DNG Export Format

I think I posted this somewhere else by accident. Would be nice if the resulting image could be saved as a DNG. TIF and JPEG are really detination formats for printers and web. The DNG would still keep it in it’s “original asset” status plus all the benefits that DNG offers. Even if you had to create a TIF wrapped into a DNG (with the changes baked in so it would work correctly in LR) that would be accepatable.


Hi @mgilvey - thanks for submitting! I’ll have to think about this… It’s easy enough to make it export to DNG, but doing so wouldn’t necessarily make it a “positive” - in other words, I believe that Lightroom would still behave the same on a true DNG as it does on the original RAW, and Lightroom’s controls would still be messed up… I could create a TIF wrapped into a DNG, which would solve the problem with Lightroom controls, but in this case, I’m not sure there would be much advantage versus just creating the TIF outright. But let me think about this a bit.


If you wrapped the TIF in a DNG, it could still have adjustments written into it, and because it is a DNG, it would still be recognized as a starting filetype, not a destination file type like TIF or JPG. An additional option would be to save as a PSD.

As a retoucher, I never work with TIFs layered like you can do in PSD format. TIF is an output format for printers but at some point, Adobe decided it would be a great idea to allow TIFs to have layers, I don’t know why when the PSD format was already perfect. Anyway, that’s my story. Hope it matches yours.


Sorry for dragging up bit old topic, but just wanted to give my “like” for this feature.
I’m currently looking into long term archiving for museums and DNG has all other boxes ticked…but not “export as positive”.

If anyone knows workaround I’m all ears :slight_smile:


@MorroW - tell me more about what your goals are? When you talk about long-term archiving for Museums, what specific criteria are you trying to meet?

They have 100.000+ 35mm negatives what needs to be digitalized, so my current plan is custom rig for RAW capture to LR+NLP, then export TIFF + JPEG for external DAM style software/server (without LR). In ideal world I’d like to replace TIFF with DNG positive as I don’t see any benefit for TIFF’s.

@nate, I’d encourage you to converse with Brian Griffith of Iridient Digital if he is willing to chat.

As a Fuji shooter you might be aware of him- he makes the Iridient X-Transformer for Fuji RAFs that pre-demosaics them into a “Linear DNG” that retains the raw data, but is also fully demosaiced to avoid Adobe’s worms and watercolor smearing artifacts that their demosaic algorithm introduces.

If NLP could produce a Linear DNG with positive data, that would be amazing! It would save all the raw data as well as allow Lightroom’s normal controls to work.

I have been fiddling with NLP for very short time, so my apologies if this question sounds naive.

My understanding from the emphasis of “NLP is processing in raw” is that NLP is manipulating the pixels in my CR2 image, and at the end I can export the result as an edited CR2.

It seems to me that the only way to save losslessly is to export the result as TIFF — My 24MB file then explodes to 99MB.

Am I correct that there is no other solution?


NLP is software that extends Adobe Lightroom via Lightroom’s plug-in interface.

Adobe Lightroom, being a parametric editor, does not change original raw file pixels but instead collects one’s edits into a “recipe” that is applied when exporting the final image as JPG, TIF, or PNG (and also shows the results of the edits to you in real time while you’re editing).

But CR2 raw files are not final images. They are an unmodified dump of raw data numbers from a canon sensor. Neither Lightroom nor any other raw processor can export an “edited” CR2– that’s not what CR2s are designed for.

The discussion above was regarding DNG raw files. Lightroom DOES allow exporting DNG raws, but that’s just for archival purposes or sharing raw files amongst fellow photo editors. DNGs are just the original file’s raw data with the edit “recipe” parameters included (but not baked in- the ACTUAL raw data is still in its original form).

I know of one enterprising developer- Brian Griffith of Iridient Software- who has written his own low-level code that can take a manufacturer’s raw file, apply transformations, and export it as a special kind of DNG, a Linear DNG, where the raw data has been demosaiced and optionally sharpened but had no further processing.

This opens a hypothetical possibility that in the future software like NLP could export a Linear DNG instead of a TIF.

However, it would not result in any significant file size benefits over TIF, as it would triple the amount of data stored for each raw pixel as compared to the original raw. Its only benefit would be providing slightly more editing flexibility. Sorry! :frowning:

You should try the “enhanced details” feature of Lightroom Classic (introduced in Lr Classic 9.0 I believe?). This 100% eliminates the worms and watercolor smearing artifacts in raw files from Fuji cameras. I do this as a first step now on every scan made with my X-T2 and it makes a world of difference. I haven’t done a thorough head-to-head with Iridient X-Transforme, but I have used Iridient in the past and my initial impression is that “enhanced details” in LR outperforms Iridient and gives you greater flexibility later.

If you want to save an already full-processed, positive version, then yes, you should export the result as a TIFF. I would recommend using the included “NLP - Positive Copy - TIFF” option. You can right-click on the image (or group of selected images) to bring it up, like this…

Or you can go into the export dialog, select the “NLP - Positive Copy - TIFF”, and this will give you access to edit any of the options.

This will export a losslessly compressed TIFF file. I generally find that this will result in a SMALLER file than the original camera scan DNG (for instance, just used on an image that was 103MB as a DNG and is now a 72.4MB tiff file), but there are other factors that could cause it to be larger (for instance, if your original camera scan was 12-bits, the resulting 16-bit TIFF file may be larger, even when using lossless compression).

Yes, this is true in the sense that Lightroom is a non-destructive processor. The original CR2 data is not changed. But LR does save all the settings and decisions you’ve made in regards to processing it, and attaches those edits to the catalog.

SO, if you wanted to share the CR2 files directly with another LR user (or archive them with the original CR2 files retained), then you can do this by exporting out your files as a LR catalog.

More details on that process here:

Hope that helps!

Creator of Negative Lab Pro

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On a related issue: How would I export an NLP photo outside of the world of Lightroom (with its catalogs and collections and folders and what-not), so that I could display it, print it, and enjoy it when I no longer have a Lightroom subscription — but also later I could import it to Lightroom/NLP for additional tinkering if necessary

Just like you would export any other final edit of an image from Lightroom:

Keep in mind Lightroom Classic has a powerful printing module. Personally I would soft-proof and print directly from LR.

Exporting bakes in your edits to a new copy of your image. But the whole advantage of LR is its a parametric editor-- edits are stored as parameters in your catalog, and the original file is never modified. You can return 5 years later and undo or redo any edit on an image. So generally speaking it’s a bad idea to take photos on the round-trip of Import, Edit, Export, Re-Import, Edit, Export, and so on. You lose quality and you lose flexibility.

Bottom line: just keep your originals, keep your Lightroom Catalog files, and leave Lightroom Classic installed on your computer. If you end your subscription Lightroom Classic can still be used to view, print, and export images. Only the Develop and Map modules will be disabled. And, in turn, since NLP makes use of Develop module features, it would likely be disabled as well.


Let me see if I understood correctly:

  1. To incorporate NLP-processed photo into macOS Photos (for example) I should export it from Lightroom using NLP positive export feature.
  2. To be able to tinker with it later I must keep it in a Lightroom catalog. There is no way to save NLP-processed file outside of LR (with all the edits) and bring it back into LR/NLP later?

Yes, especially if you want to make use of NLP’s custom metadata feature. But if you don’t input your film camera/lens/ISO etc into NLP’s custom metadata fields, you don’t need to use NLP’s Export presets. You can use any export preset or custom settings that you want.

Not exactly. You are of course free to do the above, but I’m wondering why you want to export a copy of the image out of Lightroom and then later re-import that copy, when in fact your original scan with its original edits that created that copy will still be available in Lightroom the whole time.

And to be 100% clear, if all you want to do is have a version of your scan that Lightroom’s interactive develop sliders work properly on, use NLP to create a TIF positive within Lightroom. The button is right there at the bottom of the NLP window once it’s processed a negative.

I already have a “system” for storing raw digital images, and I was thinking it would be simpler to incorporate the raw negatives (but with the NLP scripts!) into the same structure. Should I ever need to tinker with a few, I would resurrect LR/NLP.

Another reason is that have considerable antipathy to anything Adobe. (For example every installation of an Adobe product drops files in a dozen locations on my computer. And then there is the greed that comes with success. Reminds one of Microsoft in its early days.) So I would be happy to eradicate it from my computer (keeping an avenue to bring it back should the need arise)

Ah, ok. Do one of these:

  1. Export the NLP-edited raw file as DNG. That will embed all current Develop adjustments (including NLP’s) and hopefully will embed NLP’s special camera profile, depending on Nate’s profile copyright / embed policy.
  2. Hit Command-S on a selected raw file or group of files inside Lightroom. This will save an XMP sidecar with all the current develop settings. Right-click on the file, reveal in the finder, and copy the raw file(s) & XMP(s) to wherever you want them stored. Re-importing these files will not go well if you later don’t have NLP’s camera profile installed in Lightroom.

To each their own, but IMHO life is short and there are more important things to worry about than a very reasonable ten dollars per month–the cost of one take-out lunch–or how perfectionistic Adobe’s software installation is.

This is distracting from the original feature request, so I’ve said my piece. Good luck!

As someone who has been using Adobe products since 1995 (including Photoshop since v2.0 on an intensive basis), I’m curious why you would say that? I’m not trying to stir up the hornets nest but if there’s a simple explanation regarding where adobe products save the files, I might be able to offer suggestions. I totally get your Microsoft comparison but I’ve never felt that way about Adobe products. What I have noticed is if someone makes a plugin, it’s probably better than what Adobe has. Since I can’t speculate how you are saving files out of it, I can’t really help you, but I will suggest the following which helped me immensely. That is having a folder structure to point your saves too. That said, I am one who creates a new folder structure for every project and every photo shoot I do. It seems that sometimes I’ve seen educators tell people to have just one catalog in Lightroom or let the files save to the default locations. That is a sure way to create confusion for an arm’s length full of reasons. I pay for the full Adobe suite every month and the integration between all their products helps streamline my work flow. I also many of the other applications out there but I haven’t worked them into my existing workflow. Would you like me to to understand how you are using Lightroom and PS and offer suggestions?


To KImbalistic and Mglivey: Many, many thanks for trying to resolve my issues. I understand that both of you do not share my hostility towards Adobe, but maybe we shouldn’t expand on this subject too much. I suspect that both of you have needs that are different than mine. My photographic needs are limited to adjustments of photos, such as exposure, color-cast, cropping, healing, etc. — all available from software such as Affinity for $40. So when I am dragged into the Adobe universe I show reluctance. Yet, the reason that I cannot resist is this AMAZING NLP which I purchased after just 3 free conversions. Since I am not a negative shooter, I plan to exit this universe once my project is done. OTOH, I may never be done because of the size of the project (~9000 frames), and my age :slight_smile:

To Kimbalistic: I tried exporting to DNG. It seems that when opened by software such as Preview or Affinity it shows the original negative, but when opened in LR it shows the developed photo. This is quite good and the size is very small (in the example I tried, the CR2 was 36 MB, the DNG 32 MB, and the positive TIF 120MB). But I couldn’t find my hand-coded metadata in the DNG. Also, it doesn’t seem that I can invoke NLP to resume editing. So I am still curious if there is a format (outside the LR catalog) that will allow sometime in the future to be re-imported to LR+NLP and modify/add NLP actions.

All raw files and DNGs have embedded JPG previews for quick viewing. That’s what you’re seeing. I’m surprised that Adobe included the original JPG preview from your CR2 instead of updating it to reflect the current develop settings. I didn’t expect that… sorry, I don’t use DNGs in this manner and don’t really care what they look like in apps that don’t natively support raw files.

Ah darn, I’m now remembering that custom metadata is stored in the Lightroom catalog, not in a DNG or XMP sidecar. My apologies.

So it’s beginning to sound like you just want to obliterate any trace of Adobe, including your own Lightroom image database Catalog file (.LRCAT), and yet retain the ability to return to Lightroom in the distant future at the time of your choosing.

Honestly this just isn’t realistic. I respect that we have different goals and needs, but unless I’m mistaken it really seems like your antipathy toward Adobe is creating a lot of headaches for you.

I suggest you use Lightroom to move your raw negatives to wherever you want to store them long term, and then when you’re done with your current project, just remove all Adobe software from your computer and leave Lightroom’s catalog alone! Then you can re-install all the software at some future time of your choosing and hopefully return to exactly where you left off, using your old catalog file.

Like Ami I am only using LR (6 not Classic) for NLP. I would like to export a single DNG that has both the original embedded raw, and a developed positive image. The reason for this is that in future (say 20 years) a relative may have/find the DNG, but they are unlikely to both find an LR catalog, and be able to use it.

I assume that like me, most users of NLP are working to archive the past for the future. Given that, could someone suggest the best export to DNG settings for NLP processed images to be archived?

If the export could include custom metadata that would be even better. If not I may have to figure out how to import the EXIF data using ExifTool from the spreadsheet containing all of the shooting/film data (from EOS 620 technical back) in to the exported DNGs.

Additionally if there are archival export tweaks suggested on the NLP side (Linear DNG, etc…), could we compile a list and prioritize them?