Support via DNG but not native raws


Introduction to this topic

One of the benefits of DNG is that some raw converters (and other products) support cameras via DNG that they don't support via their native raw files. (This can be a major benefit for archival purposes). They can do this because every DNG file contains camera details, comprising parameters that describe the camera and its sensor characteristics, colour and others. Some products use these camera details while some (currently) don't.

This page identifies some known examples of products that can use these parameters. Most of these examples are from "personal tests". Since I test very few software products, and I only have raw files from perhaps 20% of raw-capable cameras, this is only a subset of the likely products and cameras that can do this.

Key features of my personal tests

I test 2 or 3 things, (using separate folders with Windows applications to avoid complications that can occur because of name-clashes, etc):

  1. That the product doesn't handle a native raw file. (I don't rely on the documentation to deduce that it doesn't support that file - I test it).
  2. What the product does with a default DNG file produced from the native raw file. (Eg. can it convert it so that I can use it in Photoshop?)
  3. Typically, but not always, what the product does with a Linear DNG file produced from the native raw file. (Eg. can it convert it so that I can use it in Photoshop?)

A variation is where the DNG is produced using an "amateur" DNG Converter, such as raw2dng, raw2dngw or SMaL to DNG. In those cases, I run those DNGs through the Adobe DNG Converter first, on the assumption that this will give the highest quality DNGs from perhaps marginal "amateur" DNGs. (In other tests, I have never found a case where things "degrade" after using the Adobe DNG Converter).


Examples of support via DNG but not native raws

Some people have claimed that it is only possible for products to support DNG files where the product already supports the original raw files. That claim is wrong! Here are many examples to the contrary:

These are examples of raw processing products that can process DNG versions of raw images while failing to process the original raw files for the the same images. Typically, and probably always, this is because they are able to extract and exploit the camera details from the DNG files, and use this instead of needing built-in camera details.

It was hard to get into this list! To appear here, a product typically has to be one of the few products I have tested; has to not support one of the minority of raw files that I have available; yet there has to be a DNG Converter for those raw files so that I can convert those raw files to DNG. These examples must surely be just a subset of the real situation.

Adobe products

The most familiar example is the use of ACR 2.4 to enable users of Photoshop CS to process raw images from cameras launched after ACR 2.4 was released, hence supported directly only by ACR 3.x and Photoshop CS2 . But even the latest versions of ACR support DNGs of cameras whose native raw files they don't support. This arises where non-Adobe DNG Converters (from camera manufacturers or "amateurs") are used to convert native raw files that Adobe don't support.

Camera Evidence Native raw Default DNG Linear DNG
ACR 2.4 (Photoshop CS)
More than 70 cameras launched since January 2005! Just try it. Thousands have, with success. No Yes Yes
ACR 2.4 (CS) and ACR 3.7 (CS2) and ACR 4.x (CS3)

Several cameras supported by non-Adobe DNG Converters.

(ACR 2.4, ACR 3.7, ACR 4.x, and probably Lightroom, apparently support all of the DNGs identified on the rest of this page).

Some personal experience, including:
Casio EX-Z55 (hacked),
SMaL 1288x864 (hacked)
SMaL 2032x1520 (hacked).
And reading of others who tested their own DNG Converters.

No Yes Yes
Lightroom 1.0 (similar cameras to ACR 3.7)
Canon 1D III Personal test. No Yes Yes
Panasonic FZ8 DPReview No Yes (Not reported)

LightZone

I stopped trying LightZone version 1.2.2 (Windows) after only a few tests, because it was too buggy. There may have been more cameras than this. LightZone has vastly improved with later versions.

Cameras Evidence Native raw Default DNG Linear DNG
LightZone 1.2.2 Windows)
Fujifilm S2 Pro Personal test No "Unknown error" Yes. (Strange colour - green channel clipped?)
Pentax *istD
Pentax *istDL
Pentax *istDS
No Yes Yes
Sigma SD10 No Yes. (Dull) Yes. (Default DNG & Linear DNG look different)
LightZone 2.0.6
Mamiya ZD Personal test. No. (Not recognised). Yes. Yes.

Olympus E-410
Olympus E-510

No. (Just green noise).
Panasonic FZ8 No. (Just orange noise).
Sigma SD10
Sigma SD14
No. (Not recognised). Yes. (DNGs created from Sigma X3Fs are Linear DNGs whether or not the "Convert to Linear Image" option in the DNG Converter is set).

Silkypix

Cameras Evidence Native raw Default DNG Linear DNG
Silkypix 2.0.18.1
Casio EX-Z55 (hacked) Personal test No Yes. (Using raw2dng, raw2dngw). Yes. (Initially using raw2dng, raw2dngw).
Fujifilm S2 Pro
Fujifilm S3 Pro
Fujifilm S9500
No No Yes
Leaf Aptus 22
Pentax K100D
Sony A100
Sony V3
No Yes
Phase One P25 No Yes. (Discoloured)
SMaL 1288x864 (hacked)
SMaL 2032x1520 (hacked)
No No. (Using SMaL to DNG). Yes. (Initially using SMaL to DNG).
Sigma SD10 Personal test No

Yes. (DNGs created from Sigma X3Fs are Linear DNGs whether or not the "Convert to Linear Image" option in the DNG Converter is set).

DPReview
DPReview
DPReview
DPReview
Silkypix 3.0.5.4 (free)
Canon 1D III
Canon 40D
Canon Powershot G9
Nikon D40X
Olympus E510
Phase One P25
Sony A700
Personal test No Yes Yes
Fujifilm F700
Fujifim S9500
Fujifilm S9600
No No
Phase One P45 Damaged & mis-coloured image Yes
Sigma SD10
Sigma SD14
No

Yes. (DNGs created from Sigma X3Fs are Linear DNGs whether or not the "Convert to Linear Image" option in the DNG Converter is set).

IrfanView (3.98) & Plugins (3.98)

Cameras Evidence Native raw Default DNG Linear DNG
Canon 1Ds
Phase One P25
Personal test No Yes Yes
Leaf Aptus22 No. (Unacceptably dark)
Sony A100
Sony R1
No. ("TIF file with the wrong extension").
SMaL 1288x864 (hacked)
SMaL 2032x1520 (hacked)
No Yes. (Using SMaL to DNG). Yes. (Initially using SMaL to DNG).

LemkeSoft GraphicConverter X/Classic

Cameras Evidence Native raw Default DNG Linear DNG
Nikon D200, etc DPReview No Yes (Not reported)

dcraw

(It is rare that this aspect of dcraw is needed, because it normally supports native raws before they can be converted to DNG. The Sony A100 was an example where Adobe beat dcraw to support. This feature can be illustrated by using older versions).

Cameras Evidence Native raw Default DNG Linear DNG
7.30
Fujifilm S5 Pro Personal test "Cannot decode ... S5 Pro images" Yes Yes
Sony A100 "Cannot decode ... A100 images" Yes Yes
Canon 1D III No. (Tiled image, weird colours). Yes (Not tested)
Olympus E410
Olympus E510
No. (Nothing resembling an image). Yes. (Not tested)
8.21
Sony A100 Personal test No. (Black image). Yes Yes
Canon 1D III No. (Weird colours). Yes (Not tested)
Olympus E410
Olympus E510
No. (Black image). Yes. (Not tested)

PFS (ProFotoSoftware) Batch Processor (v2.031)

Cameras Evidence Native raw Default DNG Linear DNG
Casio EX-Z55 Personal test Unable to process. Yes. (Using raw2dng, raw2dngw). Yes. (Initially using raw2dng, raw2dngw).
Leaf Aptus22
Leica D-LUX2
Unable to process. Yes Yes
Sony A100 Program exits without warning!

RAW Therapee (Version 1.1-pre1)

Cameras Evidence Native raw Default DNG Linear DNG
Kodak (some) DPReview No, or poor. Yes, but must be uncompressed. (Not reported)
Pentax *istDS DPReview No Yes (Not reported)

MediaChance PhotoBrush (Version 3.51)

(There was no mention of DNG on the website for this product. I only discovered that it supports DNG by chance!)

Cameras Evidence Native raw Default DNG Linear DNG
Canon 20D
Sony A-100
Sony R1
Leaf Aptus22
Panasonic FZ30
Pentax *istDL
Personal test Not recognised or not read. Yes. Yes.
Nikon D50 Green/cyan cast. No. (Preview only).
Olympus E-330 No. (Scrambled). No. (Blocks missing).
Olympus E-500 No. (Scrambled). Yes.
Phase One P25 No. (Preview only).
Canon 5D Not recognised. No. (Blocks missing).
Fujifilm S2 Pro Rotated 45-degrees. Rotated 45-degrees.
Fujifilm S9500 Not read. Rotated 45-degrees.
Leica D-LUX2 Not read. No. (Blocks missing).
Fujifilm S3 Pro Rotated 45-degrees. No. (Blocks missing). Yes. (Dark).
SMaL 1288x864 (hacked) No. Yes. (Using SMaL to DNG). Yes. (Initially using SMaL to DNG).
SMaL 2032x1520 (hacked) No. No. (Blocks missing). (Initially using SMaL to DNG).

PhotoScape 3.0

Cameras Evidence Native raw Default DNG Linear DNG
Sigma SD14 Personal test Totally black

Yes. (DNGs created from Sigma X3Fs are Linear DNGs whether or not the "Convert to Linear Image" option in the DNG Converter is set).

RawDrop 1.1

Cameras Evidence Native raw Default DNG Linear DNG
Panasonic FZ8 Personal test Random pink

Yes.

Yes.

Phase One Capture One 4.0 Beta 1

Although this is only a Beta release, this is an important product, and it is unlikely that this degree of DNG support will be withdrawn later, so it is worth documenting the results here.

Cameras Evidence Native raw Default DNG Linear DNG

Canon D60
Canon Powershot G9
Canon Powershot S60
Canon Powershot S70
Canon 40D (not sRAW)
Kodak P880
Kodak Pro SLR/n
Leica Digilux 2
Leica D-LUX 3
Nikon D40X
Nikon E5400
Olympus E-410
Olympus E-510
Olympus SP510UZ
Olympus SP550UZ
Panasonic FX8
Panasonic FZ50
Panasonic LX1
Panasonic LX2
Sony A700

Personal test No Yes No
Casio EX-Z55 Yes. (Using raw2dng, raw2dngw).

SMAL CVS 1280x860
SMAL Radio Shack 2008x1504
(and more)

Yes. (Using SMAL2DNG).
Silicon Imaging SI1920 Personal test of "Default DNG" Probably not;
it is CineForm RAW
Yes
Deliberate failures
These are cases where this product deliberately ignores certain DNGs. If the manufacturers' names in these DNGs are replaced by meaningless letters, (using a hex-editor), they can all be processed.
Hasselblad-Imacon H2
Hasselblad-Imacon H3D39
Leaf Aptus 17
Mamiya ZD
Personal test No

Yes, after replacing all:
Hasselblad > HHHHHHHHHH
Leaf > LLLL
Mamiya > MMMMMM

No

ACDSee Pro 2 version 2.0

Cameras Evidence Native raw Default DNG Linear DNG
Canon 40D (not sRAW)
Canon Powershot G9
Olympus SP510UZ
Sony A700
Personal test

No

(Source data format not recognised)

Yes Yes
Casio EX-Z55 Yes. (Using raw2dng, raw2dngw).
SMAL CVS 1280x860
SMAL Radio Shack 2008x1504
(and more)
Yes. (Using SMAL2DNG).
Sigma SD9
Sigma SD10
Sigma SD14
Yes. (DNGs created from Sigma X3Fs are Linear DNGs whether or not the "Convert to Linear Image" option in the DNG Converter is set).

Apple Aperture 2.0

Cameras Evidence Native raw Default DNG Linear DNG
Various Tutorial "How to use DNG for Non Supported Cameras"  

Yes.

No.


Products that can't do this

A few DNG-handling products have failed this test in the past - they still needed built-in camera details, because they were unable to extract and exploit the camera details from DNG files, even though they can extract and exploit the raw image data within them. Here are known examples, (there may be others), but these particular products have improved their status with upgrades. I don't know of latest versions of extant products with this problem.

  • Obsolescent: Apple Aperture before 2.0. (And possibly other Apple products using the operating system's raw file handling?)
  • Obsolescent: Pixmantec Rawshooter (Essentials and Premium)

What happens when DNG is the native raw file format?

Some cameras and digital backs use DNG as their native raw file format. This appears to be a different topic. It isn't. There is little difference, to a software product, between a DNG file created from a proprietary raw file for a camera model that the software product doesn't support, and a DNG file output directly from a camera or digital back. They are both unknown until read.

Software products that support cameras via DNG that they don't support via their native raw files, such as the above examples, will typically also support DNGs directly output by cameras and digital backs. This is how all raw-handling software products should be.