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DNG vs Raw Space Savings Chart


I've done some testing with DNG files to see just how much hard disc space they save compared to Raw files. I worked with 8, 10, and 12.7 megapixel images from Canon DSLRs (Rebel XT, Rebel XTi, and EOS 5D).

First thing I noticed, there are only measurable file size savings if you don't embed a Jpeg (and obviously if you don't embed the Raw file too). My original Raw file sizes were 12.1, 8.7, and 7 MBs (5D, XTi, XT) and the corresponding DNGs with Large Jpeg previews were 11, 8.7, and 7.1 MBs. Some savings, but nothing to write home about.

But if I converted the Raw files without the Jpeg previews, the file sizes were a more svelte 9.7, 7.6, and 6.1 MBs each. That's fairly good savings, especially with the Canon 5D (12.1 vs 9.7 MBs) without any quality compromise.

Here's a table that shows you the overview (from my upcoming book, Digital Photography Companion). It provides you with the Raw vs DNG comparisons, and also full size Jpegs file sizes at both high quality and normal quality.

Common File Formats Table

Since my workflow centers around Aperture and Lightroom, I don't really see the need to convert my Raw files to DNG. The few times I have, is when I wanted to send a high resolution file with printing instructions embedded to another photographer for output. But for most of my needs, working with the original Raw files and outputting from Aperture or Lightroom to the working format I need seems to be serving me well.

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I was able to sit down with one of my favorite San Francisco photographers and talk about World Cup, the Olympics, shooting on assignment, and making the transition at the pro level from Kodachrome to digital.

In my interview with John McDermott, we cover all of this: life on the road, Raw shooting technique, Aperture and other software packages. John is a photographer's photographer, and I think you'll enjoy what he has to say.

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John Harrington has published a fun, informative, comparison of the Nikon D3 and the Canon EOS 1Ds Mark III. His review tackles noise issues, megapixel comparisons, tethered shooting, their LCD screens, and a host of other features. It's enjoyable reading, especially for those hungry for more information about these two flagship DSLRs.

After reading the piece, the only burning question that remains is... where did John get the cute boxing ring prop?

Photo © 2007 John Harrington.

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If you want your shots of Santa to have rosy cheeks and your tree to be vivid green, then you'll be happy to read that Datacolor has released the new Spyder3Pro and Spyder3Print.

According to Datacolor: "The Spyder3Pro is a display calibration tool for serious photographers that includes the only colorimeter available on the market offering a seven detector color engine, with an aperture several times larger than other devices for increased accuracy and performance. It is designed to deliver more precise control over white point and gamma, and has easy-to-use features including a new Display Assistant that stores and easily retrieves all user device-specific information on each display to save time during recalibration."

You can get the Spyder3Pro for $170 US at Amazon

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In the film photography days, I had this odd, greenish, disc that I could peer through to get some idea of how a scene would look in B&W. I never thought it was that effective, and I don't even know where the darn thing is today.

Partly because I don't need it anymore. I can now use my digicam to evaluate any scene's potential in B&W. I was working with this technique as part of the writing for my latest book, Digital Photography Companion that will be out in March. (Between now and then, I'll give you sneak peeks of the techniques and photos I'm preparing for the book. Virtual camera clubs are about sharing, after all.)


Color version of the scene as I saw it while working in the field. But how would it convert to B&W? Should I make changes now?

I carry my Canon G9 with me most of the time, and one of the things I use it for is to evaluate scenes for B&W conversion. It has that beautiful 3" LCD that displays images well in the field. I don't like to shoot in B&W with digital cameras per se, rather, capture in color and convert to grayscale later on the computer. That way I know I have all of the information for the shot at the time of capture, plus I have the color version too if I need it later on.

But I do like knowing how a scene is going to translate to B&W while I'm shooting it. That way, I can make capture adjustments on the spot that give me a better idea of what I'm going to do later in post production.


So I take a shot in B&W mode on the G9 to help me evaluate what I will have to work with later in post production.

So for a few shots, I switch to B&W mode on the G9 to give me a real preview o the scene. With the shot that I included here, for example, experienced B&W photographers would have guessed that the red coat would translate to about the same tonal values as her black slacks. But to see it in the field is a good reminder of some of the adjustments that I'll have to make later, or to have her change wardrobe if I don't like the look.

One final note, if you shoot Raw+Jpeg in B&W mode, your camera might render all of the images in color when you upload them to the computer. Software applications tend to ignore the accompanying Jpegs (which are your B&Ws) and build the previews right off the Raws (that have all the information).

If you haven't played with previewing in B&W, give it a try. You might see something inspiring that energizes your shoot... or saves it from disaster.

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A Raft of Software Updates


The next time you fire up Adobe Lightroom, you'll be asked if you want to download the 1.3.1 update that is primarily a bug and compatibility fix. Adobe also released Camera Raw 4.3.1 that fixes support for the Nikon D100 and the Olympus E-3. You can download both the Mac and the Windows versions of ACR from the Adobe site.

Microsoft released the HD Photo Plug-In for both Mac and Windows that allows you to open and save any HD Photo file -- .wdp or .hdp -- in Adobe Photoshop.

And finally, Sigma updated their Sigma Photo Pro to 2.3. This is their application for processing files captured with Sigma cameras.

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Thanks to the release of the Lightroom 1.3 Export SDK, we're starting to see some handy export plug-ins for Adobe's all-in-one photo management application. Over at Jeffrey Friedl’s Blog, he has provided some very useful export plug-ins for Flickr, Smugmug, and Zenfolio. So you no longer have to fool with workarounds to get your images out of Lightroom directly to these other services.

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I use AA batteries for a few of my digicams and for all of my electronic flashes. When I have a big event, I can go through 6 sets (of 4 batteries) in a shoot. One of my frustrations is that, if I haven't used a set of NiMHs for a few weeks, the batteries can be partially drained when I put them in the device, giving me only half the shooting time compared to a freshly-charged set.

According to Mike Pasini over at Imaging-Resource, Sanyo's new Eneloop AA NiMH batteries have "a new super lattice alloy which increases the electrical capacity of the battery, reduces the internal resistance and allows higher discharge currents -- all good stuff in a digicam."

Mike and company get into some good battery specs in the article, and it's worth taking a closer look to learn what an improvement these new cells are. And the best news? You can buy a kit of 4 batteries and a charger for about $20. If you already have a NiMH charger, you can buy the batteries alone for for just $9 a set. What a great stocking stuffer for your favorite photographer (even if that's you).

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Warming Up to the Huey Colorimeter


Back in March 2006, I reviewed the Huey colorimeter and was lukewarm about its performance. Even though I loved its price ($80) and thought is was a snappy looking device, I wasn't sold on its screen calibration ability.

Well, I pulled it out of mothballs the other day, downloaded the latest driver from Pantone, and tried it again on my MacBook Pro. It worked great. And the profile the Huey created seems spot on. I retested again and got results that were just as good.

Go figure. It could be me of course. But I think some nice improvements happened in software over the last year and a half. So now I feel very good about recommending this this $80 colorimeter. What a difference software can make...

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Graphics tablets are great tools to help with detailed image editing in Photoshop. They can be pricey, however. Fortunately, Wacom has released the Bamboo line of tablets that start at $79 US.

PhotographyBLOG had just published a review of the Wacom Bamboo tablets that will help you decide if it's time to add this device to your image editing workflow.

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