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09-23-2007, 07:43 PM   #1
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Difference between PEF and DNG formats

I have been using my K10D for a few months and tried both the PEF and DNG formats and really can't see much difference except the file sizes. Does anyone here know what the difference is between these RAW formats?

09-23-2007, 08:42 PM   #2
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There is no difference in image quality between PEF and DNG. The only difference, as you mentioned, is file size. Some prefer to shoot in DNG because of the software programs, especially Adobe programs, that are compatible with that file. Others prefer PEF due to the smaller file size for storage. It is up to you.
09-24-2007, 03:47 PM   #3
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Thanks Morgan... that's what I suspected but I had not read any detailed explanation in any of the photo magazines I get or on a site like this.
09-24-2007, 04:01 PM   #4
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Adobe Elements can handle PEF files, if you go to the website and download the update. I assume full blown Adobe can too. Also, the DNG files apparently write faster (no time taken to compress the file, like PEF). So you can get more pictures with PEF, but slower write times.

09-24-2007, 04:21 PM   #5
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https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/pentax-dslr-discussion/9645-pef-vs-dng-2.html

Bummer this site requires more than 3 letters for a search term. There's a little bit of conversation there about DNG vs PEF.
09-25-2007, 10:06 AM   #6
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I switch to DNG from PEF because Adobe CS will not recognize PEF from my K10D. DS PEF's are just fine. Adobe has an update, but only for CS3. Spent all my $ on the K10D and can't afford to upgrade to CS3.
09-25-2007, 11:24 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by john_mantz Quote
I have been using my K10D for a few months and tried both the PEF and DNG formats and really can't see much difference except the file sizes. Does anyone here know what the difference is between these RAW formats?
PEF and DNG are both raw formats: both contain exactly the same data, recording what the sensor saw.

It is not true that PEF is simply or intrisically smaller. It is true that the PEF files generated by the K10D are smaller than the DNG files it produces, but only because Pentax compresses the PEF files and doesn't compress the DNG files. For this reason, I save my image files as PEFs -- because I can get more photos on an SD card. However, I convert to DNG after copying the files to my computer. And after I convert my PEF files to DNG, they actually end up even smaller than the original PEFs.

There is another distinction between them that matters. DNG is an open format created by Adobe, and it is supported by nearly every raw processing program. PEF is a proprietary format created by Pentax. Some people feel that DNG is more likely to be supported widely in the future than PEF; I believe that to be likely myself. That's why I convert my files to DNG and throw away the PEFs.

I did some tests a while ago that suggested pretty clearly that shooting PEF causes the camera's buffer to get filled up more quickly than it will if I shoot DNG. Can't remember the thread, but I reported my test results here in this forum. Basically, I tried shooting in continuous mode under controlled conditions, and I counted the number of shots I could take with each format before the camera balked or stalled. I got more shots off in quick succession when shooting DNG than I did when shooting PEF. I'm pretty sure the reason this is so is that the camera must compress the PEFs, and that this takes some room in the buffer. So if you were doing a whole lot of continuous mode shooting and you wanted to be able to get as many shots off in a hurry as possible, then you might want to save DNG rather than PEF.

But of course, you'd better have a high-capacity SD card, because it's going to fill up faster when you shoot DNG. I seldom need to shoot more than two or three shots in a row in continuous mode, so the buffer issue doesn't matter to me nearly as much as the file sizes. So I shot PEF, then convert after copying the files to my computer.

Will
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