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Author Topic: Lightroom is a surrender  (Read 10404 times)
eronald
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« on: February 23, 2007, 12:14:53 PM »
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My article "Adobe Lightroom, a lucrative surrender" is up on my blog.

http://monitor-calibration.net

Enjoy.


Edmund
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Edmund Ronald, Ph.D. 
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« Reply #1 on: February 23, 2007, 12:26:07 PM »
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I'd say more of a tactical retreat than surrender.  I think DNG still has some legs.
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eronald
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« Reply #2 on: February 23, 2007, 12:31:17 PM »
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I'd say more of a tactical retreat than surrender.  I think DNG still has some legs.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=102639\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

A few legs - others like Hasselblad have been amputated.

At the rate digital SLRs are multiplying DNG should be a centipede by now

Edmund
« Last Edit: February 23, 2007, 02:40:56 PM by eronald » Logged

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« Reply #3 on: February 23, 2007, 04:42:10 PM »
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I think wide use of DNG or some version of a standard RAW file structure is inevitable. But not tomorrow.

I don’t know enough about RAW file structure to know if there’s a real performance advantage (smaller file, bit depth.. ?) to keep RAW file format proprietary. But I think sooner or later whatever advantage there is will be lost in the noise. Literally.
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eronald
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« Reply #4 on: February 23, 2007, 06:36:42 PM »
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At the moment the camera manufacturers have a lot of freedom to innovate, and improve imagery inside their own proprietary Raw processing programs. When a single processing method becomes standard they will lose this freedom, which they see as a competitive advantage. A unique format is inevitable as you say, but only when the industry matures.

DNG was an attempt to take over the world by creating the new JPEG. I guess Adobe owed it to their shareholders to try, but they failed.

Lightroom is a very nice program and users will ove it, but its nicest feature is precisely the fact that it works with zillions of different camera manufacturers' files.

Edmund

Quote
I think wide use of DNG or some version of a standard RAW file structure is inevitable. But not tomorrow.

I don’t know enough about RAW file structure to know if there’s a real performance advantage (smaller file, bit depth.. ?) to keep RAW file format proprietary. But I think sooner or later whatever advantage there is will be lost in the noise. Literally.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=102688\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
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Edmund Ronald, Ph.D. 
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« Reply #5 on: February 23, 2007, 07:00:45 PM »
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A new Jpeg? That comparison really isn't valid on any level. They are two incredibly different formats and both are very different from a licensing standpoint.

That aside, you say DNG is a failure in your blog but you fail to qualify that statement in any way. The statement is made in the first couple paragraphs but you don't support the argument further. How is DNG a failure specifically? If anything fact shows the opposite is true as cameras from smaller companies (other than Canon/Nikon) are slowly starting to support it as does all 3rd-party raw developing programs available (including lightroom).

Can you qualify your argument in any way or is this simply a move to bring some more traffic to your blog?

[span style=\'font-size:8pt;line-height:100%\']*Edited: re-worded slightly for less-cafinated clarity :) *[/span]
« Last Edit: February 24, 2007, 12:43:29 AM by 61Dynamic » Logged
orangekay
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« Reply #6 on: February 25, 2007, 05:07:17 AM »
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I like the way you complain about Adobe PR's unwillingness to supply some random blogger who gets absolutely no traffic and cannot even figure out how to configure his site template correctly with free copies of their software when a 30-day trial version is freely downloadable. You're really stickin' it to the man every time you spam links to your informationless non-site on every forum and mailing list you can find there, champ.
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michael
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« Reply #7 on: February 25, 2007, 06:53:56 AM »
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Edmund,

With all due respect, your blog piece about Lightroom and DNG is unsubstantiated nonsense, and does you no justice.

If you have any familiarity with the program at all you would note that DNG is the lingua franca of Lightroom. Want to edit a file and transfer it to another editing program as a raw, but retaining all metadata edits? Just export it from Lightroom as a DNG.

Yes you can also do this using proprietary raw formats and XMP sidecars, but the ability of DNG to retain both the complete raw data as well as editing metatdata betweern applications is unique.

Michael
« Last Edit: February 25, 2007, 06:54:50 AM by michael » Logged
eronald
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« Reply #8 on: February 25, 2007, 11:31:32 AM »
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Edmund,

With all due respect, your blog piece about Lightroom and DNG is unsubstantiated nonsense, and does you no justice.

If you have any familiarity with the program at all you would note that DNG is the lingua franca of Lightroom. Want to edit a file and transfer it to another editing program as a raw, but retaining all metadata edits? Just export it from Lightroom as a DNG.

Yes you can also do this using proprietary raw formats and XMP sidecars, but the ability of DNG to retain both the complete raw data as well as editing metatdata betweern applications is unique.

Michael
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=102945\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Michael,
 
 Let me thank you again for hosting this incredible forum where people bring differing opinions, but debate with astonishing courtesy and a total lack of personal attacks.

 In the past, I have received some very angry hate mail about my position concerning DNG, and I am thankful to see someone disagreeing with me so politely.

 As you are aware, my opinions are the result of a certain maturing. Before writing my pieces, I did some technical research, and took the pulse of the industry:

 I have looked through the DNG specs when they were published,  and I have played with dcraw, which is source code incorporated in many programs that input Raw files.

 I then briefly discussed some of the technical issues involved in the Adobe Raw conversion model with Thomas Knoll,  of Photoshop, and also talked at considerable length about some technical stuff with Christian Poulsen, the hands-on CEO of Hassleblad, who opted out of DNG.  

 Thank you for letting me take what you say under careful consideration, and think about it before I publish my forthcoming analytical piece about Lightroom. As you know I like to market my writing as that of a controversialist, and like to defend positions which appear at first glance quite absurd.
 
 Today's image (Lion's Mane Medusa) is remarkable and certainly does you credit as a photographer. Unfortunately I do not have your skills with a camera.

Edmund

PS. At no point do I say that DNG is bad. I'm just saying that when it came out it was presented to the public, by Adobe, as a "universal" Raw format, but it hasn't caught on with the camera makers. I'm sure it does meet Adobe's own needs for Lightroom perfectly, as if it had been designed for them   And I do say that Adobe has listened to its customers  when building Lightroom, and that I believe it will be a bestseller !
« Last Edit: February 25, 2007, 11:45:05 AM by eronald » Logged

Edmund Ronald, Ph.D. 
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« Reply #9 on: February 25, 2007, 11:44:56 AM »
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Edmond,

Wow, that sounds impressive. However you still don't substantiate your argument nor do you provide any actual information.

My advice to you would be to correct your article and provide something that reflects the research and thought you claim to have put into this. And do it quick. Otherwise you'll soon be brushed off as a sensationalist simply looking to stir up the pot for the sake of gaining traffic to your blog and no one will take you seriously.
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eronald
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« Reply #10 on: February 25, 2007, 11:54:02 AM »
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Edmond,

Wow, that sounds impressive. However you still don't substantiate your argument nor do you provide any actual information.
[{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Let me be clearer: Adobe launched DNG several years ago as a universal camera format, shortly after Thomas Knoll wrote the original ACR, and they were feeling the pain of supporting a new Raw format every time a new camera came out.

In fact Adobe was not even certain that they had a legal right to read all Raw files. There was a big controversy because Nikon would not play ball and encrypted their white balance data so ACR could not employ it legally without violating the DMCA.

[a href=\"http://news.com.com/Nikons+photo+encryption+reported+broken/2100-1030_3-5679848.html]http://news.com.com/Nikons+photo+encryptio..._3-5679848.html[/url]

This was amicably settled. To date, more than half the cameras on the market that write Raw files are made by Canon and Nikon together -care to dispute that ?-  and do not use DNG as a native format. Thus DNG has failed to become a success as a camera format.

Adobe now markets an excellent piece of software, Lightroom,  that needs to read about 130 formats rather than just one. They will make good money on that but their attempt at unification of the Raw format has failed decisively and they will have to spend engineering hours on supporting every new camera as it comes out. And they remain hostage to a future Raw file encryption by some manufacturer.

Edmund

PS. I'm not against an open file format, in fact I'm desperately for it. But I don't think that DNG is what the camera world needs, and I think that's the real reason they didn't adopt it. If it had genuine technical advantages beyond what people are already doing,  it would have made more headway.
« Last Edit: February 25, 2007, 12:06:09 PM by eronald » Logged

Edmund Ronald, Ph.D. 
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« Reply #11 on: February 25, 2007, 12:00:01 PM »
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Edmund,

How about putting some of that research into the article? As it stands, it really is an assertion rather than anything more weighty. You don't even mention evidence that might be in favour of this assertion, such as LR being unable to make full size preview DNGs or update previews.

LR signals nothing like what you pretend - its handling of multiple raw file formats merely acknowledges dangerous competition in that market space and has nothing to do with DNG.

John
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« Reply #12 on: February 25, 2007, 12:19:21 PM »
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Edmund,

How about putting some of that research into the article? As it stands, it really is an assertion rather than anything more weighty. You don't even mention evidence that might be in favour of this assertion, such as LR being unable to make full size preview DNGs or update previews.

LR signals nothing like what you pretend - its handling of multiple raw file formats merely acknowledges dangerous competition in that market space and has nothing to do with DNG.

John
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=103022\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

John,

 Industry insiders will have got the point now: Format wars happens because the winner gets a lion's share of the loot. Sony made a lot of money selling VCRs but they would have made much more if their own design, Betamax, had won. They still weep over that loss.
 
 In the same way, Adobe will be very succesful with Lightroom and its successors, but they would have owned the consumer Raw market if DNG had been adopted by the major players in the SLR market .

Although the DNG format itself is open, it's not obvious to all how to write a Raw decoder for all the variants. As the originator  and keeper of the DNG  format, Adobe could have licensed its own and very good DNG conversion technology everywhere Jpeg is now found -  high-street minilabs, DVD recorders , web browsers, portable phones , even iPods. And maybe in the end even cameras.

 Adobe failed. The major SLR vendors refused any form of standardisation. Microsoft may in the future be in the position to enforce a common format, but then it will be Microsoft's format and not Adobe's format.

Edmund
« Last Edit: February 25, 2007, 12:27:20 PM by eronald » Logged

Edmund Ronald, Ph.D. 
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« Reply #13 on: February 25, 2007, 12:40:28 PM »
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John,

 Industry insiders will have got the point now: Format wars happens because the winner gets a lion's share of the loot. Sony made a lot of money selling VCRs but they would have made much more if their own design, Betamax, had won. They still weep over that loss.
 
 In the same way, Adobe will be very succesful with Lightroom and its successors, but they would have owned the consumer Raw market if DNG had been adopted by the major players in the SLR market -  Adobe could have licensed DNG conversion technology everywhere Jpeg is now found -  high-street minilabs, DVD recorders , web browsers, and maybe even iPods.

[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=103030\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
[span style=\'font-size:8pt;line-height:100%\']emphasis added[/span]

What?? DNG in web browsers and DVD recorders? iPods? (yes, because a linear raw format would be so beneficial for my AC/DC album art. Ha, ha!) Do you even know what a DNG is?

Implying DNG could be licenced as a replacement for Jpeg shows how absurd and ill-informed your stance is. DNG is a open raw format and does not require licensing.
« Last Edit: February 25, 2007, 12:41:13 PM by 61Dynamic » Logged
eronald
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« Reply #14 on: February 25, 2007, 12:58:52 PM »
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[span style=\'font-size:8pt;line-height:100%\']emphasis added[/span]

What?? DNG in web browsers and DVD recorders? iPods? (yes, because a linear raw format would be so beneficial for my AC/DC album art. Ha, ha!) Do you even know what a DNG is?

Implying DNG could be licenced as a replacement for Jpeg shows how absurd and ill-informed your stance is. DNG is a open raw format and does not require licensing.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=103038\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Daniel -

 I can understand you disagree with me, but at least quote me exactly. I said that Adobe could have licensed not the DNG format, but *DNG conversion technology*. They have invented DNG, they have beautiful converters that allow viewing of many variants of DNG files, which many of the best engineers in the industry spent years in writing. This is very valuable intellectual property, even if the format itself is open.

 If i may be allowed an analogy, as you are obviously a technical person, the  C++ language is standardised, and anybody can write a compiler. However a good optimising C++ compiler is still a valuable piece of intellectual property, even though totally open and free C compilers do exist - like gcc.

Edmund
« Last Edit: February 25, 2007, 01:06:33 PM by eronald » Logged

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« Reply #15 on: February 25, 2007, 03:29:36 PM »
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For those requesting research to back up his claims, the following highly scientific process can be seen at work behind every Edmund Ronald blog posting:

Step 1. Read a discussion or public press release from a large corporation posted to the Apple ColorSync mailing list.

Step 2. Summarize the handful of points you vaguely understood in three sentences or less with plenty of name-dropping in order to make yourself sound authoritative by association.

Step 3. Post a message to the Apple ColorSync mailing list in order to inform everyone there that you've just regurgitated all of the information that had been posted previously on a website with your name on it.

Step 4. Hold your breath and wait for attention.

Step 5. This is a paragraph of text that could go in the sidecar.

Step 6. This is a paragraph of text that could go in the sidecar.

Step 7. This is a paragraph of text that could go in the sidecar.

Step 8. This is a paragraph of text that could go in the sidecar.


Comparing the storage of bitmaps with some metadata attached to the compilation of object code is just plain ridiculous. You have the sensor data and you write it out. If there were any optimization beyond lossless compression taking place in the pipeline then it wouldn't be raw sensor data anymore. At what point in the interpretation of image data is there even any opportunity to do things like loop unrolling or register coloring that might possibly make this a valid analogy? The CMM is the only thing I can think of, and again, that is not an issue at the point of file creation.
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eronald
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« Reply #16 on: February 25, 2007, 05:43:02 PM »
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Comparing the storage of bitmaps with some metadata attached to the compilation of object code is just plain ridiculous. You have the sensor data and you write it out. If there were any optimization beyond lossless compression taking place in the pipeline then it wouldn't be raw sensor data anymore. At what point in the interpretation of image data is there even any opportunity to do things like loop unrolling or register coloring that might possibly make this a valid analogy? The CMM is the only thing I can think of, and again, that is not an issue at the point of file creation.
[{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]


As people are asking me for links to information I used in researching my little piece of total  nonsense,  here is one to Dave Coffin's dcraw source code (text). This is a very nice free (GPL) converter which does *very well indeed* on Raws if you can feed it a profile for the camera. The highlight recovery feature is extraordinary and well worth having in your toolkit.

Dcraw builds on considerable published work. The comments in the code allow one to see what problems are addressed in a Raw converter, thereby satisfying this poster's curiosity on the degree of difficulty involved.

[a href=\"http://cybercom.net/~dcoffin/dcraw/dcraw.c]http://cybercom.net/~dcoffin/dcraw/dcraw.c[/url]

And of course here is a link to Dave's main page
http://cybercom.net/~dcoffin/dcraw

Of course, dcraw is also an excellent testbed for testing improvements to Raw processing algorithms as it supplies all the I/O. Readers of this thread may find the "Other Photo Decoders" list instructive.


Edmund
« Last Edit: February 25, 2007, 05:47:11 PM by eronald » Logged

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« Reply #17 on: March 01, 2007, 06:58:22 AM »
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I taken a look at dcraw, and the dng specification. Dcraw apparently can decode raw images in a generic way, but dng has an important advantage: It can describe the original raw data into it's own file format, in a very detailed way, including the sensor response, and all the data needed to decode the image as it's supposed to be seen, now and into the future.
Adobe's approach is the most correct, the raw format must be standarized in order to assure the correct opening of the file, now and forever. In this case, Adobe's experience managing several raw formats from all the different manufacturers has found (in my opinion), the only secure way to assure the future opening of the files. DNG is build on top of the TIFF standard, so the open community can make their own dng converter if they wish.
Doing a comparison between raw and a device driver is incorrect, because nobody cares if a printer can be user in 10 years, but everybody wants to be able to open their pictures forever.
I have seen OpenRaw's page, even filled the survey, but the reality is that i don't see any effort to make their own format. Are they only asking the manufacturers to publish their raw formats?
Manufacturers had always formed consortiums to define standards, i don't know what the camera manufacturers are waiting to do that. The dangerous proliferation of many incompatible raw formats are the manufacturer's responsibility, and they are showing almost unbelievable irresponsibility.


Quote
As people are asking me for links to information I used in researching my little piece of total  nonsense,  here is one to Dave Coffin's dcraw source code (text). This is a very nice free (GPL) converter which does *very well indeed* on Raws if you can feed it a profile for the camera. The highlight recovery feature is extraordinary and well worth having in your toolkit.

Dcraw builds on considerable published work. The comments in the code allow one to see what problems are addressed in a Raw converter, thereby satisfying this poster's curiosity on the degree of difficulty involved.

http://cybercom.net/~dcoffin/dcraw/dcraw.c

And of course here is a link to Dave's main page
http://cybercom.net/~dcoffin/dcraw

Of course, dcraw is also an excellent testbed for testing improvements to Raw processing algorithms as it supplies all the I/O. Readers of this thread may find the "Other Photo Decoders" list instructive.
Edmund
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=103106\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
« Last Edit: March 01, 2007, 06:59:22 AM by norfindel » Logged
eronald
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« Reply #18 on: March 01, 2007, 07:47:29 AM »
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Norfindel,

 Thank you for having looked at the references and participating in this debate in an informed fashion.
 
 Rather than put all my arguments on this site, I have placed them on my blog. I assume you have read my further article entitled "Raw: The Adobe  Way, the Microsoft Way and the Open Way".

 I totally agree with you that DNG is an intereresting proposal  - we desperately need standard formats for Raw, and we need more such proposals for standardization.

 But then you say that because of Adobe's experience DNG is "the only secure way to assure the future opening of the files". Here I must disagree - there are numerous alternative formats possible, and a standardization process involving the camera makers would have much more political chances of success than a proposal that is quite visibly being resisted by them.

 In fact, I very much agree when you say that the camera makers should create a format standardization consortium. In which of course Adobe should participate. A combined "designed by committe" format might be as cumbersome as most products of collective design, but like with XML the ultimate benefits in terms of interoperability might exceed the kludge factor of the format.

 And fully support your statement that " The dangerous proliferation of many incompatible raw formats are the manufacturer's responsibility, and they are showing almost unbelievable irresponsibility." This is very true: They are playing with our images !

 As far as dcraw goes, it is just code rather than a spec. But in the absence of a common spec it is a viable interim solution.  Dcraw is in fact being used by many software writers, commercial and otherwise to solve the Raw Maze problem now. I "prefer" dcraw to DNG because DNG is  just paper,  while dcraw is is actually usable by anyone.

Integrating dcraw in Windows and Photoshop as a plugin to each would however provide a simple way to be sure that there is a "standard" way to decode Raw formats available in the near future (10-15) years, and might also offer a reference implementation for a future draft standard for Raw formats. One of the main weaknesses of DNG is that it does not offer such a publicly available reference implementation.

Edmund

Quote
I taken a look at dcraw, and the dng specification. Dcraw apparently can decode raw images in a generic way, but dng has an important advantage: It can describe the original raw data into it's own file format, in a very detailed way, including the sensor response, and all the data needed to decode the image as it's supposed to be seen, now and into the future.
Adobe's approach is the most correct, the raw format must be standarized in order to assure the correct opening of the file, now and forever. In this case, Adobe's experience managing several raw formats from all the different manufacturers has found (in my opinion), the only secure way to assure the future opening of the files. DNG is build on top of the TIFF standard, so the open community can make their own dng converter if they wish.
Doing a comparison between raw and a device driver is incorrect, because nobody cares if a printer can be user in 10 years, but everybody wants to be able to open their pictures forever.
I have seen OpenRaw's page, even filled the survey, but the reality is that i don't see any effort to make their own format. Are they only asking the manufacturers to publish their raw formats?
Manufacturers had always formed consortiums to define standards, i don't know what the camera manufacturers are waiting to do that. The dangerous proliferation of many incompatible raw formats are the manufacturer's responsibility, and they are showing almost unbelievable irresponsibility.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=103976\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
« Last Edit: March 01, 2007, 07:52:58 AM by eronald » Logged

Edmund Ronald, Ph.D. 
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« Reply #19 on: March 01, 2007, 05:04:15 PM »
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As people are asking me for links to information I used in researching my little piece of total  nonsense,  here is one to Dave Coffin's dcraw source code (text). This is a very nice free (GPL) converter which does *very well indeed* on Raws if you can feed it a profile for the camera. The highlight recovery feature is extraordinary and well worth having in your toolkit.

Dcraw builds on considerable published work. The comments in the code allow one to see what problems are addressed in a Raw converter, thereby satisfying this poster's curiosity on the degree of difficulty involved.

http://cybercom.net/~dcoffin/dcraw/dcraw.c

And of course here is a link to Dave's main page
http://cybercom.net/~dcoffin/dcraw

Of course, dcraw is also an excellent testbed for testing improvements to Raw processing algorithms as it supplies all the I/O. Readers of this thread may find the "Other Photo Decoders" list instructive.
Edmund
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=103106\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

That's great, but once again, has absolutely nothing to do with anything, and I suspect you're simply posting links to C files in the hopes that you will dazzle us with your ability to seem more technically inclined than you actually are. I'm sure this sounds pompous, but I was writing C code to pull data off of camera sensors back in the days when VGA resolution grayscale models were in the tens of thousands of dollars, so I'm afraid you're going to have to do more than paste links to some code you had nothing to do with if you want to impress me with this "research." I can post links to complicated tax laws on the internet all day long, but it wouldn't make me a tax attorney.

The reason why there are so many variables and opportunities for innovation involved in raw file decoding is because there are so many variables in the raw data itself. One company might put one byte here, and another company might put it somewhere else entirely, leaving it up to a skilled engineer to do a lot of guesswork based on careful disassembly--which is what dcraw is: guesswork. Often these guesses end up being quite wrong, and that's when you start seeing problems like the little maze patterns Aperture used to draw in some files.

The entire point of DNG is to establish a common format with zero guesswork. You don't need to write 20 page long switch statements to deal with manufacturer-specific de-mosaicing algorithms or byte-ordering because the file describes its contents and their locations for you. Zero ambiguity means zero opportunity for innovation and zero opportunity for intellectual property suits. Nobody is going to patent a DNG converter because there's nothing for them to patent. Have you actually read the DNG specification? Did you understand anything in it?

Now if you're going to talk about post-processing features of the converter such as highlight recovery, then yes, those are all very nice and fancy and up to each vendor to perfect on their own, but they have absolutely nothing to do with the file format itself. They are creative adjustments applied to the data by the user and the underlying format of that data is essentially irrelevant as far as they're concerned. By the time you get to the point of making visual adjustments you already have a fully decoded bitmap.  

The camera may also massage its own data (noise reduction etc) in firmware prior to writing out the file, but again, that has nothing to do with the file format, and the raw converter has no influence over this process. It must accept whatever the camera spits out as gospel regardless of what may or may not have been done to it before it got there.

A little information has always been a dangerous thing, but thanks to the internet, every sad attention whore with too much time on their hands on the planet can pass themselves off as an expert. The unfortunate side-effect to all of this begging and brown-nosing is that some people might actually see your work and remember what they saw. Having seen both your photos and your writing, I'd probably go back to applied mathematics and give up on this whole internet celebrity dream if I were in your shoes.
« Last Edit: March 01, 2007, 05:06:23 PM by orangekay » Logged
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