Adobe has announced ambitious plans to unify the digital camera market by creating a single file format that all digital cameras can record in.

Called the Digital Negative Specification, Adobe hopes that the new format will solve the problem of multiple formats and multiple software packages by introducing a single format that can store information from a diverse range of cameras.

Adobe, who will be offering The Digital Negative Specification free of any legal restrictions or royalties, hopes that in doing so integration of the .DNG file format into digital cameras, printers, and software products will become widespread.

Where it sees the strength of the new file format is in a set of metadata that must be included in the file to describe key details about the camera and settings.

Of course the .DNG format is immediately supported in Adobe Photoshop CS as part of an updated Camera Raw Plug-in, as well as Adobe Photoshop Elements 3.0

Those not using Adobe products can still use the format by downloading a DNG converter free at:

The application will translate raw formats from more than 65 cameras, including recent models such as Canon PowerShot S60, Epson RD-1, Fujifilm FinePix S20 Pro, and Nikon Coolpix 5400, into the new .DNG file format.

Adobe has already got some big names behind the standard including HP, Microsoft, Corbis and Paul Getty images.