Aperture works with most DNG files generated from cameras that support this format and with DNG files generated by the Adobe DNG Converter with the “Convert to Linear Image” option turned off.
DNG is suposed to be an "Universal, Camera Independant Format" and as such it should not have any variations in relation to camera manufacturers, catalogin or editing software compatibility issues. I have always pondered in my mind how to preserve image data in a way that will gurantee its preservation and thought that DNG was the answer. Following that thought with enthusiasm I spent uncountable hours converting raw files from different cameras into raw. I did not faulter on my faith and continue to do so until I encounter problems with Aperture opening these files. What to say, I can still visualize and copy glass plates and negatives from my family that are more than 120 years old. How old is the DNG format? Are we having problems already? Have we lost intellectual awareness of what the word "consistency" means?
It appears that Lightroom conversion of RAW into DNG has compatibility problems with Aperture (RAW conversion by Lightroom apparently includes the linear conversion and there is no apparent method to exclude that conversion- that is a known incompatibility with Aperture). So, there is clearly no way to go directly from that type of converted file into Aperture.
I've gone through a lot of blogs and posts and have talked to people at Adobe. I have two issues, one about what to do with the DNG files I have already created (and for which I either have no RAW any more or for which retrieval would be time consuming and one about new conversions.
Issue 1: Existing DNG with no RAW
There are several ways to use the Lightroom files to go into Aperture, all of which involve having a program that does read those files (such as Lightroom or Photoshop) and converting them into PSD, TIFF or some similar format. Not a great alternative, but it does work (and I will probably use this going forward). There is also a blog out there with an import/export approach that I have not yet tried (http://theapertureblog.com/2010/12/20/using-lightroom-with-aperture-a-workflow/). If anyone has tried that technique, it would be nice to hear about it.
Issue 2: New RAW to convert
Aperture is supposedly going to support my camera (Panasonic FZ-150). It partially supports it now, but about 25% of the RAW files do not convert. So, using the Adobe converter (not the lightroom converter) will be my method of choice. Have not done that yet, but have heard from others that it works well and produces and DNG fully compatible with Aperture.
Claudio V wrote:
DNG is supposed to be a "universal, camera-independent format" (Emphasis added and spelling corrected.)
There may be a standard RAW file format one day. Standards are highly contested and very hard to set. Keep in mind that there is a lot of money at stake, and that light-recording devices continue their rapid technological development.
There will be no "answer" to the question "What is the best way to store my digital light data?" until there is an industry agreement on file formats for light recording devices. Unlike others (see the link above), I don't see that happening.
Personally, I'm happy with Aperture. I record RAW files with my Sony cameras, Aperture saves these for me and never alters them, and let's me make adjustments. I can print my Images, or export them in the file format of my choice, at any time. I keep two backups of each Original and each Version. In the future I may have to move beyond this; when that time comes, I have three sets of files I can use: the Originals, the Versions, and files made by combining the two ("baking" the instructions in the Versions into the Originals and saving as a new file). That exceeds my needs for file preservation. Additionally, I print using archival inks on archival paper.
Well, ummm... yeah :-)
The issue is that it's not a "standard" format. It's an Adobe format they *want* to be a standard. However, it gains new features with each version, and the most recent version of DNG includes things like "fast load data" and "lossy DNG compression" which are not widely implemented yet.
You have to be VERY careful with DNG to use versions that are sufficiently old as to have widespread support. In particular with Lightroom 4, the stuff for ACR 7.1 and later (or use of things like lossy DNG compression or DNG fast load data) could be incompatible with pretty much all other programs.
Today, for me, DNG solves almost no issues and in fact removes some original data from RAW files. One example: Aperture can display focus points for many camera RAW formats (Canon and Nikon for sure). DNGs generated from these RAW files don't have the focus point info, so this functionality is not available for Canon or Nikon RAW files that have been converted to DNG.
Claudio V wrote:
DNG is suposed to be an "Universal, Camera Independant Format" and as such it should not have any variations in relation to camera manufacturers, catalogin or editing software compatibility issues.
Adobe ACR is just another evolving RAW converter. There will always be large variation among camera vendors' RAW output because they use their own proprietary technologies. And they evolve those technologies as fast and as secretly as possible to stay ahead of the competition.
Adobe heavily promotes its pipe dream of the entire world using Adobe for RAW image conversion and DNG as the converted format but it is not what Adobe claims.
Claudio V wrote:
...I have always pondered in my mind how to preserve image data in a way that will gurantee its preservation and thought that DNG was the answer.
Certainly DNG is not an answer. All it does is preserve the state of Adobe's ACR conversions at a point in time.
Best answer, and easy, is simply to save the original RAW files in multiple locations asap after capture and prior to interaction with any app (like Aperture, ACR, etc.) that has the capability to modify the original RAW data capture from the camera.
For any major camera vendor (Nikon, Canon) etc. there will always be apps to RAW-convert in the future, including probably from Adobe. And the odds are that third-party 2020 RAW converters will be better or equal conversions, not worse than third-party 2010 RAW converters.
Each individual camera's RAW is different but my experience has been that in general the camera vendor's RAW conversions suit my eyes/brain a bit better than most third-party RAW converters like Aperture or Adobe ACR. That makes sense actually because Apple and Adobe do not have access to the proprietary original capture algorithms. Personally for my D2x I prefer Nikon over Aperture and Aperture over Adobe, but the variation among converters is small enough that for workflow reasons I use Aperture for 99%+ of conversions. For a really special image however I take the time to RAW-convert using Nikon NX2.
My 02. YMMV, and each camera is a different scenario.
Apple's RAW support page says the Aperture supports the Panasonic FZ-150:
This assumes you're on sufficiently new versions of Aperture (3.x) and OS X. Let's just say Aperture 3.3.2 and OS X 10.7.4 to be the most up to date.
Anyway, in this case, there's no "partially supports" your camera. Aperture supports it. So the fact that say 75% of the photos convert OK but 25% don't indicates some problem. I'd spend time focusing on what may be going on there than trying to futz with DNG, personally.
I have used Lightroom 4 and Adobe Stand alone dng coverter to convert some of my images to DNG format to see if would work for me. I have not converted all of them yet. I set the options to use compatibility mode to DNG 5.4 since I still only have Photoshop CS4 and the never formats do not work with CS4. I have not had any problems importing those files into Aperture 3 or Photoshop CS4. I used it with files from my past Canon 20D and my now Canon 60D. I got a newer Canon G15 compact as well and they seem to work with no complaints from either program. I am sure there might issues with other raw formats, but maybe backstepping the compatibility from 7.4 backwards until you find what works at least for now.