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A letter to Nikon

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by hillrg, Aug 1, 2005.

  1. I know I should get over it, but I am still annoyed with Nikon over the WB encryption issue. I wrote a letter to Nikon to express my feelings and I have posted it on my pbase site.

    For anyone interested, you can read it at http://www.pbase.com/roryhill/letter_to_nikon. I value the opinions of the members of this site, so let me know what you think.
  2. I think it is well-written.
    And I particularly like one point, which I think should be the motto of those against WB encryption
  3. A well-thought-out and well-written letter (I'm a writer by trade, and I don't say that too often, LOL!) Now, I hope that letter will do some good! I agree that it's an important issue to keep out there, front and center!
  4. JeffKohn


    Apr 21, 2005
    Houston, TX
    There are a lot of rumors swirling around that the next update of ACR will fully support decoding the D2X white balance. If true that will certainly be good news.
  5. That would be great. It does a very good job on my not-encrypted D2H files.
  6. To be honest. This was not a concern of mine, I shoot RAW and use Capture to PP. But the more I think on it, encription endangers my digital negitives.
    I don't save all my photos as jpeg or tiff and rely on PP Raw files to correct my files. If in the future I choise to go to another brad I will need to maintain Nikon software to fully modify my negitives.
    The "Light Bulb" is finally going on this is not a good thing.

  7. Rory, very well written, from a fellow Canuck. I commend you on your structure, points, emphasis. VERY well written. I certainly hope they put as much effort into reading and disseminating it (pls correct my spelling if need be, it's late for me, I've had a tough day).
    Don't give up, in fact... NEVER give up (W Churchill).
  8. I actually go back and forth on this issue.

    I agree that we need to pressure Nikon on this, and your letter does a very good job of that.

    But the realities of the technology involved aren't as clear cut as everyone seems to think they are. Nikon's encryption really isn't, and there is open source code readily available that reads the WB info from D2X NEFs without any problems.

    And the programmer that wrote that code has written that plenty of RAW file meta data is encrypted in one way or another. That what Nikon did is nothing new or unique to that data in those files. So I am not so sure how this issue gathered so much steam.

    I think it is an Adobe/Nikon thing. Adobe drew a line when they saw how WB data is stored in D2X NEFs and off it went.

    As an engineer that works on these very things myself, I have to say that what goes on behind the scenes is almost NEVER what we on the outside think they are. ;) 
  9. Very interesting and well written letter Rory. I had never thought about the long term storability of my NEF images before reading this letter.
  10. Hi Gordon

    That really is the key issue with the need for some standards, be they DNG or whatever. Closed file systems do not last. The encryption is an annoyance.
  11. Przemek

    Przemek Guest

    Photographer's copyright

    After originally siding with Nikon on the encryption issue as a method to fend off Adobe attempt to control digital photography, I changed my mind after dissecting the case more carefully.

    My current stance is short: Nikon is IMO violating the photographer's copyright to his/her own pictures by preventing the photographer from opening them in anything but Nikon software, and at the same time making it virtually illegal to use anything else.

    It's worse than forcing one to use certain developer chemicals. In that case, at least there was a chance that an alternative chemical can be developed, and everyone would be happy. This time development of the "alternative chemical" is legally prohibited.

    Oh Nikon, what have you got yourself into.

  12. I think eventually someone's going to get really pissed and Sue Nikon and any others who encrypt for copyright violations to their intellectual property, then we'll probably see them turn around if they refuse to see the light.
  13. Przemek

    Przemek Guest

    Nikon will loose sales

    Nikon will loose sales - that's certain - with the encryption.

    I would not be surprised myself if someone filed a lawsuit, or even started a class action suit or something.

    Nikon should serve it's customers, not it's own needs (at least not as much as they do this time).

  14. Vandyu


    May 14, 2005
    Richmond, VA
    Re: Photographer's copyright

  15. Przemek

    Przemek Guest


    I see the sarcasm of your post :) 

    If that were to happen, then things would go further downhill I think - encryption wise at least.

    I thought though that M$ owned a large portion of Adobe, but then I have no solid facts to support this claim.

    Plus, I think if M$ were to absorb a camera company, they would likely take over Canon because of Canon's seemingly general audience of consumers who have no prior experience with photography. From what I can tell, M$ likes to mesmerize the masses. Or they would absorb someone who is failing like Pentax - because Pentax's business does not encompass other fields such as copier or office machine business like that of Canon. Canon is likely too big for M$ and Nikon probably too well entrenched.

    Just my own opnions - no factual support for them whatsoever.

  16. rebrewer


    Aug 1, 2005
    Davis, CA
    I agree with one of the previous posters that the encryption is an annoyance. As one who is in the IT business, it doesn't concern me much at all. Nikon encrypted WB. It has already been reverse engineered and thus can be easily unencrypted. Whatever Nikon's reasons for encryption were, I think it will be more or less a dead issue a couple years from now.

  17. I think it is easy and quite understandable for those of us on the consumption side to think Nikon has motives or intentions that they really do not have.

    I see this quite often when I read boards where people discuss the products I work on, and the other products the company I work for sells.

    It can be depressing and even amusing to read why we allegedly do what people think we are doing.

    But they are invariably incorrect as to the why and how and even what is actually going on.

    Because of this, I personally give Nikon the benefit of the doubt. So long as ACR shows up with real D2X compatibility in the next year I will be happy. Keeping in mind that ACR is the ONLY RAW tool I use that isn't already compatible. All of the others already are.
  18. heiko


    May 15, 2005

    I entirely agree with your letter. Also your reference to the openraw initiative is helpful. However, I also agree with some other posts as to the fact that RAW formats - no matter which camera maker - are proprietary to the specific maker (at least I haven't heard of a standard RAW format employed in any camera, yet). I also see some difficulties in camera manufacturers agreeing on a standard, as this would be probably very basic and stripped off many additional features that one or another manufacturer may want to add.

    Said that, there is - to my opinion - no reason to disclose or even encrypt data structures in a RAW file, thus preventing the general public to eventually decipher the information.

    I ran into the RAW conversion problem when I got my D70 a little more than a year ago and used a Linux PC for home use. As all Linux development depends on either proprietary information being released by the hardware manufacturers or the latter's development of a driver/converter for Linux, the situation with RAW converters for Linux is - at least now - very problematic. The only available solution I found was the dcraw converter written by Dave Coffin who - as he writes - had to decipher the RAW files from over a hundred different brands and models. While the dcraw converter worked with D70 NEF files, the standard output was not satisfactory and I eventually gave up and bought a Microsoft Windows OS to overcome the problems.

    In other words, my only good reason for changing to Microsoft was because I wanted to process NEF files on my PC. For all other purposes I would have rather continued using Linux.

    I can only assume the reasons behind proprietary RAW files, which I believe are additional revenue streams from selling conversion software. Everybody knows that the war on dSLR is fought via hardware prices for the cameras. So it seems obvious that the manufacturers want to cash some extra money by selling software and other peripherals.

    In Nikon's case I consider this a rather poor strategy. Nikon software is everything but reliable and fast. Seems Nikon still has a long way to go to become a software company. And with Adobe Photoshop and other alternatives being around, this will be a tough challenge for Nikon. Why not stick to what you're good at, Nikon?

    Thanks for your efforts, Rory!

  19. Heiko

    Thanks for the reasoned feedback. The one thing I find hard to understand (not your reply) is the number of people that want to find excuses for Nikon's behavior. We are the consumers, and this is not in our interest. Why on earth would we condone it?
  20. I know what you mean. I frequently hear people accusing my company of incredibly machiavelian schemes - if only we were so smart.

    However, in Nikon's case, it is hard to subsribe any noble motivations to adding the encryption, unannounced, to the NEF WB. You are willing to give Nikon the benefit of the doubt - I ask, what doubt is there?
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