raw or dng - which is safer?

when you converted your raw to dng - do you delete the raw? Or is that too unsafe and you prefer to keep the original? But what’s the point of converting if you keep the original anyway?
How do you do it?

First version of Adobe DNG Converter erased optical black area.
Latest version I tried changed the colour matrix of a dng file from Leica Q2.

I keep the raw.
My point in converting is because darktable (or any other free software) cannot read Nikon Z9 High efficiency raw formats. The Adobe converter can.

Altohugh highly unlikely, it may be that some time in the future I will be able to dispense with the Adobe converter. Therefore I keep the raw so that in such a circumstance I would be able to make use of darktable’s de-mosaicing alternatives, should I find it beneficial.

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These changes in the image don’t sound good at all.
Does that mean that you don’t delete the original or convert it at all?

I am in the process of possibly converting my raw with digiKam. Not everything is perfect yet, but digiKam is very active and open to suggestions and bug reports.
If we support the project with feedback, we could soon have a real alternative to Adobe.

Although the raw pixel data should these days come across unaltered, the real problem is the vendor specific “MakerNote” metadata - not all tools know how to dig it out from a converted DNG compared to the original raw file, and sometimes it simply cannot be safely transferred (and this is in principle, not related to Adobe vs other implementations).

How do you propose to accomplish that?
The problem I face is that IntoPix’s TicoRaw is not documented, and is only decodable by use of a (windows and macos only) SDK.

Unfortunately, I don’t understand anything about IntoPix’s TicoRaw.

I know only that my bug-report at digikam the error, (that with converted dng of Panasonic a wrong lens is indicated), in very short time was eliminated. I was very impressed and of course pleased.

By the way digiKam converts, as does Adobe with the DNG SDK.

Then the dng will not be better than with Adobe itself, but you could become a bit more independent of Adobe.

And, as I said, I have the impression that digiKam is very active and gladly takes suggestions

That will be of no help. The raw file still has to be decoded before it can be converted to DNG.
And if I could manage that, then I wouldn’t need a DNG in the first place.

What do you mean by that?

Darktable (and probably other FOSS raw developers) can handle standard DNG. They can be a bit behind for handling the newest raw formats, wrt. Adobe’s DNG converter (*), so conversion to DNG can be a solution.

But it has already happened that the conversion to DNG lost information, and that became apparent when the FOSS programs became able to handle the original raw files.

So, with a new camera, converting the raw files may make them available to FOSS programs sooner, but it’s better to also keep the original raw files.

(Note that this holds for DNG files converted from another format. DNG files natively produced by a camera are that camera’s raw format so should be viewed and treated like any other raw format)

(*: FOSS has two disadvantages compared to Adobe: they have less staff to work on new formats, and they have a much harder time getting access to the required information)

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I never, ever throw away the originals what comes of the device.

You can’t ‘unconvert’ from the DNG back to your raw (only if you tick a special option which makes the files 2x as large, so useless), and DNG is far from ‘universal’ format it was promised to be at one time.

I never really understood the desire to convert all raws to DNG, to be honest.

Two good reasons to convert raw to dng:

  1. new cameras are often properly recognized by RT or dt with a long delay, so dng can be very helpful.
  1. with digiKam you can’t write metadata in raw files, not even tags. This means that if the images are accidentally moved with other programs, the entries are lost. But in the dng can be written without problems. This is the main reason for me to convert raw to dng.
    But I have become more careful, and will keep all original raw from now on.

You can write them to xmp sidecar files, however. Sure, other program may not know to move them along with the main file, but you can just move the xmp manually in that case.

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My preference is the raw files as the unique extension tells me which brand of camera it is and that it is in fact a RAW file. Programs like LR can do edits and export a DNG, so you may believe you have a RAW file but in fact you don’t. I only convert to DNG when the software cannot work with the cameras RAW file.

TicoRaw files (Nikon’s High efficiency and High Efficiency* compression formats) need to be decompressed. This format is not publicly known. So the Adobe SDK cannot manage it. The TicoRaw SDK must be used for that.

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Thank you, now I understand.

That’s a clear announcement, sounds very reasonable. I will no longer blindly convert and then delete the original.