Converting To DNG After Importing To Lightroom

First off I just wanted to give a HUGE thanks to everyone that came out to my seminars this week in Indianapolis and Columbus, OH. I had two awesome crowds and, while I’m really happy to be on my way home, I had a blast getting to meet everyone who came out.

Anyway, I’m on the plane back, and had some time to think about common questions I get. One of those questions is about converting to DNG and whether or not it’s possible to convert to it after you do your Lightroom import. See, the Import dialog has a Copy as DNG option in it. But what if you’re just adding photos that already exist on your computer and you choose the Add option? No DNG right? No sweat!

Just select your photos in the Library module. Then go to the Library menu at the top and choose Convert Photos to DNG. You’ll get the usual DNG conversion dialog where you choose your options and you’re good to go.

Once again, thanks to everyone for coming out to the seminars this week. I’m at Photoshop World next week teaching lots of Lightroom, but as soon as I get my newest seminar schedule I’ll be sure to post it here (btw… you can see all of my upcoming workshops on the right sidebar on any page on this blog).

See ya!
(top image courtesy of Fotolia.com)

Author: Matt K

Matt is a full time Education Director for the NAPP and Kelby Training. He's a best-selling author of various books on Photoshop and Photography co-hosts the live weekly photography talk show "The Grid" and is co-host of "Photoshop User TV". In his spare time he practices as a 1st degree black belt in Taekwondo and enjoys spending time with his family in Tampa, FL.

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13 Comments

  1. Hi,
    the question is “why should I need to convert my file to DNG?”

    Post a Reply
    • You don’t have to. But one should consider lossy DNG which is great option to save space. Say you took 1000 shots, and have 10 keepers that you want to keep RAW. The rest, say they’re not that great but worth keeping, then you can convert them to lossy DNG instead of JPG because with DNG it is similar to RAW you can always go back and change all the settings and save a lot of disk space.

      Post a Reply
    • I recently bought the new Fuji XT1 and since I normally shoot in RAW and import to Lightroom. Unfortunately at this stage Lightroom does not read their raw files and so I have to convert to DNG in order for them to read the files. I imported the Adobe DNG converter and have to conver the files before uploading them. I suppose it is not possible to import them and then change to DNG from Lightroom as you suggested above, but I was wondering if there is a more efficient way to do this. I’ve been now shooting in RAW and JPEG but I’m wondering what the benefit is of doing so since I get double the files? Thanks so much!

      Post a Reply
      • Good news Diane – they just released an update today so it’ll read your files now :-)

        Post a Reply
  2. Hey Matt,

    What if you have already done some LR development changes (adding a xmp file) to some photos and want to convert to DNG? Will, the original xmp file still exist? How would you handle this situation?

    Thanks and have a safe flight home!

    Dennis

    Post a Reply
  3. Hi Matt…

    Any info on LR 5.4? ACR 8.4 has been out for several months and LR users have been left holding the bag with regards to the new Dfx from Nikon .

    Post a Reply
  4. I apologize for being a little off topic…

    What I found works best for me (important distinction) is to save photos from the SD card to the photo file I maintain on hard drive using IE. I then Import them to LR from the hard drive location and leave them in their current location and in their legacy format (I shoot RAW using Cannon and Nikon). I have yet to experience any benefit from converting to DNG.(My former workflow converted everything to DNG which then required telling LR where I would like to place these converted files, what I would like to name them, etc…. resulting in duplicate files and a few “oopsies” that left me searching for files.)

    Are there any potential issues with this revised process I am not aware of?

    Post a Reply
  5. I’ve just upgraded to LR 5.4 in order to be able to deal with Nikon 4s NEF files. However when I try to import from the camera to LR, the camera is recognized, but I’m only offered the import option of “copy as DNG”… the “ADD” option is greyed out. I then connected a Nikon D4 and discovered the same lack of an ADD option. (Prior to the upgrade I had been importing NEF files to LR after they had been put on the hard rive via Nikon Transfer.)

    Is this normal behavior?

    Post a Reply
  6. Hi Matt,
    So I am looking to have a clean workflow for importing Photos using lightroom. I want to test out the ‘convert to dng’ option, but I dont want to copy to a new location. I basically want to transfer my photos from cf, then bring the folder into lightroom under the ‘add’ option. Is there a way to only convert to dng upon import rather than copying to a new location?

    Post a Reply
  7. The only problem with suggested method is that you “Convert Photo to DNG”, not “Convert Photos to DNG”, i.e. you can convert it only one-by-one, which makes the method almost useless for already existing photos.

    PS: In fact, you, most probably don’t want to touch your old photos, so, you will use DNG for new photos only… :)

    Post a Reply
    • Hey Alex – if you select multiple photos you can convert them all at once :)

      Post a Reply
      • I’ve just understood, that I’m doing the same mistake – select photos in bottom strip, while I have to do it in Grid view in Library.

        Thanks, everything works like a charm :)

        Post a Reply

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