This page is intended to be useful to those who want to get the most of their Minolta DiMAGE Z2.

If you got here you probably already know what raw files are, and that your Z2 is capable of shooting raw through the russian hacked firmware.

Here is my contribution: a tiny app that converts the raw files taken with your Z2 to DNG, a file format that Adobe is promoting.

Usage:

  • Since verson 0.13 there's a graphical interface that lets the user drag and drop files from a file manager or select them with a dialog window.
  • The last version needs a .NET runtime to run. The Links section lists two of the available distributions.
  • If you want the resulting files to be smaller you can use Adobe DNG Converter to reprocess them, selecting 'Compressed' in 'Preferences'.

Links:

  • z2dng: my program, converts Z2' raws to DNG. The archive includes sources and .NET binaries.
  • Mono Project or Microsoft .NET: needed to run this application.
  • The russian hacked firmware that enables raw shooting for DiMAGE Z2.
  • raw2nef, the utility that converts several camera's raw files to Nikon NEF format.
  • raw2dng, a program that converts several camera's raw files (including those of the Z2) to DNG format. It features lossless compression, something missing in z2dng.
  • Dave Coffin's dcraw, a program that can decode Z2's raws as they come from the sd card, and also can deal with NEFs and DNGs; in fact, its aim is to decode every raw file format out there. Parts of my code are taken from his work.
  • UFRaw; using it, you can import every raw file in the GIMP, but it is a lot more than an importing filter.
  • Adobe DNG Converter. If your favorite raw viewer or converter can't load your Z2' dngs try 'reconverting' them with this utility, which also features lossless compression of your pictures.
  • IrfanView, an image viewer for windows; as many other software it uses dcraw to render raw files; the only drawback is that it's not updated very often, and sometimes it will not load properly your pictures.
  • FastStone image viewer, another image viewer, also based on dcraw. Small and lots of features.

ToDo list:

  • Implement a real TIFF parser, because at this moment the app can only deal with the EXIF files as they come from the camera; if the jpegs are modified, the 'imported' EXIF data will be wrong.
  • Compress the raw data using lossless jpeg, to save around 25% size.
  • Other things I'm surely still not aware of...

History:

20070410. Version 0.19:

  • Added button to choose and convert a directory.
  • Whole directories can be dragged and dropped. Recursive scanning of subdirectories is done.
  • GTK and Windows Forms binaries are included in the same package.

20070404. Version 0.18:

  • Added option to change picture white balance preset.
  • Added hour when using timestamp to make filename.

20070327. Version 0.17:

  • Added option to rename the output file according to EXIF file date or file creation date.
  • New color matrix (makes very little visual difference).

20070325. Version 0.15:

  • The full Minolta MakerNote is stored inside the DNG file.
  • The converted file features new (and very interesting) white balance information found into the MakerNote.
  • New Gtk# based version for those who know what Gtk is.

20070215. Version 0.13:

  • New graphical interface based on .NET.

20051214. Version 0.10:

  • The usage has changed. It doesn't need command line arguments, jus run it and it will look for suitable files to process only in the current directory.
  • Now the dng features an uncompressed thumbnail as the specification demands. This thumb needs to get better, but at least is enough to get an idea of the picture it represents.
  • Updated the color matrix with the latest dcraw version; now the colors are more accurately rendered.

20050526. Version 0.05:

  • Added: the EXIF file size is checked before trying to 'import' it. Now it's more likely that the application will load the right information only. With this version I drag over the executable a group of selected files, regardless if they are raws or jpegs, and no matter if they have an associated EXIF file or not. In my tests it always picks the right files. I still recommend to convert the files as they come from the memory card.

20050521. Version 0.04:

  • Now the input file size is checked before trying to convert it.
  • White Balance information is back, now I think the values are right. This is how it works:
    • If the camera wb is set to 'Auto', the resulting DNG file will have the AsShotNeutral field disabled, forcing the raw converter to apply it's own auto white balance algorithms.
    • If the setting is 'Daylight', 'Cloudy', 'Tungsten', 'Fluorescent' or 'Flash', standard values for these light sources are stored in the output file.
    • When you set your wb to 'Custom', then an standard value for 'Shade' light conditions is stored. The Z2 has not a shade wb option; I replaced 'Custom' for 'Shade' so I can get this extra option.

20050516. Version 0.03, essentially a bugfix version:

  • Fixed the bad header issue when no EXIF file available.
  • Removed the white balance information until the right values are found.
  • Started numbering the versions.
  • Now the sources and win32 binaries are in a single zip file.

Version 0.02. This had some bugs:

  • Removed the small thumbnail.
  • Raw data packed in 16 bits per pixel, which results in bigger file sizes and longer processing time. This, however has the advantage of making the files compatible with software that relies on dcraw to load the raw data.
  • ColorMatrix field has now the right values for the Z2, thanks to Dave J. Coffin.
  • Added white balance information, the AsShotNeutral field. According to the LightSource EXIF field, the program changes the values, with a default of 'Daylight'. Unfortunately the values (taken from an EOS300D) are far from being accurate.
  • Another bug: if the EXIF file was not present, the resulting DNG file had a bad header an thence was unreadable.

Version 0.01:

  • Two compressed thumbnails stored with the raw data.
  • EXIF information is imported from the little jpg file, if found.
  • Beware!: if destination file already exists it's overwritten without prompting.
  • Only one file processed at a time.
  • The MakerNote information is lost in the conversion; it's not a big problem since most of the fields are meaningless without the proper documentation, and that documentation doesn't exist for this camera model as far as I know.
  • Raw data packed in 12 bits per pixel. This caused incompatibility with dcraw based software, since dcraw assumes that DNG files are 16bpp.
  • ColorMatrix is taken from a Nikon E8700, have to include a custom one.