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Nikon encrypts white balance data

Discussion in 'Photography Forums' started by ASH1, Apr 23, 2005.

  1. ASH1

    ASH1
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  2. Radiohead

    Radiohead
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    Relates only to the D2x/D2HS and, to be honest, seems nothing more than a shot across Adobe's bows.

    The WB algorithms that Nikon have developed for the D2x/D2HS are new and extremely complex, so I can see them wanting to protect them. Doesn't mean I agree with it, but it's easy to argue for them not just handing over the proceeds of their work and investment to an acquisitive company like Adobe. With Bibble and others having decoded this already, and not being sued, it's a question as to why Adobe feel the need to "break" the story. No doubt ACR 3.1 will successfully convert the WB data in the relevant files anyway.

    Can't say it would stop me buying a Nikon. With D-SLR's becoming more common I doubt this is the last example of this we'll see from any of the big players as they seek to establish their research rights.
     
  3. Radiohead

    Radiohead
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    Just saw Nikon's response on DP Review

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

    Nikon has today issued an advisory addressing the current concerns around the 'encryption' of white balance data in its NEF (RAW) files from the D2X and D2Hs digital SLR's. This story started three days ago when Photoshopnews.com published an interview with chief engineer and original author of Photoshop Thomas Knoll which complained that Nikon were now encrypting white balance data in their NEF files and that future versions of Adobe Camera RAW would not be able to read WB data. In the new advisory Nikon state that it already makes available an SDK which "...when implemented properly, enables a wide range of NEF performance, including white balance..."

    Advisory Release:
    Nikon Advisory - For Immediate Release

    The Nikon D2X professional Digital Single Lens Reflex camera has received widely positive acclaim for its overall performance and image processing quality. Recently, speculative statements which appear to be based on misunderstandings and misinformation about the D2X camera's “encryption” of certain white balance data have propagated on the internet.

    The purpose of this advisory is to clarify this matter with facts and explanations.

    The Nikon D2X is capable of producing high quality images that can be saved in a variety of file formats, including the proprietary Nikon Electronic Format (NEF), standard TIFF and several levels of standard JPEG compressed files.

    The NEF, a Nikon proprietary raw file design, was introduced with the Nikon D1 Camera and Nikon's original Capture software. The combination of Nikon camera, in-camera image processing, NEF file format and in-computer image processing with original Nikon Capture software was developed as a system that faithfully saved image files that represent the camera settings made manually or automatically by the photographer at the time a picture was taken.

    Nikon's preservation of its unique technology in the NEF file is employed as an action that protects the uniqueness of the file. At the same time, Nikon makes available a software developer kit (SDK) that, when implemented appropriately, enables a wide range of NEF performance, including white balance, for Nikon photographers and their productive use of the NEF file.

    Since the inception of the system, Nikon has always provided photographers with choices about how they might use the system's performance and enjoy high quality images. Nikon's choices for opening and processing NEF files have been and continue to include:
    Nikon Capture software
    Plug-in for Adobe's Photoshop
    Nikon PictureProject software
    Nikon View software
    Availability of Nikon Software Developer Kit (SDK) and the software that has been developed using the SDK

    Through use of the Nikon Software Developer Kit, authorized developers can produce software by applying creative concepts to their implementation and adding capabilities to open Nikon's NEF file and use NEF's embedded Instructions and Nikon's Libraries. Nikon photographers reap benefits from independent developers' approaches, because it allows the photographer to open and process their NEF images.

    After a developer's software is created using the Nikon SDK, a NEF file can be opened, edited in either TIFF or JPEG format, and then saved in formats available in the developers' software. This process has been available since the first Nikon SDK for NEF.

    With each introduction of a new Nikon digital Single Lens Reflex model, Nikon updates the available SDK selection to provide new information; this is the situation with the D2X, D2Hs and D50 models. As stated above, application for the Nikon SDK is possible for bona fide software companies that send Nikon a written application for the SDK. Once approved, the SDK is provided to the developer at no charge and they are authorized to use it.

    Nikon has provided its confidential SDK software to many software developers. With the Nikon SDK, developers may design excellent and creative compatibility between the NEF and their software, all without compromising the integrity of the NEF's original concept, and ensuring that work done by the photographer during the picture taking process can be incorporated into the rendering of the image.

    The trilogy of performance, from Camera-to-NEF-to-Capture, has evolved though several generations of Nikon Digital SLR models, improving along the way. As a proprietary format, Nikon secures NEF's structure and processing through various technologies. Securing this structure is intended for the photographer's benefit, and dedicated to ensuring faithful reproduction of the photographer's creative intentions through consistent performance and rendition of the images. Discussions propagated on the internet suggesting otherwise are misinformed about the unique structure of NEF.

    Nikon's Camera System, NEF and Capture software are a tightly knit system, and they are all developed through the cooperative efforts of Nikon's design teams, and this collaboration results in achieving the highest image quality.

    Nikon strives to provide photographers with excellent picture taking performance, compatible Nikon in-system image processing performance and by extension, compatibility with additional software developers' products, with the ultimate goal of delivering a high level of integrity for a photographer's creative vision.

    Nikon continues to welcome dialogue with bona fide software developers.
     
  4. Radiohead

    Radiohead
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    That doesn't sound to me like Nikon are seeking to disallow 3rd parties from accessing the WB data, not that they intend to force users to use Capture. It does, however, suggest to me that they are going to look long and hard at those 3rd parties planning on interpreting NEF data to make sure that they're doing so properly. I doubt that Adobe will be excluded.

    Nikon has offered its' SDK but Adobe is demanding special treatment.

    It WAS Adobe that made this issue public, in a poorly thought out spitting match of a press release (or article).

    It IS Adobe that is pushing it's one DNG format, not out of some love for the consumer, but to reduce their own devlopment costs. Nikon clearly does not see DNG as in its' best interest, nor that of its' clients. I wonder what Adobe's real agenda is here? Is this their way of putting pressure on the big companies who aren't going along with their proposed .DNG standard? If they win the fight with Nikon, I guess Canon will be next...

    Put another way - I have seen nothing in my years as an Adobe user that has shown me that they are in the *least* bit interested about fostering industry standards, co-operation and openess, unless it is to increase their industry hegemony. And their purchase of MM just makes it worse.
     
  5. pinatubo

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    I smell patent law as opposed to copyright law here .No computer program patenting is allowed in Europe at the moment ,a situation the European Commission is trying to change despite the wishes of the European Parliament.
     
  6. ASH1

    ASH1
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    I agree, I don't think Nikon should just hand it over either. But I do think Adobe or anyone else should be aloud to use it under licence. After all you spend your hard earned money on the camera of your choice, so you should be able to choose what software you want to use with it.

    ASH1
     
  7. Radiohead

    Radiohead
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    Interview with Dave Coffin over at DPReview

    http://www.dpreview.com/news/0504/05042701davecoffininterview.asp

    Basically confirming that Nikon's recent bunfight with Adobe is neither new nor a particular problem. Indeed, from his own website

    "A note about metadata encryption:

    A firestorm of controversy recently erupted when Thomas Knoll of Adobe accused Nikon of encrypting the white balance data in the D2X and D2Hs cameras, thus preventing Adobe from fully supporting these cameras.

    I cracked this encryption on April 15, and updated dcraw.c and parse.c on April 17. So "dcraw -w" now works correctly with all Nikon cameras.

    This is not a new problem. Phase One, Sony, Foveon, and Canon all apply some form of encryption to their raw files. Dcraw decodes them all -- you can easily find decryption code by searching for the ^ operator.

    Compression is not encryption. Phase One and Sony do encryption only. Kodak does compression only. Canon, Nikon, and Foveon compress the image data and encrypt some of the metadata."

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

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