To DNG or not to DNG?

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An interesting case came up recently in a photography competition, where the winning photograph of a Nature category was queried by member of the club as to its authenticity. There was debate about the relative size of this creature to that creature and the relative depth of field and various other mumblings in comment books. The RAW file was demanded in order to qualify the image as an original in-camera shot and that no Photoshopery was at work, in a category that strictly forbids any tampering with the original captured image. A fair request if doubts were raised.

The photographer supplied a DNG file. His workflow was to import the original RAW files, in this case a Nikon NEF RAW file format and in Lightroom convert them to DNG when importing from the camera. A reasonable and well trodden path for many. A DNG is not a RAW file was the query that came back from the competition club members. And there lies the problem. It seems that a DNG file can be exported from Lightroom. Open up the RAW file in Photoshop, edit and alter the image, save the image back into Lightroom and then you can export that PSD file as a DNG file. So doubt is cast upon the DNG file. The Wildlife Photographer of the Year photography competition will only except DNG’s if it is the native file format of the camera, such as Pentax or Leica.

So, if you take wildlife photographs and intend to enter them into competition, change your workflow and use the original RAW file format of your camera to ensure you can prove your images originality if required. Pentaxians…carry on with DNG! No idea about the pro’s and con’s of DNG vs RAW? Here’s a couple of clear and concise articles.

DNG vs RAW

Why I no longer convert RAW files to DNG

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