January 31, 2006 – In an effort to help photographers’ concerns be heard, OpenRAW, a non-profit advocacy group, is conducting a survey on RAW image data issues.
"We believe that good decisions by the digital photography industry should take account of the preferences of the photographers who make their living or pursue their artistic vision through this medium," says OpenRAW.
OpenRAW believes that not having a standardized RAW image format will eventually lead to data loss as newer software versions stop supporting older cameras. OpenRAW supports the idea of an industry standard, openly documented RAW file format that would share information regarding the camera settings selected by the photographer and how the raw data is stored.
As it stands now, many camera manufacturers choose to hide some of the information in their RAW image files, making it difficult for photographers to improve the images in popular postproduction camera editing software. For example, there was recently an issue regarding Nikon’s encrypted white balance information, which could only be retrieved with a particular image editing alternative.
OpenRAW is not alone in their quest. They list on their website many software companies, as well as photography organizations and magazines, which support the idea of an open RAW format. Adobe (for obvious and perhaps less than altruistic reasons) has proposed the same type of standardization through their free Digital Negative conversion software which converts camera-specific RAW files to a more universal DNG raw file. Even Kodak CEO Antonio Perez, in his CES press conference in January of 2006, also called for a standardization of image file formats. However, Kodak does not yet publicly support OpenRAW. In fact, there is no camera manufacturer that has officially committed to supporting an open format RAW image file, according to the advocacy group.
OpenRAW is interested in hearing from both professional and serious hobbyists about their opinions and wishes in terms of RAW technology. The results will be publicly posted on OpenRAW’s website and will be used to lobby the industry for open source RAW image technology.
Individual identifying information about respondents will be kept confidential, though some will be collected to insure that there are no multiple survey entries. The 15 minute survey was launched today and will be open until March 31, 2006 24:00:00 GMT.
You can take the survey at: http://openraw.org/survey/