Endorsements for DNG

DNG is gaining recogition as a raw image file format that has uniquely valuable characteristics, especially for interchange and archival purposes. Endorsement or recognition is spread over several disciplines and organisations, with varying degrees of importance. Only cases where DNG is singled out, rather than simply being included with camera manufacturers' raw file formats, are listed here.

This is all "work in progress". These uses and endorsements necessarily follow behind the availability of tools that support DNG, and tend to rely on trends identified elsewhere in these pages.

Governmental organisations that endorse DNG

Government agencies may be concerned with national archives, or with ensuring that government investments are secured with a long life.

Exploitation in professional workflows

Unlike the other topics on this page, this trend typically isn't strongly promoted or publicised.

  • Professional photographer survey:
    Survey (apparently December 2005): "According to a recent InfoTrends study with 1,754 professional photographers, over 18 percent of photographers use DNG as part of their imaging workflow".
  • DISC (Digital Image Submission Criteria):
    The DISC Working Group (established by IDEAlliance) has published a set of specifications for use by Creative Professionals (including photographers and illustrators) as a standard format prior to submission for publication. It says: "Today the preferred delivery file formats for DISC image submissions are: JPEG High Quality (level 8); DNG". It also exploits XMP.
  • digitalphoto.PRIMEDIA:
    digitalphoto.PRIMEDIA is PRIMEDIA's online resource for internal and freelance photographers. It exploits DISC (Digital Image Submission Criteria), saying "DNG format ... is recommended for all camera raw files".
  • Being followed up:
    From a forum: "I have a client and the advertising agency is now requesting DNG files".... "DNG has been requested as a delivery file format for some time by magazines".
  • Some limited information:
    From a forum: "I've recently started working for a magazine and they like the DNG format". And: "Powder magazine likes to see .dng files. I work on staff for a local mag and we've decided to use the .dng format". Later: "Powder that I've worked with wants to ensure that what they are getting is a real image, not some super duper photoshoped sunrise shot, etc".

Commercial and academic endorsements for DNG

Commercial and academic organisations are increasingly recommending DNG for interchange, submission criteria, etc. This trend will continue, often together with "XMP-within-DNG".

  • Digital Photography Best Practices and Workflow (dpBestflow) project:
    American Society of Media Photographers (ASMP) was awarded funds by the United States Library of Congress through its National Digital Information Infrastructure and Preservation Program (NDIIPP) for the Digital Photography Best Practices and Workflow (dpBestflow) project. It strongly favours DNG: "The DNG files have proven to be significantly more useful than the proprietary raw files in our workflow".
  • Universal Photographic Digital Imaging Guidelines Working Group:
    The UPDIG Working Group's "Universal Photographic Digital Imaging Guidelines", available for download, come out strongly in favour of DNG throughout. These are good and comprehensive discussions of the advantages of DNG, together with remaining disadvantages.
  • JSTOR/Harvard Object Validation Environment:
    JHOVE, the "JSTOR/Harvard Object Validation Environment", lists DNG as part of a standard module.
  • Peter Krogh (author of "The DAM Book") :
    "The DAM Book - Digital Asset Management for Photographers", by Peter Krogh, exploits DNG as a "digital job jacket" for both the raw image and for the asset management metadata. (Microsoft acquisition of iView).
  • Florida Digital Archive:
    The mission of the Florida Digital Archive is to provide a cost-effective, long-term preservation repository for digital materials in support of teaching and learning, scholarship, and research in the state of Florida. "For born digital images, we prefer Adobe Digital Negative DNG (.dng) over the RAW format".
  • Chuck Westfall (Canon Consumer Imaging Group Director) :
    I3A held a Technical Forum in conjunction with the PMA Show on 27 February, 2006, on the topic "Going RAW - Is a Standard RAW Image Format Possible". Canon Consumer Imaging Group Director Chuck Westfall stated that "Adobe's DNG file format has excellent features for archival storage".
  • Archaeology Data Service / Digital Antiquity - Guides to Good Practice:
    "The formats described in the table below are recommended for the long-term preservation of digital raster images: .tif /.tiff ...; .dng - As an open extension of the TIFF/EP standard with support for EXIF, IPTC and XMP metadata, the Adobe DNG format is rapidly becoming accepted as a standards for storing raw image data (primarily from digital photography)."

Digital image archiving

Several papers in the field of digital image archiving, published or presented at conferences, have mentioned DNG. Sometimes the theme is "wait and see" - DNG was recognised as a potential archival file format for raw image data, but hasn't yet made the breakthough for all of these authors. Some of this work may turn into more solid endorsements in future. (DNG was launched in September 2004. It takes time to research and publish an academic paper. Most academic papers that have discussed digital image preservation could not have mentioned DNG).

It is important to recognise that there is no credibility among the academic community for the use of camera manufacturers' raw file formats for archival purposes, and there is unlikely to be in future. The considered alternative to DNG is TIFF, (or possibly PDF/A), not such formats as NEF or CR2. A few examples (in reverse chronological order):

Resource More information Relevance to DNG

"Raw as Archival Still Image Format: A Consideration"
Michael J. Bennett;
F. Barry Wheeler

There is an accompanying presentation.

IS&T Archiving 2010 Conference; The Hague, NL
June 4th, 2010

Published here by University of Connecticut Libraries. Acompanying PowerPoint presentation here.

Michael J. Bennett is at University of Connecticut, Storrs. F. Barry Wheeler is at United States Library of Congress.

For interest, the paper cites 2 pages on this website:
[28] Barry Pearson, “Products that support DNG in some way,” (retrieved 10.29.09);
[29] Barry Pearson, “Adobe products that support DNG,” (retrieved 10.29.09).

Much of the document discusses the advantages that DNG has over other raw image formats, for example: "Raw formats are an increasingly intriguing option for digital preservation of still images.... the open and fully documented DNG raw standard retains the common virtues of raw formats while also offering additional archival value".

The paper says: "DNG is currently adopted as an archival master format at The National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. and at The Art Institute of Chicago. The National Gallery in particular acknowledges the specification's high end image data storage, growing adoption, and single file workflow practicality".

"Digital Image File Formats - TIFF, JPEG, JPEG2000, RAW and DNG"
July 2007
Tim Vitale

Tim Vitale is Conservator of Paper and Electronic Media, Preservation Associates.

Available at:
Stanford University - Electronic Media Group
"Version 20 © Tim Vitale 2007 use by permission only"

A reasonably up-to-date discussion about these formats, with 43 references to DNG.
"Born Digital Photographs: Acquisition and Preservation Strategies"
Rosaleen Hill
AABC Conference 2006
(Archives Association of British Columbia)
Rosaleen Hill is AABC Conservation Coordinator

There are 6 references to DNG in the text.

It is listed as a relevent file format, alongside JPEG, TIFF, JPEG 2000, and RAW. It is singled out with the statement "if used will allow access to file formats no longer supported by camera manufacturer".

"Digital Images Archiving Study"
Sheila Anderson, Mike Pringle, Mick Eadie, Tony Austin, Andrew Wilson, Malcolm Polfreman
March 2006
The Arts and Humanities Data Service (AHDS) is a national service funded by the Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC) of the Higher and Further Education Funding Councils and the Arts and Humanities Research Council to collect, preserve and promote the electronic resources which result from research and teaching in the arts and humanities.

There are 20 references to DNG in the text. It is mainly used in the context of "A similar watching brief should be conducted for DNG".

But it also says: "The fact that the format is being developed by Adobe, the leading image editor, is in its favour as this should ensure uptake and compatibility with all major browser and software manufacturers, and sufficient uptake from users. However the format is perhaps most suitable for images that have been created in a RAW format, such as those made by one-shot digital cameras. We will have to see if it becomes a standard archive format for all digital images."

"Permanent pixels: Building blocks for the longevity of digital surrogates of historical photographs"
Copyright © 2005 René van Horik

This thesis has been made possible with financial support from:

  • Delft University of Technology (DITSE BETADE)
  • Netherlands Institute for Scientific Information Services (NIWI-KNAW)
  • Data Archiving and Networked Services (DANS)

There are 11 references to DNG in the text.

DNG is used mainly in the context of confirmation of TIFF 6.0 as a key format for digital image preservation, given that DNG is an extension of TIFF 6.0.