DNG—the Adobe Digital Negative Specification

One of the great hassles of raw format photography is that there’s no standard for the formatting of raw data. JPEG files must conform to a standard specification agreed on by an accepted industry consortium. Thanks to this rigid standard, JPEG files are very portable and can be read by any piece of hardware or software that has agreed to follow the JPEG rules.

Unfortunately, there is no such standard for digital camera raw files. Instead, every camera vendor creates its own raw file format and, for the sake of preserving intellectual property, keeps this standard secret. Because of this lack of standard, if a company—such as Adobe—wants to create software that can read a particular camera’s raw data, ...

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