Keep the RAW if you edit in DNG?

For awhile now I’ve been shooting RAW images on my camera, and converting to Adobe’s DNG files.  DNG has offered the ability to edit my photos better, a well understood reason, but also to keep metadata, like tags, and gps information, stored in the file.  Features that are not normally associated with vendor RAW files.  This allows me to keep everything in one place for a picture, rather than having multiple files (raw + xmp being the adobe convention).

As I create the DNG files, I also archived the original RAW photos in case something is wrong with the DNG, or I need the original file.

In the years that I’ve been editing the DNG format, I have not once needed to go back to the RAW file for anything.  With that knowledge in hand, I’ve declared that 2015 is the year I abandon keeping the original RAW files around after I create DNG versions.

This idea came up based on my output from a recent photo workshop.  When Neeley and I shot pictures during our London/Paris workshop, we ended up with 120gigs of raw image files (+120 gigs of DNG files), from 3 weeks of shooting. Giving us a total usage of 250gigs of data a month if we were to travel and shoot continuously. Or about a TB of data every 3 months.  I also started shooting video recently, and that eats up even more storage.

Chopping out the original raw files in this equation results in a storage, and organization savings, and a time savings from any backups we decide to do.  The time it takes to back up 120gigs of photos “to the cloud” while travelling is an entertain exercise left to the reader.

So, 2015, the year I abandoned keeping the RAW, and just use DNG files.  This will also be the year I determine if that was a smart decisions.

What do you do?

-Matt

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