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Raw & Post Processing, Printing => Digital Image Processing => Topic started by: ausoleil on April 24, 2005, 12:30:27 PM

Title: Nikon Releases Statement on NEF Encryption
Post by: ausoleil on April 24, 2005, 12:30:27 PM
double post, deleted
Title: Nikon Releases Statement on NEF Encryption
Post by: nobody on April 24, 2005, 10:32:05 PM
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What's the point?  Do they really think they can charge Adobe et al enough licensing fees to make this worthwhile?
I think Canon's eating their lunch and they're desperate.

Or maybe just hugely clueless.  I mean, really.  Encrypting the white balance data?  Sounds like some suit told the engineers to encrypt the files, they said "we don't have enough processor to do the whole thing" and they compromised by just doing the white balance data.
Title: Nikon Releases Statement on NEF Encryption
Post by: Robert Spoecker on April 25, 2005, 09:12:39 PM
Phooey!! Since the NC converter installation crashes on all 5 of our Macs, this Marvelous_$100_Piece_of_Shit isn't even worth getting via the informal research acquisition route.

Hey, everybody, go out and buy a D2X right away while you can, while Nikon is still in business (sort of).
Title: Nikon Releases Statement on NEF Encryption
Post by: Robert Spoecker on April 26, 2005, 02:39:47 PM
Yeah, all correct and relevant.  I was really sorry to see Commodore stupidify their way to extinction.  Still, sometimes too much variety can also reduce overall efficiency with so many folks re-inventing the wheel over and over again and creating confusion and a plethora of not so hot products.  How many kinds of plug/jack configuration are there for wall wart type power supplies?  This is just to make every manufacturer have something artificially unique and incompatible with the other guy's stuff.  No better for the consumer than just one guy getting all the marbles and giving us just one choice.  Humans make messes.  That's a fundamental condition.  There's just differently flavored messes.

I'm having plenty of fun anyway and have no misgivings about the D2X or any real worry about long run functionality.  Nikon will either smarten up pretty soon or die.  Simple.
Title: Nikon Releases Statement on NEF Encryption
Post by: BryanHansel on April 28, 2005, 01:50:26 AM
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The Dave Coffin story was interesting, but don’t use it as an excuse to let Nikon off the hook.
You must have forgotten, I never put Nikon on the hook.  It doesn't really bother me, because I use Capture.  I still use Photoshop 6.

Adobe should bite the bullet and pay Nikon for rights to crack the code.  I'm sure it all comes down to licensing fees.  But you're more connected to Adobe than I, so maybe you can ask them if they have offered to pay Nikon for the rights.  If you think there is some big conspiracy other than money working here, you're wrong.  Nikon wants their fair share of the money, and I wouldn't also be surprised if they wanted the image quality to be maintained and interpreted how they meant it to be.

I know you represent a magazine devoted to Photoshop, so you may never admit that they could be part of the problem, but if Adobe isn't willing to pay out a little cash, then I think the problem is equally in their court.  Why should Adobe be able to profit off of a great technology that Nikon developed without having to pay for it.  That's like asking me to give licensing rights of my best images away for free.

Now, if Adobe has offered to pay, and the price they offered was reasonable, and Nikon said no, then I'd be pissed.  Until I hear that one, you just won't get me too angry at Nikon, other than Capture should be free with the Ds, and they should make a F100 with the D2x chip.

Quote
What is it they are really trying to hide?

Ask Dave Coffin, he cracked it.
Title: Nikon Releases Statement on NEF Encryption
Post by: ausoleil on April 28, 2005, 09:16:08 AM
It is about licensing, and it is about control.  Nikon wants to maintain control of the RAW data, data that are yours -- you created it.

This is as silly as the patent for FAT32, which a certain company has been using as leverage to generate fees for itself.  Thankfully, the OSS world remembers the prior art in the this case and has gotten that patent's validity questioned such that it is being reconsidered.

Regarding should Nikon be paid for their superior file format, I believe that's been done when someone pulls out a credit card or a checkbook and writes Nikon a nice fat check for one of their camera bodies.

Now that we know Canon neither obfusticates their RAW files nor apparently plans to do so, we know that Nikon is not only in a poor public relations position, they are also in a poor marketing position as well.  Do not expect Canon to overlook this -- they are a masterful company at marketing their products and this one has come gift-wrapped with a shiny bow from their main competitor (Nikon.)

As for Sony's doing something similar, it is not surprising in the least - Sony has a long history in this regard, and they also have led the market in technologies that lost out despite being superior, which was due to their hubris:  Betamax, and so forth and so on.

Expect Nikon to back off of this one later rather than sooner, but back off they will.  They will have to.
Title: Nikon Releases Statement on NEF Encryption
Post by: Ben Rubinstein on May 03, 2005, 07:20:03 AM
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Countless similar examples could be contrived.  Just because someone develops a product doesn't mean that other manufacturers shouldn't be able to offer accessories for it.  

Um, not quite, Canon happily locks out sigma lenses every 5 years or so when updating bodies. Then again it's not the same as encrypting your data.
Title: Nikon Releases Statement on NEF Encryption
Post by: Schewe on May 03, 2005, 07:51:01 PM
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Quote
but most Nikon shooters don't see it that way.

Do you have scientific poll data to back up this claim?

Well judging by the responce on the Nikonions web site and others such as Thom Hogan, I don't think "scientific poll data" is relevent.

See: Thom Hogan's D2X Review (http://www.bythom.com/d2xreview.htm)

He says:

White balance information tags for many cameras live in the standard EXIF data recorded with a digital image. Recent Nikon DSLRs have been putting that information into the Maker's tag section of EXIF instead. That could have been a problem, but almost all serious digital photography software has adjusted and knows where to look for the white balance data in a Nikon NEF file. Remember, NEF is a raw format, so in order to render an image from it, you have to apply some camera setting information--in particular, white balance--before you do your demosaic to generate the final pixels. On the D2x, the white balance data is still in the Maker's tag section, but it has now been encrypted. The public keys are the camera serial number and shot number. But you need the private key to unlock it, and Nikon does not document or provide it to third parties directly (Nikon officially says use their SDK to access NEF files and decode them). In the US, at least, the Digital Millennium Copyright Act may even apply to NEF files: the DMCA doesn't allow decryption of data without the data owner's permission.

The problem with Nikon's approach is that it is already causing major issues for software developers, and thus, photographers. Adobe has indicated that the new version of their conversion module for Photoshop won't be able to access the "as shot" white balance information. A few software manufacturers say they will use Nikon's SDK, some say they won't. Eric Hyman, the author of Bibble, reverse engineered the encryption, so his raw converter software was the first to fully support the D2x raw files. Ditto Dave Coffin with dcraw. In short, we've got near anarchy in the software community vis-a-vis the D2x NEF file format: everyone seems to be approaching the problem created by encrypted white balance differently. For a professional tool--perhaps even the best professional tool made--this is a potentially crippling issue. Before I tell you my personal take, let me outline the three likely positions that you and other photographers might take on this issue:

   1. It's a fatal flaw. It may be something as simple as the fact that Photoshop's ability to quickly and conveniently batch raw files in an existing workflow has been broken. If you use Photoshop ACR to convert large numbers of raw files from a shooting session, the encryption and Adobe's inability to support it could be a deal breaker for you. Others who take this position point to issues such as who owns the data when a shot is taken (Nikon's encryption seems to imply that they do, an unconscionable position for a professional tool), the fact that Nikon's SDK doesn't support Linux, and that Nikon's SDK may impose performance limitations on third-party software. Long-term thinkers will point out that Nikon has abandoned software support in the past (Photo Secretary comes to mind, but Nikon View apparently is about to be discarded, as well), so the big issue will be whether a professional photographer will still be able to fully access their "negative" in 10 years.
   2. It's annoying. Disruption of workflow is always annoying, but usually there's another way to run images through your process. Perhaps you'll have to change converters (or use Nikon's Photoshop plug-in). Perhaps you'll have to do a bit more control setting when running individual conversions. Maybe you'll just run Nikon Capture on your images first (Nikon Capture will write the white balance info into the proper spot without changing the underlying raw data used by other converters). In short, you're willing to put up with some additional overhead to get the other features of this product. You don't like taking five steps forward and one backward, but that still appears like four steps forward to you.
   3. It's not an issue. Advanced amateurs, JPEG-only shooters, pros that already use Nikon Capture for conversions, and photographers that do low volumes of raw conversions might not see any issue at all, as their workflow practices aren't really changed and the encryption simply doesn't represent any challenge for them to get the best results possible out of the camera.

If you fall into camp #3, congratulations, the Nikon D2x will be a fine addition to your gear closet. Unfortunately, the majority of potential D2x uses probably fall into camps #1 and #2. Personally, I lean towards #1 emotionally and intellectually, but fall into #2 as when I look at myself pragmatically as a user of the D2x. From an emotional standpoint, I want to see Nikon make a slam dunk with the D2x (and other products). They've come so close, it's actually exasperating to see something so small bring the product down a peg. From an intellectual standpoint as a professional photographer, I want my negatives (e.g. raw files) to be fully documented and able to run through any tool I choose, today or ten years in the future. My volume of shooting, however, means that I tend to process every important image individually, and thus, from a pragmatic standpoint the white balance encryption isn't currently impinging on my workflow. Moreover, I tend to use Nikon Capture on my images. I have decided, however, to save all my NEF files into DNG (and TIFF) just as soon as there's a way to get all the information over unencoded. That means having to buy yet more data storage ability and tying up my computer for even longer periods of time when dealing with my images, which is a definite monetary penalty (that US$3000 extra for a 1DsMarkII doesn't look quite so large in that context).

I believe Nikon has opened a huge can of worms here. No photographer that I know of currently sees a user-advantage to white balance encryption, and that's problematic on its face. Nikon still doesn't quite understand that if you don't fully design to customer needs and wants, the competing manufacturer that does will grow faster and sell more product. The pro market is even more unforgiving. A Canon 1DsMarkII has no similar flaw, fatal or annoying. Thus, there's a friction present that keeps a pro from picking a D2x over a 1DsMarkII. Other traits have to overcome that friction. At this level of product, the only trait that has that potential is that the D2x is US$2500-3000 less in price than the 1DsMarkII. Both cameras take unbelievable pictures, both have pro-level performance and features, but one has a workflow flaw and costs less than the one that doesn't have that flaw. How much is that flaw worth to you?

My opinion: Nikon will sell significantly fewer D2x's than they should because of that flaw.

And from his home page: ByThom Home Page (http://www.bythom.com)

He says:

So, some commentary along with today's news: Nikon is making a classic economic mistake. They appear to be trying to make what will almost certainly eventually be a commodity-like item (DSLRs) into a proprietary one. The proper thing to do in such a situation is the opposite of what Nikon is doing: opening up and fully documenting their product would produce more third-party support, and more third-party support means more sales of the product being supported (I once had the job title of Evangelist in a high tech company--so I have some experience at the notion of building a product through community). More to the point: instead of getting a Highly Recommended from a key reviewer (okay, my lack of humility is showing today ;~), which might increase sales, Nikon is getting a review that might lower sales. Is that really their intention? I categorize this decision on Nikon's part as a Great Big Oops.

So, while you might enjoy painting me as "anti-Nikon" and "Pro-Adobe" and merely a trouble-maker trying to help Canon and Adobe because of some perceived bias or conflict of interest, my opinions regarding Nikon’s WB encryption are not unique. Nor are they an anti-Nikon bias, I just happen to think what Nikon did is very poor for the industry and sends a chilling message about the future. . .
Title: Nikon Releases Statement on NEF Encryption
Post by: ausoleil on April 24, 2005, 11:15:15 AM
Interesting news regarding the NEF (RAW) controversy that has boiled up over the past few days regarding the future of ACR and D2X NEF files:

PhotographyBlog: Nikon Responds to Encryption Claims (http://www.photographyblog.com/index.php/weblog/comments/nikon_responds_to_encryption_claims/)

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Through use of the Nikon Software Developer Kit, authorized developers can produce software by applying creative concepts to their implementation and adding capabilities to open Nikon’s NEF file and use NEF’s embedded Instructions and Nikon’s Libraries. Nikon photographers reap benefits from independent developers’ approaches, because it allows the photographer to open and process their NEF images.

After a developer’s software is created using the Nikon SDK, a NEF file can be opened, edited in either TIFF or JPEG format, and then saved in formats available in the developers’ software. This process has been available since the first Nikon SDK for NEF.

With each introduction of a new Nikon digital Single Lens Reflex model, Nikon updates the available SDK selection to provide new information; this is the situation with the D2X, D2Hs and D50 models. As stated above, application for the Nikon SDK is possible for bona fide software companies that send Nikon a written application for the SDK. Once approved, the SDK is provided to the developer at no charge and they are authorized to use it.

Nikon has provided its confidential SDK software to many software developers. With the Nikon SDK, developers may design excellent and creative compatibility between the NEF and their software, all without compromising the integrity of the NEF’s original concept, and ensuring that work done by the photographer during the picture taking process can be incorporated into the rendering of the image.

Clearly, Adobe would be a firm that can access the SDK.  If they choose not to, this would be a result of internal corporate politics and not an apparent refusal on Nikon's part to not make the necessary code available to Adobe.

This may or may not be the case with applications like CaptureOne and Bibble.  I cannot comment on whether the developers of those programs have or could have access, but it is they that Nikon would undoubtedly view as competition for Capture.  The new version of Bibble opens D2X NEF files, and there is some debate as to whether it outperforms Capture in the quality of the images thereby rendered.  One thing is certain, however, Bibble does not "soak" a computer to the level that Capture does.

I would say that Nikon has made it clear to Adobe that if they want to include the D2X in it's forthcoming update to ACR they can do so, albeit after a licensing agreement is executed between Adobe and Nikon.
Title: Nikon Releases Statement on NEF Encryption
Post by: Lisa Nikodym on April 24, 2005, 12:24:56 PM
I found the level of B.S. in Nikon's response to be absolutely breathtaking!    

And I am indeed less likely now to upgrade the firmware in the D70, just in case...

Lisa
Title: Nikon Releases Statement on NEF Encryption
Post by: ausoleil on April 24, 2005, 12:30:58 PM
Schewe,

Thanks for the update on Bibble and C1.  I didn't kniow that, and am certainly on "their side."  I think it only fair that I should have the choice as a photographer to use the software I choose to use with  my data.  Nikon does not own the data I create, and it is ridiculous for them to assume that they do.

This is very Microsoft-ish, if you have been following the .NET and planned obfustications of their file systems.

Apparently, if Nikon cannot compete, they will obscure.

This also proves why so many segments of the DMCA need to go.
Title: Nikon Releases Statement on NEF Encryption
Post by: giles on April 24, 2005, 05:58:20 PM
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But, Nikon will hear from their users. . .
It's not just their customers they need to worry about: it's their prospective customers, too.  Who'd want to buy into Nikon while they're trying to stop their customers using third party software? It's not as if Nikon is the only game in town for Nikon mount DSLRs. Perhaps Fuji, Kodak, or Sigma would like to produce a camera that uses Adobe's DNG?

As previously noted, it's not as if not documenting the format will hide very much.  Nikon's software has to read it, and even if it was fully encrypted and not merely obscured the encryption has to be fast enough to do in-camera at moderately high frame rates. So:

a) it makes the camera harder to use
 it annoys existing and potential customers
c) it doesn't keep anything secret

What's the point?  Do they really think they can charge Adobe et al enough licensing fees to make this worthwhile?

Giles

[ Edited to correct a typo. --giles ]
Title: Nikon Releases Statement on NEF Encryption
Post by: ausoleil on April 25, 2005, 08:30:46 AM
The amusing thing is that they are claiming it is for the photographer's benefit.

Which photographers?

By removing choice in the marketplace, they are trying to remove competition.  I would almost suspect that if enough users make noise, eventually a lawyer will come forth and propose a class-action lawsuit on the basis of anti-trust.

Yeah, it would never work, but that sort of thing is not supposed to be taken to it's legal conclusion.  Instead, it is supposed to generate enough negative publicity so that a company has to change their ways just to get the PR demons off of their trail.

I will say this:  these must be happy times over at Canon.  A couple of weeks ago, before this boiled over, the D2X was all but the equal of their flagship pro DSLR.  Now, the D2X has the stain of greed all over it.

Nikon, to put it bluntly, really stepped in it this time.
Title: Nikon Releases Statement on NEF Encryption
Post by: didger on April 25, 2005, 09:05:37 AM
I am definitely one of the folks that feels hurt by the prospect of maybe not being able to use ACR, which I really like and has worked great for me, and for which you can write Adobe actions and do batch conversions.

Now, I'd like to suggest in a purely theoretical sort of way that in some circumstances some people (like if a manufacturer is sort of holding a gun to their head to try to force them to use their software to access THEIR data after they've spent $5000 on one of their cameras) might just figure that it would be justifiable to use a software crack to avoid paying for a program they really don't want to be forced to use, but have no choice.  Again, in a purely theoretical sort of way it might be possible to google for "Nikon Capture Crack" and get an overabundance of crack sites and an overabundance of NC unlock codes.  I suppose it's conceivable that some of these codes might even work for the most recent version.  For anyone interested in satisfying their purely intellectual curiosity about this, it would be advisable to do this research without children present, as I've heard that these sleazy crack sites have a lot of porn ads.

In the interest of the advancement of pure intellectual research, interesting results could perhaps even be shared.  Just an idea.  Bibble seems to be advancing the cause of science and truth and freedom and consumer rights in one way, why not a more direct personal way as well?
Title: Nikon Releases Statement on NEF Encryption
Post by: Eric Myrvaagnes on April 25, 2005, 04:25:15 PM
Well, Didger, (by the way -- this is EricM on his brother's brother's computer    ) I very much agree with you on the content of both posts. We definitely don't want to cause trouble for Michael. On the other hand, having read all of the posts about Nikon's arrogance, I am sorely tempted to do the "research" you suggest, just for spite. And that's even though I am a Canonite, with nary a piece of Nikon gear (oh, yes, I do have an El Nikkor enlarging lens, but it doesn't work very well in PhotoShop).

Someone else suggested that Nikon was alienating both customers and potential customers as well. I think that's very true. I am certainly reluctant to consider anything from Nikon in the current atmosphere.

Eric
Title: Nikon Releases Statement on NEF Encryption
Post by: Eric Myrvaagnes on April 25, 2005, 11:21:31 PM
Ouch! That's beginning to sound more like Micro$oft than Nikon.  
Title: Nikon Releases Statement on NEF Encryption
Post by: ausoleil on April 26, 2005, 10:23:23 AM
Actually, it is like Microsoft in it's arrogance.  Microsoft is the master of embrace/extend/extinguish as a business model, and is a convicted monopolist in both Europe and the USA.  That the Bush administration backed off of the severe punishment prescribed by the courts for Microsoft is another matter, and one probably dealt with in other forums on other sites.  Nevertheless, Microsoft has been charging exhorbitant rates for their software for some time due to the monopolistic practices and nasty habit of refusing to share key technical data that insures interoperability with other software.  Moreover, the performance of much Microsoft software is far less than other vendor's applications and operating systems on the same platforms.

Sound familiar?  It should.  It certainly is to this computer engineer who has been doing business with Microsoft since 1975 -- thirty years.

To answer that it is a "better" thing to have only one platform and software suite entrenched in the marketplace I will point out to you that diversity in any marketplace is a keystone of innovation, because of competition.  One only has to recall IBM's halycon days as the entrenched mainframe vendor of the 1960's and 1970's that stifled innovation, and that it took a sea change paradigm shift in the early 1980's to dislodge their hegemony over the computer world.  Now, Microsoft is in the same position as IBM once was, and their behavior is very reminiscent to those of us who can recall those earlier times.

Nikon is trying to do the same thing, albeit to a smaller degree.  They have obfusticated a key piece of a data file in order to frustrate their competitors.  This is in the first five pages of Microsoft's playbook.  They have also said that the data are available, another play out of the MS playbook and then tried to tell us it is for our own good, yet another familiar ploy.

Nowadays, Microsoft's biggest competitor in many of their key market segments is software that was developed in an open manner, and is available to any user for the price of a download and the sweat equity of learning how it operates.  Oddly enough, it works better, is faster (again, on the same hardware) and is more secure due to it's transparency rather than despite it.  Windows market share is decreasing, FOSS software's is steadily rising.  Go figure.

At the end of the day, Nikon is behaving in a clearly anti-competitive manner.  It's my take that they clearly fear ACR, Bibble and C1, not to mention other applications are going to erode their market for Capture.  Why?  Capture does a good job, but simply cannot throw enough hardware at it to make it perform reasonably for a photographer interested in processing hundreds if not thousands of photographs in an automated manner.  Bibble is faster, does a very similar job.  ACR does it just as well, and is faster.  Coupled with scripting and the other new auomation features of PSCS2, it's clear that Nikon's reply to  competition is to hide the ball.

And that is just like Microsoft.
Title: Nikon Releases Statement on NEF Encryption
Post by: ausoleil on April 26, 2005, 10:12:11 PM
Robert,

Your points are salient, except in the case of Microsoft, there was a dominant operating system prior to their leasing and subsequent licensing to IBM of PC-DOS; CP/M.  Had Gary Killdall not been so arrogant towards IBM, we probably would not be having this conversation, as IBM wanted to license CP/M for it's second effort at the personal computer market (most people think that the PC was IBM's entry in to the marketplace, in fact it was the second.)  Bill Gates sold a product to which he neither had ownership nor rights to at the time he agreed in principle with IBM. The product was a 16-bit OS created and owned by Seattle Computer Products, Q-DOS, which Gates renamed PC-DOS, later MS-DOS.

At any rate, in the world of personal computers, Microsoft has repeated that -- they purchased Windows technology from Xerox, they purchased what is now the Office Suite from various vendors, they even used the Berkley UNIX implementation of the TCP/IP stack and so forth and so on.  They are a cross between a hawk and a vulture, and they have been sued successfully multiple times for unethical and illegal business practices not only by the US Government and the European Union, but also companies like Caldera and others for their anti-competitive and illegal activities in the marketplace.

While Microsoft makes adequate products, they also maintain their position by subterfuge and intimidation, which we see today in their position over Apple:  Microsoft threatened several times to withdraw Office from the Macintosh platform is Apple did not conform to Microsoft's wishes.

Now, Nikon and other companies are facing a groundswell from the worst sort of enemy a company hiding behind weak encryption and propietary computer technology can hope to face:  the Open Source community.  

The F/OSS folks want the standards to be open and available to any who want it for whatever puspose they want to use it for, and they are more than capable of reverse-engineering a simple obfustication such as is the case with NEF files.  In fact, it is child's play because the obfustication is almost certainly based on publically available standards (not the SDK, but the basic computer science) in any case and thus the F/OSS folks have all they need: the smarts, the information and the will to succeed.

One only has to look at the exploding growth of Linux and associated GNU software to see what they are capable of.  Nikon would do well to open their standards and work with instead of against their customers.  

The market will indeed speak on this, it already is, and if Nikon does not do this, someone will simply do it for them.  In fact they already have.  If Nikon were to sue Bibble, it would likely be a PR nightmare for them much the same as Adobe experienced with Elcomsoft and Dmitri Sklyarov.  If you recall, Adobe initially brought charges against Sklyarov and later, after it had been sullied in news, retracted it's prosecution of the Russian.
Title: Nikon Releases Statement on NEF Encryption
Post by: Schewe on April 27, 2005, 08:04:40 PM
Uh, well.. . .Dave Coffin (or Phil, I don't know which) kinda got it a bit wrong.

I just talked to a contact at Canon (I’m a Canon Explorer) and can confirm that Canon has never intendtionally hidden anything by encryption and has no fundimental problem with 3rd parties such as Adobe with Camera Raw and Capture One supporting all the raw files Canon cameras produce. this proven to be very GOOD for Canon.

Again, other than Sony who encrypted the entire file and Phase One who encrypts their large format raws, no other camera maker has taken the step of INTENTIONALLY ADDING encryption to any metadata where no encryption existed in previous version of their raw files except for Nikon. Don’t overlook that. . .

And TK has said that Canon's CR2 format is almost the “perfect” TIFF-EP file in the manner in which Canon writes the files. Yes, they are still undocumented, but Canon, if anything is closer to DNG already than most all the raw file formats out there.

No, do NOT be confused, Nikon and Nikon alone have drawn a line in the sand. For that they will be punished in the marketplace, at least until such time as they reverse their decision or grant Adobe permission to decrypt the WB metadata.

The Dave Coffin story was interesting, but don’t use it as an excuse to let Nikon off the hook.

It should be noted that Thomas has a slightly different take on the “other” camera companies and their “encryption” as described by Dave Coffin.

From a post on the Camera Raw U to U forums, Thomas said:

“Adobe Camera Raw does not break any encryption without the permission of the camera maker.

Canon does not use any encryption in the new .CR2 (or the raw “.TIF”) format that I’m aware of. There is some very weak metadata encryption used in the older “.CRW” format used by some of the Canon PowerShot cameras, but that was not the reason we not able to read the auto white balance from those cameras (the actual reason was a lack of documentation, which is another issue…).”

He has also stated that aside from Phase One cameras (they also encrypt their raw files but Camera Raw doesn’t try to process them) the only “intentional encryption” of raw file data was Sony. Sony gave permission to Adobe to break the encryption in Camera Raw.

Compression is not “encryption” as it serves a useful purpose of making files smaller. Nikon’s WB encryption does NOT make the file smaller, therefore the ONLY reason to encrypt the WB data is to make it more difficult to reverse engineer and to draw a line in the sand. Other than Sony and Phase One cameras, I know of noother camera company that has done that beside Nikon.

This does NOTHING to mitigate what Nikon has done. And you really have to question Nikon’s motives. Why do this? What is it they are really trying to hide? Why the WB data, when they could have encrypted any of the other data instead or in addition to the WB data.

Nikon’s responce last Fri was kinda like trying to put a fire out with gas. . .it didn’t work and now they have an even bigger problem.
Title: Nikon Releases Statement on NEF Encryption
Post by: Schewe on April 28, 2005, 04:07:36 AM
The Nikon SDK, which is free to "bona fide software developers" does not allow access to the raw file. I think we covered this? The SDK ONLY provides preprocessed demosiaced RGB files, ok? To Camera Raw and Capture One, the SDK is useless.

So, it's REALLY not about the license fees, ok? Nikon simply does NOT want 3rd party developers to to access the raw files. The WB encryption is a ploy by Nikon to draw a line in the sand. . .

Do you like that? If they get away with it, were's the next line going to be drawn?

Any way you look at it, what Nikon has done is bad for Nikon users since it limits their freedom and choice.

It's also bad for the entire photo industry to continue down the road of undocumented, proprietary raw files.

I think we covered that, right?

Nikon's actions hurt all of us to various degrees. While you say you use Capture, do you always want to be locked into having to use Capture?

Does anybody want to be forced to do anything that is a restriction of the freedom of choice?

Who I am or what I am is really _NOT_ the issue. The issue is, Nikon drew a line and crossed it. Whatcha gonna do about it? Me, I'm gonna fight it. I sure as #### don't want to let Nikon get away with what they've done and send ANY signals to the other camera companies that photographers will roll over and take at. . .

Do you?

Over one hundred raw file formats and counting. . .now with 3 intentionally encrypted by Nikon.
Title: Nikon Releases Statement on NEF Encryption
Post by: opgr on April 28, 2005, 05:24:15 AM
Quote
So, it's REALLY not about the license fees, ok? Nikon simply does NOT want 3rd party developers to to access the raw files.
I find Bryan's license fee explanation the most plausible yet. Do you happen to have any real world Nikon representative's quotes to substantiate your claim that it REALLY is NOT about licensing...?


Quote
The WB encryption is a ploy by Nikon to draw a line in the sand. . .
Draw a line for/against who(m) or what?


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Does anybody want to be forced to do anything that is a restriction of the freedom of choice?
I think we already covered that in the various Adobe Activation scheme threads, no? ;-)
Title: Nikon Releases Statement on NEF Encryption
Post by: BryanHansel on May 02, 2005, 02:14:12 PM
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Now that we know Canon neither obfusticates their RAW files nor apparently plans to do so,
Canon has done this.  Schewe insists that they haven't, but Dave Coffin proved that they had by cracking the encryption, and Thomas admitted as much himself.  No, they haven't encrypted the newer files, but they had encrypted the older files.

And, Phase One, the company that produces the P25 back reviewed as the best Medium Format back by this site, encrypts the whole file.  They did this before Nikon encrypted their files, but when that happened and when Canon encrypted their files in the past, there was no out cry.  Now, in discussion threads across the internet, many of them started by Schewe -- a Canon Explorer of Light -- you find Nikon being based.  (BTW, I don't know Schewe, nor do I have anything personal against him if it sounds like I do.  I enjoy looking at his photography, and wish him well.)

Where is the uproar over the encryption by the company of the best medium format back available as of Winter 2004/2005?

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The Nikon SDK, which is free to "bona fide software developers" does not allow access to the raw file.

I'm not talking about free licensing.  I'm talking about Adobe paying Nikon a licensing fee to be able to crack the encryption.  Are there negotiation in this aspect?  Schewe, can you find this out?  And if there are not, what does Thomas say about it?  What does Nikon say about it? I've worked with enough large companies in the past and negotiated enough to know that money talks.  I image that almost everyone on this forum has had these types of negotiations.

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Nikon wants to maintain control of the RAW data, data that are yours -- you created it.

No, you created an image that is held inside a format that was designed and created by Nikon, in this case.  You certainly control the Copyright to the image you created, but you have never owned the file formats that you're image is stored in.  Do you think you own the tiff format? No, you don't. Adobe owns the Copyright to the Tiff format.  Jpeg is open source.

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Countless similar examples could be contrived.

Yes, you could contrive countless examples, but in all of those examples, they still won't address the issue at hand, which really comes down to Copyright and Control of a file format.  And whether or not every company should have to make their formats open source or not.

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If you're happy with PS 6.0 and Capture and you don't mind ever going beyond that, fine,

Actually, after reading about this merge to HDR, I'm thinking that I'll be upgrading.  Now, I have to figure out if I can upgrade from 6.0 or if I haven't to pay for the versions that I skipped.

I want to be able to convert my images in the future, and I like to have choice, but I can also understand the desire to maintain control over something that you've created, like Nikon wants to maintain control over their file format.  What really needs to happen is that Nikon and Adobe work out some sort of licensing agreement.  If they don't, then I could see a future where Nikon will encrypt all its RAW files, Adobe will stop supporting them, and some other software manufacture will step up to the plate and Adobe will lose all that business.
Title: Nikon Releases Statement on NEF Encryption
Post by: DiaAzul on May 02, 2005, 11:54:47 PM
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The Nikon SDK, which is free to "bona fide software developers" does not allow access to the raw file.

I'm not talking about free licensing.  I'm talking about Adobe paying Nikon a licensing fee to be able to crack the encryption.  Are there negotiation in this aspect?  Schewe, can you find this out?  And if there are not, what does Thomas say about it?  What does Nikon say about it? I've worked with enough large companies in the past and negotiated enough to know that money talks.  I image that almost everyone on this forum has had these types of negotiations.
This is a very dangerous game to play. As soon as you start introducing a license fee for decrypting RAW files we are all up the creek without a paddle. Licensing fees are likely to be charged as either a large one off payment to secure rights, or on a per copy basis. Whichever way this turns out I as a photoshop user, but not as a Nikon camera owner, end up indirectly putting more money into Nikon's pockets just so that a few D2X users can have 'as shot' white balance in Adobe camera RAW.

The worst, is that once the precedent is set for paying license fees it is difficult to break and before you know what has happened every camera manufacturer will be making some charge or other.

Let's be clear about one thing...whilst Photoshop & other third party RAW convertors might not sell additional cameras, actions (or inactions) by the camera manufacturers that limit effective third party support does and will limit their sales. This is irrespective of what has happened in the past and also irrespective of what Thomas, Schewe, Dave Coffin, Nikon or anyone else may have said - all that matters is future support for open RAW, not historical point scoring.

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If they don't, then I could see a future where Nikon will encrypt all its RAW files, Adobe will stop supporting them, and some other software manufacture will step up to the plate and Adobe will lose all that business.

That is one possibility, however, history does not suggest it is the likely outcome. More likely is that photographers will migrate to the most efficient and cost effective overall workflow. From Adobe's perspective they are not going to loose a lot of sales by not supporting Nikon in ACR - whether Nikon cameras are supported or not Nikon shooters are still likely to purchase Photoshop as there are few alternative offerings on the market with the full breadth and width of options. In addition Nikon photographers are a minority (probably less than 5%) of photoshop revenue and probably less than 0.5% of Adobe's overall revenue. For Adobe support of Nikon is more PR for 'range of cameras supported' than actual incremental base line revenue.

However, lack of support for alternate third party RAW converters - whether photoshop or not, will limit the sales of Nikon's cameras; if Nikon produced the world best software then no-one would care, but they don't and Nikon shooters deserve the right to use the most appropriate tool for the job.

It is in Nikon's (and every other camera manufacturers) best interests to support the 3rd party software community to ensure that their own Cameras have the best possible range of support tools possible.
Title: Nikon Releases Statement on NEF Encryption
Post by: 61Dynamic on May 03, 2005, 01:46:01 AM
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I just talked to a contact at Canon (I’m a Canon Explorer) and can confirm that Canon has never intendtionally hidden anything by encryption and has no fundimental problem with 3rd parties such as Adobe with Camera Raw and Capture One supporting all the raw files Canon cameras produce. this proven to be very GOOD for Canon.
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And TK has said that Canon's CR2 format is almost the “perfect” TIFF-EP file in the manner in which Canon writes the files. Yes, they are still undocumented, but Canon, if anything is closer to DNG already than most all the raw file formats out there.

Hm... it would do Canon lots of good financially to switch to the DNG format now in light of the Nikon frenzy. I'm sure there are quite a few Nikon shooters that would make the switch. Doesn't sound like it would take much effort.

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Canon has done this. Schewe insists that they haven't

If you fully read his post he does no such thing.

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I'm not talking about free licensing.  I'm talking about Adobe paying Nikon a licensing fee to be able to crack the encryption.  Are there negotiation in this aspect?  Schewe, can you find this out?  And if there are not, what does Thomas say about it?  What does Nikon say about it? I've worked with enough large companies in the past and negotiated enough to know that money talks.  I image that almost everyone on this forum has had these types of negotiations.

Why would a company making a RAW processor want to licence a SDK that does nothig but let them access a processed image and still leave them not being able to decrypt the RAW WB data or eve utilize teh RAW data in any way? Think about it, does that make any sense?

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No, you created an image that is held inside a format that was designed and created by Nikon, in this case.  You certainly control the Copyright to the image you created, but you have never owned the file formats that you're image is stored in.  Do you think you own the tiff format?

Sorry, but that argument holds no water. The content of that file is what the photographer owns as you pointed out. The WB data is part of that content. Nikon is encrypting that content which intentionally denies you from accessing part of your copyrighted material unless you buy their software.

This is a violation of our intelectual property and a violation of our fair-use rights via consumer lock-in. Nikon owns (part of it if it's tif based) the file fomat or at the very least, the intelectual means in which it's created. They do not legaly or ethicaly own the white balance value that is being encrypted. Period.

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Jpeg is open source.

Just FYI, the Jpeg file format is not open-source and never was. The Jpeg format is owned by a lawsuit-happy company (http://www.eweek.com/article2/0,1759,1572323,00.asp) called Forgent and their patents will expire in October '06. Currently any company that creates jpgs with their products have to pay them a hefty fee.
Title: Nikon Releases Statement on NEF Encryption
Post by: didger on May 03, 2005, 09:23:45 AM
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Canon happily locks out sigma lenses every 5 years or so when updating bodies.
Yeah, and Canon's habit of constantly changing their lens mounts is doing Nikon the same sort of favor as what Nikon is doing for Canon with their stupid effort with raw conversion.  If a manufacturer does anything that annoys their customers (and potential customers), it's celebration time for the competition.  It must be an ongoing wild party at Canon these days.  

In any case I said that other manufacturers SHOULD be able to offer accessories, not that they're not temporarily thwarted by short-sighted monopoly efforts all too often.
Title: Nikon Releases Statement on NEF Encryption
Post by: BryanHansel on May 04, 2005, 01:40:58 PM
It wasn't my desire or intention to nor do I enjoy painting you into a corner.  But it came across, at least to me, that you were indeed showing a bias against Nikon.  Perhaps because of the lack of comments by you in the threads that I've read that would express disgust at other companies that encrypt their data also.  For example, Phase One. I apologize if my comments came across that way.

61's comment about WB that I set and created holds a lot of weight for me, and you two have finally won me over, although I can still see Nikon's side, and think most of what I read is coming down as overly harsh on Nikon.  

Overall, this whole debate has made me reconsider shooting digital for images that I will want to use in 10 or 20 years.  It makes me want to go back to slides.  There really needs to be a strong independent organization that will oversee the development of RAW files.

Luckly or unluckly I still haven't gotten a call that my name has come up on the waiting list for a D2x, so I have more time to think about this purchase.
Title: Nikon Releases Statement on NEF Encryption
Post by: DiaAzul on May 03, 2005, 04:54:09 PM
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And then are you saying that Nikon said, "Adobe, xxxx off.  We have a SDK, and we won't do it any other way even though you are offering to pay us something for the key to the encryption."
That was fundamental the nature of Nikon's press release...it's either the SDK or nothing.

NB There is no need to lower the tone of the discussion board by using offensive language.
Title: Nikon Releases Statement on NEF Encryption
Post by: Schewe on April 24, 2005, 12:21:19 PM
The Nikon SDK is essentially useless for 3rd parties conversion software. The Nikon SDK does _NOT_ allow access to the raw data, only a pre-processed RGB file via the Nikon processing libraries. The libraries are slow, not multi-threaded and do not allow any actual raw data processing.

While Camera Raw, Bibble and Capture One COULD use the SDK, it would require that the process be as slow as Nikon's. Neither Bibble, Capture One nor Camera Raw use the Nikon SDK. Bibble at one time DID use the SDK and still does for tethered shooting only, Eric has stated that the Nikon SDK is too slow and too limiting for Bibble to use for most processing routines.

The Nikon responce on Fri, April 22 was double-speak. It did NOT dispute claims that the WB data was encrypted. Nikon said: "As a proprietary format, Nikon secures NEF’s structure and processing through various technologies."

Uh huh. . .so that is, in effect, an admission they are encypting the WB data.

More to the point, the D2X isn't the only camera to do so. The newly announced D50 and D70s will also have WB encryption. . .there is also a schedualed firmware update for the current D70. One ownders if they plan to upgrade the firmware by adding WB encryption to a camera that didn't have it?

No, Nikon stepped on their own, uh. . .thingie by ecrypting the WB data. There is no possible benefit to the end user, the photographer. The respince by Nikon was, uh, in PR terms, worse than uselss, it made the situation even worse.

But, Nikon will hear from their users. . .
Title: Nikon Releases Statement on NEF Encryption
Post by: Schewe on April 24, 2005, 05:47:34 PM
Point of correction: at the moment the D50 DOES have encryption, the D70s does NOT (I've been told by a little birdie). The D70 firmaware update is still unknown at this point.
Title: Nikon Releases Statement on NEF Encryption
Post by: Robert Spoecker on April 25, 2005, 02:59:27 PM
This is didger on my brother's computer again.  As regards the last message, discretion is the better part of valor.  We definitely want NOT to post anything controversial on the forum.  Michael would not be pleased to see anything that might start to turn it into a crack site.

Private messages are another matter and the ethics of the situation are quite muddy and legalities are no issue at all.  The code is freely distributed for download.  Ethics wise, selling a camera for $5000 and then taking strong measures to force the buyer to use a half baked beta program (slow, poor memory management, crashy) and pay $100 is a little questionable to say the least; probably in fact actionable.  I make these claims and veiled suggestions for the photographers' benefit.
Title: Nikon Releases Statement on NEF Encryption
Post by: Robert Spoecker on April 25, 2005, 11:57:12 PM
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That's beginning to sound more like Micro$oft than Nikon.
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Except for a couple of small details.  The OS/Browser/Office Suite Microsoft stuff actually works pretty well now and it just might be better that there's one world wide small business/home computer platform and basic internet and office software combo.  Nikon Capture is clearly a half done beta program that should not cost anything at this point and definitely should not be the only choice ever.

Another little detail is that Bill Gates is a sharp dude that also just happened to be in the right place at the right time with the right clout to pull his conquering of the world off.  I don't think the folks that are doing these recent Nikon moves are quite in the same league in any regard.  More like pretty dumb dudes that happen to be in the right place at the right time with the right clout to put a wilting company out of its misery.

I'm presently downloading NC 4.1 in the hope that this version had an installer that worked on Mac.  I also have a research tool that should be the key to long term use of this program (at least until ACR is available for D2X, if ever).
Title: Nikon Releases Statement on NEF Encryption
Post by: pedz on April 27, 2005, 06:33:59 PM
I don't see this as an ethical or religious argument like Jeff Schewe seems to.  It is a business decision on the part of Nikon.  His statement: "The raw file must belong solely to the photographer ..." is silly.  Clearly that is not the case... so why state that it "must be"?

The market will speak and settle the argument if this is or is not a good business decision on the part of Nikon.  I'm not going to buy a DX2 but I wasn't going to anyway so why should Nikon listen to me?

Also maybe, Nikon has the game figured out better than we do.  As was pointed out, the Open Source guys are likely to break the encription.  That will lead to Photoshop plug ins, etc coming to the market so the Nikon users are happy.

But if there is an important and significant trade secret involved, Canon and all the other competitors will not be able to use it -- even after it has been discovered by the rest of the world.  I don't understand it but I know from experience that that is the case.

So, with this trick, Nikon eventually has a happy community of users AND forever lays claim to whatever process it wants to keep "secret".
Title: Nikon Releases Statement on NEF Encryption
Post by: BryanHansel on April 27, 2005, 07:17:55 PM
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I don't see this as an ethical or religious argument like Jeff Schewe seems to.  It is a business decision on the part of Nikon.  His statement: "The raw file must belong solely to the photographer ..." is silly.  Clearly that is not the case... so why state that it "must be"?
I'm still not sure what to think about his statement.  The RAW file does belong to the photographer: the photographer owns the copyright not the camera manufacture.  A RAW image is like undeveloped film, and there is a process to develop the film before you have an image.  It requires certain chemicals to do the process, etc... Nikon just wants to make sure the digital chemicals are the right ones.

But should you be allowed to cross develop is the question?  Sure, why not?

Then again as we had verified today, Nikon isn't the only company encrypting its RAW data.  Canon does it also.
Title: Nikon Releases Statement on NEF Encryption
Post by: didger on April 28, 2005, 04:39:10 AM
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Why should Adobe be able to profit off of a great technology that Nikon developed without having to pay for it.
Would you like to buy a very expensive new car and then find out that they've done something so that no tire manufacturer can make tires that fit that car because of some very weird patented wheel configuration specifically designed to lock out tire manufacturers?  If additionally the tires that the manufacturer offers are generally considered to be pretty lousy and won't even mount easily on your car wouldn't you be especially dissatisfied?  Countless similar examples could be contrived.  Just because someone develops a product doesn't mean that other manufacturers shouldn't be able to offer accessories for it.  This is the general situation world wide for every sort of product and you can hardly reverse this no matter how you keep defending Nikon about their Bullshit_Billgatesing effort.  The big exception is Microsoft and it's a big puzzle how they can keep losing major (really major) lawsuits and still keep their illegal monopoly.  I guess enough money keeps you above the law even in the teeth of major governments on the other side.  Nikon doesn't have enough money and they've pissed their customers and potential customers off far more than Microsoft ever has.

You can keep defending Nikon about this, but that won't convince anybody and it won't put out the fire.  If you're happy with PS 6.0 and Capture and you don't mind ever going beyond that, fine, but most of the rest of us want more advanced capabilities and in any case freedom of choice.  The notion that Adobe couldn't do a raw converter at least as good as the half done buggy beta Nikon Capture is ludicrous.  At any rate I'd like to see them give it a try and then let me decide for myself if Nikon is the only software developer that can maintain good image quality for Nikon raw files.  Most of us take this claim as utterly implausible self serving crap; a lie that they can't conceivably believe themselves.
Title: Nikon Releases Statement on NEF Encryption
Post by: Schewe on May 02, 2005, 09:14:51 PM
Just to be clear, The Nikon SDK will do Camera Raw no good. . .it doesn't provide or allow direct assess to the raw data, only the proprocessed (by the SDK libraries) RGB and it's unclear if it's linear or gamma adjusted. It isn't a matter of Adobe "licensing" anything from Nikon for money. The Nikon SDK is free, but worthless for Camera Raw, what _IS_ at stake is control. . .Nikon want to control NEF and is taking steps to do so. They claim it is to help Nikon photographers (their words in the Advisory) but most Nikon shooters don't see it that way.

The Nikon SDK is _ONLY_ good for doing it "Nikon's Way". The WB encryption seems to be steps to force the issue. . .Camera Raw 3.1 will support the D2X but NOT the WB encrypted data, so compared to all other cameras (except the new D50 and the D2hs I believe or whatever other model has the encryption) the Nikon cameras will be "less supported". Will that make Nikon photographers happy? I doubt it.
Title: Nikon Releases Statement on NEF Encryption
Post by: BryanHansel on May 03, 2005, 02:50:45 PM
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Just to be clear, The Nikon SDK will do Camera Raw no good. . .it doesn't provide or allow direct assess to the raw data, only the proprocessed (by the SDK libraries) RGB and it's unclear if it's linear or gamma adjusted. It isn't a matter of Adobe "licensing" anything from Nikon for money. The Nikon SDK is free, but worthless for Camera Raw,
So, did Adobe go to Nikon and ask, "Hey, Nikon, you're SDK doesn't really work with our Camera Raw system.  Can we break the encryption or can you give us the key, so that we can make it work? Can we pay you something for the rights to gain access to the key?"

And then are you saying that Nikon said, "Adobe, piss off.  We have a SDK, and we won't do it any other way even though you are offering to pay us something for the key to the encryption."

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but most Nikon shooters don't see it that way.
Do you have scientific poll data to back up this claim?

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Sorry, but that argument holds no water. The content of that file is what the photographer owns as you pointed out. The WB data is part of that content. Nikon is encrypting that content which intentionally denies you from accessing part of your copyrighted material unless you buy their software.

Good point.