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OpenRAW survey aims to establish a standardised Raw image format for photographers

OpenRAW is a non-profit organisation whose primary concern is the longevity of digital images. They believe that current proprietry RAW formats could be rendered obsolete in the future making it impossible to reprocess images taken on todays digital cameras.

| Industry News
The survey is aimed at digital SLR users and consists of 25 questions which ask various questions about your photography habits. Questions in the survey include:
  • How many images do you capture with your digital camera equipment in an average month?
  • How often do you capture digital images in RAW mode?
  • Which of the following RAW image conversion or editing software products provides you with the best workflow for your photography?
  • Which camera system would you be most likely to purchase?
  • Which of the following best describes your involvement with photography now?
  • Approximately how many years have you been using professional-level digital cameras?
  • What types of subject matter do you shoot most often?
  • How would you characterize your level of expertise with computers?
  • What brand(s) of professional digital cameras do you currently own and use?
To fill out the survey please visit

Also if you think ePHOTOzine should support this campaign then please leave a comment below.

If we get a strong enough response in favour, we will add ePHOTOzine to their supporters list to help represent the general view of the members of this site.

Press release:
During the past several months, photographers have become increasingly aware of the actions of camera makers to conceal - and in some cases, to encrypt - information stored in RAW image files. These actions have raised concern about whether a trend toward more proprietary RAW image formats could lead to fewer choices of software to edit RAW files from new cameras. They have also shaken photographers' confidence that RAW files taken with older camera models will be supported in the future.

Although there are many photography forums where these topics are discussed, at present we know very little about the experiences, beliefs, and preferences of photographers concerning RAW imaging technology. To fill this gap, the non-profit advocacy group, OpenRAW, in cooperation with several communities of photographers, is conducting a worldwide survey to give photographers an opportunity to be heard. We appreciate your participation.
Our questionnaire has been designed to measure the full range of opinions on RAW imaging issues. We trust it will allow you to express your personal views.

We hope you will answer all the survey questions - it will only require about 15 minutes of your time. We also appreciate your cooperation in following the basic guidelines of all high-quality surveys by completing the questionnaire only once to register your personal responses. No information will be collected in this survey that could be used to identify any respondent, guaranteeing the confidentiality of your responses.

Results of this survey will be placed in the public domain at the OpenRAW Web page. 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. We will share the survey results widely in the hope that the future of the craft will benefit.

The survey was launched on January 31, 2006 00:00:01 GMT and will remain open for 57 days, until March 31, 2006 24:00:00 GMT.

Should ePHOTOzine sign up as a supporter? Click here to join the debate.
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Yes open raw would be a good thing
I'm not so sure. Standards are all very well to give a level playing field. However I normally find they hold back the high fliers. It may stop advances in the future as manufacturers would need the comitees agreement before encoding new features. I think jpeg sould be the standard and all cameras shoot both.


IanA 19 3.0k 12 England
Yes, certainly.
Camera manufacturers are notoriously bad at supply decent RAW converters and should not be allowed to 'lock' parts of the image files captured by photographers as some have tried to do of late!
Big Bri 21 16.7k United Kingdom
I would support it as long as it is extensible. It's no good having a committee design a format which is open but "closed" which would prevent future additions by individual manufacturers, should they have the need to record information that is not in the defined format.
sut68 19 2.0k 77 England
Yes, all for it, providing it is implemented sensibly.
Agree - OpenRaw is a worthwhile initiative. Photographers shouldn't run the risk of being tied to one manufacturer's proprietary standard. It's us, not the camera makers, who should own our work.
deviant 18 3.1k 1 United Kingdom
Pluse the risk of not being able to read your files at all 10 years down the line.
dark_lord Plus
18 3.0k 836 England
An excellent idea, it's really annoying having a multitude of different formats. It would have to be designed so that it can be easily 'upgradable' to take account of any future enhancements yet always be backwards compatible, rather like you can open a text only file in the latest word processing programmes.
Agree with OpenRaw.orgs initiatives and strongly think EPZ should support it, representing end users interests.
I think it is a very timely issue to be tackled with a standard body, as the digital imaging technology is relative mature particularly in the optical sensors and recording devices and size of storage is less of an issue. As an end user looking for higher qualities in images, most of us may have ended up shooting in raw lots of time. Also, we're on the verge of a booming era for digital imagery it is important to address some of the real issues that has raised for wider awareness.
It is true that we already have many standards for imaging such as jpeg, tiff, etc. But, these standards do not address directly the raw recording. For example, to render in jpeg, my camera will have to do quite a bit of processing from sensors data to jpeg specifications. Common sense tells me that the CPU inside my current camera may not have as high numerical precision when comparing to the CPU in my laptop PC. No wonder we are able to get much better qualities out from shooting RAW, and afterward, do the converting to jpeg or others on a laptop. Raw files also provide higher post-processing flexibilities. These are just some of the main reasons for shooting raw.
As users of cameras, we all would want to have full control and proprietary over the images recorded from our shooting. We feel it is our right to be able to get to every bit of data recorded by the cameras, either by ourselves (if youre a computer nerd! Grin) or other 3rd parties who will be able to provide tools for us to do so. For that to happen, the camera makers will have to make public the specification of format used in recording to the raw file. What could be better to have a open standard?
shed 18 586 England
Yep I agree, EPZ should support the Open Raw standard. As long as it remains fully backwards compatible.
I agree that we sould have an open RAW standard. I have hundreds of photos and negatives taken by my grandparents and parents and I can still access these images and I worry that my grandchildren won't be able to access my images in the future, an open raw standard means they won't go obsolete.
Absolutely Smile

At least Samsung are supporting DNG...
I definitely think this is something EPZ should support providing it is a backward compatible standard.

But if not backward compatible I think EPZ should oppose it. Otherwise the situation could be even worse than proprietary RAW image formats - we ALL have out of date unreadable digital negatives. (Please excuse my slight exaggeration.)
Skier 20 203 China
Yes - on balance I feel that epz should support this initiative, at least at this stage. Things may change which may make the debate relevant but for now we need to all tip in. The survey runs to 31/3 and as a market researcher I believe it is as important to get the views of those who disagree via the survey as much as those who agree with the aims of open raw. I didn't find a link from epz, used anothers ource then searched here, so for the final month - any chance of clear support for the intial initiative?

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