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Adobe Proposes New Universal Photo Format

Adobe Proposes New Universal Photo Format

by , 7:20 AM EDT, September 27th, 2004

Adobe Systems announced Monday a new format for digital photos that offers higher-quality, raw images in the hopes more digital camera makers and software companies will support the new standard.

Adobe is proposing that its new Digital Negative Specification, or DNG, become a universal standard for a raw format to save digital images. With DNG, Adobe contends all the original information captured by a digital camera will be saved, thus giving users truer images and more flexibility when editing.

"Professional photographers and other creative professionals are moving to raw camera workflows because of the outstanding creative control they get over digital images," said Bryan Lamkin, senior vice president of Digital Imaging and Digital Video products at Adobe. "However, clients and publishers have difficulty working with disparate raw file formats and nobody can be sure that today's raw formats will be supported ten years from now. Adobe customers asked us to work on a unified, public format for raw files and that's what we've delivered with the new Digital Negative Specification."

Most consumer digital cameras today capture images in the JPEG format, which stands for the Joint Photographic Experts group, and was developed in 1986. But because there is no publicly available specifications for JPEG, software and digital camera makers are interpreting those files in many different ways. As a result, Adobe said the use of these proprietary raw files means the best possible quality from every photo is being lost. In addition, that incompatibility has forced users to use multiple software programs to handle raw photos.

Adobe, has also launched a free software tool - the DNG Converter - that will allow users to convert the raw formats from more than 65 cameras into the new format. The converter translates raw formats from more than 65 cameras, including recent models such as Canon PowerShot S60, Epson RD-1, Fujifilm FinePix S20 Pro, and Nikon Coolpix 5400, into the new DNG file format.

The Digital Negative Specification has been posted to Adobe's Web site free of any legal restrictions or royalties, enabling integration of the DNG file format into digital cameras, printers, and software products.

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