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Author Topic: Nikon - Good cameras and lenses, dumb company!  (Read 10855 times)
didger
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« Reply #40 on: April 24, 2005, 08:33:19 PM »
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Here's another rule for the new book:
If you're going to be golden:  Mean it.
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BobMcCarthy
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« Reply #41 on: April 25, 2005, 01:01:22 PM »
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I was out shooting this weekend. Whew this thread has grown in ways I haven't expected.

I understand the difference between a compiler and encription I assure you. I have been the founder and leader of three game companies. Two were sold and one is up and coming. What I was referring to in my statements was the desire not to provide core technique and process for others to learn from. Sure you can uncompile code, but the trouble is likely not worth it without my comments, etc. and it makes it an exercise not worth doing. Especially when dealing with 100,000++ lines of code. When we built Warbirds we owned some patents on the process of massively multiplayer network technology, especially on how we handled "time" that we weren't going to share. The core concept was how we handled packets. People could sniff our packets and eventually figure it out (maybe). We just made it difficult as this was the real  intrinsic value of the enterprise. My whole point was that if I add value to the process, why should I be forced to share it? I like the statement "it's intentionally inaccessible". There are a number of ways to achieve that. All are breakable in time. Some more effective than others.

I don't want to continue this point of the conversation.

The RAW/NEF issue is the place where we have giants colliding. I don't remember when Camera Raw clashed with the camera (Canon, Nikon, et al) raw software. But I concider that point, the pivotal event that put us at this contentious point. Canon would do the same but their software, from my memory of having used it for a short time, was pretty unremarkable.

We own the photograph or image. I totally agree with that. I also recognise that there are no innocent players here. I (we?) seen to trust Adobe easier for some reason. Nikon was topdog way back when, Canon was the underdog. The rolls are reversed today, but the Nikon folks are still concidered arrogant and inconciderate of it's customer. Had Canon been further along with the capability of it's raw conversion software, they could be the bad boy here. I always seem to be on the side of the underdog. I was a Canon user (FT, FTb, F-1, F-1n, etc) for most of my photographic life. Now I'm using Nikon. I find the underdog tries harder. Nikon is not following the game plan here, I guess.

All the above is meaningless drivel when played out against todays backdrop. Nikon should give its Capture away with it's D line and charge a nominal amount for the budget line IMHO. I'd sure like to see their SDK, just what does it provide to the third party developer. If it adds special capability, it has value.

What I really care about is the result, not necessarily the process. This whole issue is not at all about NIKON from my perspective. Their PR firm really screwed the pooch. Should I say their EX PR firm.

We are much closer to the beginning than the end. This battle will play out in many ways we possibly don't see yet. I'm far more concerned about archival issues than anything else. I'm also of the opinion we don't want anyone (Adobe included) solely determining our future. I also see a replay of the way windows explorer killed all the inovative smaller companies in that market without any remorse what-so-ever.

I've been given the opportunity to express my opinions and thats all they are, opinions. Thanks to Michael for the forum to discuss and debate many viewpoints.

Right now I'm interested in evaluating "DigitalPro III Software" that I just downloaded. Looks interesting.
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Gabe
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« Reply #42 on: April 25, 2005, 11:07:38 PM »
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The only thing that Nikon has done is get in the line of fire at the point in time that photographers of any manufacturer have found an opportunity to vent their frustrations about the lack of open standards for the RAW format and the inherent risk this means for loosing images to an unsupported file format.

Before using this as the excuse to switch manufacturers bear in mind that no-one is guilt free when it comes to proprietary formats and hiding information in maker notes. I am not trying to absolve Nikon for their current predicement, but I don't believe that they are any better or worse than anyone else. They still make #### good cameras and long may that continue.
Yeah, I completely agree. I mean, didn't Sony do the same thing with the F828? Did they eventually relent and open their RAW files up? I don't really remember the outcome of that, but there certainly wasn't the same kind of commotion (and as far as I do remember, the entire file was encrypted, not just the bit that allows the convenience of working with the 'as shot' WB values).

I'd wager the big difference here is that virtually everyone who wanders out to buy a D2X is going to want to shoot RAW, whereas there are probably a considerable number of happy 828 owners out there who would never consider not simply installing Sony's software and using it for all their edits, let alone care about the relative merits of shooting in RAW mode vs. JPEG.

I still don't get how Nikon didn't see the ####storm coming from a mile off though..
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BobMcCarthy
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« Reply #43 on: April 26, 2005, 05:05:58 PM »
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Quote from: 61Dynamic,April 25 2005,23:12
Quote from: BobMcCarthy,April 25 2005,11:01
We are much closer to the beginning than the end. This battle will play out in many ways we possibly don't see yet. I'm far more concerned about archival issues than anything else. I'm also of the opinion we don't want anyone (Adobe included) solely determining our future. I also see a replay of the way windows explorer killed all the inovative smaller companies in that market without any remorse what-so-ever,

The problem with that example is that internet explorer (IE) is a proprietary software aplication (and it was the inovative one at the time but came to a hault in '01). Adobe DNG is an open file format. As a programer you should know (as I'm sure you do) that those are two very different things.


I was thinking along the timeframe of the early/mid-ninetys. I was at the beginning with galactacom, mosaic, etc. Think of the innovative companies that no longer exist.

Pooff -  Newsreaders-GONE, mail-GONE, multimedia-nearly GONE, etc.  etc….

I am approaching the issue from a business viewpoint, not technical. Lots of ways to dominate and control a market.

Market dominance is not based upon technical prowess. It all about marketing and sales dominance. Microsoft, smothered the numerious small (and large) companies, not with leading edge applications, but by GIVING IE away. It was installed on every new PC, on every upgrade, integrated into every MS application, and no company in the land could compete as there was no way to create value for the effort. Not a monopoly, sure…

Adobe is one of the very few companies that can exert this kind of influence. I have minimal regard for MSFT’s technical prowess, smaller companies have shown them the way, to be swept under when the copy became better than the original. Adobe is different, they have provided tremendous new capabilities, at a cost, but most felt enough value was received to pay the high tariff. I feel sorry for the smaller developer, as Adobe reaches out for new markets. Issues like sharpening, file browsing, etc will be attractive targets for new features. And they can’t fight back. Have you seen the size of the Adobe war-chest. It would scare me too. Some, who have made real breakthroughs will be bought and live the good life. Most will be in the shareware markets. It’s tough out there.

Now the next market challenge is the RAW Converter. Hmmm, big companies, Nikon, Canon, etc. Let’s turn them back into metal and glass builders. Opps, they don’t want to go back….




In the beginning there was first photographic digital capture device, the scanner. Photoshop was the finest tool in the realm. The world was at peace. Color, B&W, fine grain, coarse grain, saturated color, accurate color. The world was our oyster.

Then a smart engineer began the quest for direct digital capture. Hmmm, film has some inconveniences, chemicals (uck), gotta wait, customer calling gotta get busy, late nights, fixer stains, dim orangish lighting. Back hurts from standing over trays. It can all change; chimping can become a national sport.

First cameras were hmmmm, EXPENSIVE, wow. Jpegs were good for a web site, you betcha. Internet revolution, just the thing.

2.5 megapixels, now were talking, 4, 6 wow we can really use this thing. Photoshop got better, now I can really do some art.

Problem, CPU in the camera is “puny”. In camera Jpegs Ok, tiff too. Can do better. Ok, let’s output RAW, let the desktop CPU handle processing. Camera guys all think the desktop is just an external processing part of the camera. Photoshop is coming on strong. Capability not even dreamed of a few years earlier.

My camera, I want to do the R&D to make my customer happy. Many camera companies competing make for good advancement in the art.

Adobe, hmmmm new market, Camera Raw it is. Hardware guys are saying, we want control of camera output.  I never intended to turn it over to a software company.

The battle lines are drawn…..

It’s all where you are sitting that determines the viewpoint. Nikon is catching the heat, don’t you know the folks at Canon, Olympus, Minolta are smiling at the pain Nikon is receiving trying to protect its product and technology. But they secretly hope Nikon somehow wins as they are all on the same side in the end.
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Robert Spoecker
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« Reply #44 on: April 19, 2005, 01:22:17 PM »
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Are there now 3 threads about this issue??  In any case I fully concur about the rudeness and gross stupidity of Nikon with this encryptation move and the additional stupidity and insult to our intellegence with their claim that with NC you no longer need PS.  I have a D2X on order and it will probably arrive today and for my situation the benefits of the camera still outweigh the downside of this encryptation and likely poor Photoshop support.  However, I strongly urge everyone that can, to boycott Nikon.

I also would like to know if it's possible to try to communicate with someone at Nikon.  They should see these threads here to get a feel for just how badly they're pissing off their customers and potential new customers.  Nikon is well on the way to becoming not just an "also ran" competitor for Canon, but toward becoming history altogether if they stay this stupid for much longer.
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Robert Spoecker
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« Reply #45 on: April 19, 2005, 04:57:30 PM »
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As more and more info comes in related to the two threads on this issue, several things are becoming apparent.  The D2X is such a hot camera that it may be worth it to suffer with any billgatesing proprietary dumbness that Nikon imposes on us.  It looks like Nikon Capture is a basically very good product and may indeed be the best way to convert Nikon raw files.  Between Nikon Capture, new features in PS CS2, and whatever degree of D2X support we end up with in Photoshop, it's obvious that a totally satisfactory work flow will be possible.

HOWEVER, what's become most obvious is that just about everybody is seriously pissed off about having Nikon try to force us into choosing only their converter.  No matter how good it is this sucks and can only hurt Nikon, maybe hurt them very badly if they don't get their head out of where the sun don't shine pretty soon.
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HiltonP
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« Reply #46 on: April 20, 2005, 07:18:21 AM »
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Why did Nikon make the D70 use CF cards, and now change the D50 to SD cards?

I'm sure space will be given as a reason, but it just gives hassles to D70 owners who might be looking at the D50 as a 2nd camera, back-up, or spouse's camera. Instead of being able to share cards they will now need two sets. So unnecessary.
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francofit
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« Reply #47 on: April 21, 2005, 08:39:55 AM »
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...I don't know the details first hand but from threads here and elsewhere, it sounds as if what Nikon did was to encode WB data NOT encrypt it. There is a world of difference. Encryption is a way to disguise data. They didn't disguise it, they just laid it out differently, possibly through some simple look-up table, as others have surmised. ...
I am not an expert either, but based on what I read  and if my understanding of English is not failing me,
that's not simply laid out differently, the WB data ARE ENCRYPTED:

see e.g. Thomas Knoll reply on DPRforum < here >  and  < here >.
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Franco
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« Reply #48 on: April 21, 2005, 09:39:16 PM »
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I am not an expert either, but based on what I read  and if my understanding of English is not failing me,
that's not simply laid out differently, the WB data ARE ENCRYPTED:

see e.g. Thomas Knoll reply on DPRforum < here >  and  < here >.

You may be right and I may have been too quick on the draw. I saw something on Rob Galbraith's forum about there being a "key" that is embedded in the file that is used to read the WB data. If it actually is a "key" in the data encryption sense of the word, and not something else (such as a lookup index) which someone who is not technically inclined is mis-identifying as a "key", then it is a bizarre design decision indeed. After all, why just "encrypt" that one piece of data, then provide the unlocking key for everyone to read? Anyway, I'll bow out and let Nikon, Adobe and Bibble sort it out. They're big boys, they don't need my help. It wouldn't be the first time and it won't be the last that a big corporation makes a dumb move. Happens all the time.
I saw on DPReview (IIRC) something about the writer of dcraw saying that it really is encryption, albeit very simple encryption (evidently he broke it; you can find the routine in his source code).

The problem here is not in breaking the encryption, but in being sued for doing so; for example, if I had copyrighted text data, which I encrypted by Z>A, A>B, B>C, etc., and you broke the "encryption," I could sue you for it. Where this gets muddy (to me) is that I own the copyrights on my NEFs (I don't have any D2x NEFs yet, but wish I did), so I'm not sure how that works out with the DMCA and encryption in the legal field.
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gryffyn
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« Reply #49 on: April 22, 2005, 08:36:52 AM »
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Until/If Nikon get their heads out of their collective butts, I would like to see the following:

Someone (probably annonymous) write an open source D2X NEF postprocessor, that decrypts the white balance info and rewrite the decrypted data back into the NEF in some common EXIF or IETF field.  Say in D70/D100 standard WB format.

Then post the source everywhere...again, annonymously, preferably in a country that does not care about the DCMA regulations (eg. not the USA).

It' wouldn't be a big change to the workflow....you just run the utility to zap the WB info once on all NEFs after you download them to your workstation, thereafter your PS/CS workflow would run unmodified, using as-shot WB info.

The beauty of this is that it would let all 3rd party software process the NEF, not kill Nikon's software (Capture in particular) and would avoid the threat of Adobe (and others) being sued.

How much you want to bet this will happen rather quickly, as the D2X gains traction? ;-)

Now if Bibble could surreptitionsly forward/post the D2X encryption specs, this would happen even faster. ;-)
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BobMcCarthy
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« Reply #50 on: April 22, 2005, 03:12:49 PM »
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This post may go over like a lead balloon

Software is property. Time and dollars are spent in the development of the software. What right do people have to copy, use or alter the property of others and claim it as their own.

Music, video, other software is used without payment, without any sense of theft. If everyone paid, the price would be lower for sure. More companies would prosper, more dollars available to continue on. The fact is, that today the only companies that prosper are the biggies that have critical mass and can charge enough to offset the theft. Its absolutely killing the small developer who are creating much of the innovation. The irony is, the guys that are creating the hacks are the very talent pool that the large companies will ultimately squash when they get their dream off the ground.

The biggest and most prosperious are the biggest offenders. Microsoft and Adobe are the strongest of the crowd. Tom Knoll is brilliant guy, but the marketing and operating team are not so warm and friendly and are willing to SQUASH anyone in their way. These guys play hardball. If they don't get their way, they will do anything to make a point. And they can afford to do so.

There is a battle brewing and its a battle of the giants. Electronics vs. software. Big software (verses small) is winning. We will all loose unless better rules exist. The hysteria against Nikon is fabricated. Nikon gives its customers a free plugin to keep one in the photoshop domain entirely if one wants to. If they want to add additional capability in their raw converter, that's their right to do so and the customer gets a benefit.  Why should they do the R&D and then just turn it over to Adobe. That's what you all are demanding.

I was on the bottom floor of the internet being one of the guys that got Concentric Network off the ground. I have benefited from the sweeping change that we all are now so comfortable in using in our daily lives.

Canon was once my camera of choice. I was a devotee for nearly 30+ years but after spending mega dollars in the FD lens line in the late 80's, they dumped me for the EOS mount, obsoleting multiple bodies and virtually every L lens in the line. I said this is progress, OK. Autofocus wasn't an issue for me so I soldered along and slowly added an EOS body and a few lenses where AF made sense. I bought in to Canon digital up to the 10D. Then they started futzing with the mount, killing value again, I said enough. Dumped Canon and went Nikon as they have been more backwards compatable where the majority of my investment lie. The D2x was a godsent to me and I couldn't be happier.

If someone copied your tiff files and claimed them as their own you'd be up in arms. OK let crop your file a little differently, maybe more saturation or use PS to alter it a little. Its now mine. Ha you say and I agree. My talent, my work, my inspiration. Photography is fortunate that its darn hard to reverse engineer the (data) pixels when its output to a print. Maybe some day scanners will challenge that assumption.

Someone is copying my .exe files every day and not paying. It makes it tough to prosper. I absolutely admire Adobe, I just see them for what they are  "self serving". You all are their willing soldiers.
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gryffyn
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« Reply #51 on: April 22, 2005, 05:21:17 PM »
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Bob said:

"Software is property"

Yup...it is. But the data is MINE!  The NEFs are MINE, not Nikons or Canons (or pick your favourite vendor).  The image is MINE, digital or otherwise.  Just like music software is property (eg. iTunes is Apples software).  The music itself is owned by the copyright holder....the artist, or label or some such.  But I can buy the right to use that music, and when I do, I will use it any way I please, so long as I don't give it to anyone else.

Would you buy a camera where the image data was owned by the manufacturer and they "licensed" it's use to you?  Not on your life.

We are not talking about the software.....Nikon is welcome to own Capture and View, and license it's use.  They cannot have my image though.  Those are mine.  And the white balance setting is mine too, since I chose it (either manually or not).

Word is owned by Microsoft, but the document I produce with it, I own.  And the pressure is on MS to open up the document specification (with the advent of Open Office which has a well documented format spec).

If Nikon has a good raw converter, I will buy it (and have in fact, since I do own a legal copy of Capture).  But I also want the ability to use MY data any way I please, and that includes using 3rd party tools to process the raw data, including white balance.

We are not talking about the software, but the RAW file format.

And all the customers I have talked to about this say they want an open standard for RAW files (DNG is a good start). Or at least documented proprietary formats.

Given how many 3rd party converters are already out there, Pandora's box is wide open...and there is little to no competitive value left in hiding small bits of your format (like encrypting WB), since all the competition already knows what your format does and is.  And retention of backwards compatibility will prevent too massive a change, so you can't regain a proprietary advantage.

Compete on the strength of your Raw Converter software...it's features, it's flexibility, it's speed (or lack thereof).  No problem.

But competing by trying to lock your customers into a proprietary format is a going out of business strategy. We won't accept it: we'll either break it (that took a few weeks only) or we'll switch to a manufacturer that cares about what we, the customers, want.  It's a no-win for the manufacturer.

Maybe 20 years ago...but not in the internet age.
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gryffyn
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« Reply #52 on: April 22, 2005, 07:20:45 PM »
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Robert said:

" Nowadays nobody supports anything and nobody fixes anything, they just sell you a new release."

That is not entirely true.  Sure, there is crap, unsupported software out there (both commercial and open source). And there is some very good software out there as well, fully supported (again both commercial and open source).

The best support I have EVER received has been for free, open source software.  In many more than on occasion too.  So if my experience is any indicator, open source actually has better support, on average, than commercial code.

But you're missing the point of "open".  With open source and even open standards (or at least documented proprietary ones), you have options, especially farther into the future. You can modify or support the software yourself, because you have the code or the spec.  If you can't or don't want to do that, you can pay someone else to do it for you, again because you have the source colde or at least the spec for your data, and you can do this almost indefinitely into the future, especially when you consider that you can have a custom converter built to get you to DNG V666 in 2666. ;-)

With proprietary, closed solutions, if the vendor goes tits up, you typically don't have these options.  In large software systems, escrow agreements are common (where the source is deposited with a 4rd party escrow agent) and you can get what you need in the event of a corporate failure.  But you don't have that option for retail-level consumer software.

'nuf said.
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61Dynamic
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« Reply #53 on: April 23, 2005, 12:15:08 PM »
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So, do you think there's a new opening at Nikon right now for a good marketing person? Do you think someone lost their pinkie or had to fall on their sword over this debacle??
Doesn't look like it as Nikon's latest press on the subject basically states that this is all a misunderstaning and misinformation.

http://www.dpreview.com/news/0504/05042203...nefresponse.asp

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Also Religion 101:  Moses' 12th tablet (one of the two that he dropped on the way down from the mountain) said "Thou shalt not bite the hand that feeds you".

I remember that story. It was in the book of "Brook" where the History of the World is discussed.

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You don't own the software when you buy CS or almost any other software I can think of.

As I stated, you do not own the software as a whole but the physical copy of that software. You are free to use it apropriately but not free to distribute it, which includes installing it on multiple computers unless the creator specifies otherwise.

And since I'm thinking about it, I'll jabber some more on it.

Agian, software is not the property of the software creator. We are not renting or leasing the software in any way. We pay $X for it and we own that copy and can use that software within the confines of the law. Software is intelectual property.

Lets relate it to a camera (although thigs are slightly different, the jist of what I am going to say remains the same). When you buy a camera you own that camera but the camera maker owns the copyrights on the design of that camera. You cannot make an exact duplicate of the camera and distribute it as that is a violation of copyright law and a violation of the camera makers intelectual rights. But you can reverse engineer some elements of that camera and make your own camera design based off of that.

Copyright law protects that camera design as a whole. It protects software as a whole. It prevents others from profiting from your hard work. It does not prevent people from owning what they purchase and it does not prevent people from owning what they make with that camera and/or software.

The NEF is copyrighted in the same way. It's protected as a whole.. Individual components of that NEF are not copyrightable and this includes the custom WB metadata tag. The WB tag is created by you and is part of your copyrighted work. You do not own the copyright to the tag (it can't be copyrighted) but it is part of your work as a whole. In this regard, it could be argued that Nikon is infringing upon your copyrights since they are effectivbely preventing you from utilizing your work fully unless you use their software. This most definatly infringes upon fair use rights.

Unfortunatly since the DCMA is so poorly written, cracking the encryption of the encrypted WB tag (which is part of Nikons copyrighted work NEF - not a copyrighted item itself) can be considered an circumvention of Nikon's copyrights (which really it isn't since only the WB tag is effected) and Nikon could by all rights sue the creator of DCraw and anyone else who does into want to be locked into Nikon's software. One (of many) similar situation to this is the Lexar case regarding printer cartridges where Lexar used the DCMA to try and lock out competition and screw over consumers.

I would suggest reading more on copyrights at the US Copyright Office for anyone who wants to understand more on intelectual propery applies (in America).

Disclaimer: I make no claims at being a lawyer or a copyright expert. The subject of copyrights and the DCMA are subjects I have been following closely and I have put alot of research time into since they are subjects that directly effect me in more than just the photography I make. I am simply passing along the knowledge of the subject that I have gained. If someone with more actual knowledge (not talking out their back end) in the area wants to correct me or add to this with substantiated information I welcome it.
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« Reply #54 on: April 23, 2005, 06:11:44 PM »
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Rob C,

Correct usage demands capitals after colons in Blighty too, you know. Just not after semi-colons.

End of off-topic grammar exercises.

W
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Graham Welland
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« Reply #55 on: April 22, 2005, 06:08:50 PM »
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Hmm, sales & marketing 101 - don't antagonize your potential and existing customers! Let's see now, unnecessary encryption and just plain stupid marketing material all in one week. I'm sure that only a very few people are ACTUALLY affected by this (heck, I can always set white balance in the raw convertor later - it's not exactly brain surgery or the end of the world, even if you are setting white balance for a shooting session) but the bad press has got to hurt sales & Nikon's reputation at some point.

So, do you think there's a new opening at Nikon right now for a good marketing person? Do you think someone lost their pinkie or had to fall on their sword over this debacle??

 
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« Reply #56 on: April 22, 2005, 11:24:23 PM »
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it [sic] Adobe doesn't fully support the D2X, then we will have one less way of converting the NEF, and the lost way happens to involve the most important graphics program on the planet, and one that I've spent a lot of time learning. Not a small loss.
I don't have one of these cameras to test such things out with, but what's wrong with Nikon's own PS plugin?
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« Reply #57 on: April 25, 2005, 11:12:51 PM »
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We are much closer to the beginning than the end. This battle will play out in many ways we possibly don't see yet. I'm far more concerned about archival issues than anything else. I'm also of the opinion we don't want anyone (Adobe included) solely determining our future. I also see a replay of the way windows explorer killed all the inovative smaller companies in that market without any remorse what-so-ever.
The problem with that example is that internet explorer (IE) is a proprietary software aplication (and it was the inovative one at the time but came to a hault in '01). Adobe DNG is an open file format. As a programer you should know (as I'm sure you do) that those are two very different things.

IE has become the mainstay for the internet with ~96% useage in the market. The problem with that is that it's controlled fully my MS and never updated or advanced (why would they, there is no real competition-till now). The advancements in way we interact with the net and web-design has litteraly been held back due to it's domanance. Since DNG is an open and backwards compatable standard, that kind of lock-in is not possable.

What is needed is for an independant non-profit organization to maintain standards for digital imaging. Sort of like the ISO but more specialized. Kind of like how the interet has the W3C which sets markup language standards. This will give a central place for inovation and full easily-accessed public documentation. Companies can pettition for improvements wich can be implemented in updates to the standard(s) and programers can plan ahead for future updates and advancements.
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didger
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« Reply #58 on: April 23, 2005, 05:29:15 AM »
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Yeah, it's all part of the same problem, big corporations seal themselves off from being communicated with by their customers.  I wonder if Nikon decision makers are even aware yet of how badly they're alienating a lot of us.  I also wonder how you can get feedback about possible product improvement to them.  I'm sure that giving us a more versatile bracketing implementation for the D2X would be a fairly simple firmware modification, but will we ever see it?  Do they care?  I can't believe they really don't care, but they seem to think that they don't need to hear from their customers directly to know what we might find most useful and desirable.  BAD BAD BAD.  They should be spending the money they're wasting with their software billgatesing effort and spending it on opening more effective communication channels to their customers.
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« Reply #59 on: April 24, 2005, 05:16:44 PM »
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Might there be a good market for a "Photographer's Guide to Rules of Composition of Both Kinds" with a free addendum about colonics?
Good idea. And maybe we could combine both kinds of composition into some useful rules like "Always place a colon one third of the way through a sentence."  
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-Eric Myrvaagnes

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