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Author Topic: Why hasn't DNG become standard in digital backs?  (Read 4748 times)
torger
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« on: November 12, 2012, 07:18:58 AM »
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I'm not particularly fond of proprietary camera formats. I'd go so far as saying that it is immoral by camera manufacturers to lock in the photographer's work in a proprietary container without public documentation.

Anyway, now it seems to me like DNG is a quite mature standard. I understand why Canon and Nikon don't care about it, but I find it a bit surprising that the MFDB makers are not embracing it, the ones that are supposed to like "open systems" and who not produce JPEGs primarily (Canon and Nikon are workflow-wise afterall designed as jpeg cameras). Shouldn't DNG be the default in the file format setting in the backs by now? As far as I understand there are some backs out there that actually store to DNG but it is far from all of them.

Am I missing something here? Is there still something Adobe proprietary about the DNG format causing for example Phase One and Leaf to avoid it, or perhaps they still see some reason to lock in photographers in their formats? Maybe Phase One might want own formats to give Capture One a stronger position against Lightroom?

And do people really care? I get annoyed by the proprietary format thing now and then, but I'm not sure if any other photographers care. I guess some of us have nagged about this thing so many years that we are exhausted from doing it...
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dchew
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« Reply #1 on: November 12, 2012, 08:36:00 AM »
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Oh boy Anders, why do you want to poke the Angry Bear?
Smiley

I agree digital backs and high-end cameras are where lack of adoption is particularly annoying.  Kudos to Leica.

Dave
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Doug Peterson
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« Reply #2 on: November 12, 2012, 08:55:18 AM »
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Am I missing something here? Is there still something Adobe proprietary about the DNG format causing for example Phase One and Leaf to avoid it, or perhaps they still see some reason to lock in photographers in their formats? Maybe Phase One might want own formats to give Capture One a stronger position against Lightroom?

Lightroom is compatible with the following Phase One raws:
H 20
H 25
P 20
P 20+
P 21
P 21+
P 25
P 25+
P 30
P 30+
P 40+
P 45
P 45+
P 65+
IQ140
IQ160
IQ180

In addition Capture One 7 has better support for converting DNGs for those still convinced that is important to their needs. I don't see how any Phase photographer is "locked into" anything.

I assume your annoyance is at your legacy Leaf Aptus back which you purchased privately. If purchased from a good dealer your initial training would have covered (from the start) the use of the compressed raw, free leaf raw convertor, and DNG options to make sure that, from the getgo, your captures would be available in whatever software you wanted to use. It can, for sure, to learn these lessons and wade through some of the complexity on your own.
« Last Edit: November 12, 2012, 08:58:00 AM by Doug Peterson » Logged

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torger
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« Reply #3 on: November 12, 2012, 09:02:18 AM »
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Oh boy Anders, why do you want to poke the Angry Bear?

I thought it was a long time ago :-).... and I just got a bit bored by C1 only supporting LCC for compressed .mos files, and my favorite open source tools only support uncompressed (since only that has been reverse engineered so far), so I'm kind of facing trying to reverse-engineer the compressed formats and contribute code or messing around with some conversion tools, or looking into getting a DNG workflow (converting to DNG first thing). I like using all sorts of tools, not just the mainstream ones given to me by the manufacturer. That however requires a format that is open and can be decoded without lots of licensing issues.

So it is true it is my legacy leaf that got me started this time around. I'm not exactly happy with my Canon CR2s either and I've been known to complain about them too. And Nikon - they even encrypted their files there for a while!

Doug is missing my point though. This is not only about me. This is about the whole industry continuing with the same sh*tty approach year by year product by product. Why should the camera manufacturer unnecessarily lock in the photographers in a specific workflow? Why should not I as the photographer have full access to my own work right out of the camera?

I guess it's only Leica and Sinar that's doing DNG so far.
« Last Edit: November 12, 2012, 09:36:34 AM by torger » Logged
Guy Mancuso
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« Reply #4 on: November 12, 2012, 09:04:41 AM »
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Before we start seeing how Phase one ripped me off posts. Hassy also has there own software Phocus but is also seen by Lightroom as well. Phocus and C1 are programs designed specifically for each of there backs and you can get the most out of them using there specific software. But they can also be used by ACR and LR. Leica S2 has no specific raw processing software, nor does there M series of cams and depends on programs like LR and ACR for there raw processing. Now the DNG can of worms is a very debatable issue and a major can of worms at least it was when things where far more software specific but times have changed since that debate and not sure its such a big issue anymore. I could be wrong but have not seen that debate in recent times.
« Last Edit: November 12, 2012, 09:25:59 AM by Guy Mancuso » Logged

torger
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« Reply #5 on: November 12, 2012, 09:34:57 AM »
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I work professionally as a software engineer, and I get to read licensing terms for various things all day long so I guess I'm a bit more sensitive concerning these issues. Using closed proprietary formats at this point provides no value whatsoever and is just a waste of resources for everyone. So I'm a bit curious what the logic behind the companies that still use closed formats is.

That I get a little bit upset by having my work put into a container controlled by the manufacturer I would guess I'm pretty alone with :-). Most are is just happy if it works of course, and it is true that today there is wider support of most files compared to earlier. Open file formats is a big thing for me though, and I just cannot understand why the industry is soooo afraid of using them, and when Phase One CEO talks about "open architecture" I can't help wonder how he thinks using proprietary file formats helps with that message.

The fact that MF is more open than any DSLR is one thing that attracts me to the platform, and I think that it is one aspect that MF manufacturers should nourish and migrating to DNG fits just so natural into this so I'm honestly surprised that it has not happened yet. With the Leica and Sinar exceptions.
« Last Edit: November 12, 2012, 09:41:11 AM by torger » Logged
Guy Mancuso
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« Reply #6 on: November 12, 2012, 09:46:45 AM »
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Might just come down to marketing advantage reasons. Not sure but for me its really a non issue. I am a devoted C1 user so as long as the cameras i buy are supported by C1 than I really dont care. On the other hand i like the fact that my Phase back has software specifically designed for me to get the utmost out of that back. I know the gnomes are sitting there making the absolute best profiles and enhancements for me to use my back to the best of its abilities or technology on hand. For me that is a advantage as a consumer. I cant count on Adobe to do that specifically for my Phase back or Hassy back for that matter so I do like software that is specific to my cam since they can devote more time to it and also that is what there job security is to make it the best they can for the company they work for. Leaving this up to Adobe in my mind given all the backs and cams out there not sure they can specifically make the best software for my sensor on hand given they support a lot of them and make there programs more generic. I like having specialized software. Thats my preference at least, others may not care.
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ndevlin
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« Reply #7 on: November 12, 2012, 09:53:56 AM »
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There is no good reason. 

Camera makers continue to produce new files formats on a roughly 1 to 1 ratio with new cameras.  It is insane. That Leica and Pentax, who produce some of the best cameras and RAW files around, do not do this is proof-enough for me of the inane  nature of this file-format arms race. 

There's a reason Michael has railed about this for years....

- N.
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Nick Devlin   @onelittlecamera
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« Reply #8 on: November 12, 2012, 10:06:15 AM »
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Am I missing something here? Is there still something Adobe proprietary about the DNG format causing for example Phase One and Leaf to avoid it, or perhaps they still see some reason to lock in photographers in their formats? Maybe Phase One might want own formats to give Capture One a stronger position against Lightroom?

One reason that I have heard mentioned [and was also 'unofficially stated when Apple did not support Flash on the iPad] is that adhering to the DNG format ties you, as a developer, to the whims/ decisions of an outside company.

Let's go through a basic scenario:
1) Adobe modifies the parameters for DNG
2) the revisions breaks the compatibility of your files to the most recent version of Lightroom
3) the issue is brought to the attention of Adobe Lightroom devs

Two basic outcomes:
A) the issue is resolved with the next update to the software
B) the issue is on the schedule, yet to be resolved

For (A), this means that there is a span of time where your device is NOT compatible with the latest version of a popular software.  I leave it to you to extrapolate what this can mean to current [or potential] sales of whatever you're making.  The most obvious example in the not so recent past is to look at the contortions Apple went through to get continued Microsoft Office support for OSX [when Apple was on shaky financial grounds]

For (B), this means that you future products might be bound by issues other than only software issues. One example might be political, where continued support is dependent on an unrelated action: like QuickTime on Windows [again, many years ago] being threatened by unrelated politics.

"In his testimony, Tevanian outlines how Microsoft pressured Apple to make Internet Explorer the default web browser on the Mac for a period of five years. If Apple had said no, Microsoft would have pulled the Office suite for the Mac, which would have torpedoed the platform. The testimony also details how Microsoft pressured companies like Compaq and AVID to not use Apple’s QuickTime technology,"
- http://thecoredump.org/2004/01/tevanian-microsoft-trial-testimony-online/

By no means an I saying that the above reason are the only reasons why any digital camera manufacturer develops and maintains their own code base and proprietary formats.  Thought I have heard, every one in a while, why a company would not want to outsource a very fundamental part of what makes their product reach a particular quality of result.


Owning the whole experience is the best way to control the quality of the product you provide/ sell.  Like the reason Apple developed the Apple Stores.


Pascal
/there are other reason, also
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torger
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« Reply #9 on: November 12, 2012, 10:09:56 AM »
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Using DNG format would not make C1 in a worse position to provide special support for Phase One backs. Its just a container of the raw data, the program decides how this is processed. I would certainly not be surprised if the companies would use that kind of argument -- that they need proprietary features in their files to make the best out of the camera -- but that is not true. They only need raw data and meta data, and that DNG can store.

Anyway, I perfectly understand that many don't really care, and I also think that is why this has gone largely silent. Not so many bump into format issues any longer, and then most are pragmatic about the issue and stay happy, which is the healthiest thing to do I guess :-).
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FredBGG
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« Reply #10 on: November 12, 2012, 10:15:19 AM »
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....... I think that it is one aspect that MF manufacturers should nourish and migrating to DNG fits just so natural into this so I'm honestly surprised that it has not happened yet. With the Leica and Sinar exceptions.

The Pentax 645D supports both PEF and DNG.
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torger
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« Reply #11 on: November 12, 2012, 10:18:22 AM »
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Pascal: thank you very much for the interesting feedback. I did not mention it, but this was actually one thing I was wondering about -- if DNG really is free or if Adobe is going to be able to harass people using it. The guy behind OpenRaw that existed a few years ago complained a lot about DNG if I remember correctly, perhaps a bit unfair criticism too. OpenRaw campaign was not very successful, and I suspect the leading figure behind it can be blamed to some extent, he seemed even more aggressive about this than I do :-).

However, from what I've read lately on DNG it does seem like Adobe is really releasing it and it would not be the same problems as we have seen with other "freely available formats". This is from Wikipedia:

DNG is based on the TIFF/EP standard format, and mandates significant use of metadata. Exploitation of the file format is royalty-free; Adobe has published a license allowing anyone to exploit DNG,[4] and has also stated that there are no known intellectual property encumbrances or license requirements for DNG.[5] Adobe stated that if there was a consensus that DNG should be controlled by a standards body, they were open to the idea.[6] Adobe has submitted DNG to ISO for incorporation into their revision of TIFF/EP.[7]
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FredBGG
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« Reply #12 on: November 12, 2012, 10:19:42 AM »
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Let's go through a basic scenario:
1) Adobe modifies the parameters for DNG
2) the revisions breaks the compatibility of your files to the most recent version of Lightroom
3) the issue is brought to the attention of Adobe Lightroom devs


Pascal


If Adobe modifies DNG parameters it would maintain compatibility of previous DNG files. Just as it has with opening old photoshop files.
File format issues are resolved very well by Adobe with it's vast Beta testing prior to even public beta.
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torger
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« Reply #13 on: November 12, 2012, 10:23:55 AM »
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The Pentax 645D supports both PEF and DNG.

Great, maybe it is a trend! I was myself a bit paranoid about DNG when it was new (what was Adobe's real intentions), but it looks much better now. There is one final step left though it seems, to move the control of the format completely from Adobe into a standards body.

As long as sensor tech stay the way it is today the DNG format is probably more than we need, but if there is a drastic change in the future the DNG might need completely new extensions and in that case it may not be so fun for the others if Adobe is the sole master of it. On the other hand one can fall back to proprietary formats again in that unlikely event...
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FredBGG
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« Reply #14 on: November 12, 2012, 10:36:01 AM »
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I assume your annoyance is at your legacy Leaf Aptus back which you purchased privately. If purchased from a good dealer your initial training would have covered (from the start) the use of the compressed raw, free leaf raw convertor, and DNG options to make sure that, from the getgo, your captures would be available in whatever software you wanted to use. It can, for sure, to learn these lessons and wade through some of the complexity on your own.

Why do you have to respond to a perfectly legitimate question or discussion with a personal attack with a built in plug for you the dealer.
Trying to discredit the poster for not having the newest gear and for buying privately.
Seems to bother you that a digital back changes hands without a dealer getting a cut.
« Last Edit: November 12, 2012, 11:00:02 AM by FredBGG » Logged
digitaldog
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« Reply #15 on: November 12, 2012, 10:40:16 AM »
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Am I missing something here?

Boils down to politics and to some degree, the misunderstandings people have that doesn't shift the policies to an open format option. There's no reason why we can't have three switches on a camera: JPEG, DNG, Proprietary raw.
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Andrew Rodney
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« Reply #16 on: November 12, 2012, 10:46:02 AM »
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One reason that I have heard mentioned [and was also 'unofficially stated when Apple did not support Flash on the iPad] is that adhering to the DNG format ties you, as a developer, to the whims/ decisions of an outside company.

Let's go through a basic scenario:
1) Adobe modifies the parameters for DNG
2) the revisions breaks the compatibility of your files to the most recent version of Lightroom
3) the issue is brought to the attention of Adobe Lightroom devs

The problem with this example is that history has not born this out...DNG is already at version 1.4 and the SDK is available. As far as breaking compatibility to ACR/LR, uh, no...that doesn't happen. What can happen is that a new version of DNG can add features that older DNG readers can't handle but all you need to do is set the correct compatibility for the DNG and it can be read all the way back to ACR 2.4 in Photoshop CS....

BTW, Adobe has already offered DNG to the ISO for their next revision of TIFF-EP. Adobe owns the TIFF file format and granted it to the ISO for use in TIFF-EP. So Adobe's track record of preserving a file format for the use of others is pretty good.
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deejjjaaaa
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« Reply #17 on: November 12, 2012, 10:48:28 AM »
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Camera makers continue to produce new files formats on a roughly 1 to 1 ratio with new cameras. 

it is not true... check the sequential releases of dcraw code
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deejjjaaaa
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« Reply #18 on: November 12, 2012, 10:51:38 AM »
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So I'm a bit curious what the logic behind the companies that still use closed formats is.

standard question - you are Panasonic, you want to bring a new camera to the market with software optics corrections, DNG does not support that (tags)... what are you going to do ? delay the release until Adobe will agree (not necessarily) to do as you want and suffer financially ? share you move with competition in advance (assume that DNG made it to the standard and it is necessary to get approvals by C&N&S&others) ?


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torger
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« Reply #19 on: November 12, 2012, 10:53:01 AM »
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Looking at my own "Legacy Leaf" (sounds kinda hip-hop) workflow I think I'll finally look into making it into DNG. I was planning to when I first got the back, but thought it would be cool to implement support for it in my favorite app that I use for my landscape work, RawTherapee, so I did that. Since RT has a good flat field function (LCC) and I use my back exclusively for fine art landscape work I have never really got any reason to fully use C1, but I like to have a diversity of tools to choose from. Maybe it makes me look like a fundamentalist free software type of guy using RT (which is open source) and desiring open file formats, but I actually use RT for artistic reasons Smiley. When I do "artwork" (I'm too humble to not use quotes) I like starting with a very neutral base rendering and have very detailed control and insight into what all changes do, something I think RT excels in.

The fine thing is that DNG SDK is open source, and there's open source available for the uncompressed .mos format too so I could even write my own little batch software to do the conversion automated by a script when I put the CF card into my computer (things programmers like to do... Cheesy ). Not sure yet though if C1 can do LCC on DNGs though so maybe it would make no difference in that particular use case. But then I can always run Leaf's own conversion software, and maybe they already have auto/batch functionality, haven't tried it yet.
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