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Photo edits after Denoise converts it to .DNG - should I edit the DNG or go back to RAW?

Participant ,
Nov 04, 2023 Nov 04, 2023

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I know DNG files are basically RAW files, but I'm kind of obsessed with making all my editis in the original RAW.

 

So when Denoise converts to DNG and I want to make more adjustments, is there any reason I shouldn't just make the adjustments on the DNG? Or is it better to go back to the RAW and start over? 

Thanks!

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Community Expert ,
Nov 04, 2023 Nov 04, 2023

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Denoise outputs a demosaiced RGB linear DNG. It's no longer a "true" raw file.

 

The denoised file can be recreated at any time, but the opposite is not possible. This is a one way street, you cannot go back. The denoised file is a derivative file. Always keep the original to go back to.

 

When you run Denoise, all adjustments are temporarily suspended, and the process is run on the original raw file. Then the adjustments are re-applied (but may look slightly different).

 

Armed with that knowledge, you should make your own decision about workflow. I don't think there is a definitive answer. Personally, I use it very sparingly. I just don't think it's needed very often.

 

 

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Community Expert ,
Nov 04, 2023 Nov 04, 2023

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IMO given that you have used Denoise, and once you've satisfied yourself through trials that you could not have achieved (more or less) equal results without that step - I'd say, simply edit away as if this was a normal Raw.

 

There would be no purpose in making a Denoise version, if you did not feel you could then adjust it! 

 

I would say the same things about an HDR merge too. The outcome from both are designed to remain very conducive to ongoing adjustment within LrC.

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LEGEND ,
Nov 04, 2023 Nov 04, 2023

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"I'd say, simply edit away as if this was a normal Raw.

 

There would be no purpose in making a Denoise version, if you did not feel you could then adjust it! "

 

This.

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Community Expert ,
Nov 04, 2023 Nov 04, 2023

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quote

I know DNG files are basically RAW files, but I'm kind of obsessed with making all my editis in the original RAW.

 

So when Denoise converts to DNG and I want to make more adjustments, is there any reason I shouldn't just make the adjustments on the DNG? Or is it better to go back to the RAW and start over? 

Thanks!


By @thekohlervillager


It would be completely useless to start over, because the denoised DNG is created from the unedited raw file. So if you edit the raw file and then create a new denoised DNG, then you'll get the exact same DNG as you got the first time. Edits will be copied over to the new DNG, so the end result is also exactly the same as when you make those edits directly on the denoised DNG.

 

-- Johan W. Elzenga

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Participant ,
Nov 08, 2023 Nov 08, 2023

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Not sure what you mean, but I'm saying if after I create the denoised dng, I decide I want to make changes to exposure or tweak some of the colors, would it be better to go back and do that in the original raw file, then denoise it again? Or just do it in the dng that I already denoised? 

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LEGEND ,
Nov 08, 2023 Nov 08, 2023

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Not sure what you mean, but I'm saying if after I create the denoised dng, I decide I want to make changes to exposure or tweak some of the colors, would it be better to go back and do that in the original raw file, then denoise it again? Or just do it in the dng that I already denoised? 


By @thekohlervillager

 

Easy enough to try and see for yourself. I have a feeling the answer may be dependent on the content of your image and what edits you make.

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Community Expert ,
Nov 08, 2023 Nov 08, 2023

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The denoised DNG is produced from underlying Raw data, not from a processed image, is it not?. That process should AFAICT disregard whatever overlaid adjustments may show. Then copies of those same adjustments are overlaid onto the new DNG, it appears. I find it unlikely that the denoise process would be baking in those adjustments to any limiting degree. But would be curious to know for sure.

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Community Expert ,
Nov 08, 2023 Nov 08, 2023

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As has been pointed out several times, the Denoise process is executed on the unedited raw data.  If the image has adjustments, those adjustments are ignored by the Denoise process, it goes straight back to the original sensor data.

 

In other words, technically, it doesn't matter.

 

So again, it depends on your workflow. Myself, I usually shoot below ISO 3200 or so, where I don't feel Denoise serves any particularly useful purpose - so I don't normally keep the rather few denoised files I make. They are quickly recreated.

 

But if you habitually shoot ISO 6400 and up, like for sports, or wildlife and birds, then Denoise becomes a more central part of your standard workflow, so then it makes more sense to treat these files as your primary files (but don't delete the originals!)

 

You can always copy your adjustments from one to the other.

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Participant ,
Nov 08, 2023 Nov 08, 2023

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From what I've read, DNG files can result in slightly less accurate colors compared to RAW. That's why I'm asking.

I don't know why the new Denoise feature automatically saves to a DNG, but I'm sure there's a good reason.

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Community Expert ,
Nov 08, 2023 Nov 08, 2023

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Accuracy in colours - this strongly depends on aims and definitions, but not sure there's anything inherent though. DNG is just a specialist multi-purpose container format. What really counts is what is inside a container, and what attributes does the container record about its contents. Camera Raw is proprietary to the camera manufacturer and makes no provision for any other kinds of content, than the oriignal capture coming from the sensor. DNG is used for that exact purpose by some camera manufacturers: that is their Raw format. Other camera models, for example from Pentax, let you choose whether Raw photos should be saved to the proprietary format or else to DNG. And there is zero practical difference - same sensor data within - just, the data compression schemes differ a little and DNG includes some embedding of colour profile data. I have my severe doubts, but if the presence of that extra metadata did constitute "accuracy" it would be DNG which had the advantage. 

 

DNG is more open ended and flexible in its talents than typical camera Raw is. DNG can even contain various kinds of bitmap image. It can contain 'high dynamic range' quasi-Raw output e.g. from Lightroom Classic's HDR merge. I say quasi-Raw because it isn't a standard Raw and it isn't a standard bitmap - nor even a higher dynamic range bitmap. Some aspects of processing remain as yet uncommitted in such a file, hence further updates in those regards will not be acting cumulatively onto anything that's already happened. So less degradation will accumulate. Assignment of White Balance being a good example.

 

AFAICT the output from Denoise is DNG not least because Adobe is not in the business of writing copyrighted camera proprietary Raw formats from scratch (even assuming those were capable of holding this data). But it is effectively very Raw-like in the sense of much processing being as yet uncommitted. It's a remaking of the original Raw into a new form, just building in some more or less subtle detail tweaks and cleaning-up along the way.

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