Home Forums Let’s Talk Photography CR2 or DNG?

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    When shooting in RAW, is it better to convert to a DNG file or to keep it as a CR2 file? When I download images using Lightroom, I have the option to download and add to the catalog as a DNG instead, and some photographers use this option. Does anyone know the reason or which is better? I don’t use Adobe Camera Raw, I use Lightroom and then Photoshop.


    Both pros and cons to either.  There’s no right or wrong answer to this question, it all boils down to personal preference, and how the individual photographer works.  Just like shooting JPG or RAW (only, a little less heated).  Go ahead and google “DNG vs. RAW” and I’m sure you will get lots of information to help you make your decision.


    No reason to convert to DNG unless you’re going to be editing across different platforms, need an editor that can’t handle CR2s, or like making your computer do more work.

    DNG is just a platform-independent, generic raw.


    “I don’t use Adobe Camera Raw, I use Lightroom and then Photoshop.”  Sometimes I use DPP to convert from CR2 but any time I have used Photoshop or Lightroom with a CR2, the first thing that opens is Adobe Camera Raw.  It is what does the conversion from your raw file.

    I hardly ever bother with DNG.  It is just another format.  I like the file the way the camera made it.


    I don’t really use DNG at all
    I shoot mostly in CR2,  open it up in either lighroom or photoshoop. then save it to JPGs & PSD for future reference.


    Thank you everyone. I did look up some info online and got similar answers. Basically it sounds like DNG is more “universal” and there in preparation for in the future when camera manufacturers may all go with the same format. I’ve heard DNG may cause some data loss. Really though, there shouldn’t even be a need for a universal platform between Canon, Nikon, Sony, etc. since you have to export any of them to a JPG or PNG to use in most finished applications anyway. It’s not like having an external hard drive formatted to either Mac or Windows and running into problems when you want to read/write files on the other machine.

    The photographer I used to work for imported all her images as DNGs in Lightroom, so I thought she maybe knew a trade secret. My workflow is similar to soaringturkeys’ – I shoot in RAW (in my case with a Canon, CR2) and use Lightroom to download the images to my computer. At the same time it catalogs them in the program. I do some adjustments in LR, then edit in Photoshop, save as a TIFF so it’s back in Lightroom like that, and make final adjustments. Then I export as a JPG. If there are any photos that I want to keep the separate layers active I will save a separate PSD.

    Mrs Woo

    The one thing I keep reading on the pro DNG side is that ‘one day’ there will ‘only be DNG’ and supposedly when that happens you will not be able to find anything that will read your old raw files.  I suspect that if that day does actually come (for whatever reason, neither Canon nor Nikon seem to have leapt whole-heartedly onto the DNG bandwagon) there will be software that will batch process all your raw files to the corresponding DNG files available.  That of course, is if it ever happens in the first place.

    I often use DPP if it’s little tweaks actually.  Photoshop doesn’t get opened all that often on my computer.   But I’m not an amazing super-busy pro.  Just a bird trying to figure out my camera…


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