Lightroom Tips

The DNG Follow Up Post

First off, thanks for all of the conversation in the comments on the DNG article the other day. I wanted to post a follow up to give some more thoughts and answer a few questions?

For starters, I have to say there were more DNGers than I thought. I didn’t go through and count each one but it felt like a 40/60 split (DNG/Not DNG). Based on my experience at workshops and seminars, that’s more pro-DNG than what I’ve been used to. And that’s a good thing. Don’t get me wrong. Even though my post talked about some reasons people don’t use DNG and I admitted that I don’t convert to DNG, doesn’t mean I’m not a fan of it. More on this at the end of this article though. Let’s start the Q&A:

Q. Was that Tom Hogarty I saw commenting? Isn’t he the Lightroom product manager for Adobe?

A. Yep, but he’s also the DNG product manager. When it comes to DNG Tom is the man. He wrote a pretty detailed response to each of my reasons that’s worth reading. Just look through the comments from the original post and do a search for Tom’s last name and you’ll find it. Tom also wrote about this on his blog a while back. You can read more here.

Q. Matt, you wrote “And Lightroom doesn’t automatically update the DNG file if you make changes. You still manually need to go to the Photo menu to save the settings.” Isn’t there a setting in Lightroom to automatically save your changes?

A. This question came up quite a bit. The easy answer is yes, there is a setting that will let you write your changes automatically to the file. Its in the Catalog Settings (Lightroom menu on Mac, and Edit menu on PC). But this option is off by default. So if you’re editing DNG files in Lightroom don’t be fooled into thinking that your changes are being saved automatically. Just like raw files, you either need to turn this option on or manually save changes in the Photo menu (Cmd/Ctrl – S).

Q. I understand the “Convert to DNG because you never know what happens 50 year from now” argument, but somehow don’t buy it.  My understanding is that Adobe is the company that maintains DNG: What if they are no longer around?

A. Good point. All the more reason why DNG should become an industry standard. Don’t quote me on this, but I’m pretty sure that Adobe would submit the DNG format to become an industry standard. If this happened they’d probably lose significant control over what happens with the format. Lots of other industries use standards (Pharmaceuticals for example). Without a common document exchanging standard of some sort, they’d face chaos. Imagine if one company changed their documents. Every single company that they dealt with would have to adapt and change their software to account for the change. So by having a standard, everyone’s life is better. Same goes for raw formats. If there’s one standard that the raw files have to follow (say, DNG) then everyone’s life becomes easier.

So if DNG became an industry standard, it would live on even if the company that created did not.

Q. Does DNG work with Capture NX2?

A. Nope, Capture NX2 doesn’t work with DNG. I’m not sure this is a good reason not to use DNG though. Here’s the thing. How many programs do you really need to edit your photos? You’re reading this blog which probably means you’re a Lightroom user. Then use it. You paid for it. Things like D-lighting and picture controls and things like that are all in Lightroom and Photoshop in some way, shape or form.

One more thing. Please don’t turn this into a Capture NX2 debate in the comments. If you use it and you’re happy, then go for it 🙂

Q. OK Matt, DNG seems like a no-brainer. Any reasons not to use it don’t really seem to apply to you. So what gives? Why won’t you start using DNG?

A. Good question. One of the folks who wrote a comment made a prediction that I’d be converting to DNG before long and I think that’s a good bet. I’ll keep you posted if/when it happens.

Thanks again for all of your feedback.