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Archive 2005 · Nikon D2X white balance encryption
  
 
rickde
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · Nikon D2X white balance encryption


I thought this recent post from the Adobe Photoshop forum would interest you guys.

Topic: Nikon D2X white balance encryption

Thomas Knoll - 07:03am Apr 17, 2005 Pacific

I thought it best to start a new thread rather than bury this reply in an existing long thread.

"1) Did Nikon formerly give all the proprietary NEF data to Adobe? For example did they provide it for the D-100? In other words, has Nikon changed its policy for releasing design data, or has Adobe changed its policy of reverse engineering NEF files? If Nikon has changed its policy, I guess I should address negative email to them. If Adobe has changed its policy, I should by unhappy with them."

No, Nikon has never disclosed proprietary NEF data to Adobe. However, Nikon made a significant change with the Nikon D2X and D2Hs cameras. They decided to ENCRYPT the white balance data inside the NEF file for these cameras. Previously, the white balance data was stored in non-encrypted format, and was readable to third party raw converters using simple reverse engineering of the file format.

While any encryption system that stores the decryption key inside a PC computer program (vs. having the user type in the a decryption key) is fairly easy to crack (Bibble has already broken Nikon's encryption algorithm for the D2X), it does raise legal obstacles. Nikon might consider breaking the white balance encryption a violation of DMCA, and sue Adobe.

(I personally think that would be a bogus interpretation of the DMCA, since I think the copyrighted information inside the NEF file belongs to the photographer, not Nikon. But Nikon apparently thinks they own the information inside the NEF).

Adobe is a large company with deep pockets (unlike Bibble), and it is unlikely we would run the legal risk of breaking the white balance encryption unless we can get some assurance from Nikon that they will not sue Adobe for doing so. Since Nikon clearly does not want third party raw converters reading their files (they would much rather sell you a copy of Nikon Capture), the likelihood of Nikon providing such an assurance to Adobe is not very high.

Adobe is still going to support the D2X in the upcoming Camera Raw 3.1 release. However, because of the white balance encryption, Camera Raw will not be able (unless Nikon backs down real soon) to read the "as shot" white balance from the camera, and users will be more likely to have to adjust the while balance manually in the Camera Raw dialog, since Camera Raw's default white balance will not match the cameras default white balance.

This has absolutely no effect on the quality of the final result out of Camera Raw (it is just the starting point and is nearly always fine tuned in any case), and the new multiple file features of Camera Raw 3 actually make it nearly painless to perform similar adjustments on a large number of images. Beta testers of Camera Raw 3.1 are very happy with the Photoshop CS2/Bridge/Camera Raw workflow when processing D2X files, despite the white balance issue.







Apr 19, 2005 at 01:40 PM
David Savkovic
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · Nikon D2X white balance encryption


Yeah over a dpreview the heads are rolling. I just dont get it. If Nikon starts with WB, where does it end?

If they end up encrypting all of their image files, why force the consumer to pay for Nikon capture

Just not fair.



Apr 19, 2005 at 02:04 PM
jmcfadden
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · Nikon D2X white balance encryption


I have always liked Nikon Capture and voiced it here many occasions, but Nikon is being stupid and shortsighted right now. Choice is a good thing and we need to have the ability to use different tools for different jobs


J



Apr 19, 2005 at 02:26 PM
Glenn01
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · Nikon D2X white balance encryption


I'll say it again - Microsoft started forcing people to use IE. The subsequent lawsuit put an end to that and cost the company millions. Nikon might want to review that case.

Glenn



Apr 19, 2005 at 02:29 PM
molson
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · Nikon D2X white balance encryption


No, Nikon has never disclosed proprietary NEF data to Adobe. However, Nikon made a significant change with the Nikon D2X and D2Hs cameras. They decided to ENCRYPT the white balance data inside the NEF file for these cameras. Previously, the white balance data was stored in non-encrypted format, and was readable to third party raw converters using simple reverse engineering of the file format.

While any encryption system that stores the decryption key inside a PC computer program (vs. having the user type in the a decryption key) is fairly easy to crack


Sounds like Adobe has been hacking other people's software all along... doesn't sound very ethical to me.


(I personally think that would be a bogus interpretation of the DMCA, since I think the copyrighted information inside the NEF file belongs to the photographer, not Nikon. But Nikon apparently thinks they own the information inside the NEF).


What an idiotic statement. Why would they presume Nikon thinks they own the content of the photographer's files? What Nikon does own, and Adobe wants to gain, by hook or by crook, is the decryption algorithm.


Adobe is a large company with deep pockets (unlike Bibble), and it is unlikely we would run the legal risk of breaking the white balance encryption unless we can get some assurance from Nikon that they will not sue Adobe for doing so. Since Nikon clearly does not want third party raw converters reading their files (they would much rather sell you a copy of Nikon Capture), the likelihood of Nikon providing such an assurance to Adobe is not very high.


At least they have sense enough to realize (or finally admit) that what they have been trying to do is illegal...

I don't have a lot of respect for a company that tries to steal intellectual property. It makes me wonder why Adobe changed their registration and activation process for Photoshop CS to make it so secure? If they think software code should be made available for anyone who wants to copy it, they should set the example and start with their own products.




Apr 19, 2005 at 02:39 PM
jmcfadden
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · Nikon D2X white balance encryption


Something is fishy here from the other side as well. IF nikon really wanted to encrypt something and force adoption of NC , couldn't they do it? Seems like we are hearing only one side of the phone conversation on this issue

J



Apr 19, 2005 at 02:40 PM
molson
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · Nikon D2X white balance encryption


It just sounds to me like Adobe got caught with their hand in the cookie jar, and they're trying to turn the situation around and make Nikon look like the bad guys in order to avoid embarrassment.


Apr 19, 2005 at 02:45 PM
jmaio
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · Nikon D2X white balance encryption


Canon management must be laughing their collective butts off at this latest Nikon gaffe!


Apr 19, 2005 at 02:46 PM
jmcfadden
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · Nikon D2X white balance encryption


jmaio wrote:
Canon management must be laughing their collective butts off at this latest Nikon gaffe!



Talk to Molson He can tell you all about gaffes , but not the Nikon ones

J



Apr 19, 2005 at 02:50 PM
Glenn01
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · Nikon D2X white balance encryption


Molson, what is you like so much about a monopoly? I don't see Canon, Olympus, Sony, etc, etc, trying to block Adobe (in Sony's case, I believe they actually assisted Adobe). Until NC gets better (or even as good as) ACR in most, if not all aspects, it would seem to me to actually benefit Nikon (via its users) to have ACR be as proficient at working NEF files as it does CRW, etc. If Nikon wants a bigger piece of the pie, then they should get it because their product is BETTER than the competition (which really isn't competition in this instance), not because they start throwing up roadblocks a la Microsoft.

Glenn



Apr 19, 2005 at 03:01 PM
 

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Octavio Salles
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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · Nikon D2X white balance encryption


Sorry to disapoint the Canon guys around here, but Nikon is not going to encrypt the WB.

All this hysteria had one original source, ADOBE website. http://photoshopnews.com/?p=226

Nikon has NOT made any announcement saying that they ARE going to encrypt the code. It is all a big assumption right now.

The D2X is a new camera and so far the WB is still coded. Nikon is making it a little hard to Adobe, that's all... and Adobe is clearly threatning Nikon.

If Nikon wanted you to use only NC they would encrypt everything... sharpness, curve, saturation, etc. This histerya is silly. Coding only the WB is pointless as there are MANY other ways around it and even Adobe says that.



Apr 19, 2005 at 03:58 PM
apbianco
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p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · Nikon D2X white balance encryption


> (I personally think that would be a bogus interpretation of the DMCA, since I think
> the copyrighted information inside the NEF file belongs to the photographer, not
> Nikon. But Nikon apparently thinks they own the information inside the NEF).

It's good Bibble broke it and I hope more will do the same -- Nikon's bogus encryption scheme needs to be exposed and they need to be publicly scolded for what they did (and if it's been broken so rapidely, it's not encryption, it's obfuscation which fully reveals Nikon's lowly intends.)

We had a good thread a couple months ago in the Pro corner about the
DMCA/EULA and thrusted computing issues -- this is one of them.

Let's not allow our data to control us. Our feelings should be voiced to Nikon.



Apr 19, 2005 at 04:07 PM
molson
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p.1 #13 · p.1 #13 · Nikon D2X white balance encryption


Glenn01 wrote:
Molson, what is you like so much about a monopoly? I don't see Canon, Olympus, Sony, etc, etc, trying to block Adobe (in Sony's case, I believe they actually assisted Adobe). Until NC gets better (or even as good as) ACR in most, if not all aspects, it would seem to me to actually benefit Nikon (via its users) to have ACR be as proficient at working NEF files as it does CRW, etc. If Nikon wants a bigger piece of the pie, then they should get it because their product is BETTER than the competition (which really isn't competition
...Show more


I don't like the idea of a monopoly, and I don't think anything I've said here implies that I do. It's just that as a photographer, I believe in sticking up for one's intellectual property rights, as Nikon is doing.

As for NC versus ACR, I have found NC to be the superior product for converting NEF files, so I wouldn't use ACR for this purpose in any case. It was the same when I shot Canon; DPP is a better RAW converter than ACR, simply because ACR is a reverse-engineered hack. ACR won't likely ever be as good as the camera manufacturer's own proprietary converter in terms of maintaining image quality (that's not to say they don't have a better workflow, which I'm not disputing here) as long as they have to reverse-engineer the conversion algorithms.

Nikon has done a lot of good things with their development of NC, such as the shadow exposure control tool (copied by Adobe in Photoshop CS, coincidentally...) and they probably want to recoup some of their R&D expenses from the current version before their competion steals it. Discussions of monopolies and anti-competition laws simply are not relevant here.



Apr 19, 2005 at 04:30 PM
molson
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p.1 #14 · p.1 #14 · Nikon D2X white balance encryption


jmcfadden wrote:
Talk to Molson He can tell you all about gaffes , but not the Nikon ones

J


Canon only wish they had a RAW converter as good as NC (although I did find DPP to be better than ACR, as I stated in a previous post).

The gaffes J-Mac alluded to were more hardware and service related, though. In the end, I'm glad they screwed up as badly as they did, or I might never have had the chance to find out just how good the D2X is.



Apr 19, 2005 at 04:34 PM
chemprof
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p.1 #15 · p.1 #15 · Nikon D2X white balance encryption


We have to consider that there are disadvantages to an across the board standard for RAW files. It is likely that such a standard would limit some possible innovations on the camera front, as the data in the RAW streams are camera specific. Adobe wants to the the Microsoft of imaging and graphic design (anybody else see that they just bought Macromedia?!). This means that Adobe is the one who is trying to get control and limit our choices, NOT Nikon.

Gerald



Apr 19, 2005 at 04:56 PM
Glenn01
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p.1 #16 · p.1 #16 · Nikon D2X white balance encryption


I have found NC to be the superior product for converting NEF files

OK, touche on that one. I was getting confused between workflow and actual file quality. I concede your point about NC giving one a better output, although it's still up in the air as to how much better for the D2X yet since ACR 3.1 isn't out yet. However, like you I have a lot of files to process at times, and workflow isn't something that can be ignored, any more than one can ignore output quality.

On the monopoly part, if Nikon makes it such that the only way you can fully process one of their files is to use NC, then that would make it a monopoly from the standpoint of processing NEF files. In other words, I wouldn't have a choice, I'd HAVE to use NC.

I can see both sides of this argument to a degree. I guess as a consumer, I'd like to have a choice in the programs I use. I understand Nikon's desire to get their money from the R&D, but frankly still wish they'd make the camera (their forte) and let Adobe make the software. As consumers, we'd win on both counts. I still maintain that NC should become a big seller because it's better, not because one has to buy it.

On the shadow/highlight - is this something that NC developed before PS? I thought PS CS was the inventor of that neat little function.

Anyway, I see your point molson. I'm just not sure I understand why Nikon is getting so adamant in this as opposed to Canon, et al.

Glenn
Quick PS - on the quality/quantity subject from para one above, I suppose if I find that NC delivers better quality, then I'd stay with NC even with the slower workflow. Again, I suspect that is your point in this, and again, it's well taken.



Apr 19, 2005 at 04:58 PM
stevenrk
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p.1 #17 · p.1 #17 · Nikon D2X white balance encryption


Octavio you are simply wrong in your facts when you said:

"Sorry to disapoint the Canon guys around here, but Nikon is not going to encrypt the WB.
All this hysteria had one original source, ADOBE website. http://photoshopnews.com/?p=226
Nikon has NOT made any announcement saying that they ARE going to encrypt the code. It is all a big assumption right now."

This has nothing to do with Canon guys. This is loyal Nikon guys not wanting Nikon to go down a road that is terrible for Nikon and for advances in digital imaging.

It's not only Adobe, but all the RAW converter software manufacturers are saying the same thing. And Bible can go ahead and break it because it is unlikely that Nikon will go after them since they don't have enough to make it worth it.

No other camera manufacturer is doing what nikon is trying to do -- microsoft us so they can limit choice, reduce quality and make more money.

Here's more from Thomas Knoll post that rickde quoted above:

"Has Adobe directly requested the same permission from Nikon?"

So far, Nikon's public response to the issue of the encryption of the white balance data has been silence. Third party raw developers who have asked for the decryption algorithm have been refused.

If you think you can get Nikon to make an official statement that it is acceptable that third party raw converters break the encryption they are adding to NEF files, go ahread and try.

thomas: a point of clarification?

Nikon might consider breaking the white balance encryption a violation of DMCA, and sue Adobe.
it was my understanding, at least there was some talk of this, that sony encrypted tags for the DSC-F828. if my recollection is accurate, how was this neutralized as to offer support within ACR?

did SONY give their permission, withdraw their encryption, or did they do this in a way where "fair use" did not violate the DCMA?

Thomas Knoll - 11:40am Apr 17, 05 PST (#11 of 47)

"did SONY give their permission, withdraw their encryption, or did they do this in a way where "fair use" did not violate the DCMA? "

Sony gave Adobe permission."


It sounds like Nikon should give Adobe the same permision Sony did. And Nikon should be more up front with the rest of us.

And if they yes they can focus again on making Capture a better program instead of trying to prevent Nikon users from having the choice to go somewhere else.

here's the link for anyone who wants to read the whole conversation (Log in as a Guest):

http://www.adobeforums.com/cgi-bin/webx?13@744.MlTieWUWcei.0@.3bb9e9e8/1



Apr 19, 2005 at 05:02 PM
Octavio Salles
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p.1 #18 · p.1 #18 · Nikon D2X white balance encryption


I still think this is all a big internet hysteria.

If Nikon wanted to "microsoft you" and use only NC they would completely code every other parameters, not just WB (which by the way can be best changed by color balance adjustments).

This has happened with other cameras before. The D2X is a brand new camera and there is only ONE parameter that still is not totally "readable" by THIRD PARTY softwares. Nikon will allow these third party softwares to break the code... of course they will. Why be sure of the contrary if there are more reasons to believe that they will let you use their files in other software??

Just because one (very biased) source said so ?? They are just pressuring Nikon to do it fast....





Edited by Octavio Salles on Apr 19, 2005 at 12:21 PM GMT



Apr 19, 2005 at 05:19 PM
molson
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p.1 #19 · p.1 #19 · Nikon D2X white balance encryption


Glenn01 wrote:
Anyway, I see your point molson. I'm just not sure I understand why Nikon is getting so adamant in this as opposed to Canon, et al.


Well, we really don't know what discussions have gone on behind the scenes between Nikon and Adobe. Maybe they couldn't agree on licensing terms, and Adobe thought a little muckslinging would put pressure on Nikon?


Quick PS - on the quality/quantity subject from para one above, I suppose if I find that NC delivers better quality, then I'd stay with NC even with the slower workflow. Again, I suspect that is your point in this, and again, it's well taken.


To some users, the workflow is the most important aspect. For them, this Nikon vs. Adobe thing could be a real killer. They might be better off shooting JPEGs, if that's feasible for the work they do.

For me, I put more value on the image quality, and the workflow isn't a big deal.

And I do agree, philosophically at least, with statements that have been attributed to Nikon, about photographers not needing Photoshop. 95% of the bloatware in PS is there for graphic designers and doesn't contribute one iota to my photographic endeavors. I would love to have image files that looked good right out of the camera (i.e., after RAW conversion) and didn't need to be brought into PS at all; "workflow" would no longer be an issue.

Then again, maybe I'm living in a dream world...



Apr 19, 2005 at 05:20 PM
chemprof
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p.1 #20 · p.1 #20 · Nikon D2X white balance encryption


Octavio Salles wrote:
I still think this is all a big internet hysteria.

If Nikon wanted to "microsoft you" and use only NC they would completely code every other parameters, not just WB (which by the way can be best changed by color balance adjustments).

This has happened with other cameras before. The D2X is a brand new camera and there is only ONE parameter that still is not totally "readable" by THIRD PARTY softwares. Nikon will allow these third party softwares to break the code... of course they will. Why be sure of the contrary if there are more reasons to believe that
...Show more


I don't think that Nikon is trying to "Microsoft us", I think Adobe is.

Gerald



Apr 19, 2005 at 05:30 PM
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