...and it happens.

Thanks to Tuomas for the link.

It appears that Nikon has decided to lock down the NEF RAW file format used in their high end cameras. This is very bad. It just goes way beyond the simple dollar issues, as it seems to require people to buy the Nikon software instead of just using third parties, may it be the free dcraw or the pricey Adobe Photoshop.

It is a matter of who own the copyright on images and who own the key to view these images. With that scheme, the photographer depends on Nikon to view the images. It is like having a dependency on some magnifier manufacturer to view your printed pictures or your developed film. This has never happened. There have been some exclusive film processing like Kodachrome, but once processed, the film could be used freely like anything else.

Even worse. It just make these memories fading. Photographic archives are priceless for our history memory. And film has been somewhat appropriate to keep them, to some extent. With the era of digital picture, lot of professionnals have concerns about the perenity of the storage medias. But with Nikon initiative, that reduce it even more. In 100 years, there is absolutely no warranty that one will be able to decode these. Even in 30 years, and maybe not in 10 years.

I would have prefered the adoption of a free and documented common RAW format instead.

Photoshop news has an article.