Saturday, July 18, 2015


Michael Reichmann of LuLa went on some silly rant about how every camera maker should support DNG for its RAW format, casting it as a no-brainer. Obviously, it's just clickbait.

In later discussion he attempted to make it a moral issue, claiming that the image data belongs to him, and that it is therefore immoral for the camera maker to force him to convert their RAW formats to DNG offboard, and that they should do it onboard the camera. Huh? If it's about access to your image data, well, you have that with a one-step offboard conversion. If it's about accessing it immediately, you should be demanding a sensor access port. In fact, Michael just wants clicks, and perhaps to a degree wants DNG output for convenience. If there is a moral issue here, DNG output is not a relevant part of the discussion.

But he did raise an interesting idea. These are his 1s and 0s, it's his image data.


That is certainly the law in most of the world. But is it right? Is it in fact the moral and proper position?

I don't see that it's immoral as such. And, given that camera makers are making cameras in the current social and legal milieux, there's certainly an assumption of fitness-for-purpose where the purpose includes "image data that is mine."

But is that the way it ought to be? Or the only possible way it ought to be?

What if, for instance, a camera maker decided to claim certain rights to every picture you shot. Would that be immoral? Obviously it would be if they didn't make it quite clear, given the current legal and social situation. There are certain assumptions in play, and not being clear that these default assumptions are wrong would constitute a lie of omission. But if they made it clear? Perhaps if they offered substantial discount on the camera, provided you gave up certain rights, or gave the camera maker certain licenses.

I am confident that there are photographers who would go insane with fury if Canon started offering such a deal, and lots of others who would deride them for such a terrible idea.

That would be pretty fun to watch.

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