August 10, 2020 at 1:38 pm #53134
When I import pictures into Lightroom I convert them to DNG. But due to a recent conversation with Mr Lenspiration I was wondering if it was necessary.
With DNGs I like the jpeg previews so I don’t have to open Lightroom to view them. I also like DNGs because if I ever didn’t have Lightroom I could still open the pictures in my older editing program.
Are those benefits available with NEFs? Or are there any other benefits of DNGs over NEFs?
Thanks!August 10, 2020 at 4:50 pm #53163Ezra MorleyModerator
With DNGs I like the jpeg previews so I don’t have to open Lightroom to view them.
What software do you use for previewing your RAW files? Most software should be able to preview NEF just as easily as DNG. (I use FastStone Image Viewer which works great for all types of RAW files.)
I also like DNGs because if I ever didn’t have Lightroom I could still open the pictures in my older editing program.
What is your older editing program? 🙂 The more info we have, the better we can advise you! If you’re talking about simply viewing your RAW files, then you don’t need to worry; there is plenty of software that can view NEF files.
If you are worried about losing your LR edits, then set Lightroom to save sidecar XMP files with your edit info beside each file. That way if you lose your catalog to corruption or HDD failure, (or if you quit paying Adobe for a subscription) you’ll still have your edit settings archived with the original RAWs. (That’s assuming of course that you back up your originals offline from your main computer drive. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!!)
If you like processing a lot of technical info, here’s a thread on the topic from DPR: https://www.dpreview.com/forums/thread/3336786 If you don’t have time or inclination to process all of that, I’ll give you the gist of it here. 🙂 Basically, there’s no real advantage to converting your NEF files to DNG. You do not gain any “quality” by doing so; in fact you lose certain Nikon-specific metadata info in the conversion process. DNG is purported to be a “universal” file format that will be “future proof” but the fact is that hundreds of thousands of photographers shoot NEF files with their Nikon cameras; that file format is not going to go anywhere for a long time. And if for some reason it does, you can then batch convert your whole library at once if you feel that it’s necessary.August 10, 2020 at 5:15 pm #53165
Thank you for the information.
I don’t know what it’s called,but to view my pictures in the folders I use the default viewing on windows. Then to view a individual picture I use Photos.
The editing program that I have is Photoshop Elements 13. I want to still be able to edit the pictures if I stop having Lightroom
I already use sidecar EMP files so I’m not worried about the edits. I store my pictures on an external hard drive so would the EMPs be stored with them?August 29, 2020 at 8:24 pm #53738Ezra MorleyModerator
OK, thanks for the additional info, that helps to understand your situation a little better.
Yes, the XMP files should be stored right along with the originals. You could double check to be sure though! 🙂
So, in my opinion there’s no need to convert to DNG until you switch to using PS Elements for editing.
You would need to test whether a DNG file that you edited in Lightroom will show those edits in PS 13… If they do, then you might want to keep converting to DNG before editing in LR, that way your edits will be preserved later if/when you switch away from LR in the future.
If LR edits aren’t reflected in PS 13, then there’s no need to keep converting to DNG.October 10, 2020 at 8:29 pm #54474
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