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05-21-2016, 08:43 PM   #1
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.DNG vs. .PEF

I normally capture RAW using .DNG..wondering the difference's between them? Does .PEF offer a "wider" range of details/resolution/"crispness"/ than .DNG? or is it the other way around? Pro's / Con's using each/either?

05-21-2016, 08:47 PM - 2 Likes   #2
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The contents of the two formats are identical. PEFs aren't as widely supported and require updates to be opened by older versions of Adobe products, whereas DNGs are universal and can always be opened. Not much of a reason to ever use PEF over DNG, therefore.

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05-21-2016, 08:49 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by Adam Quote
Not much of a reason to ever use PEF over DNG, therefore.
Put slightly differently: Unless you have a specific reason to use PEF, use DNG.
05-21-2016, 08:50 PM   #4
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Good to know.. .DNG it is then ...

05-21-2016, 11:16 PM   #5
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The picture contents, seems to be the same. But the contents of the metadata isn't the same. You even have problems compare the metadata of these two file types.
05-21-2016, 11:31 PM - 1 Like   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by jatrax Quote
Put slightly differently: Unless you have a specific reason to use PEF, use DNG.
I'd say: Unless you are stuck with Adobe software which because of its nasty update policy needs DNG, use PEF.

Also: you can always, at any given time, convert from PEF to DNG but never ever from DNG to PEF. If there is even the slightest indication that the PEF file holds certain metadata or hints which might be useful in future, avoid conversion to DNG on the computer and if you must use DNG, do it in-camera.
05-22-2016, 12:45 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by newmikey Quote
'd say: Unless you are stuck with Adobe software which because of its nasty update policy needs DNG, use PEF.
Curious to better understand your view here.
05-22-2016, 02:53 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by newmikey Quote
... you can always, at any given time, convert from PEF to DNG but never ever from DNG to PEF.
Check what's in an out-of camera Pentax DNG file by using exiftool. You'll be surprised what's in the box. Can't imagine there's anything missing. You can even find the camera temperature and battery state

Install exiftool and try this command
Code:
exiftool -e -a -u -G -s image.DNG
By the way - DNG out of camera is not the same as DNG converted from PEF to DNG. There's non Adobe software that works with dng out of camera flawlessly and doesn't work with from PEF converted DNG. With DNG out of camera there's a big chance you can use any image software even if the camera is new like K-1. You can even use Pentax 645Z dng files and read them in Adobe CS4. This surely doesn't work with the PEF raw.

05-22-2016, 03:12 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by acoufap Quote
Check what's in an out-of camera Pentax DNG file by using exiftool. You'll be surprised what's in the box. Can't imagine there's anything missing. You can even find the camera temperature and battery state

Install exiftool and try this command
Code:
exiftool -e -a -u -G -s image.DNG
Even Phil Harvey cannot predict the future. Exiftools only maps what is known to be there. Besides that, I didn't say anything was actually missing, it might just be there and end up being ignored even though the file is read unless the conversion software was programmed to take advantage of it.

QuoteQuote:
By the way - DNG out of camera is not the same as DNG converted from PEF to DNG. There's non Adobe software that works with dng out of camera flawlessly and doesn't work with from PEF converted DNG. With DNG out of camera there's a big chance you can use any image software even if the camera is new like K-1. You can even use Pentax 645Z dng files and read them in Adobe CS4. This surely doesn't work with the PEF raw.
I tend to use software that is almost instantly (within days) updated at no cost to read raw files from any new cameras. As most other software continues to be updated (be it after a bit of time) to read even the newest PEFs, I just do not and have never seen the point of DNG to begin with, unless you are an Adobe software user - then and only then it makes all the sense in the world. That does not mean using DNG is now right or even smart for everyone out there.
05-22-2016, 05:31 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by newmikey Quote
... it might just be there and end up being ignored even though the file is read unless the conversion software was programmed to take advantage of it.

I tend to use software that is almost instantly (within days) updated at no cost to read raw files from any new cameras. As most other software continues to be updated (be it after a bit of time) to read even the newest PEFs, I just do not and have never seen the point of DNG to begin with, unless you are an Adobe software user - then and only then it makes all the sense in the world. That does not mean using DNG is now right or even smart for everyone out there.
My decision to use camera dng raw files mainly is based on two points. First of all, I believe that there will always be software that can read and process this (open) format and second, I can use very old systems and software to read and process my images. Buying a new camera that’s able to produce out of camera dng is a great thing because I can (mostly) process these files instantaneously with the software I usually use (today Capture One Pro). And that without software update. That’s pretty nice, I think. So advantages using dng are there IMO. This has nothing to do with Adobe software.

We don’t know what the future brings. So - dng or pef - there’s no wrong or right way. Which way you go depends on your use case and personal preferences.
05-22-2016, 05:36 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by acoufap Quote
My decision to use camera dng raw files mainly is based on two points. First of all, I believe that there will always be software that can read and process this (open) format ...
Nice! That's exactly the same reason for using PEF.

QuoteQuote:
[and second, I can use very old systems and software to read and process my images. Buying a new camera thatís able to produce out of camera dng is a great thing because I can (mostly) process these files instantaneously with the software I usually use (today Capture One Pro). And that without software update.
I'd rather use software that gets updated, fast and free for any new PEF format released but I agree that for some it may work like it does for you.

QuoteQuote:
We donít know what the future brings. So - dng or pef - thereís no wrong or right way. Which way you go depends on your use case and preferences.
Double ditto there which is why I am keeping my options open by using PEF rather than closing doors because of the one-way conversion direction with DNG.
05-22-2016, 05:53 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by newmikey Quote
Nice! That's exactly the same reason for using PEF.


I'd rather use software that gets updated, fast and free for any new PEF format released but I agree that for some it may work like it does for you.


Double ditto there which is why I am keeping my options open by using PEF rather than closing doors because of the one-way conversion direction with DNG.
You've got it entirely the wrong way around. The file format for DNG is a public specification, it's entirely open. If for some reason, all software that currently supports DNG was to vanish overnight, then all you need is a competent software engineer and this document: http://www.adobe.com/content/dam/Adobe/en/products/photoshop/pdfs/dng_spec_1.4.0.0.pdf

There is no such equivalent document for PEF files in the public domain so far as I know. If you want to ensure your RAW files can be edited in 100 years time, you'd be better off using DNG.
05-22-2016, 06:05 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by robthebloke Quote
You've got it entirely the wrong way around. The file format for DNG is a public specification, it's entirely open. If for some reason, all software that currently supports DNG was to vanish overnight, then all you need is a competent software engineer and this document: http://www.adobe.com/content/dam/Adobe/en/products/photoshop/pdfs/dng_spec_1.4.0.0.pdf

There is no such equivalent document for PEF files in the public domain so far as I know. If you want to ensure your RAW files can be edited in 100 years time, you'd be better off using DNG.
I think you've got it entirely wrong yourself. The file format for PEF is not just in the public domain, both the file format as well as the file loading and demosaicing routines are available in fully open-sourced bog-standard C source. At least two separate sources exist, that of libraw (LibRaw | raw image decoder) as well as dcraw (Decoding raw digital photos in Linux)

So, to take your last sentence and tweak it slightly: If for some reason, all software that currently supports PEF was to vanish overnight, then you wouldn't even need a competent software engineer, anyone who knows how to compile open-source code (and that means almost anyone who uses a Linux system even if not as main OS) would be able to convert the source code into a fully executable piece of code on any future OS.
05-22-2016, 06:24 AM   #14
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Can you provide a link to the PEF file format specification then? Just because source code exists to open the files, doesn't always mean that a spec exists - it can also mean the format has been reverse engineered.

In this day and age, just having C source code for something doesn't mean that the problem has been solved. I'm a graphics programmer by trade, and a large portion of the work I do involves dealing with various file formats (more often than not, to facilitate faster loading times on esoteric console hardware, or to move various decompression algorithms onto the GPU).

Sure having source code can help, but often it can be difficult to understand 'why' the code is working in a particular way (bad practice, legacy optimisation, caching something irrelevant for later use, etc).

Having a single pdf of the spec is always useful. It's a much quicker inroad to the file format than a library (even if the library fully supports a given file format, it doesn't always come with enough documentation to understand the meaning of the values in the chunks, for that you need the spec)
05-22-2016, 06:31 AM   #15
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This is getting way out of hand. All I'm saying is that as long as there are software programs available that will open and convert PEF files and as long as there are OS's with backward compatibility, any talk of software "disappearing" and the DNG format being the savior because of its documentation is fear-mongering.

Again, even if this should by a crazy coincidence happen overnight, one can always convert PEF files to DNG and convert happily ever after. However, if you shoot DNG only (or convert to DNG on the computer and throw the PEFs away like I've seen some people suggest) and you should find out some future software accesses a bit or a tweak which is there in the PEF but not the DNG, you're stuck as you can never convert PEF->DNG.

I'm fine with anyone using DNG, to be honest. Just not with people who claim it is more "future-proof" than PEF - that's baloney and FUD.
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