quality loss using DNG converter

Hello

I am using LR (v5.7) for my pictures treatment, unfortunately my new camera (SONY A68) is not covered by my LR version.

I've seen that Adobe suggests using DNG converter to sort this problem out so I've converted my new RAW files into DNG using it before uploading them into LR.

Nevertheless, no matter which setting is selected into DNG converter, when I open the converted DNG file into LR, there is visible quality loss on the picture (no need to zoom in).

Except being forced to migrate on LR v6 (with a whole package I don't really need), I would like to know wether there is a real solution possible with DNG converter ?

Thank you for your help

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DNG
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quality loss using DNG converter

Hello

I am using LR (v5.7) for my pictures treatment, unfortunately my new camera (SONY A68) is not covered by my LR version.

I've seen that Adobe suggests using DNG converter to sort this problem out so I've converted my new RAW files into DNG using it before uploading them into LR.

Nevertheless, no matter which setting is selected into DNG converter, when I open the converted DNG file into LR, there is visible quality loss on the picture (no need to zoom in).

Except being forced to migrate on LR v6 (with a whole package I don't really need), I would like to know wether there is a real solution possible with DNG converter ?

Thank you for your help

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DNG
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29 Replies

Re: quality loss using DNG converter

Adobe Community Professional, Apr 04, 2019

I have on occasion used the DNG converter. I have never been able to see any degree of image degradation from converting the DNG when comparing the DNG file with the original raw file. I have done this with my own images, mostly NEF files from Nikon, as well as other formats from other manufacturers. Your comparison could possibly be between the embedded JPEG preview that the camera displays (because the camera cannot display the raw data) and the actual raw data that is displayed when you are actually working on the image. How are you comparing the DNG to the original raw data?

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Re: quality loss using DNG converter

Thanks for your reply.

I’ve looked up on the Internet and, like you, no one seems to have this kind of problem. But the differences between my RAWs and the DNG are so obvious that it’s really troubling and I am doubting to convert the files properly.

I am not comparing the jpeg previews (which are really poor quality) with the original files. I am comparing the Raws shown by Windows preview with the DNG once imported in LR (with the same the zoom). Colors of the DNG are much less saturated and the the worst problem regards the picture noise which is highly visible on the DNG and almost absent in the RAWs.

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Re: quality loss using DNG converter

Adobe Community Professional, Apr 06, 2019

kalul59420055  wrote

I am comparing the Raws shown by Windows preview with the DNG once imported in LR (with the same the zoom).

Please post a screenshot from Lightroom with the two images compared at 1:1 magnification.

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Re: quality loss using DNG converter

Adobe Community Professional, Apr 06, 2019

I misread your post, and see now that you are comparing a jpg preview of the raw file with the unedited DNG.

The jpg preview that you see in Windows Explorer most likely has some settings from the camera applied to it – like saturation and noise reduction. Although these settings may be written to the raw file, Lightroom doesn't understand proprietary settings, and ignores them.

So you have to edit the DNG file in Lightroom to achieve the same look and quality.

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Re: quality loss using DNG converter

OK thanks for your reply. I had the screenshot you requested prepared but I am not going to post it then.

I didn’t know Windows could show the RAWs with some settings applied to it. I therefore assumed that the RAWs should look like my DNGs (and vice versa).

However I am still surprised that the noise on the DNG is so high even though I can correct this with LR.

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Re: quality loss using DNG converter

Adobe Community Professional, Apr 06, 2019

Windows cannot display the raw file, so it displays the embedded jpg preview, which will have camera settings applied to it.

Noise is usually caused by a high ISO setting and/or underexposure.

I might be able to make some further comments on that if you post a screenshot of the DNG image at 1:1 in Develop, with the Histogram, Basic panel and Detail panel visible. If you make sure that your mouse is off the image when you take the screenshot, exposure information, including ISO, will be visible below the histogram.

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Re: quality loss using DNG converter

Sorry for my late reply. Here is an example as requested :

Capture d

Capture d

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Re: quality loss using DNG converter

Adobe Community Professional, Apr 13, 2019

Please post a screenshot of the image at 1:1.

Noise and sharpening must be evaluated at 1:1, where one image pixel is represented by one screen pixel. Fit view (ADAPT.) will always be misleading.

The image is shot at ISO 100, and is not badly underexposed, so there should be no or very little noise.

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Re: quality loss using DNG converter

Sorry, I thought I had clicked on 1:1

Capture d

Capture d

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Re: quality loss using DNG converter

Adobe Community Professional, Apr 15, 2019

I can't see any noise in the image, as expected.

The image needs some editing, like an increase in exposure and/or whites, and some clarity. Possibly also some more sharpening and saturation.

Just to make it clear, converting a raw file to DNG doesn't touch the image part of the file.

So a raw file and a dng from the raw file will display identically.

I have routinely been converting raw files to DNG for more than 10 years, and have never had any problems whatsoever.

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Re: quality loss using DNG converter

I have the same issue.

Quite serious image quality loss and other imposed issues when opening a converted file in Photoshop Elements 6.0.

I use Sony A7r, A7s and a6000.

Camera Raw 1.0.

DNG converter is set to convert to Camera Raw 4.1 and later.

It should be quite easy to see the problem in the pics below. The last one is DNG converted.

_DSC6158.JPG_DSC6158 adobe small.png

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Re: quality loss using DNG converter

Sorry, Camera Raw 4.2.

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Re: quality loss using DNG converter

Adobe Community Professional, Jul 05, 2019

I see that the first image you posted is an actual image file, whereas the other is a screenshot.

So is this screenshot from Camera Raw, or some other application?

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Re: quality loss using DNG converter

Hi Per,

They're just output in a different format. It doesn't matter what format I use for the output image, the result is the same.

However, I just opened the raw picture from the DNG Converter in "RawTherapee", an open source raw file processing program. Interestingly, the output picture from RawTherapee comes out with no visual image quality loss! Please refer attached picture.

So, it seems to me now that my version of Camera Raw does something weird when opening the file, and that this is the issue, what do you think?

_DSC6158 rawtherapee.jpg

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Re: quality loss using DNG converter

Adobe Community Professional, Jul 06, 2019

Please provide some more details.

  1. Do the raw file and the DNG display differently in Camera Raw?
  2. Or does the difference appear when you open the files in Elements?
  3. Or are you talking about files that have been saved or exported from Elements, and then opened in another application?
  4. If that's the case, what application are you using to view the files?
  5. What operating system do you use?
  6. And what exactly do you mean by quality loss?

If you put the original raw file and the DNG on a file sharing service like Dropbox and post the link here, I can take a look at them.

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Re: quality loss using DNG converter

Hi Per,

1. I can't open the raw file in Adobe Elements.
I believe the reason I can't open the raw file in elements has to do with the raw file format from my Sony cameras coupled with an old Elements version. This is the reason I got onto DNG.

2. I can only open a DNG converted file in Elements and it will only open in Elements after Camera Raw has done it's bit,

3. The issue appears in Camera Raw (and so also in Elements).

4. Windows 8.1

5. The quality issue should be obvious in the second original picture I posted (the "DNG converted one"). Look at e.g. the area in between the two white windows. Colour and contrast is also way off. Does it not show very clearly on your end? If you can see it on your end, then uploading the files will not provide any more info I guess? Happy to do it anyway, let me know.

Here is the issue as captured in a screenshot:

Camera Raw screenshot.PNG

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Re: quality loss using DNG converter

Adobe Community Professional, Jul 07, 2019

Yes, of course you can't open the original raw file in Camera raw 4.2. Forgot that you had an old version.

Some more questions:

  • Did the problem appear all of a sudden, or have you previously been able to open DNG files from this camera without having this problem?
  • What is the origin of the jpg with correct colors in your first post?
    Did you shoot raw+jpg, and this is the jpg? If so, has it been edited?

I understand what you're saying about the area between the windows, but this is caused by the increased contrast and saturation, and is not a quality issue in itself. Other than that, it's impossible to troubleshoot this based on a screenshot, so please upload the original raw file and the corresponding DNG to Dropbox or similar.

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Re: quality loss using DNG converter

1. The problem was there from the first time I tried the DNG converter.

But please also remember that I have since realised that there seems to be NO problem with the DNG Converter. It seems to be Camera Raw 4.2 that distorts the image. But since the DNG Converter has the option to convert to Camera Raw 4.1 and later, it should still work I feel.

2. The Sony raw file opens properly in Sony's Image Editor. From there I can output in various formats. I can also open the Sony raw file with "RawTherapee". The output file has not been edited. I simply opened the raw file in Image Editor and immediately saved it as a jpg.

On your comment about the file not really having a quality issue. Yes, I guess that is true. But why does Camera Raw distort the properties this way?

Also, once the properties have been distorted in this way, is there a way I can simply restore the picture to its normal state in Photoshop Elements 6.0? Because that would solve the problem for me!!! 🙂

Here is the dropbox link, hope it works:

Dropbox - DNG conversion from Sony raw files - Simplify your life

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Re: quality loss using DNG converter

Adobe Community Professional, Jul 07, 2019

The files display identically on my computer, so it's possible that the problem is caused by the 4.2 Camera raw version, or maybe the Sony software.

If you have been the using Sony software to copy the files to your computer, or have opened them in Sony software before opening them in Camera Raw, try copying some files from the camera card using Windows Explorer, and then immediately open them in Camera Raw.

There is a slight possibility that the Sony software has corrupted them, causing wrong colors.

I have not seen any reports on this with Sony software, but older versions of some Nikon software will make raw files from Nikon cameras unreadable in Camera Raw.

Another thing to try –

I notice that you have embedded the original in the DNG file, so try to do a new conversion without embedding the original. (you set this in the preferences)

If that doesn't help, try using version 4.2 of the DNG converter, which can be downloaded here:

Adobe - Adobe Camera Raw and DNG Converter : For Windows

It's probably best to uninstall version 11 of the DNG converter first, then install version 4.0, and then the 4.1 and 4.2 updates. (not sure if the updates are cumulative or not)

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Re: quality loss using DNG converter

Hello,

I downloaded DNG Converter 4.2.

Bad news, it didn't work. It couldn't parse my Sony raw files.

Good news. I found out by accident that by running DNG Converter 4.2 on an already DNG Converted (11.3) file, it opened correctly in my Elements 6.0!

Wooo, intersting! Could there be a golden egg, a DNG converter version that was able to parse my Sony files AND those files then opened correctly in Elements?

So I embarked on a journey to find out. I ended up downloading and installing almost all versions of the DNG converter.  A   v e r y   t i m e c o n s u m i n g   p r o c e s s!

Hitting v. 8.4 I got excited. It successfully converted my a6000 files, and, they opened correctly in my Elements 6.0!!!
Golden egg next maybe? The next version, 8.5,  had support for A7s and whilst it successfully converted the files, the files were back to the downgraded format. Gahhh. But then I realised that v11.3 actually works properly with both a6000 and A7R files. It's just the A7S files that are the difficult ones.

So, my current status:

My a6000 and A7R raw files - No issues!

My A7s files sadly need two step parsing. 11.3 conversion followed by 4.2. But having a batch option is still a huge step from having to convert each file to e.g. Tiff before I could proceed to work in Elements!

All in all, not a bad result with my old SW. I'm very happy with the help I have received from you Per!

Cheers,

Per Nystrom

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Re: quality loss using DNG converter

Adobe Community Professional, Jul 08, 2019

Well, I'm glad you figured it out, sounds like a lot of work.

But did you try converting A7S files in 11.3 without embedding the original?

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Re: quality loss using DNG converter

Hi Per,

Haha, you are not wrong! Also a bit risky to have all those different versions on my system 😕 

Yes, first thing I did actually. It was only when it didn't work I tried various things, embedding the original was one :-]

Since you asked, I tried again without the embedded original. Problem still there unfortunately.

Cheers,

Per

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Re: quality loss using DNG converter

Adobe Community Professional, Jul 08, 2019

Please update your PSE 6.0 with ACR 5.6 from this link, then see if the 11.3 converted files open correctly:

Adobe - Photoshop Elements : For Windows : Camera Raw 5.6 update

If not, then try your DNG Conversion in the DNGC 11.3 using a compatibility level of CR 5.4 or later instead of 4.1 or later.

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Re: quality loss using DNG converter

In response to the above suggestions:

Ok, so I tried this one first as it was the simplest thing to try "try your DNG Conversion in the DNGC 11.3 using a compatibility level of CR 5.4 or later instead of 4.1 or later". That didn't work.

Next: "update your PSE 6.0 with ACR 5.6 from this link, then see if the 11.3 converted files open correctly".

That worked - Thank you! Now I don't need the 2 step parsing, excellent!

I also tried updating to Photoshop 6.0.1 but that failed. It complained about not finding Photoshop 6.0.I guess the reason is that I have Photoshop Elements and not the full version.

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Re: quality loss using DNG converter

Adobe Community Professional, Jul 11, 2019

Setting the compatibility level to ACR 5.4 is AFTER you update your PSE to use ACR 5.6, not before.  You should still do this.

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Re: quality loss using DNG converter

Well, you said  "Please update your PSE 6.0 with ACR 5.6",  so that's what I did.
Given the error message telling me that the update can't find Adobe Photoshop 6.0 on my system, how would you suggest I should proceed?

At this point however, my Elements 6.0 seems to work with Camera Raw 5.6 and I'm not really all that keen on doing any more changes unless really necessary.

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Re: quality loss using DNG converter

Adobe Community Professional, Jul 11, 2019

That photoshop 6.0.1 update is for photoshop 6 circa 2001, not photoshop elements 6, so your all up to date with the 5.6 acr as far as pse 6 is concerned.

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Re: quality loss using DNG converter

Ok, thanks Jeff!

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Re: quality loss using DNG converter

Adobe Community Professional, Jul 08, 2019

You might also try updating your PSE 6.0 to PSE 6.0.1 from the links, here, if you haven't already;

Adobe Photoshop 6.0.1 update available: Digital Photography Review

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