Lightroom: DNG vs Original Raw Revisited

category: Lightroom • 2 min read

From the “Is this good or is this bad” department?

  1. There’s only 1 file to worry about with DNG. I don’t have to make sure I don’t lose or forget to copy / backup the XMP file aka the sidecar.
  2. The original raw photo can be included inside the DNG file.
  3. The file compression is lossless. Usually from 15% to 35%.

Last year, in late 2009, I bought the Canon Tags: Lightroom and it took a while for Lightroom to support it. So I kept my files as original raw photo, as I was doing all my editing, metadata …and will do the final exports when Lightroom would come with the full support for the Canon Tags: Lightroom.

Lightroom 2.6 came along in December 2009 and did support the Canon Tags: Lightroom. I went back to my photos and man do they look better? Oh yes, definitely!

I’m in the middle of upgrading/redoing my portfolio, and going back through older DNG photos. I looked at them with Lightroom 2.6, but according to the release notes there’s supposed to be some improvements in the raw photo of my older/backup camera. I just don’t see it. So:

  1. I extracted a few original photos from my DNGs with the extract of the batch converter.
  2. Reimported the raw original into a temporary catalog.
  3. Do they look better? Yes, but not earth chattering.

Is this good? or is this bad?

  1. Keeping the photos are original raw photos, Lightroom upgrade will automatically “upgrade” them.
  2. But you won’t be able to be consistent across Lightroom versions. This has nothing to do with colour calibration. That won’t help, since the processing and the raw file have become different as far as Lightroom is concerned.

DNG: Digital NeGative