Making the Move to DNG

At long last today, I made the decision to move from NEF files (the Nikon raw file format) to DNG files (Adobe Digital Negative). I did this for┬áseveral reasons. First, DNG files are smaller. Converting a test folder with 169 images in it yielded an 18% reduction in total file size. As the D800 images are about three times larger than the images produced by my previous D700, I’ll gladly accept any reduction in disk space that I can get.

Second, Nikon makes changes/improvements to the .NEF file format with almost every new camera they release. It may be only a matter of time before some of the older .NEF formats are no longer supported. Even though none of my images are that old, I wouldn’t want to find out sometime in the future (say, with Adobe Lightroom 10, or Adobe Photoshop CS12, that I can no longer read some of my older .NEF files.

Third, by using DNG files, I don’t need to be concerned about keeping the XMP file alongside the NEF file. The DNG file format incorporates the XMP data inside the .DNG file itself. This is a minor point for me at the moment, but every little thing counts.

I can imagine that in time, all of the major camera manufacturers may be directly supporting the .DNG file format anyway. I believe at least one camera manufacturer currently supports .DNG files natively, and over time I would expect Nikon, Canon, and other manufacturers to do the same thing. Most likely it’s only a firmware update that would be necessary to add DNG to the already existing JPG and NEF file formats that the camera can create.

I’m in the process of converting about 350 gigabytes of .NEF files to .DNG in Lightroom 4. It’s a relatively slow process, but I’m in no rush. Only time will tell whether this was a good decision or not.

More Colored Pencil Images

Tropical storm Isaac is dumping a whole bunch of rain on us today, as it works its way over to the west coast of Florida, so I spent an hour or so earlier playing around with more colored pencil images.

Both of these images were taken against a piece of black velvet. My Nikon D800 was attached to my Gitzo GT3541XLS tripod on my dining room table, aimed straight down at the velvet. The two-foot or distance from the lens to the pencils meant I needed to crop somewhat substantially in Photoshop, but with the 36-megapixel resolution of the D800, that was no problem at all. The alternative was to put the whole setup on the floor rather than on the table and then pull the legs out on the Gitzo to lower the camera body, but I’m too old and lazy to get down on the hard tile floor like that ­čÖé

New Macro image

I’ve been spending some time lately with my new Nikon D800 camera and macro images. The camera has such high resolution that I’ve learned that I need to use LiveView for focusing; even manually focusing the camera using the viewfinder just doesn’t cut it with this camera.

The following image was taken with a 105mm Nikkor Micro lens.