PDA

View Full Version : Convert to DNG or leave as ORF...?


theMusicMan
28th December 2007, 12:52 AM
Hey All

Here's one that's been foxing me for a little while and thought I'd ask in here.

I am revising and refining my workflow through Lightroom, and used to use LR to copy AND convert to DNG directly from my CF card, but now I tend to simply copy the files from my CF card across to a location on my external drive, then import the images at that location - but I have recently NOT been converting them to DNG.

I had noticed that if one selects the AND convert option, this does take considerably more time to complete - especially from a 4GB card that's full of images...!!

So everyone... should I be converting ORF images to DNG in the workflow process...? or am I OK to simply leave them as ORF's and work on them in this format. What's the pro's and con's of doing this or not doing this...?

Ta

Chillimonster
28th December 2007, 09:46 AM
Good question, and one i would be happy to hear peoples thoughts on.

I presume the DNG format is going to be more stable than the ORF as this changes with each new camera release. So i would presume DNG is the way to go for cross format compatibility.

However, i'm too lazy / too eager to see my results and tend to copy the entire contents to a folder, import from there and leave them as ORF's, with the exception of the 'keepers', which are worked on and exported.


Chris

shenstone
28th December 2007, 10:17 AM
I presume the DNG format is going to be more stable than the ORF as this changes with each new camera release. So i would presume DNG is the way to go for cross format compatibility.


Hi Chris

I'm not sure that I agree with this assumption just yet. DNG is a proprietary format owned by Adobe just like ORF NEF etc from the camera vendors.

I think that the key thing is to have an upgrade stragegy before you do anything drastic i.e. upgrade some software to something that no-longer handles a specific raw format.

Also consider that there is a lot more effort going in from the camera vendors to improve their raw formats and this drives tools to get more out of them. You may find that a later version can get better even out of an older raw format whereas some information may have been lost in any move to DNG

There are a lot of people out there considering the same and this is one thread in another forum that I inhabit

http://ptforum.photoolsweb.com/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=35883&fpart=1

For me I'm happy to keep my ORF files for now as the *open* alternatives are not clear (I think I'd still choose TIFF if I had to). Whatever you choose you seem to end up relying on Adobe's good will.

I'll cross that bridge if/when when I have to

Regards
Andy

theMusicMan
28th December 2007, 10:35 AM
From reading these posts I guess that as long as I choose to use Lightroom as my librarian/editor and Adobe continue to support ORF (they released a update to accommodate E-3 RAW within weeks of the E-3 being public) then I am happy to maintain my files in ORF format and not to convert them to DNG format.

Thanks guys.

Jim Ford
28th December 2007, 04:28 PM
Bruce Fraser converted to DNG for working and archived DNG+RAW. If it was good enough for Bruce Fraser, it's good enough for me!

His argument was that because DNG is an open format, anyone in the future can write software to process the DNG images. If Oly go out of business and ORF files are no longer supported, someone will have to do some reverse engineering to read the files.

Jim Ford

theMusicMan
28th December 2007, 04:46 PM
Bruce Fraser converted to DNG for working and archived DNG+RAW. If it was good enough for Bruce Fraser, it's good enough for me!

His argument was that because DNG is an open format, anyone in the future can write software to process the DNG images. If Oly go out of business and ORF files are no longer supported, someone will have to do some reverse engineering to read the files.

Jim Ford
Good point, but if I can process my ORF files now, surely I can also do so in the future...!!??

OK, if as Bruce alludes, Olympus goes out of business at some point in the future - maybe these versions of Olympus ORF won't be supported by Lightroom et al - but my current camera is supported and hence my current ORF images are too!

If Olympus goes out of business, I won't buy any new Olympus cameras...!!! Not too sure I understand the logic of Bruce's train of thought to be honest :confused:

shenstone
28th December 2007, 04:50 PM
DNG or not - the decision is obviously personal. I think the point in Jim's post that is most relevant is the statement

converted to DNG for working and archived DNG+RAW.

However I humbly disagree with the some of Jim's reasoning - DNG is not open - Adobe own it so you are as reliant on one vendor or another. The name and description are a marketing ploy.

Re
DNG is an open format, anyone in the future can write software to process the DNG images. If Oly go out of business and ORF files are no longer supported, someone will have to do some reverse engineering to read the files.

Oly don't publish their RAW formats to anyone (including Adobe AFAK - if anyone knows for definite please feel free to correct me on this) so all the tools out there (bibble/imatch/faststone to my knowledge) have in-house developers or work with developers who have already reverse engineered the Olympus raw formats and will have made their own decisions which is why they give differing results.

They are generally good & fast though - I saw E510 ORF added to most of the software I use within a few weeks and I see E3 is already in many.

Regards
Andy

emirpprime
28th December 2007, 05:57 PM
My reason for choosing DNG was compression. It had much better file sizes than ORFs for my E1. Still better than the E3, but not as much.

I think the point with DNG is that it is an open and royalty free format (AFAIK). Anyone can look at the standard and implement it. However Adobe have the rights to it.

Phil

Invicta
28th December 2007, 06:52 PM
A good question and one I haven't come up with a good answer to either.

I believe that DNG would be a good archive format, i.e. something to pull back in 5,10,20 years times. Adobe have made the PDF format a good means for archiving documents, I suspect DNG will gain an equivalent place eventually for images.

The big problem I have with DNG is that it is a conversion. Until DNG is supported native in camera I have a concern with DNG. The latest Adobe update illustrates this well. Adobe released Camera Raw 4.3.1 that included a fix for:

A possible artifact in Camera Raw 4.3 raw file support for the Olympus E-3 has been corrected

So if you had converted to DNG using version 4.3 and then deleted the raw files you would have fixed this "artifact" forever into your DNG files.

The disadvantage of raw files is that Adobe lightroom and camera raw use sidecar files to maintain changes to the raw file. I don't know of any non-Adobe program that would understand the sidecar file and apply the changes to the preview files maintained in the database.

I have sufficient disk space for now so my plans are to sit on the fence for DNG and wait for the Blue-ray & HD-DVD war to declare a winner then buy a burner for the winning format and do a big DNG conversion / archive. *smileysanta

shenstone
28th December 2007, 08:20 PM
I have sufficient disk space for now so my plans are to sit on the fence for DNG and wait for the Blue-ray & HD-DVD war to declare a winner then buy a burner for the winning format and do a big DNG conversion / archive. *smileysanta

I guess that sums up my opinion as well.

I've been doing some surfing since my last post to bring myself back up to speed on this topic and remembered that there is a fairly definitive site with a lot of links and information. http://www.barrypearson.co.uk/articles/dng/index.htm Barrie Pearson has been a PRO DNG proponant for some time and has popped up in a few forums where this gets discussed. On his site he states


Whether particular photographers can get any benefit from DNG depends on their workflow and the tools they use. (The situation gradually improves over time). Not everyone can get immediate benefit yet, or enough benefit to counter any perceived disadvantages. So any photographer who sees no current personal benefit in using DNG, and assumes therefore that there are no benefits to any other photographers, is wrong!

I agree with the sentiment, but this then relates back to the original question which was

should I be converting ORF images to DNG in the workflow process

My answer would still be. Not unless you get a benefit. If you do then yes, but not just because you think you should

Regards
Andy

theMusicMan
29th December 2007, 08:58 AM
Well, my ignorance of DNG and exactly what it was has been amended and I only used to convert to DNG because I thought I had to - given it was the default option for Lightroom. Now I know exactly what it is, and see no benefit for me over working directly with ORF RAW format files in the very same application, there is no need for me to convert to DNG.

My question has indeed been well and truly answered :)

Very good, informative and useful thread, thanks.