DNG for Workflow Standard


Today’s Question: As I understand it, Apple ProRAW (from recent iPhone captures) is a DNG file. Would raw conversions to DNG format from other cameras make workflow more streamlined or convenient within Photoshop?

Tim’s Quick Answer: You can work with Apple ProRAW captures in both Photoshop and Lightroom Classic, in part because they are indeed Adobe DNG files. However, I would not recommend converting other proprietary raw captures to the DNG format just for the sake of a consistent file format.

More Detail: The relatively new Apple ProRAW format is available on the Pro and Pro Max versions of the most recent iPhone models. These captures are a legitimate raw capture stored in the Adobe DNG format, similar to how a handful of other cameras support native DNG capture as a raw capture format.

However, just because you are capturing DNG files with one camera doesn’t mean you should convert proprietary raw captures from other cameras to the Adobe DNG format.

There are two key reasons why I prefer not to convert raw captures to the Adobe DNG format. First and foremost, I prefer to keep my original captures just as they came out of the camera. Since I won’t delete the original captures, in my mind it doesn’t make sense to create another file just to make use of the DNG format.

Second, for many cameras there are special features that require the original raw capture format, in conjunction with software from the camera manufacturer. This includes, for example, features related to automatic dust spot removal for cameras that support this feature.

There are certainly many photographers who prefer to convert their proprietary raw captures to the openly documented Adobe DNG format, in part due to concerns about proprietary file formats. I don’t share that concern, and prefer to preserve the original captures as they came from the camera, regardless of which camera or capture format I’ve used.