You may have not noticed that when Adobe updates Lightroom in versino 4.2 and Camera Raw 7.2 (that support the Canon Rebel T4i / EOS 650D, the Nikon D600, the Sony RX100…), Adobe also gave its DNG format a new revision that leads to the version 1.4 and brings many new features to make this Digital Negative format more attractive to photographers and manufacturers because today, aside Leica and Pentax, very few manufacturers include de DNG Raw format storage in their workflow / cameras and DNG is far from being accepted as a universal RAW format as originally planned by Adobe.
Here is what’s new in Adobe DNG 1.4 format
- Lossy compression : this is a smart move from Adobe. This new option allows users to save their files in DNG, but compressed, with a loss of course. You will save a lot of storage space while benefiting from the RAW flexibility. It can be seen as a flexible JPEG that you can edit afterwards regarding exposure, white balance, sharpening… Today, the MB number gap between RAW and JPEG is insanely high and with my Nikon D800, I am filling my SD cards and 512MB SSD disk of my MacBook Pro Retina at light speed. I warmly welcome such an initiative that will make shooting RAW more realistic and easy. (to be fair, the D800 already has a compression RAW NEF setting)
- HDR : DNG 1.4 will save datas up to 32EV in 16-bit encoding and up to hundreds of EVs in 32-bit.
- Panorama transparency is now supported and you keep surrounding pixel information
- In-camera Crop ratio management : cameras with a 3:2 sensor like a digital SLR can record under specific ratios like 4:3, 1:1, 16:9… till now, DNG saved images were spoiling your settings when you took the shot and today, DNG 1.4 takes better care of your initial intention as a photographer and will save the crop ratio you had selected. To rewind the process, it will still save the entire imaged as seen by the sensor, so that you can get back to an other crop ratio.