A software question on RAW (NEF) files ?

Discussion in 'General Technical Discussion' started by StuSimmo, Mar 17, 2005.

  1. There seems to be a lot more raw aware programs these days (and I see Bibble 4.2 supports D2X). Capture to me seems superb as when you make a change to the NEF it is written and saved in the NEF. Re-open the file and you get the changes and can reset to originals if you want.

    My question :?: Do any other programs do this without saving the changes in another file :?:

    I get the feeling that most programs write a change log to another file and this puts me off looking at other programs. Please tell me if there are other programs that work in the same way to Capture.
     
  2. Hi Stu,

    I am recently new to Nikon and Capture as you might know from some posts.

    How exactly do you mean when you make a change to the NEF it is writtain and saved NEF and when it is Re-opened the file and you get the changes and can reset to originals if you want.

    Thanks,
     
  3. I think what he means is that Capture changes the tags associated with the RAW file - not the raw info itself. Photoshop does the same thing in my experience but I don't have experience with any other programs.
     
  4. Melissa and Todd, he does mean that Capture physically changes the NEF itself, rather than creating a "sidecar" file the way that Bibble, Photoshop and Capture 1 do. The danger for any 3rd party in writing to the NEF is that Nikon, just like Canon, has "proprietary" bits in the file that are not directly exposed and that they do not publicly document. This is one of the reasons that Adobe Camera Raw (ACR) is not yet ready for the D2X. One list I am on has Thomas Knoll of Adobe as a member, and there have been some quite interesting exchanges between him and a couple of Nikon folks regarding just this point.

    In a sense though, Todd, you do make a good point. All of the information that is changed in the NEF by Capture does not directly change the captured data. It is all stored in another part of the same file, this is the reason it is so easy to return the file to a "pristine" state.

    I hope that Peter or Iliah see this thread, I may send them a PM, because they can do a much better job than I can in explaining how this works. They have done a superb job, and are still doing one, in this regard with RM.
     
  5. Iliah

    Iliah

    Jan 29, 2005
    nowhere
    Dear Bill,

    Your explanation of the reasoning behind sidecar files is perfectly inline with current campaign.

    Now, look at the problem this way - if I read the tag, who prevents me from writing it back? Both sets of parameters are well-known and hacked long ago. Second set of parameters, the one that is written by Capture, is even easier to hack by third-parties, as it does not require having camera at hand.

    Minor changes that Nikon makes to NEF format to allow new camera features are nothing difficult to understand. "White balance encryption" is just an urban legend used to provoke FUD, unfortunately. It took us exactly three hours in studio to see how the balance tags are implemented.

    The real reason behind sidecar files is that there is no place in Nikon NEF format for tags other then Nikons'. Each RAW processor uses its own algorithms and parameters. Say, where in NEF can we put our demosaicing mode tag? or set of our sharpening parameters?

    Of course, we can use comment field in NEF, but IMHO digital undeveloped negative should remain that way - no changes; less danger to damage the file.
     
  6. What is FUD?
     
  7. Iliah

    Iliah

    Jan 29, 2005
    nowhere
    FUD is the fear, uncertainty, and doubt
     
  8. Iliah

    Iliah

    Jan 29, 2005
    nowhere
    This may add a little to the current discussion on cryptic matters:

    One of the participants of the discussion on Open RAW initiative wrote:

    > Additionally I think we need to define just how much of
    > the RAW file formats we want open.

    My response was:
    There is more in RAW then just RAW. Processing RAW depends on extra knowledge of the camera.

    Imagine you have a tag in RAW saying "normal contrast". What shall I do with it? Experiment with gray scales to decipher what exact transform I need to apply to get normal contrast? Does "normal" in terms of camera manufacturer actually reflects "normal" in terms of reproduction? Or in terms of "visual delight"?

    Even more complicated are chromaticities, filter properties, etc.

    Let's say that documenting of RAW format is only a small part of the problem. To perform RAW conversion to the same quality camera manufacturer is capable of we need to know all sensor details and a lot about camera internal processing.
     
  9. Iliah, thank you so much for the reply here. I held back on the other list, but I really wanted to as the Adobe folks how in the heck you guys were able to do this but they weren't. Then again, I didn't really think that would have appropriate in that venue. My thought was that when you are pushing your own "standard" format the best thing to do is to cast doubt on others.

    Seeing the RM changes the past few days I'd best upgrade my key so I can practice some more.

    Thanks again.
     
  10. Iliah

    Iliah

    Jan 29, 2005
    nowhere
    Bill, the question also is how "open" is DNG. For example, their method of chromaticity adaptation - it explains too little for so many folks to understand how to create the matrix Adobe suggests, and why that method is chosen. Second, if you are tied to suggested method of chromaticity adaptation - you do not have "undeveloped negative" any more.
     
  11. MontyDog

    MontyDog

    Jan 30, 2005
    #1064 - You have an error in your SQL syntax;
     
  12. MontyDog

    MontyDog

    Jan 30, 2005
    #1064 - You have an error in your SQL syntax;
     
  13. Iliah

    Iliah

    Jan 29, 2005
    nowhere
    Indeed. Digital is a newborn, and a formal reference implementation can introduce at least one of two problems: - slow camera development down, - and/or fall behind the current state-of-art and render itself useless.
     
  14. MontyDog

    MontyDog

    Jan 30, 2005
    #1064 - You have an error in your SQL syntax;
     
  15. Iliah

    Iliah

    Jan 29, 2005
    nowhere
    Dear Bill,

    First of all, one needs to have the camera :)

    If you ask me, having early access to cameras will help third-party RAW converter development much more then documentation on RAW formats.

    Our approach was quite simple - we changed colour temperature using filters, measured it using colormeter, made shots in AWB and custom preset modes (off the gray card), and finally compared dumps.
     
  16. Iliah, the other VERY important thing that "one needs to have" is a mind which is not already cluttered with ones own agenda :wink: , I'm not nameing names but I'd say exactly the same thing to all the parties involved. You and Peter truly amaze me in your depth of understanding of not only these issues but how to apply them in the real world. Quite happy that folks like you are around.

    Paul, being a long-time member of that other Internationally Oriented List myself, I very much enjoy the fact that so many folks are not "English as a First Language" speakers/writers. One big advantage of that for me is that I also have to be very cautious of thinkng my thoughts through so that I can be clear when written. And I can't give enough thanks to the folks like Iliah who do us the honor of dealing with us in English. I go through this all day at work as well, and too many of us don't recognize how fortunate we are that the rest of the world makes the effort to deal with us in English. Of course we all know that even "English" isn't really English now, don't we? I mean putting a "U" in words where it doesn't belong. And don't even get me started on "aluminum" :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:

    For all, to me the whole OpenRAW issue is more for education, and to let the cameras manufacturers know what this does cause. Here is a good one for you that a friend of mine and I discovered last night. We are both starting to use a PHP based system called Gallery for our images. One of the things that Gallery can use is a little program called jhead which will extract EXIF information. Both Dean and I shoot D2H's. OK, so there is the background. Last night we are comparing what the EXIF display looks like and on his images he sees "White Balance" while on mine I see "Lighting Source". Say what? How can this be? So we notice that his images are native JPG from the camera while mine are NEF that were converted to JPG in Nikon Capture, hmmmmm. So I go back and find a folder where I had taken NEF+JPG and guess what? The JPG say "White Balance". So here we have a case where Nikon has not even spoken with Nikon to decide which is correct. The camera firmware writes "White Balance" while Nikon Capture writes "Lighting Source". Given that I know how to contact the "right people" at Nikon, this email will be going off to them later today.
     
  17. MontyDog

    MontyDog

    Jan 30, 2005
    #1064 - You have an error in your SQL syntax;
     
  18. [quote="MontyDogHa! Well, I can forgive you "ex colonials" a lot - except for the typical prononciation of a marine navigation aid: buoy. :roll: :roll: :roll:

    In Queen's English, "buoy" is a homonym with "boy" (young man), in the same way "two" and "to" are :lol:

    It is great to have direct access to clever folks - I won't name names because I'm bound to forget someone and wouldn't like to upset anyone - but there are a lot of great contributors here and at "the other place" (DPR) and "over there" (the mailing list).

    Cheers, Paul.[/quote]

    Hey, Paul, how do you pronounce that place you are from, eh? "War-Chester-Shire" or like we do here in the state of Massachusetts, where I was born, "Wusssssterrhhhh". Never figured that one out. Then again here in Washington we have the "city" of Sequim, pronounced "Squim", the only word I know of with the Silent E in the middle.....

    You bring up a good point in not trying to name names. I, too, also remember another 10 or 20 I should have acknowledged whenever I do :oops: , and then I have lots of apologies to make.

    So, in the interim, I'll try to add my half-pence (not bad, eh?) to the fray when I can and be a pain-in-the-butt the rest of the time :wink: .

    As noted, I'll be sure your comment goes off as well.
     
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