Apr 25, 2005

Photographers ask camera makers to open up

A new organization of digital photographers is hoping to convince camera makers to unlock their proprietary file formats.
Source: CNET News
Written By Declan McCullagh

The OpenRAW Working Group on Monday called on camera makers to open up the tightly guarded RAW formats prized by serious photographers. Lower-quality JPEG shots already are recorded in an open, standard format.

At the moment, Canon, Nikon, Sony and many other manufacturers permit their customers to save uncompressed photographs only in custom, undocumented formats that have begun to worry digital photographers.

In a few years, camera makers may stop supporting RAW formats used by older models–potentially rendering vast image libraries unreadable. Canon already has announced that images taken with its discontinued EOS D30 camera can’t be opened in its latest editing utility.

“What happened to the world of photography, that a camera just five years old becomes obsolete?” German photographer Juergen Specht asked in a post on the OpenRAW site. “Three-and-a-half years ago, a photographer named Bill Biggart died under an avalanche of falling debris as two jetliners plowed into the towers of the World Trade Center. His pictures, taken with a Canon D30 survived. This camera saw history. Now it’s obsolete.”

Nikon would not comment, and Canon could not immediately be reached on Monday for a response.

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Editor’s note: PSN covered the launch of the new web site with a story on Saturday, April 23rd.

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