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Old Mar 30, 2006, 11:02 AM   #11
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mtclimber wrote:
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Because I owned a number of Nikkor lenses, and because I wanted to save some money, I ordered a Nikon refurbished D-50 for $399. It arrived today. Naturally I was elated and I began charging the battery immediately.
Wow, $399, amazing. I've got a few Nikkor lenses and I'd be tempted to get one at that price. I broke my wife's favorite Nikon SLR (a Nikon N4004s) and I need to find her a replacement camera.

But, I'm boycotting this product (because Nikon encrypted metadata related to White Balance in .nef files from the D50). So, I'll have to switch her to one of the Minolta 35mm bodies I've acquired for now, until budget permits getting her a Konica Minolta (or perhaps new Sony) DSLR.

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Old Mar 30, 2006, 11:25 AM   #12
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All Nikon really did was compress the wb info. There isn't any reason for software not to be able to read the Nikon info. I use a utility ccalled ufraw in gimp. (Both free and open source.) The code for deciphering the Nikon info is right there for all to see. There is no magic to it and no reason to boycott anything.
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Old Mar 30, 2006, 12:01 PM   #13
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All Nikon really did was compress the wb info.
It's not compression, it's encryption (they XOR'd the RGB multipliers related to White Balance, and these multipliers change at random even if white balance stays the same).

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There isn't any reason for software not to be able to read the Nikon info. I use a utility ccalled ufraw in gimp. (Both free and open source.) The code for deciphering the Nikon info is right there for all to see. There is no magic to it and no reason to boycott anything.
Ufraw is decrypting it because David Coffin cracked the ecnryption and published it in dcraw.c

Nikon encrypts the metadata related to white balance in .nef files generated by the D50, D2Hs and D2X models.

This was a new practice, beginning with the D2X.

It caused a lot of bad press for them, and I wasn't particularly happy about it either.

Eric Hyman (author of Bibble) was the first to crack the encryption (and BTW, Bibble is available for Linux). David Coffin cracked it soon thereafter and included the decryption routines in dcraw.c (Nikon basically xor'd the rgb multipliers related to white balance, using part of the camera's serial number as part of the key to further confuse).

You won't have any problem with the GIMP using available free plugins based on David Coffin's dcraw.c (including products like UFRaw, that use David's code for the demosaic algorithms). Many Linux distros already have the plugins installed.

After a lot of bad press when Adobe decided that they were not going to support the as shot white balance information from Nikon models encrypting white balance, a compromise was made. What happened is that Nikon decided to offer a mini SDK that allows Adobe to decrypt the as shot white balance information, without using Nikon's demosaic algorithms (so that Adobe could use it's own algorithms for the raw conversion piece).

But, the data is still encrypted. Just because Adobe and Nikon decide to "play nice", doesn't solve it from my perspective. I could care less if Adobe is happy with the arrangement.

What if some bright young teenager comes up with a revolutionary new way to process data from sensors, and he or she doesn't have Nikon's Software Developer's Kit?

Perhaps they don't want to agree to Nikon's terms to get the SDK, or don't qualify as a "bonafide developer" (a choice of words that didn't sit well with me when Nikon started defending it's practice).

Or, perhaps someone wants to develop a raw converter for a platform that Nikon doesn't have an SDK available for (think Linux, Solaris, etc.)

Then, what do they do?

Do they take the risk that they're not going to get into trouble over violating the Digital Millenium Copyright Act by decrypting the data (which was apparently Adobe's concern over this issue until they finallly reached a compromise with Nikon)?

Or, worse yet, do developers avoid working on converting the raw files entirely, stifling potential innovation and improvements with raw converters?

Yes, some developers have decided to risk decrypting it. But, I sure don't like it, and I'm not going to buy a product that uses encyryption to obscure data in raw files.

IMO, the only reason to encrypt metadata in raw files is to stifle competition.

If Nikon thinks they've got a better solution with something like the optional Nikon Capture software, fine. But, let the product stand on it's own merits. Don't throw roadblocks in front of competitors by encrypting data.

We all end up spending more money for software, even if we don't own Nikon gear over this kind of thing (although I guess software manufacturers could decide to price raw converters based on what camera you own).

Developers have to spend time decrypting data, sorting through legal issues, etc., and that cost gets passed on to consumers.

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Old Mar 30, 2006, 3:11 PM   #14
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NLAlston wrote:
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Thanks everyone. You have all provided some very useful information, and I appreciate it - immensely. Now, maybe I should know the answer to this next question of mine (but I don't): Rey made mention of a '4/3' factor - on the Evolt 500 - and I wondered what this was in reference to.
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Hi Nathan!
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I am a brand new OLY E-500 owner. My choices also boiled down to the E-500, D-50 and Canon Rebel XT.
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I must tell you that Iam perfectly satisfied in all respects! To be honest...I was concerned about what I had read concerning the smaller than average VF...but, after using the camera for a couple of days now...I can report that it is a complete non-issue. It is absolutely not a problem.
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As far as price goes....I bought mine at Best Buy....for $899.00 plus the 100.00 Oly rebate. The wife and I went to our local Sam's club to shop...and I noticed they had the E-500 for $ 699.00 w/two lens kit. I was somewhat majorly bummed....but I had the clerk copy their price tag for me. I then went straight to Best Buy to see if they would price match it....and they did. So I was a happpppy camper!!
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I agree with what has been said in that both cameras are excellent choices...they will both take outstanding pics....provided the man behind the camera is willing to read the manual..and practice...practice....practice!! Have fun....and good luck!
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randy





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Old Mar 30, 2006, 3:29 PM   #15
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Randy,



Thanks much, for your input. I went out again, today, to handle the two considered cameras again. I must have toyed with both, for a good while, before I decided that the best one for me just might be the E-volt 500. Though I have never had an SLR before, photography has long been a strong desire of mine - and I have done a whole lot of "Point & Shooting" :-). I don't remember where, but I read that the E-volt 500 would yield nice blowups of 30"x20" sizes. I won't, necessarily, go quite that large with any blowups I may do, but it is good to know that such capacity is there. Hopefully, I will be able to pick one of thhese Oly's up no later than Saturday (to take advantage of the rebate).

Blessings,

Nathan
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Old Mar 30, 2006, 6:51 PM   #16
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I recommend trying before you buy. Go to the camera shop with an SD card (D50) and a CF card (Oly). Put both cameras in manual mode and crank the ISO to 800. Point them at the darkest corner of the store. Take several pictures. Go home and compare them.
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Old Mar 30, 2006, 7:35 PM   #17
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Totally agree with trying out both cameras. I recently narrowed down my choices to the E-500 and the Canon 20D/30D. I was really leaning towards the Canon but after printing out the photos went with the E-500. Took the exact same shots with both cameras at all ISO levels and was very surprised the E-500 did quite well at the higher ISO levels. So far very happy with my choice. The only negative is the flash unit for this camera seems to be made of gold. Totally out of stock everywhere. The best delivery I could find gets it into my hands hopefully at the end of May.

While in the camera shop a salesperson mentioned that they had just received a shipment of re-furbished Nikon D-50's at a great price. I did not go any farther with it as I did not want to open another choice. I am curious thoughwhy there seems to be a rather large supply of re-furbished units coming on the market.


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Old Mar 30, 2006, 7:37 PM   #18
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My major considerations for D50 were :

1.) Low Noise Levels compared to any other camera.

2.) Image Quality

3.) Ease of use (ISO, WB, Exposure controls ... buttons)

4.) Small (Blank & White LCD) to show the camera settings is handy because some times when shooting on Sunny day the regular (color) LCD will fade out under the sun and this B&W LCD will very useful. Most of the basic DSLR's are not having this B&W LCD except XT & D50.

5.) E-500 CCD size is less than D50 CCD size and E-500 cramps-in more pixels (8MP)on to a smaller size CCD than D50 which results in higer noise. Where as Nikon D50 puts-in only 6 MP on a bigger sized CCD results in less noise.

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Old Mar 30, 2006, 7:52 PM   #19
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vsrinu30 wrote:
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My major considerations for D50 were :

1.) Low Noise Levels compared to any other camera.

2.) Image Quality

3.) Ease of use (ISO, WB, Exposure controls ... buttons)

4.) Small (Blank & White LCD) to show the camera settings is handy because some times when shooting on Sunny day the regular (color) LCD will fade out under the sun and this B&W LCD will very useful. Most of the basic DSLR's are not having this B&W LCD except XT & D50.

I think you missed the Pentax *ist DL, it also has this feature ( B/W screen at the top of the body )
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Old Mar 31, 2006, 1:26 PM   #20
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Bayside3 wrote:
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While in the camera shop a salesperson mentioned that they had just received a shipment of re-furbished Nikon D-50's at a great price. I did not go any farther with it as I did not want to open another choice. I am curious thoughwhy there seems to be a rather large supply of re-furbished units coming on the market.

This is what has slowed my step, a bit, in the direction of the D-50. To be well-stocked with refurbished items - from a manufacturer's offering - could only spell very problematic situations with that particular product line. But I won't discount the D-50, wholly - as yet.

Please indulge me just one more question on the Oly 500 Evolt, though: again, I don't remember where Iperused this either, but I ran across mention that the LCD screen stays lit through the compositional stage (which is probably why another owner/user lamented over the camera's high battery drain). Now, I am not very familiar with photographic terms, and wonder if "compositioning" is in reference to one's preparation in setting up shots. If so, then this is to translate into that screen being on almost all the time. When we purchased our little Oly point & shoot d-cam I had passed on another really nice one - solely behind the fact that it had no viewfinding eyepiece, and all had to be effectuated through its LCD screen. I knew that this would be ultra-taxing on the batteries - which is why I opted away from it. Please shed some light on the LCD matter with the 500 Evolt.

~ Blessings ~

Nathan

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