Adobe Propose Digital Negative Standard Format for Cameras

Adobe have proposed a public, archival format for raw digital camera data to deal with the archival problems of detail loss and accessibility. For most camera users, images are stored as JPEGs, which is a lossy format even with the gentlest of compression. Some cameras make use of a raw format, storing the image exactly as it is captured without compression – but of course not all manufacturers use the same format and the specifications for many of them are not publicly available. This lack of an open standard also creates the risk that software to read a particular camera’s raw image data may not be available in the future, making archiving problematic.

To combat these concerns, Adobe are suggesting the adoption of DNG, or Digital Negative Format and have made its specifications freely available. DNG is based on the TIFF-EP format, and supports metadata so that images can be described and differentiated.

To encourage adoption, they have released a free converter which will take the raw image format from a variety of cameras and convert them to DNG. Adobe hope that a single processing solution will improve workflow for photographers if they have to use raw files from multiple cameras and manufacturers.

Adobe on DNG

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Fraser Lovatt

Fraser Lovatt has spent the last fifteen years working in publishing, TV and the Internet in various capacities, and believes that they will be seperate platforms for at least a while yet. His main interests at the moment are exploring where Linux is taking home entertainment and how technology is conferring technical skills on more and more people. Fraser Lovatt was born in the same year that 2001: A Space Odyssey was delighting and confusing people in the cinemas, and developed a lifelong love of technology as soon as he realised that things could be taken apart, sometimes put back together again, but mostly left in bits or made into something the original designer hadn't quite planned upon. At school he was definitely in the ZX Spectrum/Magpie/BMX camp, rather than the BBC Micro/Blue Peter/well-behaved group. This is all deeply ironic as he later went on to spend nine years working at the BBC. After a few years of working as a bookseller in Scotland, ("Back when it was actually a skilled profession" he'll tell anyone still listening), he moved to England for reasons he can't quite explain adequately to himself. After a couple of publishing jobs punctuated by sporadic bursts of travelling and photography came the aforementioned nine years at the BBC where he specialised in internet technologies and video. These days his primary interests are Java, Linux, videogames and pies - and if they're not candidates for convergence, then what is?