Aperture/OS X don't support my NEFs, and DNG question

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Super Macho Man, Sep 8, 2006.

  1. Super Macho Man macrumors 6502a

    Super Macho Man

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    #1
    I have a bunch of NEF files taken with a Nikon Coolpix 5400. This camera's NEF format is not supported by Aperture or Mac OS X.

    Just as a wild experiment, I tried editing the file /System/Library/Frameworks/ApplicationServices.framework/Versions/A/Frameworks/ImageIO.framework/Versions/A/Resources/Raw.plist; and copying the profile for the Canon S60 (the most similar camera I could find to the 5400) to a new Nikon CP5400 section. This actually sort of worked - now Aperture can see my NEFs, but they have a yellow/green tinge. This is obviously not acceptable, so I tried the Adobe DNG Converter to convert the NEFs to DNGs. But I have the same problem with the DNGs - Aperture/OS X can't read them.

    So what's the point of the DNG format if a RAW file converted to it still can't be read without explicit support for that camera?

    And does anyone have any ideas when/if Apple might ever support the Nikon Coolpix 5000/5400?
     
  2. Seventy5 macrumors newbie

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    #2
    Aperture, NEF, DNG and all that...

    Hi SMM,

    I bought Aperture when it first came out and was unable to use it with my FujiFilm (.RAF) raws for about 6 months. After that my early F700 was supported, but the S5600 has never recieved support.

    Many people were complaining on Apple Discussions about the same thing with different cameras, but the one overriding fact in every case (bar FujiFilm S3 Pro) is that these cameras are not classed as Professional and Aperture is a Professional application (popularity also plays its part in which cameras they support).

    Sickening as it may be, your camera may never be supported at all! At the same time we all had/have to accept that Apple make it clear Aperture is a Professional application and they do provide a list of supported cameras on the Aperture area of the website.

    I am not entirely sure what the story with DNG is, but I believe DNG is like an outline and each software company can choose which parts they implement, or how they are implemented. Again, I know from Apple Discussions that Apple do not fully support DNG, but then neither do other software firms except Adobe.

    The above may not be what you wanted to hear, but to the best of my knowledge it is correct. If someone knows better then I'd like to hear about it myself. Have you had any luck with GraphicConverter (the app bundled with OSX)? I used it to create TIFFs from my FujiFilm raws and imported them into Aperture. Worked a treat, but made me wonder why such a small scale application can do what neither Apple or Adobe can?!

    Good luck!
     
  3. jared_kipe macrumors 68030

    jared_kipe

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    #3
    Well a green/yellow tint might be correctable using the white balance controls.

    But ouch, it is a slightly older camera. And not exactly one that anybody would be busting their butt to support. Since you're shooting in RAW and going through the trouble to get it unofficially supported, sounds like you could do well to upgrade to a new camera. Or at least an old one which has better support.
     
  4. Super Macho Man thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Super Macho Man

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    #4
    Yeah, it's frustrating that Apple doesn't support more cameras, including the non-professional ones. Lightroom & Photoshop both support the CP5400, so I'm using Lightroom to manage my CP5400 library at the moment. But I don't like Lightroom. :) I could export TIFFs, but that would negate the advantages of raw. Aperture does support the Canon S60... which is not a professional camera, and surely wasn't a $1000 top-of-the-line prosumer model when it was released like the Coolpix 5000 was.... etc.

    I don't see any good reason for Apple to not support a particular raw format. It took me 5 minutes to go in and create a new "flawed" raw format profile using the Canon S60 profile as a template. I have to believe that someone at Apple who knows what those fields mean could go into that file and rather easily enable support for a half dozen new cameras in a matter of hours. I don't understand why they don't. Just can't figure it out... doesn't seem to make business sense, unless they are getting payouts from camera companies to not support older models or something.
     
  5. Super Macho Man thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Super Macho Man

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    #5
    Here is an example of what Aperture is giving me (with my Canon-S60-as-Nikon-CP5400 raw profile) compared to how the same photo looks by default in Lightroom (Lightroom on the left). I guess I could tweak the white balance, color levels, etc., and get something acceptable. But, what I want to know is... if it was this easy for me to make Aperture at least display the photos, why can't someone with the know-how at Apple spend 30 minutes implementing proper support for this camera and others which would be similarly easy to support?

    I could upgrade to a new camera, but I would still have a bunch of photos taken with the CP5400.
     

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  6. jared_kipe macrumors 68030

    jared_kipe

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    #6
    For the same reason they don't support all sorts of hardware. Its hard to maintain. They would need to fix the color cast for all those cameras. It would be more difficult than simply changing some plists. That and they have more important things to do than support every camera ever made. The Apple RAW stuff is pretty new, why should they back support a non-pro camera that is 3 years old?
     
  7. jared_kipe macrumors 68030

    jared_kipe

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    #7
    After seeing your photos, I'm intrigued, could you mess with the RAW fine tuning? Or try a different camera? Possibly a Nikon one, even that has a different sensor.
     
  8. Super Macho Man thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Super Macho Man

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    #8
    I'm not a graphics expert by any means, but I futzed with the image some more in Aperture and got a "borderline acceptable" result (attached). Still too contrasty but I can work on it some more. So if an idiot like me can do it, why can't Apple? The image still has the tinge in other apps that rely on Apple's raw support, but I can make my adjustments a camera preset in Aperture, at least.

    Once they create the profile for the camera, no maintenance is necessary. The sensor in the camera does not change. All of the parameters specified in the plist are simply static key/value pairs. Apple's Aperture person sits down and creates the profile, and that's all the work that needs to be done. Adobe somehow manages to support virtually every raw format under the sun, and it's the only thing preventing a lot of raw photos from vanishing out of existence. As a photo database, Aperture should be archival-safe. It should not just support a random selection of "some of the cameras that are currently popular." (my opinion)

    The reason Apple should support my camera (and Seventy5's and others) is because I'm an Aperture customer and I have photos in the format of that camera. If only a handful of people owned our unsupported cameras, then you're right, it wouldn't be reasonable to expect Apple to support it. But we are talking about a formerly top of the line prosumer camera (in my case) and thousands of potential Aperture users who will instead be giving their money to Adobe for Lightroom. If Apple only wants to support "professional" cameras, then they should remove support for the Canon PowerShots, Pentax *ists, the Digital Rebel, the D50, the other Nikon Coolpixes which they DO support, the Olympus C-series, the Sony DSC-series, etc. None of these are pro cameras. There are probably twice as many Nikon CP5000 users as Pentax *ist users. There are all sorts of very good reasons to support more cameras and very few good excuses for not doing so.

    Maybe it's unreasonable to expect Apple to support all raw formats "right now." I understand that Apple's raw support is relatively new, and I hope they are continuing to work on it.

    Edit: Oops, Aperture apparently only lets me save the raw fine tuning as a preset, not any of the other image adjustments, which are necessary to fix the image. :(
     

    Attached Files:

  9. jared_kipe macrumors 68030

    jared_kipe

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    #9
    Remember when there were certain problems in certain situations with D70 output, like in grass? Thats what I mean by maintain.

    And you are NOT an Aperture customer. There is a list that CLEARLY outlines the working cameras, you should not have bought it if your camera was not on the list.

    As for Photoshop support, Adobe has a clear advantage, in that they are an industry standard. The camera manufacturers will help Adobe create a profile for their camera. AND they did so 3 years ago, Apple didn't have any RAW support when your camera came out, but Adobe had years of experience. Not to mention Adobe's clear financial advantage, ALL they do is photos, and their photography software is very expensive. Thus they can afford to do the things that need to be done to support a wider variety of cameras.
     
  10. Super Macho Man thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Super Macho Man

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    #10
    Why were there problems with the D70 output in the first place, and why did Adobe not have them? It's not like Adobe spends $3 billion a year on tweaking camera raw profiles. It's not rocket science, as I have just shown. Obviously Apple has shown that they can't/won't support a large number of cameras. Fine. What I am saying is, why? I don't understand the reason for this. Why would Apple intentionally limit its market to professionals? They have priced Aperture at a "prosumer" level. It does not run exclusively on "non-pro" machines. It supports many "non-pro" point & shoot cameras... but only a fraction of what are available.

    I own a supported camera. I also own an unsupported camera and have photos taken in an unsupported format.
    Why would camera manufacturers "help" Adobe but not Apple? Anyway, I didn't need any help creating a profile for my camera and I know next to nothing about image science. What is wrong with Aperture's development team that they can't figure out how to do it themselves? Maybe they are working on it and plan on supporting older cameras in future releases. I can't imagine any reason why they would not want to do this.

    As I have said, I understand that Apple is relatively new to this field and I don't expect them to support all raw formats ever made overnight. If they are working on it, ok. But I think it's a mistake from a financial, strategic, and archival perspective not to support more raw formats - or at least support DNG. Again, maybe they are working on it - ok.
    I find this argument extremely weak at best. I know next to nothing about color science etc. and I threw together a profile in 30 minutes. Like I said, this is not time-consuming, rocket science.

    I'm sure there is some reason Aperture/OS X don't support more cameras. I just can't figure out what it is.
     
  11. Seventy5 macrumors newbie

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    #11
    ?

    'ALL they [Adobe] do is photos'
    Not true

    'and their photography software is very expensive'
    Photoshop Elements is not expensive

    @jared_kipe - Why are you arguing? You don't have an argument.

    @SMM - Stick with it!
     
  12. Clix Pix macrumors demi-goddess

    Clix Pix

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    #12
    The marketplace in digital cameras is changing rapidly and people aren't keeping/using their old digital cameras for years and years the way they did with film cameras. Without looking at the list of cameras supported by Aperture, I'd be willing to bet that most of them are fairly recent models, not something that is a P&S from three or four years ago. The developers working with Aperture aren't going to mess with older models, especially P&S and especially models which weren't top sellers -- they are going to be addressing current models (especially DSLRs) and looking towards the future. For instance, I'm sure that in the next few weeks or so we'll see an upgrade to Aperture which includes RAW compatibility for the new DSLRs which have just come out, but I wouldn't hold my breath that they're going to take the time to reach way into the past.....

    What does this suggest? Well....yes, that the consumer who wants to use Aperture on his or her Apple computer which has plenty of juice to support the program is also the consumer who has a fairly recent model of a digital camera, most probably a DSLR.... Hey, I've still got several of my old Coolpixes, which I loved dearly,but I am not expecting Aperture to provide support for any of them. However, I would expect support for the DSLRs that I currently own and use, and if I were buying a new D80 or a new Canon whatever it is that those models will be supported very soon in the next upgrade to Aperture.

    I'm sure that in its day the CP 5400 was very nice, but unfortunately digital cameras have moved on far beyond that.....
     
  13. Super Macho Man thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Super Macho Man

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    #13
    I think this is all perfectly logical adn I totally agree. I do have to imagine however that a lot of the people using current DSLRs were using high-end prosumer P&S models 4-6 years ago when DSLRs were a lot more expensive, and have an archive of pictures from those cameras sitting around somewhere that they'd like to import into Aperture. It's not about supported cameras, it's about supported raw formats. I too think that the most current, popular camera models should get priority. But I'd like to see Apple eventually support the older models too. I like the design philosophy of Aperture over Lightroom and I hope Apple is trying to match Lightroom feature-for-feature, including camera raw formats supported.
     
  14. Clix Pix macrumors demi-goddess

    Clix Pix

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    #14

    Oh, undoubtedly there are a LOT of us former Coolpix users who "graduated" to the D70 and beyond..... I for one went through several Coolpixes through the years, but as far as shooting RAW, I didn't attempt that until only recently with my D200. I don't even know if my old CP 995 offers a RAW mode. I'm pretty sure my first Coolpix -- the 900 -- didn't and I would be surprised if the 990 did. The 8700 and 8800 had that feature, but both of those cameras were so slow in shooting .jpg there was NO way I was going to attempt RAW.

    I really doubt that Aperture is ever going to support older camera models, especially P&S cameras. Adobe, with Lightroom, is coming from a different vantage point, a "history," so to speak, with already having established profiles for the various cameras through the years as they refined and updated PS and PS Elements.
     
  15. jared_kipe macrumors 68030

    jared_kipe

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    #15
    Firstly, enabling a camera and making its output image good are two different things as you have found.

    Secondly, Photoshop elements is NOT where Adobe makes its money.

    Thirdly, I'm not arguing, I'm simply trying to say what Clix said in her last paragraph.
     
  16. Super Macho Man thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Super Macho Man

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    #16
    One year later and still no support. In the time since, I've stumbled upon dcraw.c which supports this camera's RAW format (and many others that Aperture doesn't support) and happens to be written by one guy in his spare time. That pretty much throws the "Apple doesn't have the time/money to support older cameras" argument out the window.

    Thank golly for the raw.plist hack. Yellow/green tinge is at least better than "Unsupported Image Format."
     
  17. sblasl macrumors 6502a

    sblasl

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    #17
    Heck, Apple isn't even supporting the newly released iPods if you are running Mac OS 10.3.9 and they are the manufacturer of both products. They look forward, not back.
     
  18. ChrisA macrumors G4

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    #18
    First off, RAW support is not a function of Aperture. Aperture uses the RAW converter that is part of Core Image. So if a given type of RAW file is supported at all it is supported inPreview, iPhoto and Aperture. So the argument about Aperture only suporting "pro" camera is not quite right. Aperture supports whatever Core Image supports.

    What to do about it? Modify your work flow. Shoot RAW and then use a third party converter to convert these to TIFF. In terms of image quality TIFF is as good as RAW. Then import the TIFF files to Aperture.

    You might even gain something becasue many of the third party rawconverters are much better then Aperture. Nikon's is not bad but has a clunty interface. Bibble is very good. There are many others.

    TIFF makes a good archive format too. It is "very standard" and nearly universal.
     
  19. ChrisA macrumors G4

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    #19
    Nikon's policy is not the best on this. They will "help" anyone who buys
    their developer's kit. Buy the kit and you can read any of the nikon
    formats. But Apple wants to use Core Image and take advantage of the GPU if present and multiple CPUs if present. and Apple likes to use Xcode for development. Nikon will not support any of this.



    That's a very good question. There is a free Open Source RAW converter that is maintained by just one guy. If this one guy can do it why not Apple?

    I think Apple needs to re-think the way to handle RAW so they can be more responsive in the future. This is an issue that will continue forever. I think it is a problem with some internal process at Apple

    Below is the link to "dcraw" the open source converter but scroll down and see links to other converters (many of which are just wrappers around dcraw) http://cybercom.net/~dcoffin/dcraw/
     
  20. Super Macho Man thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Super Macho Man

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    #20
    I am aware of the differences between TIFF and RAW and would like to preserve the RAW files as they contain the unprocessed sensor data (the whole point of RAW as opposed to TIFF). I am able to load my RAW files into Photoshop obviously, which works OK, but I can only do that *after* I've hacked the raw.plist to partially support my camera's unsupported raw format. It shouldn't be a hack, it should be built-in.

    The fact that one programmer can decode the vast majority of Nikon raw formats on his own in a few hundred lines of C per format is a strong suggestion that support for these formats should not be hampered by a need to obtain a developer's kit. The specifics of Core Image graphics acceleration are unrelated to the small amount of information needed to decode a particular raw format. The drawing & acceleration process happens after the data is already decoded - once it reaches that stage it's all just RGBA.

    I like the way Apple builds RAW support into the OS - it's a good way to ensure both that 1) all apps that need support have it, and 2) support remains current with every new OS update. However, there is a backlog of unsupported cameras that needs attention. Once these are addressed, Apple needs only to stay on top of new cameras, as they are currently doing, for the most part.
     

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