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Old Sep 28, 2004, 1:02 AM   #1
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Everyone probably heard about the new format Adobe presented today. Is it good? Well, every camera manufacturer supporting RAW cooks its own format which is a rather difficult story for any application supporting RAW.

Fortunately there is DCRAW, the open source lib to decode all the available RAW formats. Even Adobe based their decoding on DCRAW with the exception of doing the color interpolation with its own method.

So, the new format contains the RAW bits compressed (the spec only lists lossless JPEG for compression) in DNG along with the ancient TIFF tags. I'm writing this because I really hoped that they were using XMP in the first place. XMP is supported in the spec but not enforced. There are also some funny new tags like MakerNoteSafety and AntiAliasStrength as part of the TIGG 6.0 update.

Do the camera manufacturer jump on this? There must have been talks already but if a common format is in place, software provided by camera manufacturer will be exchangeable. Imagine one company got the best color interpolator, who is using the Sony one? I can understand the reluctant press release of the camera manufacturer.

What is your opinion on that?
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Old Sep 28, 2004, 5:50 AM   #2
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The longer I am into digital the less I seem to understand some of the "technical" information. Maybe since we already have disposable film cameras, we will next have digital cameras to send in for prints as well?

How about some sample photos that demonstrate the advantages of the "new" over the old?
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Old Sep 28, 2004, 9:21 AM   #3
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normc wrote:
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Maybe since we already have disposable film cameras, we will next have digital cameras to send in for prints as well?
These have been out for over a year now:

http://www.ritzcamera.com/webapp/wcs...uctId=13164501




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Old Sep 28, 2004, 9:25 AM   #4
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To the above question, it's unrelated to the original post and would be much better served as its own question here.

(back to the original question)

When it comes to RAW, proprietary is better. RAW is supposed to be the raw data from the CCD/CMOS imager WITHOUT any in-camera processing...the idea being that the computer will do all the processing. If we start getting into a standard file format for RAW, someone who uses a $30,000 22mp medium format camera might be stuck with a RAW format designed by $300 5mp consumer camera makers.

If someone buys a good camera with a RAW mode, they will load in their driver and RAW converter for their camera and not care if it's compatible with another brand of camera with a RAW mode.

Why have a standard RAW mode in the first place...the only reason to have standard file formats is for sharing files, and most photographers wouldn't part with their RAW images as it's their camera's best.
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Old Sep 28, 2004, 9:53 AM   #5
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Jurgen Eidt wrote:
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Everyone probably heard about the new format Adobe presented today. Is it good?
I personally think it's a good idea to have a standardized RAW format.

Unless this format is very flexible, then it could have some potential limitations.

Hopefully, we'll see the manufacturers support it (an in camera option to save to a new standardized format would be preferrable).
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Well, every camera manufacturer supporting RAW cooks its own format which is a rather difficult story for any application supporting RAW.

Fortunately there is DCRAW, the open source lib to decode all the available RAW formats. Even Adobe based their decoding on DCRAW with the exception of doing the color interpolation with its own method.
I've had the opportunity tochat withDave Coffin (the author of DCRAW) by phone several times in the past couple of weeks. Dave was kind enough to add support to DCRAWfor a pocketable camera I've got (Konica KD-510z) that has a hidden RAW format, after I sent him some test files to work with.

Interestingly, Dave seemed to imply that years down the road, his source code may be the only alternative for converting RAW images for some models. I have not talked to Dave since the DNG announcement. Now that a new standard is being proposed, this could give us better alternatives for future use.

Mostmanufacturers do seem to be very protective of their RAW Formats. For example, according to Dave Coffin,Sony actually went to the trouble of encrypting the RAW filesused by their new DSC-F828. Dave has a sample c program that can be used to decrypt this format on his web site.

For other RAW formats, he's had to reverse engineer them, too (for his conversion to work), since they don't seem to want to publish information about the file structures.

So, this would seem to imply that some manufacturers may notbe quick to embrace a RAW standard (speculation on my part).


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Old Sep 28, 2004, 2:29 PM   #6
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The work from David Coffin is very important. He created a lib that combines a hardware abstraction and a color processing. Without an open standard (can't really name it standard but for the file format for each camera model) using this format is not my personal preference.

You can of course convert after you shoot and save as a TIFF/JPEG, but if some years later a new color interpolation is developed that really makes a difference, you are stuck with your processed images if there is no update for your converting software available. Using DCRAW you can replace the color processing.
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Old Sep 28, 2004, 6:24 PM   #7
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I sent David Coffin an e-mail about the newly proposedformat. Perhaps he will have some comments about it.

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Old Sep 28, 2004, 11:50 PM   #8
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He will be busy adding .dng to DCRAW! It will probably the most easiest format to implement
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Old Sep 29, 2004, 2:25 AM   #9
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When I first read of it, it seems to me Adobe created this new universal standard in the hopes of addressing the archiving/longevity issue... this is one that's perhaps withholding a section of current film shooters from entering the digital market.

IMHO It doesn't help current raw shooters (even with the free converter offerred), and IF the industry's big guns adopted this universal raw standard, there would still be turbulent years to come in the near future, as photographers, hardware/device makers and software engineers undergo the transition phase. However, if all goes according to Adobe's plan - I can foresee a promising outlook.

However, whenever one player decides to conquer the industry, it's lead to a history of bad outcomes:
Microsoft's "universal" word processing formal RTF, the four-thirds lens system, DVD writing standards, etc.
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Old Sep 29, 2004, 6:28 AM   #10
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You said it much better than I. The words "new standard" should be a red flag to buyers asMOST products only become standard as a result of the market place and not an anoucement by a manufacture. I do not think that this issue is "off topic".
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