13 Replies Latest reply on Oct 3, 2014 6:16 PM by areohbee

    Keeping RAW files

    Jim_Palik Level 1

      I shoot in nothing but RAW. When I move my RAW file from the flash card to the hard disk I create a folder named RAW. I also create a DNG folder for the future conversion of my RAW files. I have been doing this for years. Originally because I started using DNG files shortly after Adobe created the format and I was not comfortable yet with its stability and viability. I now have duplicated folders using double the space. After many years of doing this, I have multiple terabytes of duplicated file space. I do all my editing in the DNG files.

       

      1. Does anybody else keep duplicated RAW and DNG files, and why

      2. Is there and advantage to keeping both RAW and DNG files.

       

      I look forward to your replies

        • 1. Re: Keeping RAW files
          NicHamilton Level 3

          I'm sure many keep both, I do.  At the time of import I let LR convert my Canon Raw files to DNGs but I also use the LR option to make a separate back-up copy of the raw file to a backup drive.  Thus I have all the files duplicated but not the folder structure, simple and easy and I just forget about them most of the time.

           

          Why do I do it?

           

          1. I may want to use an alternative software that doesn't support DNG (eg: Canon's own software)....doesn't happen often but it does sometimes.
          2. Further on this, there is information in the raw file that doesn't get usefully transferred to the DNG (focus points for example)
          3. LR may become too expensive to keep up with at some point or stop being upgraded so I'm forced to use other software that doesn't support DNG.
          4. You can never have too many backups and it just happens that this one is in the raw format.
          • 2. Re: Keeping RAW files
            ssprengel Adobe Community Professional & MVP

            Those first three reasons are why I don’t convert to DNG at all.  nd if I did, then keeping the raw files for the four reasons, would be a reason not to, again, because I don’t want the double space where one of the copies isn’t in the folder structure of my images or work not picked up where I left off if I have a catastrophic failure.  I currently back up my entire working set of photos including XMP files and working catalog to another hard-drive (or two) and only use raw files.

            • 3. Re: Keeping RAW files
              NicHamilton Level 3

              Each to their own ssprengel but I'm sure you're not alone and if it works for you all to the best.   I can see the logic but it's not for me.

               

              The Canon raws are an extra Backup.  I have two other backup drives that are managed by my backup software and still also backup to DVDs every month.  I'm not confident enough that my folder structure won't ever change.

               

              The main reason I moved to DNGs was problems with side-car XMPs. 

              • 4. Re: Keeping RAW files
                JimHess Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                I think you'll find that are more that share ssprengel's feelings than you think. If the camera is supported by Lightroom or Camera Raw, I see no real advantage to converting to DNG. Okay, there is a small saving in disk space. About 20% in my case. But other than that, I see little or no value.

                • 5. Re: Keeping RAW files
                  NicHamilton Level 3

                  More than I think?  How many do I think then?

                   

                  Baaaa!

                   

                  Not sure of the relevance anyway.  It may very well be the vast majority that think that way. I wouldn't be surprised if it was, as I said, I can see the logic.  It's not for me but that doesn't mean I claim my way is the best.  I come here to try and help and answer peoples questions.

                  • 6. Re: Keeping RAW files
                    JimHess Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                    Sorry to have intruded.

                    • 7. Re: Keeping RAW files
                      Jim_Palik Level 1

                      Hi Nic,

                       

                      I am interested in your comment about there being information that doesn't get transferred to DNG such as focal points. I did not know that focal points were part of the RAW file. Can you explain?

                       

                      Is there any other information that does not get transferred to DNG?

                       

                      I like all four of your reasons for keeping the RAW files.

                       

                      As I said, when I originally move my files from the flash card to the hard disk I create two folders inside my file structure, one named RAW and the other named DNG.

                       

                      What I like about this is that the RAW is always inside the same file structure that the DNGs are in. If I need to, I can easily find the RAW.

                      What I don't like about this is that I am always backing up both the RAW and the DNG. Instead of double the disk space I now am using quadruple the disk space. This is not a problem as long as there is perceived value to keeping the RAW.

                       

                      I wish someone from the Adobe development team had commented.

                      I am disappointed that only three people commented so far.

                       

                      Jim

                      • 8. Re: Keeping RAW files
                        areohbee Level 5

                        James Palik wrote:

                         

                        I am interested in your comment about there being information that doesn't get transferred to DNG such as focal points.

                        Note: Nic's comment was: focal points (and some other metadata) don't get usefully transferred to DNG. The key word being "usefully". Point being - everything gets transferred to the DNG, but since no software today displays focus points once transferred to the DNG, it's not useful, yet.

                         

                        James Palik wrote:

                         

                        I am disappointed that only three people commented so far.

                        In my opinion, it doesn't matter which format your raws are in, as long as the software you use supports it, so convert to DNG if you want to, but don't throw away original raw files. Adobe's software is the only software guaranteed to read the (Adobe-converted) DNGs. If you decide to throw away the original raws, then I recommend buying all the Adobe stock you can afford and become an Adobe evangelist .

                         

                        Rob

                        • 9. Re: Keeping RAW files
                          DdeGannes Adobe Community Professional

                          Quote "I am disappointed that only three people commented so far."

                          When Lightroom was introduced by Adobe it offered an alternative to ACR and by design its default was to store your work performed in the Catalog file and not to xmp sidecar files.

                          I considered it one of the major benefits of using Lightroom as my main processor for the development of raw files and the main reason for adopting the software. So in my workflow I have no use for .xmp files or for that matter DNG files. If I have need to do additional work in Photoshop then I utilise the "edit in function" in Lightroom.

                          The DNG or Not debate has been going on for the past ten years, the link below best describes the benefits of using DNG. In the end the choice is yours.

                          To DNG or Not to DNG? That is the question! | The Lightroom Queen

                          Should I convert to DNG? - The Lightroom Queen Help Desk & Members Area - Powered by Kayako Resolve Help Desk Software

                          • 10. Re: Keeping RAW files
                            Jim_Palik Level 1

                            Thanks for the input DdeGannes. I am not closing this discussion. I learn another reason for keeping the RAW with every comment.

                             

                            My original reason for converting to DNG is I did not like having to keep two files to preserve my edits, especially since I had an original problem with my XMP files getting corrupted. Then, when an external backup case failed, I saw the value of also keeping the RAW.

                             

                            Now with my digital library getting very large I again began to ask myself if the extra storage was necessary. I have been keeping both a DNG and RAW directory in my Date, Country, City based hierarchy. That means that my backups also backup the RAW files.

                             

                            The question is how much do you value your archive? I have had so many HD failures since working with personal computers (starting in 1979) that I consider backup the most important element in personal computing.

                             

                            Based on the comments received so far, I have decided that keeping both the RAW and DNG will continue to be part of my DNA.

                             

                            Thanks again for all the comments, I look forward to seeing if anyone else has any comments.

                             

                            Jim

                            • 11. Re: Keeping RAW files
                              areohbee Level 5

                              James Palik wrote:

                               

                              My original reason for converting to DNG is I did not like having to keep two files to preserve my edits, especially since I had an original problem with my XMP files getting corrupted.

                              Technical background info:

                              ----------------------------------

                              Once upon a time, Lightroom used a slightly different code for creating the xmp info which got written to DNG versus that which was written to a sidecar file:

                               

                              In the former case, many things were attributes of (xml) elements, in the latter case, those things were individual elements.

                               

                              In Lr5 (I think it was 5, maybe 4), Adobe optimized xmp handling to use more of the same code in each case (I "know" this based on the data and format becoming essentially equal in each case - it's the only likely conclusion..). For you ultra-curious types: xmp sidecars became more like the embedded xmp in the interest of more compact storage (and maybe other things I'm not aware of).

                               

                              There is a difference in how they're written to destination file, but in general writing to sidecar is slightly safer than embedding in source file. I suppose it's possible that the code for writing the xmp sidecars had a bug in it, but I have seen very few such complaints, if any, and have never experienced it myself. It's possible that the corrupt xmp sidecar you experienced actually saved you from having a corrupt source file (since hardware and/or code errors which occur when updating embedded xmp can render the source file unreadable, whereas proprietary raw files are never written to and therefore can not be corrupted when xmp is written).

                              -----------------------------------

                               

                              Bottom line: even though this may seem contrary to your personal experience, odds are you are slightly safer from corruption with xmp as sidecar to proprietary raw than embedded in DNG.

                               

                              Don't get me wrong: I am not anti-DNG (on the contrary, I am pro DNG, even though I don't normally convert my raw files to DNG, yet), and if you prefer not having sidecar files, whether due to practical reasons or superstition (er, I mean "esoteric reasons") - that's fine with me..

                               

                              As DdeGannes and others have noted, you don't have to use xmp at all to preserve edits (if you are diligent about backing up your catalog), but there is something to be said for having both suspenders and belt when you really want your pants to stay up..

                               

                              PS - have you considered keeping your proprietary raws in a different location than your DNGs (or otherwise exclude from your more frequent backup procedure), so they are not being repeatedly backed up?

                               

                              Bonus info: why don't I convert my raws to DNG?:

                              * I don't like having 2 copies of the same raw file to store and manage (i.e. it avoids the "proliferation problem" you are currently facing..).

                              * I want my raws to be readable in whatever software I choose, even if not written by Adobe.

                              * I prefer my raws to stay virginal, and have my xmp in separate files (for a myriad of "more-or-less esoteric" reasons..).

                               

                              Cheers,

                              Rob

                              • 12. Re: Keeping RAW files
                                ~IanB~ Level 1

                                never thought about  keeping raw files after converting files to dng

                                 

                                atm I leave files as raw. Just wish they would use one common raw format in all cameras; same battery with be handy also

                                • 13. Re: Keeping RAW files
                                  areohbee Level 5

                                  ~IanB~ wrote:

                                   

                                  never thought about  keeping raw files after converting files to dng

                                  You can't convert from DNG to another raw format (as-of 2014 anyway), so if you delete your original raws after conversion, it's akin to burning bridges after crossing them - it's fine if you never have to go back, otherwise: not fine..

                                   

                                  All of this is subject to change in the future..

                                   

                                  Cheers,

                                  Rob