Saturday, April 30, 2005

RAW data in digital cameras and the fight against standards -- and especially Adobe DNG

RAW storm in a teacup? Dave Coffin interviewed: Digital Photography Review

As in cameras, so in every domain.
9. Is there a place for a standard 'Open' RAW format or does that raise too many issues to do with the sharing of proprietary image processing between competitive manufacturers?

Adobe Digital Negative (DNG) is a great format -- I totally redesigned dcraw for maximum DNG compatibility. But you won't see much enthusiasm from the camera makers. This Joel essay explains why:

Photoshop and digital cameras are complements. Adobe wants to commoditize the digital camera, and the camera makers want to stop them.
Camera vendors want to lockin customers to their cameras and their software. If they could do it they would ensure that photographers pay a regular fee to retain access to their images -- forever.

The only way this will stop is if people start buying cameras based on their support for Adobe's (public) DNG format. I know it would weigh heavily in any buying decision I would make -- but I'm hardly a typical consumer. (BTW, Adobe is no more noble than the camera vendors, it's just that in this case Adobe's interests are aligned with consumer interests.)

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