Do you save positives as tiff or jpegs?

So do you convert positives to tiffs or jpegs after you scan them or you keep DNGs only?

For me jpegs are out of question because I want to have the highest quality files, but saving the same file as tiff, I found cluttering my already huge Lightroom catalogue. Stacking can be of some help, but anyway it doubles the storage and the number of files in the catalogue.

I keep only NLP converted positives in DNG, but I’m afraid its not best for the long terms preservation, because software might change as well as rendering algorithms, so maybe, down the road, in 10 years, these DNGs will look differently, which is unlikely for TIFFs or JPEGs.

So in my opinion, saving TIFFs has pros and cons.


  • Long terms preservation
  • can be easily viewed in other softwares and computers


  • doubles the disk space
  • clutters the catalogue
  • if you want to re-edit files sometimes later, you’ll have to create new TIFFs

Can’t think of anything else right now, but would be nice to hear others opinions. I see pretty much every YouTuber showing their NLP workflow saves their files as tiffs or jpegs at the end, but it never really worked for me. I’d save to tiff only the files I had to edit additionally in Photoshop, because there’s no other way around it.

Not clear what you are getting at here. When we do a raw file conversion using NLP in Lightroom it remains as a single raw file unless I export it from Lightroom and instructiung Lightroom to make a TIF or JPEG from it. Lightroom’s catalog doesn’t store the photos, it only stores metadata and pointers to where the photos are in your hard drive. An NLP converted raw file still only shows up in your hard drive as one photo the same size that it was in its raw state before conversion in NLP. The conversion data is stored in the accompanying XMP sidecar which may be only several hundred kilobytes. You do not get into big-time data creation unless you need to convert them to TIF or JPEG.

Oh - and I should add - you don’t need to convert them unless there is something you need to do with them in Photoshop or another image editor that the combination of Lightroom and NLP cannot handle.

@Mark_Segal Mark, I’m sorry if I wasn’t clear, but certainly you didn’t understand me.

What I though by saving positive, is this NLP dialogue. There’s an option to “Make a copy” of each image, so both DNG conversion + TIFF/JPEG are saved.

Thanks for clarifying. I would uncheck that box and convert from LR only when ytou really need to.

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That’s what I do. I was wondering how others are using it.

Positive is also needed if you intend to use any of LR advanced editing/tagging features: face recognition/people tagging; any AI-based masking (sky, objects, people etc.), any editing beyond what’s available in NLP - for example, masks based local brightness/contrast/color.
So my recommendation would be always to convert to TIFF.
If you are very restricted on storage space, then you can convert TIFF to lossy DNG - you will get size comparable to JPEG, but still retain much better quality and details than pure JPEG.

Well, not that I’m very limited, just the opposite, I capture my negatives in pixel shifting mode in camera and the files are massive, over 350mb per shot. The resolution is great, but that fills up any storage quickly. So, having said that I want to have the best possible resolution, I’d covert it to 16-bit TIFF, ProPhoto color space, uncompressed usually because it makes a great difference in speed when opening are saving files. Such a TIFF file is over 1GB minimum. If I edit it, add layers etc, it goes up quickly.

So, not that limited with space, but I have to think ahead in order to make it sustainable. My film negatives alone are over 4TB without conversion to TIFF.

I guess the most rational advice would be to lower the resolution and decrease the quality, but in my opinion, I’m scanning this once, probably ever, and I want to have it as best as I can make it at home. I don’t see myself scaning them ever again because this is fantastic already, even for making large prints.

I totally agree. There is no reason to convert the files unless needed for some other purpose. Otherwise, you are just consuming disk space unnecessarily! Goodness, don’t we sound like computer guys from the old days worrying about filling up our 20MG hard drives!

This is factually incorrect. I use LR’s advanced masking features on raw neg captures converted to positive in NLP routinely. For such images, LR masking can recognize skies, subjects, color range, luminance range and work with the tone and color controls. Just be mindful that for the latter they work in reverse, so you need to also.