What is the difference between JPEG and DNG?

What is the difference between JPEG and DNG?
  • Frida Bosma
Frida Bosma
September 19, 2019

After capturing beautiful images or photos you are most likely to save them for upload or printing purposes. So what is the best file format to save them as - JPEG, DNG, or another available file format?

Lossy and lossless file compression concepts have to be understood before making a decision on what file type to use. Lossy compressions have reduced file sizes as some information is removed from the original file. As a result, the overall image quality is lower. Lossy files can be saved at different quality levels in your device.

Lossless file compression retains all the image information so the image is very equivalent to its RAW format. However, the file size remains big taking up a lot of storage space.

Two common and good options for photo image file format are JPEG and DNG. Let’s dive into the difference so you know which one to choose, depending on what you need.


Joint Photographic Experts Group (JPEG) is the most popular image file format by digital cameras. Lossy compression is used to remove minute details from your image and one can choose the compression ratio depending on the quality level you desire. Generally, you can have a reasonably high-quality image occupying less storage space.

However, JPEG layers are flattened making it almost impossible to tweak previous edits. Image degradation is a real issue if you keep on editing and saving JPEG files repeatedly.
To counter this, it’s advisable to keep the original image version so as to revert to it if anything goes wrong with the edits.

Mostly used for web image transmissions.

DNG (Digital Negative)

This format is almost the same as the RAW format but it is 15-20% smaller in size in comparison. DNG file format uses lossless compression and images are stored in generic, compatible formats regardless of the camera manufacturer. Therefore, even though it’s developed by Adobe, any DNG file converter can be used to read it.

Most RAW files can be converted into DNG if you want to retain the original image information with reduced file size. The reduced file size makes it possible to upload, download, or transmit them online. RAW to DNG file conversion takes a long time and the process can remove unrecognized metadata from the file. For every time you make an edit, you should back up the image as alteration is made on the .dng file.

Adobe ensures that new features, improvements, and extra functionalities are continuously added on DNG formats.

Changing between various photo file format

Using FileStar, you can easily shift one or a bulk of photos between DNG och JPEG, back and forth. This video shows how to save DNG as JPEG. But you can of course easily do the other way around. Or choose other photo image formats as well.

Check out our skills for DNG and JPEG to view hundreds of file conversion options for photos.

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