I'm using the DNG format in my workflow and are going to use a friends camera for my next photo shoot. It's a Pentax 645D and it can save the images as both DNG and PEF. I will convert my images to DNG at some point, and usually that is during import to lightroom. What are the benefits of converting in camera as opposed on import apart from the obvious second or so saved in conversion time for each image if converted in Lightroom?

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    possible duplicate of What's the difference between PEF and DNG RAW formats? – mattdm Jun 20 '14 at 16:24
  • @mattdm I was looking at that thread at first but it has a different take. There the question is about the difference between the two formats. I'm asking for pros and cons of shooting in the two formats given that I will either create a DNG in camera or convert the PEF to DNG later. The other question does not answer that at all. – Hugo Jun 20 '14 at 16:38
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    "There's no practical difference" seems to answer that pretty well. Given that you want DNG in the end, I don't see any reason to go through a conversion step. In older Pentax cameras, PEF was compressed but DNF was not; this is no longer the case. – mattdm Jun 20 '14 at 16:48
  • That quote refers to the difference between the in camera DNG and the PEF file and not the in camera DNG and the DNG converted in Lightroom from the corresponding PEF. – Hugo Jun 20 '14 at 16:53
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    Hugo, there is no difference between converting to DNG during lightroom import, and shooting directly to DNG in camera. No difference, that is, other than the glaringly obvious. I am honestly not sure that you are asking anything unique here that isn't already covered by the other topic that mattdm linked. If you have a truly unique question, one that you do not already know the obvious answer to, please edit your question to ask it. Otherwise, I'll need to close this as a duplicate. – jrista Jul 31 '14 at 15:34

One of the benefits of the DNG file is the size. They are around 15-20% smaller in file size than PEF files without any loss of quality. Also, with the DNG format the XMP data is included in the DNG file, so you don’t have to worry about the XMP data getting separated from the original DNG.So in that case there is a huge benefit in terms of organization shoot raw in DNG format rather than PEF.

Now the conversion to DNG from raw PEF (inside LR) is slightly different in terms of options. You have two options: convert raw image data as is or with some of the rawness processed out of the file (called a Linear DNG). For example; Capture One 7 has some issues processing DNG - like automatic lens corrections and optimized sharpening which depends heavily on original camera type. Again, not a problem of DNG format, but in implementation. So if you will work most of the time in LR, there shouldn't be any issue.

Summarizing all the talk, since your camera supports In-camera DNG I definitely will use it. I don’t see any a solid reason to add the conversion from PEF to DNG in your workflow since your camera already can do it on the fly.

If you like to review some of the technical topics cover in this answer this article is well detailed, DNG by Peter Krogh


  • Please note that the question is not about whether or not to use DNG or not but rather if and what benefits there are to save the RAW file as a DNG file in camera compared to saving a PEF file in camera and PEF to DNG conversion later other than the easier workflow and time saving. Your answer is about a DNG vs other RAW formats question instead. – Hugo Jul 31 '14 at 15:17
  • I understand your point Hugo. I tried to demonstrate that one solid point to use the DNG format against PEF is the size of the output file. Maybe my conclusion was a little off the topic (my apologies). Also, I didn't explain well the benefits of In-Camera DNG against Converted to DNG from PEF file. I will edit my answer. – James Jul 31 '14 at 17:16
  • No worries. Looking forward to your edit. – Hugo Jul 31 '14 at 17:54

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