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Converting RAW files to DNG


Allan Bell
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Hi ladies and gents I am wondering what the pros and cons are of converting Sony ARW raw files to DNG, or any other camera manufacturers RAW files for that matter.

 

Is there any record of the conversion software losing pixels or detail in the original RAW file?

 

Will the software alter colour space?

 

Are there any other cons?

 

I ask this because I purchased a new Sony A7 mkIII yesterday and I know my copy of LR6.14 (Perpetual licence) will not recognise RAW images from this camera. I believe there is a workaround to get LR6.14 to recognise the mkIII files but believe it is only for Windows and I am on an iMAC.

 

Allan

 

 

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3 hours ago, spacecadet said:

There's a discussion here

where I referred to this

https://theblog.adobe.com/dng-pros-cons-and-myths/

which seems to address some of your questions. The answer appears to be no.

 

Thanks Mark I had seen that discussion.

 

I was hoping for more definitive replies to my questions.

 

Will go back and have another look at the discussion again.

 

Allan

 

 

Edited by Allan Bell
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I remember reading a discussion somewhere within the past year, I think, about how some software update couldn't recognize Adobe DNGs, and people were complaining there were files they couldn't open, or were missing with the update, or something. I can't remember what software it was. It might've even been a Mac operating system update. Or maybe it was a Nik program? Maybe you could do a web search and see if you can find a discussion like that. 

 

But I've always kept the original files directly from the camera untouched anyway, and made copies, and then had Lightroom work from those copies. I was told it was overkill, but I'm always paranoid about touching originals of anything. You never know what software screwups can happen, even if LR is supposedly non-destructive. I'd rather use the hard drive space and have virgin originals I can always go back to if need be. Maybe you could do that as a safeguard against any cons you might not find out about until it's too late.

Edited by KHA
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6 minutes ago, KHA said:

 

 

But I've always kept the original files directly from the camera untouched anyway, and made copies, and then had Lightroom work from those copies. I was told it was overkill, but I'm always paranoid about touching originals of anything. You never know what software screwups can happen, even if LR is supposedly non-destructive. I'd rather use the hard drive space and have virgin originals I can always go back to if need be. Maybe you could do that as a safeguard against any cons you might not find out about until it's too late.

I think you're wasting your time workflow-wise- although you do then have an extra backup. As I understand it, LR edits are carried out on a proxy, not the RAW. LR never alters RAWs. The same applies to DNGs, and jpgs for that matter- LR doesn't alter the original file. The edits are only baked into whatever you export.

My RAWS are "untouched", as you put it, and always have been.

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11 minutes ago, spacecadet said:

I think you're wasting your time workflow-wise- although you do then have an extra backup. As I understand it, LR edits are carried out on a proxy, not the RAW. LR never alters RAWs. The same applies to DNGs, and jpgs for that matter- LR doesn't alter the original file. The edits are only baked into whatever you export.

My RAWS are "untouched", as you put it, and always have been.

 

I know that's what they say, but I'm just not that trusting of technology. I guess it's because logically I can't conceive of how edits can be made without the software program interacting with the file it's editing in some way.

 

And I want its virtual hands off my originals!

 

It really doesn't take that much extra time in my workflow. The issue might arise when I get a new camera that creates really huge files that I have to duplicate. But then I'll just have to get a commensurately large hard drive.

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50 minutes ago, KHA said:

 I guess it's because logically I can't conceive of how edits can be made without the software program interacting with the file it's editing in some way.

 

 

It doesn't.

The edits are saved in the catalogue. If you ever look at an xmp sidecar file, you'll see the text defining every single edit down to pixel level.

 I don't understand how a lot of things work, but that doesn't mean I don't "trust" them in some way.

If you must have an analogy, LR's catalogue proxy is a transparent film overlaying the print. You do all your corrections on the cel, then rephotograph. The copy has all the corrections, but if you take away the film, the original print is untouched.

Just to be clear- LR does not change the RAW file. This is a fact.

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Raw files don’t have a colour space so that is irrelevant. The colour space is assigned on conversion of the raw and that will be determined by your settings in Lightroom or other raw converter. 

 

There will be no loss of data if you use the lossless DNG option but there will be if you use the lossy option. That is fairly self-evident. 

 

The only pro to you using DNG is to avoid investing in software that can read the raw from your new camera. I recommend you spend the £10 a month for the CC package. It is vastly advanced now over LR6 in terms of features and speed. You have a fantastic new camera which deserves the best treatment on its files and CC. The cost is tiny in comparison to the camera.

 

I know you object to the subscription so the alternative is Capture One perhaps. Don’t Sony have a special deal? But then you have to learn a whole new program. 

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1 hour ago, KHA said:

 

I know that's what they say, but I'm just not that trusting of technology. I guess it's because logically I can't conceive of how edits can be made without the software program interacting with the file it's editing in some way.

 

And I want its virtual hands off my originals!

 

It really doesn't take that much extra time in my workflow. The issue might arise when I get a new camera that creates really huge files that I have to duplicate. But then I'll just have to get a commensurately large hard drive.

 

That is irrational. Look at the last modified dates and you will see the raw files are never touched. Raw converters either store info about edits in a catalog and/or in sidecar text files. The image pixels are never touched. Photoshop is a pixel editor. Lightroom is a raw converter as well as other things but it never modifies the raw except in one instance and that is in the metadata as follows. 

 

The only thing you can do in Lightroom that affects the original is to embed an alternative date and you have to choose this specifically. The only reason to do this would be if the camera date was set wrong. I have done this when I have bought a new camera or have two cameras on the same job and they have been out of sync in terms of time

Edited by MDM
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KHA,

Back when I started in 2006, I vaguely knew RAW existed.but I thought it required fancy software in addition to LR and PS, so I shot only jpegs for a few months, and I also had no idea that I should not be working on my original jpegs. As a consequence, I had some jpegs from Washington DC that I overprocessed.  Well, some time after that, I was updating an old LR catalog (LR2 perhaps?) and realized that, while I had finalized some in PS and those changes were set in stone, there were some other images that I had only processed in LR and I was able to take them back to their original state, make a copy, save it as a TIFF and start fresh. Lightroom does not alter your photos until you export them, and the original you worked then still remains intact since the export is a copy. 

 

Alan,

Capture One software is free for Sony owners. I found it cumbersome but it does a beautiful job converting the RAW files. You could then save them as TIFFS. But I"d recommend you get the $10 (10 pound?) subscription - with those huge files you need something that will process them quickly and with LR's new texture slider, I barely even bother with my Nik plug-ins anymore, not to mention that the spot remover does more than deal with dust in the latest version. And if you are into artsy stuff they now have a tone of Vintage, Modern and other filter-type color setting in addition to all the Sony camera settings - which are really excellent. I've been using Sony Camera Deep for some of my nautical images lately - even the B&W choices are nice for a fast look (I'll never give up on Nik Silver Efex). A little tweak and they are gorgeous. You may find you'll want a fast computer. I upgraded after finding my 2013 machine was too slow for my liking about a year after getting the A7rii. You will love that camera despite it's annoying interface, the pix are stunners. But you want to get the most out of them. 

 

In the other discussion, I asked the difference between a TIFF and a DNG? What's the benefit of one over the other since the DNG doesn't have a sidecar file? How is it any better than using a TIFF file?

 

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1 hour ago, Marianne said:

 

In the other discussion, I asked the difference between a TIFF and a DNG? What's the benefit of one over the other since the DNG doesn't have a sidecar file? How is it any better than using a TIFF file?

 

 

A DNG is effectively a raw file so you can do what you like with it (white balance, noise reduction, highlight and shadow recovery and so on). Again you are not editing pixels when working on a DNG so the process is non-destructive. A Tiff has everything locked in already so the options are far fewer - same as a Jpeg in fact except you can save a Tiff as lossless. And you are editing the pixels so it is destructive whereas working on a DNG is non-destructive. 

Edited by MDM
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Everybody, just for clarification, I understand that EDITS are not made to the RAW. What I meant was, I did not believe edits could be made (even if they are only expressed in LR) without the software INTERACTING with the file in some way. How would it have any ability to make decisions if it had no idea what was in the file? It must have some way of reading the file, which means there is an interaction there. MGM, despite saying I was being irrational, seemed to prove my point when he said LR was capable of changing RAW metadata. Hence, it can interact with the file. And anytime there's an interaction, there's a danger of an unintended reaction. I've never in my life encountered bug-free software.

 

I just prefer to quarantine my originals completely. No one else is obligated to do this if it doesn't work for them.

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12 hours ago, KHA said:

Everybody, just for clarification, I understand that EDITS are not made to the RAW. What I meant was, I did not believe edits could be made (even if they are only expressed in LR) without the software INTERACTING with the file in some way. How would it have any ability to make decisions if it had no idea what was in the file? It must have some way of reading the file, which means there is an interaction there. MGM, despite saying I was being irrational, seemed to prove my point when he said LR was capable of changing RAW metadata. Hence, it can interact with the file. And anytime there's an interaction, there's a danger of an unintended reaction. I've never in my life encountered bug-free software.

 

I just prefer to quarantine my originals completely. No one else is obligated to do this if it doesn't work for them.

 

It's irrational because the interaction with the raw file is never harmful in any way and there is no evidence anywhere that such interaction has ever done any harm whatsover. It's a bit like subscribing to mad conspiracy theories to believe that it does. A more realistic danger is in memory card corruption in the camera, file corruption during transfer to the computer or loss of images due to hard drive failure, malware, fire, theft and so on. 

Edited by MDM
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12 hours ago, KHA said:

 

 

I just prefer to quarantine my originals completely. No one else is obligated to do this if it doesn't work for them.

It doesn't even work for you. It doesn't protect you from disaster, file corruption, data loss or any of the thousand natural shocks that flesh is heir to. It's not actually harmful, unless it leads you to overlook things you should be doing, but it helps no-one to be peddling the idea in a professional forum.

FYI metadata isn't part of the image data. So changing it doesn't "interact" with the image, as you put it.

Edited by spacecadet
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15 hours ago, MDM said:

Raw files don’t have a colour space so that is irrelevant. The colour space is assigned on conversion of the raw and that will be determined by your settings in Lightroom or other raw converter. 

 

There will be no loss of data if you use the lossless DNG option but there will be if you use the lossy option. That is fairly self-evident. 

 

The only pro to you using DNG is to avoid investing in software that can read the raw from your new camera. I recommend you spend the £10 a month for the CC package. It is vastly advanced now over LR6 in terms of features and speed. You have a fantastic new camera which deserves the best treatment on its files and CC. The cost is tiny in comparison to the camera.

 

I know you object to the subscription so the alternative is Capture One perhaps. Don’t Sony have a special deal? But then you have to learn a whole new program. 

 

Hi Mick I knew you would bring that old subject of the subscription for CC. Let me just try to explain why I do not wish to pay £10 a month, and yes I know it is not much to pay for permanently up to date software.

 

I am retired on a diminishing income and have to watch every £1.

 

OK I bought a new A7 mkIII but I did sell some gear to MPB to fund the purchase (2 x A6000 bodies, 10 - 18mm E lens, 16 - 70mm E lens and an FE 70 - 300mm lens). I was never happy with this last lens anyway. My very friendly dealer (Campkins Cambridge) even gave me a good price on the new camera which matched the funds from MPB. I still have one A6000 body in my bag and I can use my FE lenses on that body. ( ie FE16-35 and FE 24-70 become 24-57 and 36-105 respectively. I can even use my FE 70 - 200 on the A6000 body giving 105- 300. The FE 50 f1.8 becomes a 75mm, very useful.) Oh and I still have the A7 mkII body as backup.

 

Back to the subscription discussion. There are alternatives I can see such as:-

  • use Sony's free Cap 1 but it is limited and to get all the bells and whistles I would still have to buy the pro version.
  • Purchase Affinity. Reasonably priced but a steep learning curve.
  • Purchase Luminar. Again reasonably priced but that is still "work in progress" as I see it.
  • Stick with LR6.14 perpetual licence version, which I know and love using, and convert native RAWs to DNGs.

So convert to DNG it is. Unless someone comes up with a better solution.

 

Allan

 

PS: If my income from Alamy was just in excess of £10/month then I would be happy to go with CC, but it isn't.😟  I am taking photos to contribute to Alamy as it gives me an interest and I like taking photos. Also it gives me the opportunity to talk to the good people on the forums.

 

ITMA

 

 

Edited by Allan Bell
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1 hour ago, spacecadet said:

It doesn't even work for you. It doesn't protect you from disaster, file corruption, data loss or any of the thousand natural shocks that flesh is heir to.

 

It also doesn't protect from tooth decay, hurricanes, and car accidents. Any other irrelevant things it DOESN'T do that no one here claimed it COULD do we can bring into the discussion?

 

Please don't tell me what works for me. Again, anyone who disagrees with my reasoning is free not to emulate it.

 

FYI, a file cannot be read without a program interacting with it.

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2 hours ago, MDM said:

 

It's irrational because the interaction with the raw file is never harmful in any way and there is no evidence anywhere that such interaction has ever done any harm whatsover. It's a bit like subscribing to mad conspiracy theories to believe that it does.

 

Can people chill out with terms like "irrational" and "mad" just because somebody does something you don't do? Different strokes for different folks, MGM. Basing my actions on my lifelong experience of never encountering bug-free software is nothing BUT rational. 

 

It's no conspiracy theory — it's just basic scientific method. I always want to keep a clean sample. Not hurting you in any way, is it?

 

Got some birds appearing in front of me I need to photograph. Bye!

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16 minutes ago, KHA said:

 

Can people chill out with terms like "irrational" and "mad" just because somebody does something you don't do? Different strokes for different folks, MGM. Basing my actions on my lifelong experience of never encountering bug-free software is nothing BUT rational. 

 

It's no conspiracy theory — it's just basic scientific method. I always want to keep a clean sample. Not hurting you in any way, is it?

 

Got some birds appearing in front of me I need to photograph. Bye!

 

Science is evidence based and there is no evidence whatsoever that I am aware of that any harm can be caused to a raw file by reading it or in rare cases writing to a tiny area of the metadata section of the file. So worrying about it is irrational. Have fun with the birds 😂.

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11 minutes ago, KHA said:

Not hurting you in any way, is it?

No, nor Allan, who is experienced enough to see through it, nor MDM or most people here. But there's a danger that someone less experienced might be taken in by your- sorry but I call a spade a spade- crackpot theory, or at least concerned enough to waste time and money as a result.

This is a professional forum- surely we have a responsibility to those who use it?

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1 hour ago, Allan Bell said:

 

Hi Mick I knew you would bring that old subject of the subscription for CC. Let me just try to explain why I do not wish to pay £10 a month, and yes I know it is not much to pay for permanently up to date software.

 

I am retired on a diminishing income and have to watch every £1.

 

OK I bought a new A7 mkIII but I did sell some gear to MPB to fund the purchase (2 x A6000 bodies, 10 - 18mm E lens, 16 - 70mm E lens and an FE 70 - 300mm lens). I was never happy with this last lens anyway. My very friendly dealer (Campkins Cambridge) even gave me a good price on the new camera which matched the funds from MPB. I still have one A6000 body in my bag and I can use my FE lenses on that body. ( ie FE16-35 and FE 24-70 become 24-57 and 36-105 respectively. I can even use my FE 70 - 200 on the A6000 body giving 105- 300. The FE 50 f1.8 becomes a 75mm, very useful.) Oh and I still have the A7 mkII body as backup.

 

Back to the subscription discussion. There are alternatives I can see such as:-

  • use Sony's free Cap 1 but it is limited and to get all the bells and whistles I would still have to buy the pro version.
  • Purchase Affinity. Reasonably priced but a steep learning curve.
  • Purchase Luminar. Again reasonably priced but that is still "work in progress" as I see it.
  • Stick with LR6.14 perpetual licence version, which I know and love using, and convert native RAWs to DNGs.

So convert to DNG it is. Unless someone comes up with a better solution.

 

Allan

 

PS: If my income from Alamy was just in excess of £10/month then I would be happy to go with CC, but it isn't.😟  I am taking photos to contribute to Alamy as it gives me an interest and I like taking photos. Also it gives me the opportunity to talk to the good people on the forums.

 

ITMA

 

 

 

 

Allan I wasn't aware that your reasons for not going with the subscription model were financial. I had assumed they were idealogical especially as you just purchased a very expensive piece of kit. Now you have explained it I will not suggest it again but I have nothing else to offer here as I have no experience with any of the other programs. I hope you find my answers to your questions useful though.

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8 minutes ago, MDM said:

 

Science is evidence based and there is no evidence whatsoever that I am aware of that any harm can be caused to a raw file by reading it or in rare cases writing to a tiny area of the metadata section of the file. So worrying about it is irrational. Have fun with the birds 😂.

 

Well, you've read it here first, folks. Worrying about anything MGM is not aware of is irrational.

 

Got some great shots!  Although my telephoto really does have a problem with focus when fully extended, so I end up not being able to use tons of what would otherwise be really good bird shots. 

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10 minutes ago, spacecadet said:

No, nor Allan, who is experienced enough to see through it, nor MDM or most people here. But there's a danger that someone less experienced might be taken in by your- sorry but I call a spade a spade- crackpot theory, or at least concerned enough to waste time and money as a result.

This is a professional forum- surely we have a responsibility to those who use it?

 

Oh, stop with the drama. People can read my thought process and make their own decisions. You don't need to baby them. 

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2 minutes ago, NYCat said:

Just had to add that I don't think KHA is "peddling" anything. Everybody take a deep breath. Ahhhhhh. That feels good.

 

Thank you!!!  For being, I think, the first person on this forum to ever have my back, Paulette!

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