DNG as RAW Workaround


Today’s Question: I’m toying with the idea of getting Canon’s 5D Mk IV. This will create a “problem” though, as I don’t like the idea of Creative Cloud and am still working with Photoshop CS5. I’m pretty sure I can use a DNG converter to open the RAW files. But I gather there might be some inherent disadvantages to this. Wondering what you might suggest as the best way to approach the situation?

Tim’s Quick Answer: Actually, from an image quality and processing standpoint I would say that there is no inherent problem with converting your RAW captures to the Adobe DNG format in order to enable you to process those captures with an older version of Photoshop.

More Detail: The Adobe DNG converter enables you to convert most proprietary RAW capture formats to the Adobe DNG (digital negative) format. You can then process those DNG files using older software that doesn’t support the latest proprietary RAW capture formats.

In other words, if you are missing out on support for the latest RAW capture formats because you are using an older version of Photoshop, the Adobe DNG format provides a workaround.

Even better, the Adobe DNG Converter is free. So, you could convert captures from the Canon 5D Mark IV to the Adobe DNG format, and then open those DNG files using an older version of Photoshop that hasn’t been updated to supported the newer RAW capture formats.

With this approach you are naturally missing out on the newer features available in the latest updates to Photoshop. When it comes to Photoshop CC, for example, there have been a variety of updates and new features that I do find compelling.

That said, if you’re perfectly happy with your existing version of Photoshop, and don’t want to subscribe to the Adobe Creative Cloud, you can most certainly employ the free Adobe DNG Converter in your workflow, with no significant impact other than missing out on the latest new features in Photoshop CC.

You can learn more about the Adobe Digital Negative (DNG) file format, and find links to the free Adobe DNG Converter (with separate versions for Macintosh and Windows) by following this link: