RAW file format advice for a Pentax user

I have been using DNG as the RAW format for my Pentax / Ricoh cameras for some years now. My decision had been based on the premise that DNG will be around for a longer time than the PEF (Pentax raw format) as Pentax, as a company, was losing ground while Adobe had practically been a monopoly. The fact that DNG “was not” a proprietary format made the decision easier.

Now my main image processing application is darktable and I understand that DNG is not the most loved kid on the block (for good reasons, apparently). I just need a friendly “push” to let me adjust my cameras’ default format to PEF again. I am sure there are also others using the DNG format for one reason or another.
Do you think it is time to dump it if there is a viable alternative (like the PEF in my case)?

DNG created by the camera is 100% okay.

Converting other raws to DNG is what I and some others frown upon.


Oh! I wasn’t aware of that difference. It makes me feel better. So, it is a “proper” raw file, then. Thank you.

Also, even when the camera brand may cease to exist, the support for the raw format is already widely available in multiple software packages and libraries. Those are also in it for the long haul, so I think you can rest assured that your PEF files will remain readable for a long time as well.


There are exceptions to this (many cameras from smaller manufacturers save broken metadata in their DNGs making them not 100% OK), but usually in those scenarios you either don’t have another option or the other option is no better, so even if it’s only 80% OK it’s the best option.

At least in the past, I think PEF may have had lossless compression and DNG did not from Pentax, but I always shot DNG anyway for maximum compatibility. Pentax is pretty much the only manufacturer I know of where you have a choice of DNG or proprietary out-of-camera.

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The Pentax dngs embed a colour matrix which can be useful. The pefs don’t to my knowledge.

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