What is DPX File Format

DPX stands for Digital Pictures Exchange, and it is a file format defined in the ANSI/SMPTE standard 268M-1994. The latest version is from 2003. The Cineon image file format is similar to this file standard, but differs in the header’s format.

recover deleted dpx

The DPX file format derives from the Kodak Cineon open file format, which was originally used to transfer films into digital versions, without loss of quality. It was later enhanced by the SMPTE and designed to contain some specific data, and to be a very flexible format capable of adapting to the needs of different industries.

A DPX file has four parts: a generic file information header, a motion picture / television industry header, user defined information, and image data.

The generic file information header has several sections: generic, image, data format and image orientation. The generic section contains information about the image that is common to all image manipulation programs, including file name, size, creation date, creator’s name, project name and encryption data. The image section contains information about the image, such as resolution, number of channels. The image orientation section has coordinates data and more.

The motion picture header has information about the film manufacturer and some specific details such as frame rate, sequence frequency, shutter angle, frame identification, etc. The television industry header has particular details about video signal, gamma value, black level code value, black gain, breakpoint, and more.

The user defined information part structure is defined by the user. Third party applications use this area to store some necessary technical information, particularly when deviating from the DPX official format.

And finally, the image data part contains the proper image in pixel data. The color values for each pixel are often stored logarithmically. In this case, the file must contain a table to transform the logarithmic values into their real counterparts. DPX images usually come as 10bit Logarithmic RGB image sequences from a film scanner.

How to Open DPX Files

Some of the more common tools available to handle DPX files are:


  • Adobe Photoshop CC 2017
  • Adobe SpeedGrade CC 2017
  • XnViewMP


  • Adobe Photoshop CC 2017
  • Adobe SpeedGrade CC 2017
  • XnViewMP
  • Apple Final Cut Pro X
  • Autodesk Smoke 2017
  • Lemkesoft GraphicConverter


  • XnViewMP

How to Recover Deleted DPX Files

It is important to know a deleted file is not always a lost file. This is true, because when you delete a file, you actually only erase a reference to the content, while the data remains intact until overwritten by a new file.

This is the principle behind Disk Drill, a data recovery application developed by Cleverfiles. This app works on a wide variety of digital devices, such as internal and external hard drives, USB based drives, memory cards, and more. In addition, you can also attach image files and recover DPX files from them.

This last option is particularly important for Digital Forensics professionals, as an image copy is a bit-by-bit copy of an original device. As such, they also contain deletions, and can be used to recover DPX files without fear of destroying a legal proof.

Disk Drill is available for free for Windows and Macs!

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Steps for Recovering DPX Files Successfully

Once the installer has been downloaded, you can do your DPX file recovery by following these few easy steps:

  1. Install Disk Drill by clicking on the installer’s icon. Then, follow the given steps. Disk Drill will do the hard part of the job for you.
  2. Open Disk Drill by clicking on the app’s icon. The application will automatically detect all connected digital devices. You can also attach image files. Select the one that contains your .DPX files.
  3. Narrow your search by selecting .DPX file extension from the “Preferences” menu. In this manner, your scan will be faster and more efficient, as it concentrates on DPX recovery.
  4. Start the scan. You can later cancel or pause the process. You can also save the session and continue at a later stage, without losing any of the work already done. This feature is particularly useful when working with files of large sizes, as in these cases, the scan may take long hours.
  5. Once the scan is done, Disk Drill presents the data in the manner of a list. You can narrow this list down by using the available filters by size or date. If Disk Drill couldn’t recover the filename, but only the content, it will assign a generic name to the file, such as file001.dpx.
  6. Select the .DPX file(s) that you need, and retrieve it (them) to a folder of your choice.

Congratulations, your DPX recovery is done!

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Arthur Cole

Arthur Cole is a freelance content creator. He also has a more than 10-year experience in program development for macOS, Windows, iOS, Android.Arthur Cole is a writer with deep expertise in programming, who can easily...

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Approved by
Brett Johnson

This article has been approved by Brett Johnson, Data Recovery Engineer at ACE Data Recovery. Brett has a Bachelor's Degree in Computer Systems and Network, 12 years of experience.