Integrating the DNG Converter into Zoner Photo Studio 17

Do you shoot to RAW? Hook Zoner Photo Studio into the DNG Converter to get better outputs from RAW processing.

When you’re using Zoner Photo Studio to develop RAW files, you can run into a message that informs you your file format isn’t supported. You can solve this by connecting the program to the DNG Converter.

If you’re wondering why Zoner Photo Studio doesn’t start out connected to Adobe DNG Converter automatically, the answer is simple. Commercial use of the converter by Zoner directly would mean an increase in the price of Zoner Photo Studio, while end users, meanwhile, are allowed to download the Converter for free. The Converter helps you process a wider range of RAW files and get better final pictures. Also, starting in Zoner Photo Studio 17, you can use the DNG Converter to get automatic correction of lens defects (warping, chromatic defect, and vignetting) by assigning an LCP lens profile to the pictures you’re processing.

Hooking It Up, Step By Step

To download the DNG Converter, visit this page on the Adobe website. Select the latest version of the Converter, and on the next page, click Proceed to Download, and then Download Now.

The DNG Converter’s size is just under 190 MB. Download the intaller to your computer and run it. Click Install and the program will be installed in a few seconds. To complete the installation, click Finish.

Then start Zoner Photo Studio, roll down the Settings menu (it’s towards the top right), and click Preferences…. Switch to the RAW Format preferences, and click the folder icon. (If it is grayed out, turn on the “Use Adobe DNG Converter to load RAW files” option first.) Browse to the file Adobe DNG Converter.exe and then click Open. You likely will not actually need to browse—Zoner generally finds the right path automatically. The normal path on English Windows is C:\Program Files (x86)\Adobe\Adobe DNG Converter.exe. Then click Apply to apply the changes.

Ready To Go

Now you can use the DNG Converter for your work in Zoner Photo Studio. Besides expanding the range of supported RAW formats, this will give you different, and improved, RAW processing, with different tones and colors in the output.

Assigning LCP ProfilesLCP

You can also use the DNG Converter to add LCP profiles in Zoner Photo Studio. Each of these is made for a certain lens, and can be used to correct that lens’s defects. If your lens is covered in this regard by DNG Converter itself (which you can check in this list), then you’re already set.

Then you just need to switch to the Lens tab in the RAW module and click Add Profile. Choose the LCP profile you want, and then in the Side Panel, checkmark the lens defects that you want to have automatically removed for any RAWs in your batch that were taken using the given lens.

Keep Up To Date

Different cameras usually have different RAW formats, so when you’re buying a new one, make sure that your version of the Converter can handle it. The Converter is updated to handle new RAW formats all the time, so you should also check for, and if appropriate check in, the Converter’s latest version.

Done all of the above? Then the road is clear for you to start getting better RAW outputs than ever before!

Last updated 19. November 2014

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Author: Aja Vorackova

My favorite topics are food and various gastronomic events. What I like most about those events is the gourmands’ satisfied faces. Meanwhile as a “vacation photographer,” I prefer interesting details over impressive landmarks.

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Comments

  • Vašek

    Is it working with Ricoh GXR raw files?

  • Dan

    This is not clear; so are you suggesting that we use DNG even when Zoner handles the particular raw files my camera produces? Are my results going to be better always using DNG even when Zoner handles the raw files my camera produces?

  • Always is too strong a word, and also we’ve found that occasionally people dislike the DNG Converter based output. But on the whole, yes, Zoner’s RAW conversion will give better results when powered on the back end by the DNG Converter than when it’s purely native.

  • TerryB

    Dan’s question and the response from Zoner Support highlight an important thing to remember about RAW files in general. Every camera manufacturer has their own unique RAW file. To get the best out of them requires the software to address each and every one, it is not like dealing with a jpeg. For this reason, differences can be noticed when processing the same RAW image in different software and some software is better suited to a particular camera RAW file than others.

    It is going to be a “suck it and see” as to whether Dan prefers conversion from his original camera RAW or DNG. If Zoner’s RAW engine converter has been fine tuned for DNG files then there is a strong possibility that the converted images could be marginally better than those converted from the camera RAW.

    What I would suggest is try it, there is nothing to lose. But when converting to DNG don’t tick the option to embed the original RAW file. This way the original and the DNG files can be viewed side by side in the Zoner browser. To ensure you are happy with the conversion process, try it out first on a test image. Then, once happy, batch convert.

    I’ve converted all my camera RAW files going back to the first ones in 2003, not because I prefer DNG per se, but for the present it does offer a degree of security and is a hedge for future compatibility. It does of course, mean DNG support being adopted by newer software, too.

  • Hello Terry,

    Actually the Converter-powered conversion in Zoner “hides” the DNG from the user, in order to keep things simple on the user side. But yes, if one is directly running the DNG Converter manually to create DNGs, then your recommendations definitely apply!

    On the last point, I think that DNG support in future software is a very safe bet, not only for Adobe but also for third parties like us. Any industry shake-up so powerful that Adobe would stop setting the tune – and thus that DNG would stop being important enough to support – would be so large a shake-up that at that point, there is no point in predicting anything anymore.

    • TerryB

      Hello, Zoner Support.

      Can you expand a little on your first paragraph, please? In the second sentence, you indicate what is, to me, the normal routine: convert the file in DNG for later use in Zoner RAW. Without this first step of the process, what are you indicating in the first sentence?

      • Hello Terry,

        Firstly, apologies for the very slow response this time. I neglected to monitor this thread to see if you had written back.

        For work with Adobe DNG Converter in Zoner Photo Studio, hand-converting the DNG is not the overall normal routine. There’s nothing wrong with it per se, but it’s unnecessary extra work.

        As described in the article that we’re discussing under, the way things work are, in a nutshell:

        – You install ZPS.
        – You install ADC.
        – You go to the ZPS Preferences and confirm for us that you installed ADC in the default place, or tell us what non-default place you used.
        – Then whenever you go to develop a RAW file, we silently use ADC to losslessly convert it to a temp DNG, and then we process, present, and let you develop our interpretation of that DNG. You as a user don’t actively see the DNG, you just see the ability to process RAWs that aren’t natively supported, or get better RAW interpretation than from our native support in other cases.

        Does that clear things up? If not, then I have failed for the moment, but surely not forever. :-) Just let me know and I will try to state it more clearly!

        Regards,

        Erik Piper
        Zoner Support

        • TerryB

          Hello, Erik.

          Thanks for getting back to me, and you will no doubt be pleased to learn that you haven’t failed. However, now that I know fully what is happening during the RAW processing stage, it begs a few more questions. Sorry.

          1) I assume that once ADC is selected in preferences, Zoner will now automatically base its RAW conversions on the temporary DNG file it creates, irrespective of the native camera RAW file. So the process will effectively override my original RAW images from, say, Canon, Panasonic or Sony. Or will it only “kick in” if a particular camera RAW format isn’t presently supported by Zoner?

          2) If it automatically overrides(ignores) a camera’s native RAW file for processing, then it will simply be a matter of unchecking the link in Preferences.

          3) This isn’t exactly a question, but is related to the ADC download and I wonder if this means Zoner can’t work in the background with temporary DNG files in my particular case.

          For some reason, and this isn’t limited to my experience as I have discovered on the internet, when I attempt to download the DNG converter (of whatever version) I do not get the convert option radio button at the bottom using my main laptop running W7 64 bit and 16 gb RAM, but the program downloads properly on my lesser spec Vista 32 bit laptop with just 4 gb RAM.

          Now this may be an issue peculiar to my setup and, if so, it is clear that you won’t be able to comment, but do I assume correctly, that if the ADC program download doesn’t give me the option to manually convert to DNG, that neither will Zoner be able to create a temporary DNG to work with, but will simply work on the original camera RAW file as its default position, even thought ADC is still set in Preferences? But how will I actually know?

          Best wishes,
          Terry.

          • Hello Terry,

            Regarding 1): Since the temp DNG is an interpretation of the RAW, and a good-quality one as well (if I might praise Adobe here), and our native support is also an interpretation of the RAW, it’s hard to call using one interpretation instead of another an overriding of the RAW. But to answer your question: when ADC-based support is turned on, it’s used for everything that ADC supports (in practice – for everything period) until you turn it off, even if our native support could cover it.

            2) That’s not a question. :-)

            3) Unfortunately I’m not an expert in using ADC directly, i.e. through ADC’s graphical interface – its GUI – like this. I’ve used it a couple of times out of curiosity and to get a basic idea of the GUI, tool since I expect that some customers will try it out too. But this question goes beyond the tiny knowledge of the ADC GUI I’ve acquired.

            Just a wild guess though – perhaps a window that’s too tall for the screen getting cut off at the bottom?

            To answer the question at the end, however: ZPS manipulates ADC via the command line rather than via ADC’s GUI, and so any trouble with the GUI should have no impact on using ADC-powered RAW conversion in ZPS.

            Since ADC-powered conversion in ZPS is simply either on or off, and you can see at a glance in the Zoner preferences if you currently have it turned on, verifying if it powered the conversion of a picture is easy if you just made the conversion. It’s not possible if you made it a long while back, however.

            As a side note, Adobe, as the 800-pound-gorilla of the industry, has the most resources to throw at RAW development, so their default interpretation will on the whole (though not always) beat out ours. We’re proud of our work here, but we’re not vain or deluded. So taking the few minutes to hook your already-installed ADC into ZPS is definitely a smart route.

          • TerryB

            ZS, Thanks for taking the time to reply to me.

            I believe you do yourselves an injustice. We have a saying in the UK that “Small is beautiful” and this is certainly what I feel about Zoner PS. It does what I want it to do without being a bloated piece of software.

            I’m reminded that when I first got into digital photography I used a piece of software whose sole purpose was to edit and convert RAW files. This was from a small Danish enterprise and it worked better than the version from the gorilla. It was so good, in fact, that the gorilla bought the company out. I was somewhat peeved at this as it was paid for software and I was concerned that I’d get no new updates. However, the gorilla subsequently gave me a copy of Lightroom. I stayed with this until I came across Zoner 14, and I’ve been with you ever since.

  • To go back to point 1 since it seems to be key:

    I’ll use a allegory here, which I hopefully will not mess up.

    Say you have an analog film negative that you want to have reproduced in a book that you’re having published. We’re book publishers.

    That film negative itself can’t be used for the book print – an interpretation of it has to be used as an interim step. (If I recall correctly!)

    We’re a company that knows all how to get that interpretation into your book, and we know a lot, but not as much as company B, about how to prepare that interpretation out of your negative.

    We’ve learned all the general-case stuff about preparing that interpretation, and even some of the special cases, and it takes some extra work from our customers for them to involve company B in the process, so generally we just arrange with my customers for them to let us handle the whole process.

    But there is that option of involving company B. They will produce an interpretation as good as or better than mine (and sometimes even interpret negatives that we can’t handle), and we use that in turn to get the photo into your book.

    Naturally your negative is still around in the process.

    film negative = the RAW file
    We = ZPS
    Company B = Adobe and their ADC
    Company B’s interpretation = the temp DNG
    Our interpretation = the interpretation we create and load into RAM (with the slight complication that if we have the temp DNG, we create this out of the DNG – but no visual changes happen during this step)
    Our customers = ZPS’s users
    The print in the book = the RAW development process’s JPEG or TIFF output, usable by normal applications (unlike RAW files).