What is Enhanced DNG?


Today’s Question: You answered a question about the enhanced DNG. Could you tell us what it’s used for?

Tim’s Quick Answer: A DNG is created in Camera Raw, Lightroom Classic, or Lightroom when you use one of the Enhance features, which are features primarily focused on noise reduction and image enlargement.

More Detail: In a previous edition of the Ask Tim Grey eNewsletter I addressed a question about the file size of DNG files created by the Enhance features found in Camera Raw, Lightroom Classic, and Lightroom. These features enable you to process raw captures and create a DNG file that reflects the enhancements.

The two key features of Enhance are noise reduction and image enlargement. There is also a “Raw Details” feature that can be used by itself, and that is always enabled when you use the Denoise or Super Resolution features.

To give Enhance a try, you can select a raw capture in Lightroom or Lightroom Classic choose Photo > Enhance from the menu. If you have opened a raw capture in Camera Raw you can click the “more” button (with the three dots) on the toolbar at the top-right of the interface. This will bring up the Enhance dialog, where you can choose which features you want to apply to the selected photo.

You can turn on either the Denoise or Super Resolution checkbox, to apply AI-based noise reduction or image enlargement, respectively. You can only use one of these features at a time, and when one of them is enabled the Raw Details feature (for detail enhancement) will always be turned on. It is also possible to turn off both the Denoise and Super Resolution checkboxes, and then have only the Raw Details feature enabled.

When you click the Enhance button to apply the effect, a new Adobe DNG (Digital Negative) file will be created with the adjustments applied. You can then continue applying other adjustments to the new file you’ve created. The idea is that you’re able to use the Enhance feature to process a raw capture early in your workflow to either reduce noise or enlarge the image, and then continue with your normal optimization workflow.

In actual practice I’ve not found that these Enhance features offer a particular advantage over other techniques. However, I’m also sure they will improve with time and potentially surpass the effects that you can achieve with other techniques.