DNG – a uni­ver­sal file for­mat?

Adobe’s Dig­i­tal Neg­a­tive for­mat goes some way to pro­vid­ing a file for­mat that can be read by any RAW pro­cess­ing soft­ware

NPhoto - - Competition -

DNG (or Dig­i­tal Neg­a­tive) is an Adobe ini­tia­tive to de­sign a ‘uni­ver­sal’ RAW im­age file that can be opened in any RAW soft­ware. Us­ing Adobe soft­ware like Pho­to­shop or Light­room, you can save a RAW file as a DNG and re­tain all the raw data.

Most cam­era man­u­fac­tur­ers de­sign their own RAW file for­mats, and keep im­prov­ing them to work best with their cam­eras, so there is no com­mon stan­dard.

This is one of the prob­lems that DNG is de­signed to solve, the con­cern be­ing that it may be im­pos­si­ble to read old RAW files in the fu­ture. This is hardly likely, given that first, once a RAW file for­mat has been opened there is no rea­son why this abil­ity should ever be lost; and sec­ond, that re­verse en­gi­neer­ing all RAW files has been sim­ple to date (dcraw does this).

In prac­tice, DNG po­larises opin­ion, but the choice be­tween it and RAW (in our case .NEF) hinges on work­flow rather than qual­ity, where there is no dif­fer­ence what­so­ever.

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