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Author Topic: Understanding DNG adoption  (Read 5175 times)
opgr
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« on: August 09, 2012, 06:47:54 AM »
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Let me first point out that I am a PRO-ponent of a universal RAW format. I am not particularly a fan of DNG, but I am all for an open RAW format. Yet I want to present 2 specific arguments that I believe are relevant to the case. These are more plausible arguments why camera manufacturers may be reluctant to adopt a RAW format standard, and might help in understanding the issues better.

Note therefore that this thread is about understanding, not about a pro-con, Canon-Nikon , Mac or PC war. You can do that on several other threads on this forum.

1. Litigation
In the history of the JPEG image scheme camera manufacturers were slammed with litigation from patent trolls and american corporations. Not exactly a useful basis for adopting another standard from that country, no matter how well intended...

2. Branded Look
A camera manufacturer has the right to ensure a branded look and quality from their products and in order to ensure that look and quality, the RAW processing pipeline may need to be a closed system.

The general perception of the brand is obviously carried by the entire user base, and, contrary to what you might think, the majority of users do NOT NECESSARILY constitute knowledgable professional or semi-professional photographers with a need to protect their productivity for all eternity through an open pipeline.

Now, clearly, camera manufacturers are free to create a new standard and cater to the need of the possibly small group of users that would actually require it, but I do not believe there is even the slightest chance that Canon and Nikon are ever going to sit at the same table at the same time, to start such an initiative.

Having said this, I do believe that if we can come up with some good arguments to counter the above mentioned issues, then we may have a useful basis for a successful lobby. But continuously shouting about how evil camera manufacturers are or even hinting at torture along the lines of burning toes and feet, is not exactly helping the cause in general.
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Oscar Rysdyk
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« Reply #1 on: August 09, 2012, 08:51:31 AM »
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2. Branded Look
A camera manufacturer has the right to ensure a branded look and quality from their products and in order to ensure that look and quality, the RAW processing pipeline may need to be a closed system.

Yes they do and they should. But NOT at the expense of the customer’s data options. Nothing stops the manufacturers from being as proprietary as they desire as long as they also provide us with an option for an open raw format along with a rendered image (JPEG traditionally). The idea that an open raw format (DNG OPTION) is suffocatingly the manufacturers is nonsense!
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Andrew Rodney
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Bryan Conner
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« Reply #2 on: August 09, 2012, 09:18:50 AM »
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As I posted in another thread, I asked Canon Customer support the following this morning:  "Canon software does not offer dng file format as an option. This creates a problem each time I purchase a new camera that has a new raw format.  I can not utilize Lightroom or Adobe Camera Raw which are far superior raw converters compared to DPP.  Why does not Canon offer dng as an option either in camera or via DPP?  thanks in advance

Bryan Conner"


Here is the reply I received:  "Dear Bryan Conner:

Thank you for contacting Canon product support.  We value you as a Canon customer and appreciate the opportunity to assist you.

The DNG file or digital negative is not a Canon format.  The DNG file has been processed and does not contain as much color information as the Canon CR2 RAW file.  You can convert the file to a TIFF file in Digital Photo Professional and open the TIFF in Adobe.  This will retain color information and have a usable file across applications, but the file will be very large.

We hope this information was useful to you. Please let us know if we can be of any further assistance with any of our Canon products.

Thank you for choosing Canon.

Sincerely,

Trevis
Technical Support Representative



 Roll Eyes Roll Eyes Roll Eyes Roll Eyes
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opgr
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« Reply #3 on: August 09, 2012, 09:20:57 AM »
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Yes they do and they should. But NOT at the expense of the customer’s data options. Nothing stops the manufacturers from being as proprietary as they desire as long as they also provide us with an option for an open raw format along with a rendered image (JPEG traditionally). The idea that an open raw format (DNG OPTION) is suffocatingly the manufacturers is nonsense!

You are obviously right, especially given an adequate definition of an open format, but the question here is: what arguments do we have to convince the bean-counters to invest in such a format?

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Oscar Rysdyk
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opgr
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« Reply #4 on: August 09, 2012, 09:25:32 AM »
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As I posted in another thread, I asked Canon Customer support …



The DNG file or digital negative is not a Canon format.  The DNG file has been processed and does not contain as much color information as the Canon CR2 RAW file.  …


Yes, I saw that. But before we get another flame war about the technical merit of that response, please note that those comments can be posted in the other threads. I am looking for arguments in favor of adoption or implementation by a manufacturer.

 
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Oscar Rysdyk
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« Reply #5 on: August 09, 2012, 01:27:54 PM »
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1. Litigation
In the history of the JPEG image scheme camera manufacturers were slammed with litigation from patent trolls and american corporations. Not exactly a useful basis for adopting another standard from that country, no matter how well intended...

I think the likelihood that patent trolls could produce litigation regarding DNG is unlikely. The Joint Photographic Experts Group is a prime example why a bunch of geeks sitting around and coming up with standards that use patented processes is a bad idea. There have been problems caused because of the way JPEG came about...

Looking at DNG however, there aren't a bunch of geeks using patented processes to come up with a standard. DNG is a variant of TIFF-EP which is a variant of TIFF 6 which Adobe handed over to the ISO to use. While Adobe didn't originate TIFF–it was Aldus (in conjunction with MSFT, Kodak and a couple of other companies although the wiki page doesn't say that) that developed TIFF and Adobe got it when they bought Aldus.

Since that time Adobe has done a pretty decent job of maintaining (although not advancing) the TIFF file format. I also think that Adobe (read Thomas Knoll) has done a good job of maintaining AND advancing DNG and as I said elsewhere, the proprietary raw file formats have substantially improved since Thomas released the DNG spec and that wasn't by accident. Adobe submitted DNG to the ISO for use in the TIFF-EP standard back in 2007.

Most all camera companies already used TIFF-EP as the basis for their formats, it would not be a stretch to think of them using DNG. But I think the adoption of DNG by the vast majority of camera companies is slow because the companies feel no pressure to do so and the ISO has been really, really slow in revising the TIFF-EP ISO 12234-2 standard. In 2006 TIFF/EP began its 5-year revision cycle by ISO Working Group WG18. Ideally that should have been accomplished last year...so it's due "anytime now"...
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wildlightphoto
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« Reply #6 on: August 10, 2012, 04:37:55 PM »
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...the question here is: what arguments do we have to convince the bean-counters to invest in such a format?

Vote with the currency of your choice.  As long as the bean-counters see no loss of sales there is little incentive to offer DNG.
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Keith Reeder
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« Reply #7 on: August 11, 2012, 05:43:16 AM »
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Vote with the currency of your choice.  As long as the bean-counters see no loss of sales there is little incentive to offer DNG.

Unfortunately that approach implies the availability of alternative options - other manufacturers that produce equipment able to do what we want of it, that also outputs DNG files - and I know that no such alternative exists for me; and I won't be alone there, I reckon...

I must admit that I see no valid argument (for Canon at least) to maintain its "proprietary Raw only" stance: if like Nikon they also sold Raw conversion software I'd kind of get it, but otherwise no, I don't see what's in it for the manufacturers. The "proprietary look" argument seems to me to depend to a large extent on the idea that we will convert using the camera company's software, and of course the Real World ain't like that.

Unfortunately I don't think that - realistically - consumers have any way to pressure the camera makers over this, and they know it.  
« Last Edit: August 11, 2012, 05:45:08 AM by Keith Reeder » Logged

Keith Reeder
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« Reply #8 on: August 11, 2012, 06:17:49 AM »
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Unfortunately I don't think that - realistically - consumers have any way to pressure the camera makers over this, and they know it.  

Given the waiting lists at the big retailers each time CaNikon adds more bells & whistles to their products, I suspect you're correct.  The market is telling CaNikon to add more features and telling them nothing about DNG.

My dSLR outputs raw files in DNG format and I'm delighted with it but the market rejected it because of the features per dollar ratio.
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ErikKaffehr
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« Reply #9 on: August 11, 2012, 06:39:25 AM »
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Hi,

We perhaps should wait buying any camera until it is properly supported by Lightroom. Would folks not buy cameras without LR/ACR support it would send a strong signal to vendors to support LR/ACR.

Unfortunately, I recently bought a Sony RX100. A very good camera. The JPEG engine is pretty good. RAW files I don't know. I love that camera but it turns my workflow into a mess. I hope that we have a new version of LR in a month or so, so I can handle all my raw files in a good way.

BTW, converting to TIFF is just a POS, at least if you are accustomed to a parametric workflow.

Best regards
Erik





I think the likelihood that patent trolls could produce litigation regarding DNG is unlikely. The Joint Photographic Experts Group is a prime example why a bunch of geeks sitting around and coming up with standards that use patented processes is a bad idea. There have been problems caused because of the way JPEG came about...

Looking at DNG however, there aren't a bunch of geeks using patented processes to come up with a standard. DNG is a variant of TIFF-EP which is a variant of TIFF 6 which Adobe handed over to the ISO to use. While Adobe didn't originate TIFF–it was Aldus (in conjunction with MSFT, Kodak and a couple of other companies although the wiki page doesn't say that) that developed TIFF and Adobe got it when they bought Aldus.

Since that time Adobe has done a pretty decent job of maintaining (although not advancing) the TIFF file format. I also think that Adobe (read Thomas Knoll) has done a good job of maintaining AND advancing DNG and as I said elsewhere, the proprietary raw file formats have substantially improved since Thomas released the DNG spec and that wasn't by accident. Adobe submitted DNG to the ISO for use in the TIFF-EP standard back in 2007.

Most all camera companies already used TIFF-EP as the basis for their formats, it would not be a stretch to think of them using DNG. But I think the adoption of DNG by the vast majority of camera companies is slow because the companies feel no pressure to do so and the ISO has been really, really slow in revising the TIFF-EP ISO 12234-2 standard. In 2006 TIFF/EP began its 5-year revision cycle by ISO Working Group WG18. Ideally that should have been accomplished last year...so it's due "anytime now"...
« Last Edit: August 11, 2012, 10:37:27 AM by ErikKaffehr » Logged

dreed
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« Reply #10 on: August 11, 2012, 06:56:25 AM »
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I think the likelihood that patent trolls could produce litigation regarding DNG is unlikely. The Joint Photographic Experts Group is a prime example why a bunch of geeks sitting around and coming up with standards that use patented processes is a bad idea. There have been problems caused because of the way JPEG came about...

JPEG isn't the only encumbered graphic file format - GIF is as well, as many companies found out in the mid 1990s when the owner decided to sue after GIF had become popular on the Internet.
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John Camp
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« Reply #11 on: August 11, 2012, 10:05:05 AM »
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This is actually a political issue, rather than a purely photographic one. It's complicated by the fact that some people dislike Adobe as much as they dislike the policies of Nikon of Canon (Steve Jobs, for one, disdained almost everything that Adobe did.) That aside, I think there would be some possibility of getting a standard if the consumers organized, which essentially means people on these forums. The fact is, P&S cameras are in trouble, increasingly pressure from the bottom by cell phone cameras. The review of the new Nokia phone suggests these could be quite good, as P&S models. As P&S becomes more and more commodified -- as they become more and more alike, and brand becomes less and less important -- the real action for the camera companies is going to be in the higher end models, and I believe that most people who shoot higher end models spend at least some time on the internet, and have at least some interest in modifying their camera output through software. That opens the possibility of organizing them.

That could happen through forums like this one -- if the major forums started a concerted push toward adopting a RAW standard, something might actually get done. That might take the form of campaigning against the purchase of a new Canon/Nikon camera until DNG conversion becomes possible through Lightroom or Photoshop or other major conversion programs. In other words, we would argue that members SHOULDN'T buy the camera at all, only that purchase would be delayed until DNG is available through the major software companies. Killing the company's opening sales campaign in this way would have a powerful affect on their thinking, and might encourage them to provide DNG output as an OPTION right at the start.
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opgr
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« Reply #12 on: August 11, 2012, 11:18:15 AM »
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Some people have referred to the united user argument both in this thread and some of the other threads about RAW implementation. I have 2 objections against the united-consumer argument:

1. As previously mentioned, the number of users that find RAW important may not be as large as you think. By way of rough indication/guesstimation:

1.1. The number of users that want RAW is likely outnumbered by the number of users that don't know or don't care.

1.2. The number of users that actually know what to do with RAW is smaller still,

1.3. The number of users that truly require RAW is even smaller,

1.4. The number of users that strictly require well documented, sustainable output is probably limited to government, library, museum etc...

Purely as a thought: For every camera they sell to a professional, how many cameras do they sell to a mid-life crisis dad who buys a look-at-me SLR to simply capture some nonsense images of the family vacation?

2. My second objection is that the united-user solution is a so-called "deconstructive" solution, which I personally believe can never be successful in this context. A more successful approach would be to  find "constructive" solutions like uniting the buying power for a lobby through donations or even building an alternative that does incorporate the options that are deemed important or necessary. 

As an example: Suppose we start a Kickstarter project that simply asks people to donate a small amount in 2 tiers and has a certain economically viable limit. That way we can all vote with our money and either proof that there is enough basis for implementation, or proof ourselves wrong. 2 tiers could indicate the type of user: $5 for normal use, $10 for powerusers. The money can be spend transparently on the development of a true independent RAW format, as well as on the lobby for its implementation.

As another example: we might also start an initiative to actually produce a camera that does output to an open & documented RAW format. While this may sound somewhat outlandish, there is always a Jim Jannard somewhere to step up to the plate and give us some kind of RED epic! Just sayin'

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Oscar Rysdyk
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« Reply #13 on: August 11, 2012, 11:31:10 AM »
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Looking at DNG however, there aren't a bunch of geeks using patented processes to come up with a standard.

Are you sure? Not a bunch perhaps, but considering that Eric and Thomas are the UberGeeks of digital imaging…  Cool

(tongue-in-cheek)
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« Reply #14 on: August 11, 2012, 11:04:42 PM »
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As the owner of a small camera store that sells quite a few systems I can tell you raw has a long way to go.  This may not be true on the very high end (D4 or D1x) where the expense of the camera is somewhat limited to very serious shooters, but even those are often sports shooters who try to nail it with jpeg just to speed their workflow/time to publish.  Understand I"m sort of a specialty shop, and the majority of these cameras are being sold at Best Buy or Costco ...

And it's not middle age dentists with a mid life crises ... they may buy the camera but their wife ends up using it.  And most women don't want to be bothered with anything technical.  Give them P mode, jpeg and they are good to go.  Certainly there are exceptions, and over the last year there is some movement towards raw by them.

but then to the next level, Lightroom hasn't penetrated that demographic nearly as strongly as one might think.  I teach a basic LR class, and normally I get 3 or 4 out of the 8 that fit this category that are trying to figure out whether to use LR or not.  I'm guessing less than 15 or 20% prosumer and top end dslr's we sell are to someone that uses LR.  Most use iPhoto or a Windows equivalent or just use the included software.

This means boycotting camera makers won't do it, and they're not feeling any pressure at all to look at a standard.

Probably the only thing that might change it is a political mandate by some significant governing body such as the European Union or US (or even better both) that requires all digital cameras to save their raw data in a standard format.  Unfortunately I don't see enough users wanting that to bring any pressure to those governing bodies either.

At some point you would think they would do it as a matter of economics ... just like Leica no longer has any one on staff developing raw software, all of the camera makers could do the same.

Another issue might be the camera makers don't want to be come dependent on a 3rd party company that may choose not to help them as quickly as they would like so they could release a new camera which needs some additions/tweaking to DNG, and they probably also don't like the idea that pushing DNG could be a huge financial windfall for Adobe with no compensation to them.  I may be totally out to lunch of those two (sort of thinking out loud)  ... and this would be more about their perception, not the reality of the situation.
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Alan Goldhammer
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« Reply #15 on: August 12, 2012, 07:40:37 AM »
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As the owner of a small camera store that sells quite a few systems I can tell you raw has a long way to go.  This may not be true on the very high end (D4 or D1x) where the expense of the camera is somewhat limited to very serious shooters, but even those are often sports shooters who try to nail it with jpeg just to speed their workflow/time to publish.  Understand I"m sort of a specialty shop, and the majority of these cameras are being sold at Best Buy or Costco ...


Another issue might be the camera makers don't want to be come dependent on a 3rd party company that may choose not to help them as quickly as they would like so they could release a new camera which needs some additions/tweaking to DNG, and they probably also don't like the idea that pushing DNG could be a huge financial windfall for Adobe with no compensation to them.  I may be totally out to lunch of those two (sort of thinking out loud)  ... and this would be more about their perception, not the reality of the situation.
I think Wayne is absolutely right on this.  I have a number of friends who have good photography skills but it's mostly to document their travels.  Every single one of the use jpeg capture and don't do any post processing at all.  It's a shame in a way as some of the images I've seen are really quite good and if they had taken RAW captures and done some rudimentary processing they would be much better.  However, that really doesn't seem to interest them at all.

I don't think the latter points that Wayne makes are quite correct.  On the other thread, a lot of us were discussing moving this whole DNG issue to an appropriate standards organization to maintain and update.  In this case, the playing field is level for everyone and the implementation is consistent across all hardware and software.  Software manufacturers will still be able to come up with different ways to process the RAW files in the same manner that they do today (which is why we have a number of different RAW converters).  What does become easier is that the need for Adobe (and others) to re-engineer what the camera makers are now maintaining proprietary disappears.  I keep getting back to the point, if it's good enough for Leica, why not Nikon, Canon, etc?
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deejjjaaaa
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« Reply #16 on: August 12, 2012, 08:20:25 AM »
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I keep getting back to the point, if it's good enough for Leica, why not Nikon, Canon, etc?
since when Leica is an example to follow in things non mechanical ?
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deejjjaaaa
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« Reply #17 on: August 12, 2012, 08:29:13 AM »
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Given the waiting lists at the big retailers each time CaNikon adds more bells & whistles to their products, I suspect you're correct.  The market is telling CaNikon to add more features and telling them nothing about DNG.

My dSLR outputs raw files in DNG format and I'm delighted with it but the market rejected it because of the features per dollar ratio.

because DNG is really not important even for people who use raw - raw converters support non DNG no worse and it is just a matter of small delay before your beloved raw converter will support it its next release, most of people who use raw do no buy the new camera the moment it becomes available... so lobby Adobe to stop supporting non DNG raws instead  Grin, good luck in that

and as it was correctly noted - most of people still use JPG or a raw converter supplied by a vendor.

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deejjjaaaa
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« Reply #18 on: August 12, 2012, 08:31:46 AM »
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and as I said elsewhere, the proprietary raw file formats have substantially improved since Thomas released the DNG spec and that wasn't by accident.

you bet... the same is true for mars landing for sure !

PS: for example who forced Adobe to update DNG for optics correction  Grin ...
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Keith Reeder
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« Reply #19 on: August 12, 2012, 08:35:59 AM »
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PS: for example who forced Adobe to update DNG for optics correction  Grin

OK - who?
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Keith Reeder
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