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Adobe Releasing New Photo Format

Hemos posted more than 9 years ago | from the the-raw-images dept.

Graphics 422

salmonz writes "Toronto Star just posted a story that Adobe is releasing a new digital picture format; the Digital Negative Specification,or DNG. " Supposed to be use in raw photo formats; without the lossyness of JPEG.

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Why? (0, Redundant)

beh (4759) | more than 9 years ago | (#10362095)

Did anyone actually see a good reason for the creation of this particular format?

Does this format offer anything that couldn't be done with PNG?

I see a point of being able to store a picture before the camera's internal software starts working on it ("enhancing" it). But why a separate format? If you wanted to capture additional information for the camera, why not just add something like ID3 tags to an existing format like PNG to add this data?

Re:Why? (3, Funny)

I_Love_Pocky! (751171) | more than 9 years ago | (#10362112)

Don't be silly, Adobe doesn't own PNG.

Re:Why the need to diss Adobe? (5, Informative)

theskeptic (699213) | more than 9 years ago | (#10362349)

Did you even RTFA? Oh, I forgot.. this is slashdot.

For more details about this announcement, go to dpreview.com

Adobe announces new format for raw files [dpreview.com]

The Digital Negative Specification is being posted to the Adobe Web site free of any legal restrictions or royalties, enabling integration of the .DNG file format into digital cameras, printers, and software products.

Me too. (0, Flamebait)

eddy (18759) | more than 9 years ago | (#10362122)

Yeah, this sounds like a definite case of "Not Invented Here", with a cynical touch of "We can't control that" and "We can't license that".

Re:Me too. (3, Interesting)

magefile (776388) | more than 9 years ago | (#10362401)

Except that they don't control DNG either. It was released "for free" (legally & royalty-wise). So it's either NIH, stupidity, or something we don't get.

Re:Why? (5, Informative)

avandesande (143899) | more than 9 years ago | (#10362128)

This is to provide a unified RAW format for digital cameras. Right now all the manufacturers have their own formats and you cannot process them unless you have special software on your machine. I dont know why they mentioned JPEG because it is not a raw dcamera format.

Re:Why? (5, Insightful)

Tenebrious1 (530949) | more than 9 years ago | (#10362232)

I dont know why they mentioned JPEG because it is not a raw dcamera format.

They mention JPEG because that's usually the options you have on a digital camera; proprietary RAW format, which Adobe is trying to standardize, or standardized JPEG, which professionals don't want to use because it's lossy.

It's a good idea, as long as the standard isn't "owned" by Adobe.

Re:Why? (4, Informative)

JimDabell (42870) | more than 9 years ago | (#10362351)

standardized JPEG, which professionals don't want to use because it's lossy.

The JPEG standard includes a lossless option too; professionals don't want to use JPEG because lossless JPEG is inefficient, not because it doesn't exist.

Re:Why? (2, Interesting)

GigsVT (208848) | more than 9 years ago | (#10362285)

What's wrong with TIFF?

It's lossless, high end cameras already support it, and it's the gold standard for lossless transfer of bitmap data already.

So why make something new when TIFF does the job?

Re:Why? (5, Informative)

Binary Boy (2407) | more than 9 years ago | (#10362376)

It's an extension to TIFF to support, in a standardized way, the many unique variables that go into a RAW file. No existing specification could capture this range of unique data encoding and metadata without extension - DNG as TIFF was the logical choice for many reasons.

This is not processing RAW into a TIFF - you can do that now with many tools. This is repackaging a RAW file into a new, universal RAW - this should open the RAW processor world to a new level of competition (as the greatest amount of R&D time was always wasted on reverse engineering RAW formats - something Adobe is now doing for you with DNG Converter).

Re:Why? (3, Informative)

remahl (698283) | more than 9 years ago | (#10362135)

PNG is not very good for photographic data. The compression phase also requires significant processing (zlib), so it would be impractical for a digital camera to PNG compress a multi-megabyte image on the field.

Re:Why? (1, Interesting)

beh (4759) | more than 9 years ago | (#10362180)

Well, if compression processing is an issue, use a low compression - gzip -1 is a LOT faster than gzip -9; and if DNG is less resource intensive then my guess would be that its compression is also on the "low" end...

But could you clarify what makes PNG *not* good for photography? Also - isn't there some other format that might be better suited and is already present?

Re:Why? (2)

ez_TAB (235649) | more than 9 years ago | (#10362399)

Lack of more than 8 bits per color channel? Lack of metadata relating to the shot (camera settings etc especially)?

As many other posters pointed out there can be quite a bit of additional data stored in the RAW format from many high end cameras, the problem is accessing that data later when u may not have the camera (ie, proper RAW driver) available.

Why not lossless JPEG/JPEG2000 then? (1)

Guspaz (556486) | more than 9 years ago | (#10362362)

There is a lossless version of JPEG, nobody seems to consider it an option.

In fact, while on that tangent, what about lossless JPEG2000? I would imagine that a lossless wavelet-based codec would be the most efficient (best compression) lossless codec you could get.

Re:Why? (2, Insightful)

eddy (18759) | more than 9 years ago | (#10362383)

A few years ago it was unpractical to decode MPEG1-Layer 3 in realtime. A blink of an eye later it was merely unpractical to encode in realtime. Now we have ~100g devices that can decode and encode in realtime for hours on end.

If they (Adobe) don't want any kind of compression then, as we all know, TARGA would do.

If they in fact wants to use compression, but to use different models from the ones provided in the PNG standard, wouldn't it make more sense to extend PNG with said models?

Re:Why? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10362164)

Well, when you _read_ the article, you see that they're talking about a loss less format, versus JPEG which is lossy. Think of it as FLAC for pictures.

The information they're talking about retaining is, as the article puts it, before camera processing to retain truer to the capture image.

Re:Why? (5, Insightful)

dmayle (200765) | more than 9 years ago | (#10362173)

Does this format offer anything that couldn't be done with PNG?

They key to this format is that it's in a format that's given off by the CCD and CMOS sensors, not in a processed colorspace of any kind (like RGB)

What really concerns me, however, is this:

which Adobe is making available for free

Is this a free-to-all? Or just free-to-camera-developers so we can force user to use photoshop or license from Adobe?

Re:Why? (5, Insightful)

gabuzo (34544) | more than 9 years ago | (#10362264)

Is this a free-to-all? Or just free-to-camera-developers so we can force user to use photoshop or license from Adobe?

Looking at Adobe's history on postscript & pdf format I guess we should reasonably expect this new format's spec to be free (as beer) and usable by everyone

Re:Why? (5, Informative)

Ed Avis (5917) | more than 9 years ago | (#10362177)

A conventional 24-bit image file will have eight bits for red, green and blue for each pixel. But very often digital cameras don't have separate sensors for each pixel; they have alternating R G B sensors in a kind of chessboard arrangement, and then interpolate the missing values. This interpolation happens when you go from raw format to the final output, and it can be done by the camera itself or by a photo manipulation program on a PC.

A raw format file, while still storing all the data that has come off the image sensor, can be one third the size of a PNG because it knows that the first pixel has only red channel information, the second only green and so on.

Re:Why? (5, Informative)

Binary Boy (2407) | more than 9 years ago | (#10362198)

This format is not about replacing PNG, and no PNG does not provide the capabilities to do what DNG is about.

DNG is about unifying the mess of "RAW" formats - camera-specific proprietary file formats containing raw dumps of unprocessed sensor information and shot metadata.

Furthermore, DNG is not immediately about getting camera manufacturers to use it themselves - though that would be the ideal. DNG is a bridge format - something you can convert all of your RAW files to for the purposes of long-term preservation/storage. It is open and documented, and based on TIFF so there are existing reader libraries that can handle the basic format (they will need extensions to do anything with it of course).

Adobe has provided DNG Converter which will enable anyone - even non-Adobe users - to benefit from the ongoing R&D Adobe does to support the variety of RAW formats out there. This will simplify the task of building quality RAW converters by allowing small developers to focus on excellent RAW processing and not have to exert to support the many camera RAW formats out there.

Sorry, I just woke up so I'm not going to touch on everything - but this is a major announcement whose importance will become more clear in time.

Re:Why? (2, Insightful)

GreyPoopon (411036) | more than 9 years ago | (#10362302)

Sorry, I just woke up so I'm not going to touch on everything

Maybe, but you appear to be more on top of things than all the people who didn't bother to do a shred of research before accusing Adobe of just inventing a new format for no other reason than to control the market. I wouldn't put that kind of tactic past them, but people should at least do some verification for their evil market domination theories....

Can PNG support 24 bits per pixel? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10362211)

I think the main reason for a good raw format is to record the output of a digital camera's sensor, which is usually 48bpp (not counting an alpha channel). Can PNG support this, along with standardized meta-information (shutter speed, aprature, ISO, camera/sensor type, etc.)?

Read: Greater than 24 bpp (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10362233)

I guess the "greater than" symbol doesn't show up because it might be html.

Re:Why? (1)

tesmako (602075) | more than 9 years ago | (#10362217)

0:hpsux:mbe:~$ cat `find libpng-1.2.7/ zlib-1.2.1/ -name "*.[ch]"` | wc -l
67294

Yes, wonder wonder why camera manufacturers just don't throw in libpng rather than use some new format that is small and simple.

Re:Why? (4, Informative)

mookie-blaylock (522933) | more than 9 years ago | (#10362218)

It's very simple: People who deal with content creation (that is, content created for commercial consumption), especially print, don't like JPGs or other lossy formats. PNG, being an indexed-color format, is not the end-all of graphics formats, slashdot ranting aside. Most designers want TIFF files (and PCD wil do, in a pinch). JPGs, no matter the quality, tend to have a nasty habit of exhibiting some noise in their output. That's totally unacceptable for print.

And, again, PNG is totally the wrong format for this. You'd be taking a huge hit upfront in terms of indexing -- or your images would be outrageously huge.

How DNG differs from TIFF, I don't know. I would have thought TIFF would be the obvious answer. (TIFF, for those who don't know, aren't compressed but can be losslessly compressed)

Re:Why? (4, Informative)

Binary Boy (2407) | more than 9 years ago | (#10362339)

DNG *is* TIFF.

First, PNG is not always indexed. However, it would have required massive extensions to PNG to turn it into something capable of being DNG, and TIFF is already well placed for extension (TIFF is a container format - most people think of it as a simple image format, but it is very flexible and capable of adaptation).

TIFF supports a huge variety of compression modes, including uncompressed, JPEG, LZW, and ZIP, and a variety of color modes.

DNG is an extension to TIFF, to allow the additional properties of a RAW to be expressed without losing the efficiencies of RAW (linear data, typically one color channel per pixel until processing). Just as a for instance - you can take your DNG into most any TIFF reader today and it will at the very least be able to read the preview embedded in the DNG without any mods to your TIFF library.

Re:Why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10362224)

Actually adobe is in the forefront of the digital imaging market, and it just wants make its life easier by standardising the interface between digital cameras and adobe's software.

Re:Why? (4, Informative)

Nexx (75873) | more than 9 years ago | (#10362249)

Yes. Currently, CCDs and CMOSs support 12-16bits/channel. That can be encompassed in PNG's 48bits/pixel. However, newer generation gear already samples at 18-24bits/channel of RGB, which superscedes what PNG can do.

Plus, correct me if I'm wrong, but doesn't PNG assume all pixels have RGB information? Oftentimes this isn't the case in digital cameras (unless you're using a Foveon sensor). Google "Bayer Pattern" if you're interested.

The article is light on details, but I don't think Adobe is aiming this solely towards digital cameras (even expensive digital backs for medium-format cameras), but also towards medical imaging and what not. There is a reason why ImageMagick can be built with 24bits/channel and up.

Re:Why? (1, Interesting)

robkill (259732) | more than 9 years ago | (#10362256)

The real question then becomes why don't digital cameras use PNG instead of their own version of a RAW format. Adobe is stepping in to try and consolidate the different formats to simplify importing into Photoshop. I can easily see a couple of questions from a hardware perspective.

What is the time cost of compressing to PNG versus directly writing a larger uncompressed RAW file?

If compression is too costly, can a simple form of run length encoding be used instead of PNG?

Does the flash storage medium have an effect on which file formats are more efficient to write (SD vs. compact flash)? If so, what compromises must be made?

Camera makers are choosing a format based on other considerations than software compatibility. Where do the current formats fail to meet their needs?

Re:Why? (2, Informative)

theparanoidcynic (705438) | more than 9 years ago | (#10362258)

A good reason for it is that currently the only commonly used lossless image format (BMP) is uncompressed and enormous.

Re:Why? (2, Interesting)

n3k5 (606163) | more than 9 years ago | (#10362318)

Does this format offer anything that couldn't be done with PNG?
Well, I would hope so, because otherwise it would be incredibly retarded. As the article says, "Raw photo files contain all the original information captured by a digital camera sensor before any in-camera processing occurs [...]" Many cameras have sensors with not just sensors for red, green, and blue, but also a fourth colour. PNG can possibly contain a fourth colour channel, but can it also save meta-information about that channel, which colour it represents? Surely not in any standardised, widely compatible way. In the future, there could be CCDs that don't have square pixels, but hex ones, like an insect's eye. And then there already are cameras with a laser sensor that adds depth information to every pixel. A truly universal file format would have to handle this. Adobe's current version probably doesn't support that kind of funky stuff, but they could include it in a future version and make it backwards compatible. I'm not sure if PNG can even save basic information that's vital for a photographer, like aperture or exposure time.

Re:Why? (2, Informative)

Pirow (777891) | more than 9 years ago | (#10362319)

PNG was designed as a replacment for the GIF format, it's not designed for storing photos, PNG is good for images with large areas of contiguous colour and sharp edges such as cartoons and logos. PNG can handle true colour fine, but in my experience it creates massive file sizes for photos, which you don't want in an environment where space is extremely limited such as on a digital camera.

what are the benefits? (-1, Redundant)

rice0067 (220981) | more than 9 years ago | (#10362098)

What benefits will this new format pose? Is it needed or Just a name change?

Re:what are the benefits? (1)

upside (574799) | more than 9 years ago | (#10362157)

RTFA - Standard (free specs) raw format means you don't need to convert the stuff you camera puts on the memory card. "Digital Negative" is meant to reflect that it's a raw image straight off the lens - Lossless unlike JPEG

Re:what are the benefits? (2, Insightful)

polecat_redux (779887) | more than 9 years ago | (#10362167)

I suppose the benefit would be that (ideally) when all cameras support the new format, there will no longer be a need to install and use your camera's proprietary software package just to be able to access your images.

I can't remember... (5, Funny)

datadriven (699893) | more than 9 years ago | (#10362100)

Are we supposed to hate Adobe?

Re:I can't remember... (1, Insightful)

yeremein (678037) | more than 9 years ago | (#10362160)

Are we supposed to hate Adobe?

Yes, and we're also supposed to grumble about how Adobe is going to pull a submarine patent on this format to lock out the GIMP.

Re:I can't remember... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10362265)

Can't speak for others, but I certainly do. I wish they'd open their damned acroread software. Why? They make money on Acrobat producer, not reader. We (BSD users) would gain a native reader (no, kpdf, gv, and xpdf don't cut it). I'm not asking them to open Photoshop.

To stay on topic, I have my doubts that this will ever make it to digital cameras and software other than Adobe's. Why? We already have jpeg for lossy storage and tiff and png for lossless, both of them widely supported by existing software. This new format doesn't add anything that the RAW format cameras use has.

Turbo Smorgreff [www.des.no]

Newsflash (-1, Flamebait)

xenostar (746407) | more than 9 years ago | (#10362101)

Corporation creates useless file format standard. Everyone grumbles, but switches over.

Re:Newsflash (3, Funny)

JessLeah (625838) | more than 9 years ago | (#10362204)

A few remain behind and write about why they don't use the new "standard". They get branded "communists". Historical revisionism takes over, and the creators of the useless file format standard get lauded as "innovators". Anyone who complains is tagged as "just jealous".

Re:Newsflash (5, Informative)

Albanach (527650) | more than 9 years ago | (#10362240)

Corporation creates useless file format standard. Everyone grumbles, but switches over.

Actually no it's not useless, this would be very useful, especially if the format is open. Remember Adobe also cerated PDF - they know about making money from open standards.

You see proper digital cameras - especially the ones that cost $10,000 and are used by photojournalists and the like all let you save the image in raw format - that's a copy of the actual data that was captured before any processing. By doing so, you can take the image home and adjust it - white balance, satuaration and everything else - with photoshop et al. Rather than letting the camera make the adjustment and possibly messing things up, you know you still have the raw data so you can undo your changes. Trouble is, all the camera manufacturers ahev their own standard for raw data, so to get it into photoshop, the gimp or whatever you want to use, you must first run the raw image through software provided by your camera manufacturer - and you can bet that software won't run on Linux.

So this is good, 1 because it encourages interoperability and 2 because it further opens up proper image processing to Linux users.

I fail to see... (-1, Troll)

grasshoppa (657393) | more than 9 years ago | (#10362105)

..how this will help. The article made no mention as to whether this will be an open standard anyone can implement, or if Adobe will charge for licenses.

This could be nothing more than a press release about a new lossless format that will further add to the confusion.

Re:I fail to see... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10362148)

Yet it will be up to camera makers to support the specification, which Adobe is making available for free.

Re:I fail to see... (1)

grasshoppa (657393) | more than 9 years ago | (#10362378)

Let me put it another way:

How is adobe providing this? Sure, it's for free, but what exactly does that mean? Of all groups of people, the slashdot crowd should know better than to get taken in by the whole free thing.

Example: You need a file format. I have one, that I own patents on. I say you can use it for free, you agree. Then, later, I decide I want to start charging for it. As we did not have a previous agreement that includes this circumstance, you are up shit creek.

So no, I do not trust this, especially from adobe, until I see the fine print.

Re:I fail to see... (3, Insightful)

ClippyHater (638515) | more than 9 years ago | (#10362199)

Here's [msn.com] another article.

Yet it will be up to camera makers to support the specification, which Adobe is making available for free.

So it looks like they aren't charging for it. And if everyone can standardize on a single format, that'd make EVERYONE'S life a lot easier.

Yep. (-1)

Pxtl (151020) | more than 9 years ago | (#10362113)

Just what the world needs. Another closed image format. Well, pdf beat gzipped postscript (and now MS is gonna give PDF a run for its money), so kiss png goodbye.

How about people work on something we actually need? Like a standard lossy format with support for alpha? There are nineteen gazillion common lossless systems, but only one common lossy system.

Re:Yep. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10362168)

Just what the world needs. Another closed image format.

Where does it say closed? The article doesn't say either way, but it sort of implies it'll be open.

Re:Yep. (1)

Oddly_Drac (625066) | more than 9 years ago | (#10362220)

"Like a standard lossy format with support for alpha?"

Because it's nigh on impossible to do? Lossy formats call for some compromise on quality, and alpha gradients wouldn't be that easy to translate.

Re:Yep. (1)

polecat_redux (779887) | more than 9 years ago | (#10362338)

Lossy formats call for some compromise on quality, and alpha gradients wouldn't be that easy to translate.

Good point. However, there is no reason it should be impossible to compress the alpha channel lossless and apply lossy compression to the rest of the image.

Re:Yep. (1)

julesh (229690) | more than 9 years ago | (#10362397)

Like a standard lossy format with support for alpha?

JPEG supports arbitrary channels. If you really want it, you could add an alpha channel to a JPEG stream and use that. The reason we don't have it is because there's very little point.

What's wrong with PNG? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10362118)

The Star, being a mainstream rag, lacks any details as to why we need another format instead of existing ones. Anyone?

Re:What's wrong with PNG? (-1, Redundant)

upside (574799) | more than 9 years ago | (#10362203)

... And why couldn't they just standardize TIFF, which they already own [earthlink.net].

Re:What's wrong with PNG? (0)

MustardMan (52102) | more than 9 years ago | (#10362327)

Actually, if you read the other comments here, one karma whore includes the text of the press release, and it states that this format is in fact built upon tiff.

Re:What's wrong with PNG? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10362308)

Wow. A question concerning the DNG image format, and modded offtopic. Way to go, mods.

Perhaps you were looking for "redundant".

Maybe (3, Interesting)

nonameisgood (633434) | more than 9 years ago | (#10362120)

The kicker is, IF the camera companies decide to use it. Standards are only standard is they are used. My questions is, can existing cameras be updated to the new format, or will the manufacturers just want to sell the new ones.
--

Supplied software (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10362261)

Adobe supplies castrated versions of photoshop which get shipped with some digital camera's. They are in a very good position to pull this off.

Re:Maybe (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10362286)

My Olympus camera already supports a lossless format (I don't remember which right now, but everything I use understands it). So why do we need this solution from Adobe?

As posters before have noted, I think this is an attempt at lock-in. Lately Adobe has been playing the Microsoft game. With their switch to incompatible file formats around Acrobat 4 or 5 and the ridiculous insistence on IE 6.0 for the latest Acrobat Reader, not to mention the bloated monster that Reader has become, Adobe is quickly losing me as a user.

Re:Maybe (4, Informative)

polecat_redux (779887) | more than 9 years ago | (#10362295)

My questions is, can existing cameras be updated to the new format, or will the manufacturers just want to sell the new ones.

I'm not horribly concerned if Nikon doesn't release an update for my particular camera since Adobe will be providing an image conversion utility that supports many of the proprietary raw formats.

Great idea. Some info. (5, Informative)

Thinkit4 (745166) | more than 9 years ago | (#10362138)

A raw image is what directly comes out of the CCD. In fact it uses less storage than the bitmap that can be produced from it. But it's even better, as with it you can customize white balance and such after the picture has been taken. I use the raw images exclusively on my Canon S45 (it's a difficult feature to find). The problem appears to be in standardization.

Whats the point? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10362143)

Are they planning to let everyone use it as a free, open standard for 5 years, and then sue everyone for licensing?

We should all use PNG.

Customer oriented naming (4, Insightful)

tod_miller (792541) | more than 9 years ago | (#10362152)

People are comfortable with the idea of 'negatives'. If Adobe can make a market for this format, it will tie people into using thier tools (or thier tools will have an additional 'incentive')

I have read up on how using the raw format of the camera, and using the software on the PC you can use the additional information the camera would have thrown away, to do things such as save areas that would have been captured to dark otherwise.

Of course, each cameras format for RAW is basically that, RAW format, and this proposed file format should be nothing more than making sure each software can access it seamlessly.

So in fact, reading the article, it woudl seem like a good idea...

until you look at PDF. I just hope they don't try and put some tagging / watermarking / superflous junk into it.

*cough*

Re:Customer oriented naming (2, Insightful)

Nexx (75873) | more than 9 years ago | (#10362336)

until you look at PDF. I just hope they don't try and put some tagging / watermarking / superflous junk into it.

Why is that superfluous? I bet you law enforcement would JUMP at a digital file format where they have an encapsulated proof within an image that the image has not been adultrated, as would insurance companies and such, and many other uses I can think of. Heck, as a photographer, I'd like it for protecting my own copyright.

First steps against the GIMP (0, Flamebait)

SlashdotMirrorer (669639) | more than 9 years ago | (#10362155)

It's obvious from this that Adobe is rolling out new formats in an effort to minimize the impact the GIMP is having on the bottom dollar of the Adobe company. With more and more features being added by the tireless bearded terminal hackers at SuSE to the Gimp, it's a wonder they haven't done something like this earlier. Perhaps it can be implemented in The GIMP soon. One can only wonder what Adobe's partners in Redhat are thinking at the moment.

You must always pay the piper, so now would be a good time to send the money you would be spending on Photoshop (or CDRs to burn a copy) to the fine bearded terminal hackers that crank out new feature for The Gimp. Swirl filters don't code themselves, gentlemen.

JPEG-2000? (5, Insightful)

warpedrive (532727) | more than 9 years ago | (#10362186)

What about using the new version of JPEG, for 'digital negatives'?

There are no royalties, no licencing, it has 2x to 5x the compression efficiency, and it's inherently multiresolutional. One file, all resolutions, no reprocessing.. It supports hundreds of component layers, data embedding, lossless encoding..

So.. why would you use some new proprietary Adobe format?

Re:JPEG-2000? (5, Interesting)

GigsVT (208848) | more than 9 years ago | (#10362317)

We don't know that it will be proprietary.

Adobe has traditionally understood the value of releasing full file specifications under a non-restrictive license, as they have done with PDF and PS.

They have no motivation to make this standard proprietary, if they did that, digital camera makers wouldn't use it! All signs point to them making this one completely open.

Re:JPEG-2000? (1)

FosterKanig (645454) | more than 9 years ago | (#10362337)

Do you even have a fucking clue what you are talking about? Do you understand the benfits of RAW files? Fucking 'tard.

Re:JPEG-2000? (2, Informative)

The Old Me (641450) | more than 9 years ago | (#10362398)

Also, there is a true-lossless compression option in JPEG2000, which is even more to the point for this story. For background info, old JPEG has a true- lossless option, but it has never been widely implemented-- Getting lossless compression right is one of the various things that JPEG2000 fixes.

I like my photo formats RAW (2, Interesting)

BitWarrior (692600) | more than 9 years ago | (#10362188)

RAW is the way to go for professional photo stuff. From my Nikon D70 I can get RAW format pics which contain lots of extra info about the camera settings and ALL the digital data from the camera, not just what the JPG compressor decided I should have. This is critical for later processing of the photos. Without this extra data, lots of detail in the shadows and highlight regions will likely be lost. I for one want to choose what data to keep and what to throw away, I don't want a compression algorithm making that decision. But, here's the catch... 98% of the people won't give a rat's ass about this. This kind of format is for professional photographers or serious enthusiasts. So for most people, it means nothing, but for me it may be another great format to use since I already use all the Adobe products.

Hopefully... (5, Insightful)

erwin (8773) | more than 9 years ago | (#10362195)

this makes dealing with RAW files less of PITA. However, has anyone other that Adobe been involved in the spec's creation, or is this just another case of the brilliant minds a [insert company/organization name] coming up with the "ultimate" solution to their corner of the world's problems, without really considering the broader context.

I await more information and a working open-source library...wake me when it's ready.

Re:Hopefully... (4, Insightful)

Binary Boy (2407) | more than 9 years ago | (#10362278)

Many well known photographers, manufacturers, and developers were consulted. However, in a case like this, in the end it takes someone like Adobe taking the bull by the horns - the proliferation of RAW formats was not (and is not) going to be solved by slow-moving standards bodies - this will take a market force demanding adoption by the many stakeholders, who have not even shown interest in the problems let alone investing in a solution.

Preservation of digital photography in RAW formats is an ugly challenge and kudos to Adobe for taking the lead in a very serious issue. This is not a marketing ploy - in fact, if you understand the effort you'll see it's a very open attempt, and in some ways will be subsidized by Adobe - for instance, their DNG Converter will continue to provide the capability to convert any RAW format they support into DNG, leaving other DNG developers to focus on the act of processing DNG images and not on reverse engineering every new model camera's RAW format.

Full press release link from DPReview (5, Informative)

buro9 (633210) | more than 9 years ago | (#10362208)

http://www.dpreview.com/news/0409/04092711adobe_dn g.asp [dpreview.com]

Adobe Systems has today announced a new unified public format for raw digital camera files and a free software tool, Adobe DNG Converter, for translating raw photo formats into the new .DNG format, which is compliant with the Digital Negative Specification. There is no standard format for raw files, which vary between manufacturers and cameras. Digital Negative Specification will introduce a single format that can store information from a diverse range of cameras. An updated Adobe RAW File Converter adds support for DNG as well as several other cameras.

Click here for more information on Adobe DNG [adobe.com]

Press Release:

Adobe Unifies Raw Photo Formats with Introduction of Digital Negative Specification Free Converter Tool Kick Starts New Digital Negative File Format by Translating Raw Formats into Easy-to-Use, Archive-Ready Files

SAN JOSE, Calif. -- Sept. 27, 2004 -- Adobe Systems Incorporated (Nasdaq:ADBE) today introduced the Digital Negative Specification, a new unified public format for raw digital camera files. The company also launched a free software tool, Adobe DNG Converter, which translates many of today's popular raw photo formats into the new .DNG file format, compliant with the Digital Negative Specification.

Raw files, which contain the original information captured by a camera sensor prior to any in-camera processing, have become popular due to their promise of greater flexibility and image quality. Until today there has been no standard format for these files, which vary between manufacturers and individual cameras. The Digital Negative Specification solves this problem by introducing a single format that can store information from a diverse range of cameras. Technology leaders, major customers, and professional photographers today also endorsed the new specification (see separate quote sheet).

"Professional photographers and other creative professionals are moving to raw camera workflows because of the outstanding creative control they get over digital images," said Bryan Lamkin, senior vice president of Digital Imaging and Digital Video products at Adobe. "However, clients and publishers have difficulty working with disparate raw file formats and nobody can be sure that today's raw formats will be supported ten years from now. Adobe customers asked us to work on a unified, public format for raw files and that's what we've delivered with the new Digital Negative Specification."

Serious photographers want to store raw files in long-term image archives, because -- unlike standard JPEG's and TIFF's -- these files represent the pure, unaltered capture. Current raw formats are unsuitable for archiving because they are generally undocumented and tied to specific camera models, introducing the risk that the format will not be supported over time. The unified and publicly documented Digital Negative Specification ensures that digital photographs can be preserved in original form for future generations. The new .DNG file format also simplifies digital imaging workflows for creative professionals who today have to juggle multiple file formats as they bring raw images, from different cameras, into print and cross-media publishing projects.

New Specification Built on Existing Standards

The Digital Negative Specification is based on the TIFF EP format, an accepted standard, and already the basis of many proprietary raw formats. The power of .DNG format lies in a set of metadata that must be included in the file to describe key details about the camera and settings. .DNG-compliant software and hardware can adapt on the fly to handle new cameras as they are introduced. The new file format unifies conflicting raw formats, enabling the preservation of a pristine version of the original raw image and the metadata associated with it. .DNG is also flexible enough to allow camera manufacturers to continue to add their own "private" metadata fields.

The Digital Negative Specification is being posted to the Adobe Web site free of any legal restrictions or royalties, enabling integration of the .DNG file format into digital cameras, printers, and software products. By adopting .DNG, camera manufacturers eliminate the need to develop new formats, simplify product testing and ensure new cameras have a raw format immediately compatible with tools such as Adobe Photoshop CS and Adobe Creative Suite. The .DNG format is immediately supported in Adobe Photoshop CS as part of an updated Camera Raw Plug-in, also introduced today (see separate release). Adobe Photoshop Elements 3.0 also supports .DNG files.

DNG Converter Available Today

Kick-starting the adoption of .DNG, Adobe DNG Converter is available today as a free download at: www.adobe.com/dng [adobe.com]. This translates raw formats from more than 65 cameras, including recent models such as Canon PowerShot S60, Epson RD-1, Fujifilm FinePix S20 Pro, and Nikon Coolpix 5400, into the new .DNG file format.

Anyone who uses JPEG... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10362210)

....for anything but a quick and dirty web display should be skinned alive.

But it's too be expected that Adobe created another format, it's their way of maintaining a vender lock vs Quark etc.

Seems this is the only way to do buisness and survive, the Microsoft way, the Apple way and now the Adobe way.

Napoleon Dynamite... (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10362250)

The new format will be pronounced "Dang!"

What a stupid name (4, Insightful)

JustNiz (692889) | more than 9 years ago | (#10362273)

The connotations of 'Negative' are purely historical and bear no relevance to modern (i.e. digital ) photography.

The images stored in ths format will not be negatives (i.e. inverted) anyway, contrary to what the name means and suggests.

Re:What a stupid name (4, Insightful)

lachlan76 (770870) | more than 9 years ago | (#10362332)

The idea is to make it easy for the general public to understand what the format is for - transferring the original image out of the camera.

In this sense, negative is the ideal name.

Hmmm (0)

Apreche (239272) | more than 9 years ago | (#10362276)

so they made a new lossless image format. Don't we already have lossless image formats like tiff? What makes this one better than the others? Does it have some sort of lossless compression that is currently beyond compare? Will it mean that a digital camera can store more pictures in its storage space without losing picture quality?

It seems to me that this is just adobe re-inventing the wheel into a new proprietary wheel. If it doesn't provide any sort of technological improvement I don't see how it is going to do anything for them...

Re:Hmmm (1)

RupW (515653) | more than 9 years ago | (#10362405)

so they made a new lossless image format. Don't we already have lossless image formats like tiff?

No, they made a set of TIFF extensions that are designed to store the raw CCD data produced by the camera. Read Adobe's DNG primer [adobe.com]: in essence, camera CCDs are *not* full colour, but have a mix of pixels filtered for R, G and B and the camera processes these scattered R, G and B values into a colour image. DNG stores the raw CCD data before the colours are combined.

It seems to me that this is just adobe re-inventing the wheel into a new proprietary wheel.

The spec (also on Adobe's DNG site [adobe.com] anounces itself as "non-proprietary". The improvement is providing a common format for camera manufacturers to use.

If I see one more "what's wrong with PNG" post... (5, Insightful)

MustardMan (52102) | more than 9 years ago | (#10362293)

I'm going to vomit. That's liks asking "what's wrong with the mini cooper" in an aritcle about jumbo jets. PNG is not what this format is designed to work with, RAW data from the camera is. RTFA before jumping on the open source bandwagon and screaming that everything should be PNG because you saw a blurb about it on ESR's website. Fuck, I like open source and masturbate every time I see a linux login prompt, and you zealots are starting to piss me off.

What does the "G" stand for? (0, Redundant)

b1t r0t (216468) | more than 9 years ago | (#10362306)

Okay, so the D and N stand for "Digital Negative". What does the G stand for?

In JPEG and MPEG, the EG means "Experts Group", though the E is usually dropped because of Microsoft's 8.3 legacy of CP/M file names.

Re:What does the "G" stand for? (4, Funny)

ari_j (90255) | more than 9 years ago | (#10362366)

And, in PNG, the G stands for Graphics; Portable Network Graphics [libpng.org]. I know it's a stretch, but possibly Adobe meant the G in DNG to also stand for Graphics. I know it seems to have nothing to do with the file format at hand, but it's possible. I mean, they made PDF, which has nothing to do with Firearms even though the ATF's F stands for that. It's just an Adobe thing, I guess.

Adobe's take on the issue (5, Informative)

sammy baby (14909) | more than 9 years ago | (#10362322)

Adobe has put up a page regarding the new format [adobe.com] on their site. But for those who couldn't be bothered to read the original article and are posting questions like, "Why bother..."

There are currently two image formats in wide use for high-end cameras. RAW is the format of choice for people who demand high-quality shots with no compression artifacts. Unfortunately, different camera manufacturers have implemented their RAW encoding differently, which means that two cameras that can save to RAW don't necessarily use the same format. As a result, professionals often have to convert between their vendor's RAW format, and that used by their software.

The other format is good old JPEG, but as you probably know, JPEG is a lossy compression [webopedia.com] algorithim, making it unsuitable for those who demand a certain level of quality in the shots as captured.

The new format is designed to provide the same advantages of RAW, without the cross-vendor incompatibilities. Adobe is calling it "a publicly documented and readily available specification," although I didn't see any kind of license data around the download of the spec (which is on the Adobe page listed above).

Obligatory Simpsons Ref... (0)

Aceto3for5 (806224) | more than 9 years ago | (#10362334)

I, for one, welcome our new gigabyte-sized image format.

Re:Obligatory Simpsons Ref... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10362388)

It's not funny. It hasn't been for a while. How about some Soviet Russia or All Your Base posts while you're at it?

The Sysbase Pop-In Ads (-1, Troll)

airrage (514164) | more than 9 years ago | (#10362352)

As a person of non-color, I've been upset for sometime at the advertisements on Slashdot by the sponser SYBASE. The offending advertisement in question shows a monster pounding a person of non-color into the ground with a spike club, literally as a spike of somesort.

If this were any other minority we would assume racism. However, what is good for the goose ... is slashdot and or sybase racist? Does sybase hate white people?

This actually does make sense, odd as it sounds. (5, Insightful)

foxtrot (14140) | more than 9 years ago | (#10362357)

The idea for this spec is not to replace JPEG or PNG. Higher-end digital cameras have a mechanism by which to save images in a lossless format. It used to be this was generally TIFF, but when you're looking at six megapixel images, TIFF nets you pretty monstrous file sizes.

Most digital camera manufacturers came up with their own lossless compression. And, of course, they're all incompatible.

Now, why Adobe? If you're shooting high-end digital photography where you care about it being lossless, and you're doing post-production on your images, what are you using? Adobe Photoshop. So instead of having to have input routines for Photoshop for seventeen different specs, Adobe would much rather the manufacturers have one standard-- can't say as I blame them. Standards are good.

Now, most of us will still keep our cameras set to shoot JPEG, but the folks who do this stuff for a living, this will benefit them. This isn't a case of trying to create a new standard to replace one that already exists to try to get market dominance, a-la Microsoft (or, heck, Acrobat/pdf for the most part...), this is a new standard to make up for the fact that there simply isn't one in this segment and there desperately needs to be.

Now, this doesn't mean Adobe won't leverage the spec and make piles of cash off of it, but at least in this case they're actually inventing something that people need instead of trying to push something on them that they don't.

More info available ... specs too (5, Informative)

Midnight Thunder (17205) | more than 9 years ago | (#10362379)

DP Review has the press release [dpreview.com], which includes the following description:

The Digital Negative Specification is based on the TIFF EP format, an accepted standard, and already the basis of many proprietary raw formats. The power of .DNG format lies in a set of metadata that must be included in the file to describe key details about the camera and settings. .DNG-compliant software and hardware can adapt on the fly to handle new cameras as they are introduced. The new file format unifies conflicting raw formats, enabling the preservation of a pristine version of the original raw image and the metadata associated with it. .DNG is also flexible enough to allow camera manufacturers to continue to add their own "private" metadata fields.

Adobe already has a page [adobe.com] on DNG. Its is a free format and the specs are right there on the page, so GIMP won't lose out.

I believe the format is a) to save Adobe money long term (they don't have to support yet another specific sensor) and b) reduce headaches and complaints from the user. We'll just see how the camera companies and digital photography professionals react.

Does it handle Gamma Correction? (-1, Redundant)

mcwop (31034) | more than 9 years ago | (#10362400)

Does the new format handle Gamma correction when viewing over the web? PNG was supposed [www.hut.fi] to do this, but does not do a great job.

Wouldn't OpenEXR be a more suitable format ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10362404)

Subject says it all. It is designed for high dynamic range images. Open, and extensible.
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