Over the years I’ve had the misfortune of having multiple cameras stolen from me. And over the years I’ve begun to build a collection of raw files in various formats, each with their own proprietary file readers/converters. Since I am still using Photoshop CS3 at home my newer camera doesn’t play well with CS3′s raw importer. So in an effort to consolidate my raw files to a single file format that CS3 would support I converted all my raw files to Adobe’s Digital Negative format (DNG).
Before I converted my collection of almost 10,000 raw files to DNG I did a little homework. First it seems (anecdotally and through initial observations within PS) that no image data is lost in the conversion. There is a documented loss in metadata so files sizes will decrease. Since I don’t really care about metadata getting a little bit of storage space back was an added benefit.
The actual conversion took around 16 hours spread across two days. The free DNG converter was a fairly quick download. Once launched, it’s as simple as browsing to the directory your files are in. Check the box if you have sub folders with files to convert and hit the start button. By default the converter will write a new DNG file in the same directory with the same file name and the original being converted.
Once complete, I was then free to delete all my original raw files. The photos taken with my newer Nikon now open in PS as well as my older Sony files, and I can work with both of them immediately without any extra steps. And the extra storage space added up to 5gb saved in the conversion, leaving me additional space for more future photos.