The Digital Negative: The Benefits of Filing Your Images

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To answer the need for efficient and universal filing of raw files, the Adobe Systems Incorporated introduced in the market the Digital Negative (DNG).

To answer the need for a file format that could handle any digital camera raw image file, Adobe propose the Digital Negative (DNG) as "a non-proprietary file format for storing camera raw files that can be used by a wide range of hardware and software vendors." This is surely welcome news to all digital camera users. No more worrying over whether your raw file will be able to sustain the rapid changes that the future brings regularly. With the Digital Negative format, you'll be able to read raw image files even if there's a new variation of camera sensor designs in the future, theoretically, that is.

The DNG works on holding the raw data in a TIFF-based format, an application that includes metadata. Metadata is inserting information and data about a file into the file itself. Hence, along with the image file, a metadata that describes how the raw data is to be interpreted will be included in the DNG format.

The current DNG specification can handle all existing raw files. However, in the event that new designs are developed in the future with specifications that are not available in the DNG, the format can be modified along with its version number.

Key Benefits of the Digital Negative:

The DNG aims to assist not only users of digital cameras and professional photographers. It also aims to benefit the hardware and software manufacturers. The benefits include:

For Photographers-

  • DNG promotes archival confidence. Since digital imaging software solutions will be able to open raw files easily in the future, photographers and digital camera users would not have to worry anymore of filing their raw image files. They could easily reproduce their photos and prints from their raw files with the help of the DNG.
  • DNG promotes efficient workflow. With DNG, there will be a single raw processing solution for every digital camera design. This will enable the user to produce images easily when handling raw files from multiple camera models and manufacturers.
  • DNG promotes publicly documented and readily available specification that can be easily adopted by camera manufacturers. The specification can also be modified to accommodate technological advances in the future.

For Hardware and Software Manufacturers-

  • DNG removes a potential barrier to new camera adoption, since Photoshop and other applications will be able to support raw files from new models.
  • DNG allows for savings on research and development by reducing, if not totally eliminate, the need to develop new formats. Manufacturers will also be able to save from providing simple camera testing.
  • DNG provides a common format that allows for greater control over the quality of conversions by applications from third parties.
  • DNG specification allows for adding and modifying private metadata that enables differentiation. Despite the objective of creating a universal format, DNG allows manufacturers to provide additional metadata that will make their model distinct. Nevertheless, the DNG metadata will be able to convert the information in any digital camera.

Adobe hopes that DNG will be taken up by camera manufacturers and software developers. At present, the format is supported by Adobe® Photoshop® CS and Adobe Photoshop Elements 3.0.

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