Choosing between DNG and RAW formats for your image files are overwhelming for photography beginners. From this point, you should know the difference between these two file formats, the advantage or disadvantage before actually ask yourself, should I covert my RAW files to DNG?
In short, DNG file is an open standard from Adobe, while RAW is a file format proprietary to your camera.
Both RAW and DNG files can be edited in Photoshop or Lightroom. DNG files, can also be compressed and won’t loose the image details, and you can still have the image’s metadata or information with them.
Why DNG over RAW?
I partly use DNG file format, because RAW files has the metadata sidecar in a separate file, where DNG has it bundled.
I want my workflow to be a bit more simplified, and DNG makes it possible by including the sidecar metadata with the files, it also can decrease the chance to loose the metadata, data loss at this point can be decreased. This is why I use DNG, housekeeping easier, and more convenient.
And If I need to convert them, these days, you can easily use software to do this.
Keeping the RAW
When you camera shoots photos in its proprietary RAW, then it makes sense that you won’t throw away the camera results. It is pretty similar to taking photos with your camera, then printing those photos in a lab, considering that you are worried that your printer probably will not be able to print the original camera photo results in the future.
If your software supports the camera RAW today, it is almost impossible it will not support the RAW in the future. So I don’t see any advantages to convert your RAW to DNG and throwing the RAW, just because your software open the DNG. The supporting formats is not the point, but your workflow and how it supports your files, are.
I learn my mistake, because I converted all of my files in the past, and I threw away the RAW files. My photos are still there, I did not loose any of them, but the freedom to use them with my preferred software is lost, because those software don’t work with DNG like I expected them to.
My suggestion is, please don’t throw your original RAW files, as a lot of import setting enable users to have the RAW inside your DNG, so you still have the original if you need it. I personally think, that DNG is not replacements for your RAW. This said, if one day you want to use a software, and it does not read the DNG, you still have the backuup of the originals. I use this method for all of my photos and images.