DNG: How is it doing in the marketplace?

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by John Faughnan, Jan 11, 2006.

  1. I'd long hoped we'd see JPEG2000 in cameras. It looks, however, like
    the cost of storage vs. the cost of portable power drains means
    JPEG2000 isn't a real contender:

    http://groups.google.com/group/rec....9044b732cd969ff?q=DNG&rnum=3#49044b732cd969ff

    So now my focus turns to DNG as an alternative high quality standard
    image format (PNG seemingly having also fallen by the wayside). I just
    bought a dSLR (Rebel XT, like so many others) and I'm evaluating my
    archival image format strategy. I don't trust RAW as a longterm
    solution.

    Is DNG getting traction? What's the growth path like? What are the main
    things holding it back from even greater acceptance?

    Thanks!!

    john

    meta: image standard, image format, digital photography, digital
    camera, JPEG, JPEG 2000, PNG, RAW, DNG.
     
    John Faughnan, Jan 11, 2006
    #1
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  2. John  Faughnan

    Bill Tuthill Guest

    John Faughnan <> wrote:
    >
    > Is DNG getting traction? What's the growth path like?


    None of the DSLR camera vendors supports in-camera DNG, nor have any
    announced they will support it, as far as I know.

    For future compatibility, storing DNG is probably better than storing RAW.

    For storing image edits, Photoshop PSD with adjustment layers might be
    the most compact format for preserving original information.

    For storing final images, JPEG 2000 (lossless) currently creates the
    smallest files, although saves take a long time.

    > What are the main things holding it back from even greater acceptance?


    I'd say Adobe. PDF was nice until they "upgraded" the search window
    to take half the screen so you can no longer read your document!
     
    Bill Tuthill, Jan 11, 2006
    #2
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  3. John  Faughnan

    Paul Rubin Guest

    "John Faughnan" <> writes:
    > I'd long hoped we'd see JPEG2000 in cameras. It looks, however, like
    > the cost of storage vs. the cost of portable power drains means
    > JPEG2000 isn't a real contender:


    JPEG2000 is undesirable because of patent claims limiting the number
    of implementations available. Regular JPEG is a more open format.

    > So now my focus turns to DNG as an alternative high quality standard
    > image format (PNG seemingly having also fallen by the wayside). I just
    > bought a dSLR (Rebel XT, like so many others) and I'm evaluating my
    > archival image format strategy. I don't trust RAW as a longterm
    > solution.


    DNG is a raw format, PNG (portable network graphic) is sort of a
    higher-capability GIFF replacement. PNG is doing just fine as a
    network graphic format. I don't know of anyone using it as a camera
    archive format and it was never intended for that.

    > Is DNG getting traction? What's the growth path like? What are the main
    > things holding it back from even greater acceptance?


    Some manufacturers are using it. I'd like to hope more will start.
    Main thing holding it back is the desire of some manufacturers to use
    proprietary formats. I hope customer agitation will lead them to
    reconsider. See openraw.org for more info.
     
    Paul Rubin, Jan 11, 2006
    #3
  4. Bill Tuthill <> writes:

    > John Faughnan <> wrote:
    > >
    > > Is DNG getting traction? What's the growth path like?

    >
    > None of the DSLR camera vendors supports in-camera DNG, nor have any
    > announced they will support it, as far as I know.
    >
    > For future compatibility, storing DNG is probably better than storing RAW.


    They're also half the size, for my particular camera (Fuji S2; which I
    consider to have oversize raw files, 12MB).
    --
    David Dyer-Bennet, <mailto:>, <http://www.dd-b.net/dd-b/>
    RKBA: <http://noguns-nomoney.com/> <http://www.dd-b.net/carry/>
    Pics: <http://dd-b.lighthunters.net/> <http://www.dd-b.net/dd-b/SnapshotAlbum/>
    Dragaera/Steven Brust: <http://dragaera.info/>
     
    David Dyer-Bennet, Jan 11, 2006
    #4
  5. On 11 Jan 2006 10:45:58 -0800, Bill Tuthill <> wrote:

    >John Faughnan <> wrote:
    >>
    >> Is DNG getting traction? What's the growth path like?

    >
    >None of the DSLR camera vendors supports in-camera DNG, nor have any
    >announced they will support it, as far as I know.


    Wrong. Leica does in the Digital-Modul-R for their R8/9 SLR's and
    Hassleblad does in its H2 DSLR system.


    *************************************************************

    "I believe that all government is evil,
    in that all government must necessarily make war upon liberty...

    From "Mencken's Creed"
    H.L. Mencken (1880 -1956)
     
    John A. Stovall, Jan 11, 2006
    #5
  6. Paul Rubin wrote:
    []
    > DNG is a raw format, PNG (portable network graphic) is sort of a
    > higher-capability GIFF replacement. PNG is doing just fine as a
    > network graphic format. I don't know of anyone using it as a camera
    > archive format and it was never intended for that.


    I save all my most important images in PNG. It does as well as or better
    than standard lossless compression algorithms. OK, what I save don't
    happen to be camera images (I use JPEG for that), but they are full tone
    images (they happen to be greyscale). To imply that PNG is only for
    graphics would be misleading - it's equally good for greyscale or colour
    images.

    David
     
    David J Taylor, Jan 11, 2006
    #6
  7. John  Faughnan

    Paul Rubin Guest

    "David J Taylor" <-this-bit.nor-this-part.uk.invalid> writes:
    > To imply that PNG is only for
    > graphics would be misleading - it's equally good for greyscale or colour
    > images.


    It wouldn't have occurred to me that greyscale and colo(u)r images are
    not graphics. PNG is used in about the same way as GIF was (and to
    some extent still is) used. Sorry for any confusion.
     
    Paul Rubin, Jan 11, 2006
    #7
  8. Paul Rubin wrote:
    > "David J Taylor"
    > <-this-bit.nor-this-part.uk.invalid>
    > writes:
    >> To imply that PNG is only for
    >> graphics would be misleading - it's equally good for greyscale or
    >> colour images.

    >
    > It wouldn't have occurred to me that greyscale and colo(u)r images are
    > not graphics. PNG is used in about the same way as GIF was (and to
    > some extent still is) used. Sorry for any confusion.


    I've hear this before. I think "PNG is the replacement for GIF" spreads
    the myth that PNG is only good for "graphics" (although I know you didn't
    say that). To me, graphics is line drawings, with large areas of similar
    colour or texture. Images are what have greyscales and continuous tone
    values. Perhaps it's a British thing, or my signal and image processing
    background!

    Cheers,
    David
     
    David J Taylor, Jan 11, 2006
    #8
  9. John Faughnan wrote:
    [snip]
    > Is DNG getting traction? What's the growth path like? What are the main
    > things holding it back from even greater acceptance?

    [snip]

    Here is a set of articles:
    http://www.barry.pearson.name/articles/dng/

    DNG support at end of 1st year (27 September 2005):
    http://www.barry.pearson.name/articles/dng/products_y1.htm

    DNG support during 2nd year (up to 27 September 2006 - not very far
    along at the moment):
    http://www.barry.pearson.name/articles/dng/products_y2.htm

    People & organisations that endorse DNG:
    http://www.barry.pearson.name/articles/dng/respectability.htm

    Products without explicit DNG support:
    http://www.barry.pearson.name/articles/dng/not_yet.htm

    There are 3 cameras and 4 digital backs that output DNG as their native
    raw format. This is irrelevant! If you convert directly from the memory
    card, you don't CARE what the camera's native raw format is:
    http://www.barry.pearson.name/articles/dng/products_y1.htm#cameras

    The growth path is visible by looking at the take-up at end of
    February, and end of April, 2005. 15 non-Adobe products, and 25
    non-Adobe products, respectively. (Now there may be about 100 non-Adobe
    products, but no one really knows, including Adobe):
    http://www.barry.pearson.name/articles/dng/products_y0.htm

    It is being held back from even further support by: FUD ("fear,
    uncertainty, doubt"), (typically based on unsubstantiated conspiracy
    theories and similar); and the lack of support from software from the
    camera manufacturers. Their software matters far more than their
    cameras, because some people won't use DNG until that software accepts
    it.

    By the end of the 2nd year, 27 September 2006, I believe the only
    significant factors will be FUD, and the software from the camera
    manufacturers. I expect Nikon to be the last to go, probably years
    away. Canon the next to last.

    --
    Barry Pearson
    http://www.barry.pearson.name/photography/
    http://www.birdsandanimals.info/
     
    Barry Pearson, Jan 11, 2006
    #9
  10. John  Faughnan

    Paul Rubin Guest

    "Barry Pearson" <> writes:
    > There are 3 cameras and 4 digital backs that output DNG as their native
    > raw format. This is irrelevant! If you convert directly from the memory
    > card, you don't CARE what the camera's native raw format is:
    > http://www.barry.pearson.name/articles/dng/products_y1.htm#cameras


    The native raw format is extremely relevant because if if it's
    something other than DNG, you need conversion software; and in cases
    where the native raw format is proprietary, that means you either have
    to rely on reverse engineering, or else use a proprietary converter.

    Reverse engineering is unsatisfactory because it might stop working if
    the camera gets a firmware update or if the next model uses a
    different proprietary format. Using proprietary converters is
    unsatisfactory in practice because it constrains you to the software
    and OS combinations that the converter vendor chooses to support, and
    unsatisfactory in principle because it means you need someone else's
    permission to view your own images.

    What is needed is for camera vendors to 1) support open formats (such
    as DNG) as native raw formats; and 2) announce their commitment to
    using open formats and stick to the commitments. High end camera
    vendors like Leica, Hasselblad, and (iirc) Phase One are using DNG,
    but some semi-mass-market vendors like Nikon seem to be moving in the
    other direction.
     
    Paul Rubin, Jan 11, 2006
    #10
  11. Barry and Paul,

    Great discussion points. My reading of what you've written is is:

    1. DNG is getting nice traction
    2. Nikon is likely to be very resistant, Canon a bit less resistant.
    3. Reverse engineering RAW formats is a hurdle, DNG conversion requires
    that reverse engineering. (Though I get the sense Adobe's RAW
    converters are comparable to Canon's? - for example?)
    4. Vendors are still sorting out the metadata standards a bit (XMP in
    DNG).

    It sounds like if either Nikon or Canon went to in-camera DNG the
    industry would have to follow along pretty darned quickly. I'm hopeful
    Canon will cave first; one of the reasons I went with the XT rather
    than a D50 was my perception that Nikon was even more proprietary than
    Canon (could be wrong though!).

    For my purposes I'll stay with RAW for this next two years, then plan
    to convert all my RAW to DNG @ 2007-2008. I figure by then metadata and
    RAW conversion issues will be sorted out, but that's not so far away
    that the Digital Rebel XT RAW format will have been forgotten. After
    that time I'll convert to DNG on import as a part of my workflow and
    discard the RAWs -- and my Rebel XT replacement ought to do DNG in
    camera.

    I can live with that plan!

    (I'm no pro, so I don't feel so bad about tossing the RAWs. I realize a
    pro would keep both RAW and DNG.)

    john

    meta: standards, RAW, DNG, Adobe, Nikon, Canon, format, image, digital
    photography, jfaughnan, jgfaughnan
     
    John Faughnan, Jan 11, 2006
    #11
  12. "David J Taylor" <-this-bit.nor-this-part.uk.invalid> writes:

    >I save all my most important images in PNG. It does as well as or better
    >than standard lossless compression algorithms. OK, what I save don't
    >happen to be camera images (I use JPEG for that), but they are full tone
    >images (they happen to be greyscale). To imply that PNG is only for
    >graphics would be misleading - it's equally good for greyscale or colour
    >images.


    PNG works OK for archiving images, though it wasn't really intended for
    that. The compression method chosen takes much longer to encode than
    decode, which makes very good sense on the web (where one person will
    encode it and thousands of people will decode it), but less so for
    private storage.

    However, it will never make a good way to store raw data from
    Bayer-sensor cameras, because it has no way of storing just one colour
    component at each pixel location. Even if you took the raw data and fed
    it to PNG as a greyscale file, compression would be poor because
    adjacent pixels are not well correlated with each other (like they would
    be in a real greyscale image).

    Dave
     
    Dave Martindale, Jan 11, 2006
    #12
  13. John  Faughnan

    Paul Rubin Guest

    "John Faughnan" <> writes:
    > 1. DNG is getting nice traction


    I'd say "some" traction; "nice" is yet to be seen.

    > 2. Nikon is likely to be very resistant, Canon a bit less resistant.


    Maybe. Who knows.

    > 3. Reverse engineering RAW formats is a hurdle, DNG conversion
    > requires that reverse engineering. (Though I get the sense Adobe's
    > RAW converters are comparable to Canon's? - for example?)


    Conversion can be done without reverse engineering, by using an SDK
    licensed from the camera vendor instead. That's probably what Adobe
    does. Adobe likes this just fine, since it shuts out alternatives
    like GIMP. The real threat is that future native raw formats will
    keyed by the camera's serial number and will only be convertable by
    SDK's that authenticate against the DRM hardware that will be built
    into future PC's. Reverse engineering and writing free converters
    will then become pretty much impossible. That has to be what some
    parts of Adobe are really hoping for.

    > It sounds like if either Nikon or Canon went to in-camera DNG the
    > industry would have to follow along pretty darned quickly. I'm hopeful
    > Canon will cave first;


    I doubt that either one will switch to DNG, at least any time soon.
     
    Paul Rubin, Jan 11, 2006
    #13
  14. In article <>,
    Paul Rubin <http://> wrote:
    >Conversion can be done without reverse engineering, by using an SDK
    >licensed from the camera vendor instead. That's probably what Adobe
    >does.


    Given the lack of white balance support for some of Nikon's camera
    last year, I sort of doubt that Adobe is just using the camera manufacturers
    SDK.

    >Adobe likes this just fine, since it shuts out alternatives
    >like GIMP.


    Mplayer is quite good at using standard Windows codecs. And I doubt that
    GIMP is really a competitor to worry about at this moment.

    >The real threat is that future native raw formats will
    >keyed by the camera's serial number and will only be convertable by
    >SDK's that authenticate against the DRM hardware that will be built
    >into future PC's. Reverse engineering and writing free converters
    >will then become pretty much impossible.


    Those kinds of DRM solutions tend to be a support nightmare.

    You may be able to do it for professional cameras, because professionals
    have to buy cameras anyhow. You may be able to do it with low budget
    cameras, because people accept just about anything as long as the price
    is low enough.

    DRM is likely to kill large parts of the slightly more serious amateur market.
    That group will simply buy a low budget camera and give up on photography
    as a hobby.


    --
    That was it. Done. The faulty Monk was turned out into the desert where it
    could believe what it liked, including the idea that it had been hard done
    by. It was allowed to keep its horse, since horses were so cheap to make.
    -- Douglas Adams in Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency
     
    Philip Homburg, Jan 11, 2006
    #14
  15. John  Faughnan

    Bill Tuthill Guest

    Thanks for the info about Leica and Hasselblad supporting DNG.

    Paul Rubin <http://> wrote:
    > PNG is used in about the same way as GIF was (and to some extent still is).


    Not really. GIF never allowed > 256 colors in most implementations.
    GIF as a photo storage format is totally inadvisable. Large, too!

    PNG's only limitation as a photo storage format is 8-bits per color
    in most implementations. Compared to 8-bit JPEG 2000, PNG is not much
    larger, encodes faster, and can be displayed easily by most software.
     
    Bill Tuthill, Jan 11, 2006
    #15
  16. Dave Martindale wrote:
    []
    > However, it [PNG] will never make a good way to store raw data from
    > Bayer-sensor cameras, because it has no way of storing just one colour
    > component at each pixel location. Even if you took the raw data and
    > fed
    > it to PNG as a greyscale file, compression would be poor because
    > adjacent pixels are not well correlated with each other (like they
    > would
    > be in a real greyscale image).
    >
    > Dave


    Agreed. As I don't store RAW data, that doesn't bother me.

    Cheers,
    David
     
    David J Taylor, Jan 12, 2006
    #16
  17. Paul Rubin wrote:
    > "Barry Pearson" <> writes:
    > > There are 3 cameras and 4 digital backs that output DNG as their native
    > > raw format. This is irrelevant! If you convert directly from the memory
    > > card, you don't CARE what the camera's native raw format is:
    > > http://www.barry.pearson.name/articles/dng/products_y1.htm#cameras

    >
    > The native raw format is extremely relevant because if if it's
    > something other than DNG, you need conversion software; and in cases
    > where the native raw format is proprietary, that means you either have
    > to rely on reverse engineering, or else use a proprietary converter.


    Fair comment. I was really writing the above in response to the OP's
    "What's the growth path like? What are the main things holding it back
    from even greater acceptance?". There is a view sometimes expressed
    that photographers won't take up DNG until the cameras output it. But
    the growth doesn't depend on that. The blocker for some photographers
    is really the camera manufacturer's software, not the camera itself.
    Hence my statement above.

    What I have written at OpenRAW is that we do need cameras to converge
    on DNG, and in the meantime we want camera manufacturers to publish
    their raw formats so that high quality DNG Converters can be produced,
    or else the camera manufactuers can provide their own DNG converters.
    (Hasselblad-Imacon appear to be the only manufacturer to provide its
    own DNG converter for (some of) its own non-DNG raw formats).

    (I call reverse-engineering "shoddy engineering". Perhaps you would
    agree with that!)

    [snip]
    > What is needed is for camera vendors to 1) support open formats (such
    > as DNG) as native raw formats; and 2) announce their commitment to
    > using open formats and stick to the commitments. High end camera
    > vendors like Leica, Hasselblad, and (iirc) Phase One are using DNG,
    > but some semi-mass-market vendors like Nikon seem to be moving in the
    > other direction.


    Precisely. (Except that Phase One haven't gone to DNG yet, although
    they have some plans in place. And Samsung & Ricoh have used it on one
    camera each). My guess is that Nikon will be the last to change! And
    Canon the last but one. But we'll see. Certainly, Nikon are the one who
    have caused most trouble for other raw converters and for the DNG
    Converter by their behaviour. Lightroom doesn't support the WB fully
    for some recent Nikons, because its architecture doesn't work well with
    the mini-SDK eventually provided by Nikon and used in other Adobe
    products.

    --
    Barry Pearson
    http://www.barry.pearson.name/photography/
    http://www.birdsandanimals.info/
     
    Barry Pearson, Jan 12, 2006
    #17
  18. John Faughnan wrote:
    > Barry and Paul,
    >
    > Great discussion points. My reading of what you've written is is:
    >
    > 1. DNG is getting nice traction
    > 2. Nikon is likely to be very resistant, Canon a bit less resistant.
    > 3. Reverse engineering RAW formats is a hurdle, DNG conversion requires
    > that reverse engineering. (Though I get the sense Adobe's RAW
    > converters are comparable to Canon's? - for example?)
    > 4. Vendors are still sorting out the metadata standards a bit (XMP in
    > DNG).


    "3": yes, it is a hurdle. In fact, reverse-engineering the file format
    isn't typically the delaying factor when new cameras come out. The
    delay is caused by the need to generate camera calibration data, which
    needs Adobe and others to obtain cameras for themselves and try them.
    Apparently Adobe simply buy them in the normal way - it is amazing to
    read in the Adobe forums about the problems they have!

    I believe XMP within DNG is the next "battle ground". It is one of the
    attractive aspects of DNG for me, and plenty of others. (There is a new
    book by Peter Krogue, commonly known as "The DAM Book", about using
    Digital Asset Management on your images, and he uses XMP with DNG).

    [snip]
    > For my purposes I'll stay with RAW for this next two years, then plan
    > to convert all my RAW to DNG @ 2007-2008. I figure by then metadata and
    > RAW conversion issues will be sorted out, but that's not so far away
    > that the Digital Rebel XT RAW format will have been forgotten. After
    > that time I'll convert to DNG on import as a part of my workflow and
    > discard the RAWs -- and my Rebel XT replacement ought to do DNG in
    > camera.


    I think many photographers are delaying like that for a year or two to
    see what happens. But I put various personal and descriptive metadata
    in the DNGs, so that in years to come I will be able to find my images.
    It will be too late to wait until then! I put the data in immediately
    after each shoot.

    [snip]
    > (I'm no pro, so I don't feel so bad about tossing the RAWs. I realize a
    > pro would keep both RAW and DNG.)


    Some would. I've seen Jeff Schewe say otherwise, and I think some
    opinion leaders like that are prepared to toss the originals. The
    typical downside is that you can't use the camera manufacturers
    software then.

    --
    Barry Pearson
    http://www.barry.pearson.name/photography/
    http://www.birdsandanimals.info/
     
    Barry Pearson, Jan 12, 2006
    #18
  19. Paul Rubin wrote:
    [snip]
    > Conversion can be done without reverse engineering, by using an SDK
    > licensed from the camera vendor instead. That's probably what Adobe
    > does.


    No. The typical SDK does its own raw conversion, and delivers an RGB
    image instead of the sensor data. That is no use for raw converter
    suppliers, although it can be useful for viewers, etc. Adobe and the
    others do a full reverse-engineering.

    An exception is for the Nikon WB issues, where Nikon now provide, and
    Adobe use, a "mini-SDK" provided by Nikon that just handles the WB. The
    rest of the file is handled directly.

    > Adobe likes this just fine, since it shuts out alternatives
    > like GIMP.

    [snip]

    If Adobe wanted to shut out alternatives, they would not have launched
    DNG! Adobe want all companies to use DNG, and make it as easy as
    possible by publishing the specification, publishing a world-wide
    royalty-free license for anyone to use DNG, and providing a free DNG
    Converter.

    --
    Barry Pearson
    http://www.barry.pearson.name/photography/
    http://www.birdsandanimals.info/
     
    Barry Pearson, Jan 12, 2006
    #19
  20. John  Faughnan

    Bill Tuthill Guest

    Barry Pearson <> wrote:
    > Paul Rubin wrote:
    >> What is needed is for camera vendors to 1) support open formats (such
    >> as DNG) as native raw formats; ...

    > Precisely.


    If it takes time to convert RAW to DNG in-camera, and RAW is already
    too slow (usually slower than JPEG, probably due to I/O requirements),
    how is this going to help photographers?
     
    Bill Tuthill, Jan 12, 2006
    #20
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