capable of(as an example CaptureNX3).

    Unless Nikon embrace the DNG format, this CNX3 is most likely to not support it natively. And any old DNGs converted to NEF files will not be the same .. they will be tiff like limited. ie. good, but not raw capable.

    Always work back to what you can easily create as an original piece for archival purposes.

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    Member MrQ's Avatar
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    The point wasn't missed. The point is that DNG is exactly like any other raw format. What happens if any of the formats stop being supported? The OP already pointed out that they needed a software upgrade to use the "standard" Nikon NEF file. You're no better off with one or the other. Software will always need to be updated to handle changes to image file formats, whatever those formats are. At least if you standardise on DNG it's only one raw format to worry about. I have a point-and-shoot camera that saves in a different raw format to my D600, but I can use a single DNG format for all my files in Lightroom.

    Also, to be clear - DNG is a lossless raw format, so converting them back to NEF in the future would not limit you. There may be some metadata in the NEF files that doesn't copy over to DNG, but I haven't found any with practical use. If it's really a concern but you want to use DNG as a common format you can actually embed the original raw file in the DNG anyway (at the cost of a larger file size).

    However (again) - I wouldn't be converting anything to DNG unless it was the first thing to happen (with or right after import) and every piece of software I was using on the original file was DNG capable. Because DNG is a raw format there really isn't any reason to convert to it at a later stage of your workflow. If you're ending up with NEF, DNG, CR2 and whatever other raw formats then you're missing the single biggest advantage of DNG which is the common file format.

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    Thanks MrQ and Arthurking, I understand where both of you are coming from. Appreciate the Adobe DNG codec link MrQ. Im using Adobe raw and elements 11 for PP so I have to use either DNG or 8bit tiff, I usually( when I could use NEF with my d5100) save a tiff file if only I edited the nef and posted to flicker or similar.
    So I feel I should save NEF on one HD (the backup) and change to DNG or Tiff for second HD. So to throw a spanner in the works DNG vs 8bit Tiff (I have to use 8 bit for some reason) Tiff seems to be pretty popular and accepted by most programs but not sure about things like it retaining meta data etc?
    will also look into Arthurkings workflow 2a but I do like using Adobe raw for WB etc. Im not sure if one is superior to the other.
    cheers
    Glenn

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