Nikon encrypts white balance data - locks raw format

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by UrbanVoyeur, Apr 19, 2005.

  1. UrbanVoyeur

    UrbanVoyeur Guest

    http://www.dpreview.com/news/0504/05041901nikon_encryptnef.asp

    I wonder what genius thought this one up. Why does Nikon care? They are
    a camera company, not a software company - they give their raw converter
    software away.

    Somehow, I don't think this will help Nikon capture any more market share.

    I think Canon and the other camera makers should respond by adding DNG
    to their list of raw formats. Force Nikon's hand.
     
    UrbanVoyeur, Apr 19, 2005
    #1
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  2. UrbanVoyeur

    Alan Browne Guest

    <clarification> This is the white balance metadata, not the raw data.

    -don't they sell Nikon Capture? eg: it's not a giveaway.

    (I'm _not_ endorsing the idea at all, BTW, I agree that the data
    captured belongs to the photographer)
    More Nikon arrogance to chase away customers. (Ask PJ's about Nikon's
    attitude towards pro photogs).
    The last thing Canon would want is for Nikon to be less unappealing.
    I suspect Canon will take full advantage of Nikon's stupidity.

    It's not *that* bad for most of us here in usenet land, as, for now
    anyway, it is limited to their pro cameras (which may or may not piss
    off the pros). If they downflow this to the D70s and D50 ... then there
    is a problem in Nikon land.

    Cheers,
    Alan.
    --
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    -- [SI] gallery & rulz: http://www.pbase.com/shootin
    -- e-meil: Remove FreeLunch.
     
    Alan Browne, Apr 19, 2005
    #2
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  3. UrbanVoyeur

    UrbanVoyeur Guest

    True white balance is metadata, but without it you cannot do a decent
    raw conversion. It effectively locks out 3rd party developers.
     
    UrbanVoyeur, Apr 19, 2005
    #3
  4. UrbanVoyeur

    Alan Browne Guest

    Your statement: "they give their raw converter software away." implied
    (or seemed to imply) that it was the raw data being encrypted.
     
    Alan Browne, Apr 19, 2005
    #4
  5. UrbanVoyeur

    Jeremy Nixon Guest

    They sell Nikon Capture for money. Evidently they've realized that it's
    a worthless piece of garbage and are trying to sell more copies of it
    anyway.
     
    Jeremy Nixon, Apr 19, 2005
    #5
  6. UrbanVoyeur

    Jeremy Nixon Guest

    Well, sure you can. You just can't use "as shot" white balance in RAW
    conversion because you don't have access to that information.

    If Nikon really wanted to lock out third-party developers in one fell
    swoop they'd have encrypted a lot more than the in-camera white balance
    data. This seems like a "toe in the water" move -- one that is already
    looking like a total PR disaster for Nikon.

    Because Nikon's software needs to be able to decrypt the data, it is
    not difficult to crack the encryption. Other RAW converters have already
    done it, in fact, with little fanfare. The issue with Adobe is that it
    is probably illegal under US law to crack the encryption, so it's not
    that they can't do it, it's that they don't want to do it. It should
    actually not be difficult for someone to write a batch-processor that
    decrypts the white balance information in NEF files.

    But that's not the point. The point is that it's looking like Nikon
    would rather move *away* from interoperability and toward forcing their
    customers to use their own (crappy) software.
     
    Jeremy Nixon, Apr 19, 2005
    #6
  7. UrbanVoyeur

    Owamanga Guest

    I guess it's possible one of the development teams just decided to do
    this without actually checking with anyone higher up, for the reason
    you mention above - commercially trying to save their arse.
     
    Owamanga, Apr 19, 2005
    #7
  8. UrbanVoyeur

    UrbanVoyeur Guest


    You're right. I believe only the plug-in is free - Nikon capture
    software is $100.
     
    UrbanVoyeur, Apr 19, 2005
    #8
  9. UrbanVoyeur

    UrbanVoyeur Guest

    Not if you manually white balance before you shoot. Even with auto white
    balance, without knowing what value the camera chose, the best 3rd party
    software can do is guess.
     
    UrbanVoyeur, Apr 19, 2005
    #9
  10. UrbanVoyeur

    andrew29 Guest

    Sure you can. The D2x stores its captured data in adjusted form, so
    to get "as shot" white balance all you have to do is not change
    anything.

    Andrew.
     
    andrew29, Apr 19, 2005
    #10
  11. UrbanVoyeur

    Owamanga Guest

    Eh? It shouldn't do this.

    It should store it in RAW format - no adjustments made but with
    details about it's chosen white balance to allow the RAW importer to
    apply that if the user wishes. Otherwise an incorrect white balance
    setting would screw up the RAW data, and that's no good for anybody.

    ...and if it *has* applied the white balance to the RAW data prior to
    saving it, how do you think a RAW importer is going to apply a fixed
    white balance temperature of your own choice without having the
    details of what it's converting *from*?
     
    Owamanga, Apr 19, 2005
    #11
  12. UrbanVoyeur

    Jeremy Nixon Guest

    Evidently the D2x applies white balance *before* the a2d conversion,
    so it really is still RAW format.
     
    Jeremy Nixon, Apr 19, 2005
    #12
  13. That is a really interesting decision. On the one hand, it should
    help with quantization noise, I'd think. On the other hand, it
    makes it more important to get WB right at the scene, which takes
    away one of the advantages of shooting RAW.

    Overall, to me, the trade-off sounds worthwhile. But I imagine
    some people are going to be upset, and I don't blame them.
     
    Ben Rosengart, Apr 19, 2005
    #13
  14. UrbanVoyeur

    Jeremy Nixon Guest

    Not necessarily. You could "simulate" the old method by just setting
    the camera to daylight balance and adjusting in RAW as before. Any
    adjustments made before the a2d stage would only hurt if they were in
    the wrong direction.

    Still, I know nothing firsthand about this. My D2x is alleged to be
    arriving on Thursday.
     
    Jeremy Nixon, Apr 19, 2005
    #14
  15. UrbanVoyeur

    Sheldon Guest

    Excuse me, but don't you own the image once you've taken it? If I'm right,
    you can do anything you want with it, and involve anybody you want to help
    you work with it. If the public make some noise I doubt anyone cracking
    this code will be in any trouble.
     
    Sheldon, Apr 20, 2005
    #15
  16. UrbanVoyeur

    John Francis Guest

    Bibble Labs have publicly stated they've already cracked it.

    But Adobe have to be a little more circumspect - after all, they've
    already used the DMCPA to prosecute Dmitry Skylov for cracking the
    encryption of their eBooks. They can't afford to risk anything.

    Your position - that nobody will get into trouble - is a good common
    sense position. Unmfortunately we're dealing with the DMCPA here;
    common sense has very little to do with it.
     
    John Francis, Apr 20, 2005
    #16
  17. UrbanVoyeur

    Roxy d'Urban Guest

    Hey Alan, don't buy any fucking Nikons, okay? Your little Minolta world
    won't end because of anything that Nikon does, so why do you get yourself
    all worked up about something that doesn't concern you in the first place?
     
    Roxy d'Urban, Apr 20, 2005
    #17
  18. UrbanVoyeur

    andrew29 Guest

    In order to speed up A/D conversion the D2x has four converters in
    parallel. Once this decision was made, it was an obvious idea to
    allocate them to RGGB and adjust the relative gain of the amplifiers.

    Andrew.
     
    andrew29, Apr 20, 2005
    #18
  19. It is also better from a technical point of view. Minimizing noise is
    more important than passing the analog data in some standard way.
     
    Philip Homburg, Apr 20, 2005
    #19
  20. UrbanVoyeur

    JPS Guest

    In message <>,
    The question is, do the Nikons do any color-balancing when reading the
    Sensor? If they don't, then what does it matter? The color channel
    sensitivities are fixed. If they aren't, then color balance can still
    be tuned by hand. I tune all my Canon shots in the RAW converter, and
    always have the camera set to daylight, as the white balance setting has
    *ZERO* effect upon the RAW image data.
    --
     
    JPS, Apr 20, 2005
    #20
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