Michael Hendrickson , Aug 30, 2009; 05:30 a.m.
I tried to grapple with this when I first got my LS4000. I quickly decided that I should just save my scans as TIFFs.
My impression, from what I read in the manual at that time, was that the scanning program's NEF format was unique to the scanner and not the same as the NEF that you get from Nikon's cameras, so I'm now surprised that you can convert them to DNG using the converter! So I guess I'll have to go back and re-study this situation.
In any event, that earlier reading indicated (to me, I may be wrong) that you can process NEFs from your scans in NikonScan, then save the images as TIFFs. This may have some workability, but I decided early on to just save my scans as TIFFs with as many bits as possible, in the widest gamut I can, and then work them in Photoshop and save as PSDs, so as to preserve the original TIFFs from the scans.
My understanding (also limited, from previous reading) of the DNG format is simply that it's a sort of universal RAW TIFF file anyway that can be opened using any software that will handle the DNG format. I like the idea of its universality but wonder how it will endure in the long run. But the point is that I believe that getting a good, full scan saved in high-bit TIFF will get you there just as well as converting to DNG will, although in doing so you lose the capability of processing the image in Camera Raw (at least in CS2 that's the case; I think in later versions you can open TIFFs in Camera Raw -- somebody else will have to verify this).
Anyway, storage is fairly cheap, so for right now until you've got a better handle on things, it's probably a good strategy to continue as you're doing. Better safe than sorry -- saves you having to re-scan anything later.
Hope this helps. I'll certainly be returning to this thread to see what others have to say, and hopefully learn something too.