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06-02-2011, 04:47 AM   #1
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DNG vs. PEF

I am a new Pentax user and K-5 owner. I need some advice about the pros and cons of using PEF vs. DNG RAW format.

I have read about the advantages of DNG, mostly from Adobe advocates. Are there any advantages of shooting PEF? I have been a Nikon user for many years, and there are several advantages of shooting the Nikon NEF format vs. DNG.

Please help.

06-02-2011, 05:15 AM   #2
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Welcome to the club.
I used PEFs with my previous Pentax and they worked OK.
When I upgraded to K5, my software (PS Elements 5) couldn't handle the new PEFs, so I started making DNGs.
Possibly the only real difference is a limitation based on your software.
If you can PP both, take a couple of pics in each and see how they compare in PP.
06-02-2011, 05:17 AM   #3
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Here's a Post that should answer most of your questions.

QuoteOriginally posted by Eliglass Quote
I am a new Pentax user and K-5 owner. I need some advice about the pros and cons of using PEF vs. DNG RAW format.

I have read about the advantages of DNG, mostly from Adobe advocates. Are there any advantages of shooting PEF? I have been a Nikon user for many years, and there are several advantages of shooting the Nikon NEF format vs. DNG.

Please help.
There was a thread about this last week with some info that will help you decide.

Here's the link to the Post: https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/general-photography/145404-capture-pentax...pture-dng.html

I use DNG.
06-02-2011, 05:20 AM   #4
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Hi there.
There are a plethora of such threads on the forum addressing this very issue.
In summary, if you're asking this question, then invariably it doesn't matter what format you shoot in. I have shot in PEF and switched to DNG (for reasons beyond my control) and see no difference in output and only minimal difference in file size (PEF<DNG).

See here:

DNG or PEF ??? - PentaxForums.com
Difference between DNG and PEF? - PentaxForums.com
PEF or DNG file format - PentaxForums.com
PEF or DNG? - PentaxForums.com
PEF vs DNG - PentaxForums.com
RAW shooting, PEF or DNG? - PentaxForums.com
Difference in RAW formats: DNG vs PEF - Photo.net Pentax Forum

etc. etc.

06-02-2011, 06:42 AM   #5
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I shoot in DNG at this point. With cameras prior to the K7, DNG files were not compressed, while PEF files were. This made a significant difference in file size, but at this point, DNG files are the same size or even a little smaller than PEF files and they are more universally accepted by RAW developers.
06-02-2011, 07:09 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by Rondec Quote
I shoot in DNG at this point. With cameras prior to the K7, DNG files were not compressed, while PEF files were. This made a significant difference in file size, but at this point, DNG files are the same size or even a little smaller than PEF files and they are more universally accepted by RAW developers.
for me the choice was easy. Brilliant or not, I've used adobe elements for years
06-02-2011, 07:10 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by rvannatta Quote
for me the choice was easy. Brilliant or not, I've used adobe elements for years
Right. But elements accepts both PEF and DNG files and I frankly can't see any difference when I develop them from each other.
06-02-2011, 11:36 AM   #8
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With older Pentax cameras, PEF was the way to go, as DNG was uncompressed.

With the K-5 (and from the sounds of it, the K-7 too), DNGs are compressed, I switched to DNG on my K-5 because ufraw hadn't been updated yet, and at this point I may as well stick with it.

06-02-2011, 05:15 PM   #9
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There will be no difference in quality between PEF and DNG.

PEF is a compressed RAW made by Pentax. Not all software is able to read it, or read it correctly (some software I tried like Apple's Aperture used to wreck white balance for PEF, for instance), so your best bet is to just use DNG and forget about it.
06-02-2011, 05:18 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by hcarvalhoalves Quote
Apple's Aperture used to wreck white balance for PEF
Apple fixed that problem soon after it became evident - Aperture now handles PEF files with no problem.
06-02-2011, 06:28 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by bjdavey Quote
Apple fixed that problem soon after it became evident - Aperture now handles PEF files with no problem.
Yes, RAW Compatibility Update 3.1 introduced support for PEF, but all versions after that make my K-x RAWs have a hue shift to magenta. This bug is there for a year already, we are at RAW Compatibility 3.6 and Apple still haven't fixed this regression.

The only version that gets the white balance right and I keep installed manually is the 3.0, which didn't supported PEF at the time so I have to use DNG.
06-02-2011, 06:56 PM   #12
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I'm on Aperture 3.1.2, with Digital Camera RAW 3.7, and it works perfectly with my K-5 PEF files. No magenta hue shifts at all.
06-02-2011, 09:36 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by bjdavey Quote
I'm on Aperture 3.1.2, with Digital Camera RAW 3.7, and it works perfectly with my K-5 PEF files. No magenta hue shifts at all.
It looks like the latest versions work alright for K-5, K-r and newer models which are supported since the 3.5 version - if I'm not mistaken - but for K-x this issue started with 3.1 and up to 3.6 it still not working for me. Also, it's not related to DNG or PEF, both will exibit a hue shift, the point is that only after 3.1 it started reading PEFs, so I'm forced to use DNGs to use the bug-free older version.
06-02-2011, 09:57 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by Eliglass Quote
I have been a Nikon user for many years, and there are several advantages of shooting the Nikon NEF format vs. DNG.
I have two questions:
  1. Does Nikon have possibility to shoot in RAW?
  2. What are advantages of NEF over DNG?
06-03-2011, 09:47 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by Edvinas Quote
I have two questions:
  1. Does Nikon have possibility to shoot in RAW?
  2. What are advantages of NEF over DNG?
NEF is Nikon's RAW format.

Not sure what advantages it has over DNG.
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