DNG articles and links

Please sign these petitions!


I have no commercial relationship with Adobe, other than being a user of some of their products.

DNG isn't a commercial product - it is a free-to-use file format.

I intend to evolve these pages as the most comprehensive independent source of information about DNG on the web.

If you know of errors in my pages, please let me know, with suitable supporting material, and I'll correct them.


You may not agree with all of my opinions.

If you publish an alternative position in some consolidated form, such as a web page, (rather than responses in forums), please let me know and I'll link to it.


the whole concept of your advocacy is wrong, profane, and detrimental ”
Julia Borg (2007-07-19) (Iliah Borg)

OK, that was sufficient. Sorry to accuse you! ”
Joseph S Wisniewski (2007-04-15)

your years of questionable motivation and unbelievable denials. ”
Joseph S Wisniewski (2008-05-16)

There's only one person on all of dpReview who ... shows lots of strong evidence ... of being sponsored to troll, and he talks only about the positive attributes of Adobe's DNG format. ”
Joseph S Wisniewski (2009-09-01)

IMHO, anybody who uses a known Internet Troll like Barry Pearson as a source in their document, should not be 100% trusted. For me its a very scary thought to see this in such an publication. ”
Juergen Specht (2010-06-17)

Digital Negative format, DNG, was launched by Adobe on 27 September 2004. It will transform the world of raw shooting within years. It will open up raw shooting to more people, more products, and more opportunities, and make it easier for photographers and users of photographs to build more valuable and comprehensive workflows. It will become the accepted archival raw file format. DNG is "the new TIFF", at a different place in people's workflows.


Articles on this website

Helping you make informed decisions

Information and explanations

Miscellaneous pages

OpenRAW - Rest In Peace!

Historical articles


Reasons for these pages

Disadvantages to DNG?

These pages identify both the advantages and disadvantages of DNG. Disadvantages include:

"Common raw format"

The future health of high-end digital photography needs a well-engineered common raw file format. The sooner we have a format with these characteristics, the better for raw shooters everywhere, and DNG is the only contender.

  • The "digital photography community" needs such a format as a working file format, to enable photographers, and users of photographs, to build the workflows they want from a suitable range of tools. The industry needs, for raw shooting, the equivalent of the "open systems" standards that are such a benefit as the basis for the computers we use. This needs a large set of both mainstream and niche writers of such a format, and a large set of both mainstream and niche readers. There is no doubt that this is developing with DNG.
  • And the "digital photography community" needs such a format as an archival file format, because this is an issue that worries very many photographers, users of photographs, librarians, and archivists across the planet. Various organisations, such as the US Library of Congress, the UPDIG (Universal Photographic Digital Imaging Guidelines) Working Group, the American Society of Media Photographers, and others, have made it absolutely clear how important this is. (And all of those have singled-out DNG).

ISO could have proposed such a format. They made an initial attempt with TIFF/EP, but it wasn't suitable for both of the above needs. Camera manufacturers could have collaborated to develop such a specification. They each chose to pursue their own interests, at the expense of the broad future needs of the industry. Other raw converter suppliers could have proposed such a format. For some reason, they didn't. Perhaps they saw the competitive advantage in being good at coping with the existing mess. Adobe, the owners of TIFF, knew how important such a specification is to the industry. DNG is "the new TIFF", but at a different place in the workflow. (Wikipedia: "TIFF was originally created as an attempt to get desktop scanner vendors of the mid-1980s to agree on a common scanned image file format, rather than have each company promulgate its own proprietary format).

DNG may appear to be yet another raw file format. But, unlike others, it has a published specification, a freely-available (optional) SDK (software development kit), published royalty-free licenses for anyone to use these to develop products that read and/or write DNG files, and has extra metadata so that it is "self contained". It is a well-engineered specification that is able to cater for a range of different sensor technologies from many different camera manufacturers. It exploits XMP, (the Extensible Metadata Platform), which will play its part in future tools and workflows. DNG has a sound version scheme so that the DNG specification, DNG readers, and DNG writers, can evolve at their own paces.

Target audience

Within years, most raw shooters will probably be using DNG in some way. I publish information about it to counter misinformation and "fear, uncertainty, doubt". Here are some who may be influenced by these pages:

  • Photographers may be influenced by these lists to move to a DNG-based workflow if they have confidence that the tools they are likely to use support DNG, or they have confidence that DNG will have a long future. If the tools they want to use don't support DNG, hopefully photographers will try to persuade software developers to support DNG. Perhaps they will try to persuade the camera manufacturers to do so too.
  • Users of photographs should gain the confidence to request, or even demand, DNG files for specific situations. Or they may realise the opportunities of developing new uses for DNG images. This may include 3rd party service providers, for example printing services or web services.
  • Independent software developers should realise that they need to support DNG images, at least for cameras whose native raw formats they already support, simply to retain their marketplace. They may realise that they need to upgrade the DNG support they already provide because their competition is doing so. Or they may decide to develop features, specifically for people who have already adopted a DNG-based workflow, as a competitive advantage.
  • Camera manufacturers need to realise that their users increasingly use DNG within their workflow, and so would be helped if their cameras output DNG, at least as an option. And camera manufacturers should realise how important it is for their own software to support DNG, at least from their own cameras, for cases where their users convert to DNG directly from the memory card.
  • Librarians and other archivists should recognise that there is a viable, self-contained, format for the archiving of raw files that is gaining an increasing amount of industry support. Perhaps they will realise that DNG is the only contender for the archiving of raw images. Hopefully, therefore, they will recommend DNG as their preference for archiving raw files.

CinemaDNG

This is a new initiative announced on 14 April 2008. Its relationship with the DNG is described here.
Index to CinemaDNG
Wikipedia: CinemaDNG

External links