I spent a few hours reading about this the other evening and all the pro's and cons that have been submitted by the many people with opinions. Not surprisingly and quite disappointingly, many people seem to be turning this into a "Canon is better than Nikon" discussion instead of sticking to the real and more important point of restricted access to all your own data. I find this very sad as both Canon and Nikon have a lot to offer photographers and neither manufacture can call themselves angels.
The other point is that this has been posted by Adobe who have a lot to loose by not having access to this data, it may directly affect future sales of Photoshop CS and so it could be a ploy to indirectly apply pressure on Nikon to make the decryption data available (maybe free or under licence).
Two of the more balanced views I have copied below, note the comment about competition, without it we would all be much worse off...
Jon Revere Says:
April 19th, 2005 at 8:53 am
I am a long-time Canon user but the fate of Nikon is of interest to me as well. For decades Nikon and Canon have competed at all levels, each taking their turn in the sunlight as the professional must-have camera and equipment. The competition between these two firms has produced the incredible cameras we all have now.
Such intense emotion expressed in this thread could not result from the singular act of encrypting some RAW data. It does come from a period of disappointments.
Regardless of the wisdom of encrypting its RAW information, it would be shame if it meant Nikon would lose further ground to Canon. Without the competition of each company dogging the other, I think both Nikon and Canon users alike will lose.
My apologies to those who have already read my words over at the Adobe PS Win forum.
I do some technical (and non-technical) writing for camera companies and would like to offer some perspective.
As a Nikon DSLR and Photoshop/Camera Raw user, I am angry with Nikon for being uncooperative. I think they are misguided. However, I fully understand why camera makers would want to maintain control over the interpretation of RAW data. It has nothing to do with increasing corporate revenues by getting into the software business and everything to do with maintaining product differentiation in a highly competitive market that appears to be headed toward parity. Manufacturers want to avoid a situation in which pricing becomes their number one weapon in the market share wars.
Its easy to make the sensor-film analogy, saying that camera makers need only concentrate on what happens until the light rays of the latent image strike the film/sensor plane. But digital camera design is far more complex.
Put aside RAW capture for the moment. Camera makers have long ago discovered that post-processing specifically, the algorithms used in the digital signal processor downstream from the sensor can have as much effect on image quality as the optics and the sensor itself. Noise, for example, assumed by many to be generated entirely by the sensor, can just as easily be caused by calculation errors at the DSP stage. Moreover, user feel-good factors such as camera responsiveness, battery life, and overall ease of use are essentially determined by the DSP. Guess what, folks? Its all about the software.
There are many more camera manufacturers than there are sensor manufacturers, which means you very often find the same sensor in multiple camera models from multiple manufacturers. Yes, there are many areas other than sensor technology by which a camera maker can distinguish its products. One of those is software or, more precisely, firmware. Camera makers have invested a lot of money into DSP technology, including software development. To neglect that aspect of digicam design would be tantamount to corporate suicide. The ones that have their own LSI capabilities have gone so far as to design and fabricate their own DSP chips with proprietary architectures. (Canon, with their Digic chip, comes to mind as an example.) But, here again, the hardware is not the story.
So, now, we come back to RAW capture. It really isnt that difficult, in light of the above, to understand camera makers desire to maintain some control over the capture data especially after they leave the sensor. We can argue until were blue in the face that its simply wrong to go proprietary in RAW formatting, but convincing a camera maker of that, I think, is going to be a major uphill battle. Theyve invested money in the software end of things not because they thought it would be a neat idea but rather because they saw that their very existence depended on it. Would you give it up that easily?
I dont have any answers nor a crystal ball. As a user, I hope for a certain outcome but Im not holding my breath.
=-= Harron =-=