DNG or NEF?

Well that’s a question.

Just had a conversation on google+ about the RAW vs DNG file formats. For those of you who don’t know what I’m talking about, DNG is Adobes effort to standardise the RAW file format.

Camera makers at the moment have their own file formats, which can change between camera models. As you can imagine, supporting all these formats is nothing short of a nightmare, enter DNG to sort this out. I shall not dwell on this, but for further information check out Adobes DNG page.

Anyway, my buddy is a staunch supporter of keeping all his RAW data as it came out of the camera. I exclusively use DNG files. Converting all the camera output on import to light room. Why do I use DNG files? Well

  1. Smaller file size
  2. Better future guarantees
  3. No sidecar files
  4. DNG is an open file format.
The smaller file size has led many people to believe it is going compression on the data. Well it is, but is non-lossy. And that small saving in file size, maybe 2-3mb soon adds up to a considerable space-saving when your dealing with 30-40Gb of image data.
The second point is future proofing your images. I doubt Canon or Nikon is going anywhere anytime soon, however when a camera drops out of production, whose to say they are going to keep supporting that cameras output? With DNG, it will be there, always available and ready. And as Adobe has released the DNG file format to the world as an open format, where they will never claim copy right, or intellectual rights (unlike MP3, JPEG etc) Any one can develop programs to read and deal with DNG files. One of the main reasons why the US government and loads of other large organisations has chosen DNG as an archival medium.
No sidecar files, DNG is encased. Ie, all meta data is written direct to the file, no annoying XMP files littering up the drive.
Thats some of the reasons I use DNG files, and will continue to do so. Its very well summed up over on this blog here.

Street Settings

As I’ve gotten a couple of emails asking what settings I use when out on the street, I thought it may be a good idea to make a post.

I use a D7000, so some of these settings may be different for your camera.

  • Focus / AF
  • 9 Point Dynamic
  • Auto-Focus
  • Continuous Focus (AF-C)
  • Camera in A
  • Matrix Metering
  • Playback Menu:
  • Image review: Off
  • Shooting Menu:
  • a5 Focus point wrap around: On
  • a7 Built-in AF-assist illumination: Off
  • c1 Shutter Release Exposure Locking: Off (default)
  • c2 Meter Off Delay: 8s
  • d3 ISO Display: ISO
  • f9 Reverse indicators: -0+ (Becaue +0- Just makes no sense.)
Thats the main settings I use for street work. Lets have a look at the important parts of that list

  • 9 Point Dynamic
Well this one,  alot of people ask about. Why only use 9 points, when the D7000 has 39? Well, those 9, in the center at least are cross type. Also, your subjects on the street, really don’t move that much, much less in a unpredictable way. It is however a easy task to change this.
  • Matrix Metering
Most of the time I leave it in matrix, however, I do set the speed buttons to Spot and Center.
  • Image review: Off
I just dont like the display to light up while the camera is next to my face, as often I take more than one image at a time. It also massively helps battery life.
I also dont tend to “Chimp”. I take the image, and move on. I will often sit down later, to have a drink or something, then look through the previous shots.
  • ISO: ISO 100
Nikons implementation of AutoISO is great, but I much prefer to alter ISO by hand, should I have to.
Setup correctly, AutoISO is great.
  • a5 Focus point wrap around: On
Its just easier to scroll off the edge, rather than all the way back. Dont forget that pressing the “Ok” button will send focus point back to the center.
  • a7 Built-in AF-assist illumination: Off
Its just downright annoying. And it can scare your subjects having a sudden blast of bright white light lighting them up.
  • f9 Reverse indicators: -0+ (Becaue +0- Just makes no sense.)
Seriously, what sense is there in having it +0-? It makes better logic, to have the negative first.I don’t know why Nikon did it like this, but their not likely to change it anytime soon.