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Thursday, 19 November 2015


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It is a camera, it only captures what you point it at and excludes all else.
JPEG captures can be edited in camera, the photographer can set a considerable number of preferences for image capture beforehand.
The ethics of those who bear witness remain paramount.

"I'm-glad-to-be-an-art-photographer-with-only-myself-to-please" is the major reason most people stick to JPG format. In fact the vast majority of camera users stick to the default output of the camera. A few of them tweak the settings in the camera. Many of them do not care to do even that. A bit of modifications in the camera settings can coax some really good outputs from most cameras. In such a situation going for RAW and processing looks like an over kill. My only complaint with the built in processing engines in cameras is that they do not give us 100 percent quality JPG. Surely it is not too difficult for them. There is always some degree of compression. [Well, JPEG is a compression standard, so some degree of compression is a given. —Mike] I have seen relatively uncompressed large file JPG output in Olympus E-P. But that too was buried deep inside the menu and not very obvious in the standard choices. Apparently they thought no one would care for that. May be other cameras too have such low compression JPG choices, but I have not come across that. I am sure if Canicon-Sonolympus provide uncompressed JPG and good white balance bracketing even you would ditch RAW. Photography should be fun and and not a war effort.

I changed to the Fujifilm X cameras just for the excellent JPEGs. They are fantastic 90% of the time. I still shoot RAW, but just so I can use the camera's built-in processor. The ability to adjust levels and film simulations quickly in camera is quite a time saver, and most of my "post-processing" is now simple tweeks on my iPad. A much more relaxed way of shooting for sure, and much closer to film, which appeals to me (I'm old).

Besides wanting to ensure images have not been altered, I think it's a case of news agencies not wanting to have any problems converting RAW files (of which there are many formats) when there's a significant news story breaking. From a photographer's perspective I don't think this is a big deal, since one can shoot RAW + JPEG if your preference is to always archive a RAW file.


I doubt that this will be either a surprise or hardship. I suspect that ever-shortening turn-around cycles has long ago made JPG the only practical primary working format for most news/sports photographers. Many, maybe most, of these shooters just upload their whole cards.

Ask Mr. Turnley for the professional opinion, but I'm pretty sure most working photojournos shoot Raw+JPEG for both alacrity and future-proofness.

Imagine being asked 5 years later for a chance photo that defines a decade... wouldn't a photographer rather have the raw file? (Don't get me started on proprietary file formats, either!)

Well, it seems the simplest option (vs submitting both the processed jpeg and either the raw file or in-camera jpeg and getting bogged down in cross-checking). I suspect that many photojournalists already submit i.c.jpegs anyway. And I also suspect the policy is more about yet-unvetted future contributors and freelancers than current photographers.

The other issue is that raw processing exposes the EXIF data to changes. There are ways to change jpeg metadata, but it's good to remove the temptation from normal workflow.

On i.c.jpeg quality: if it's good enough for more and more pro wedding photographers, it's pretty good.

It'll be interesting to see a) if other agencies and institutions do something similar (especially WPP), b) how this influences workflows and equipment choices (and necessities), c) whether agencies will adopt preferred "house jpeg styles" or even systems, and d) how all this will influence us amateurs.

dpreview has been testing raw files for a while. You might be thinking of Imaging Resource.

My workflow has been entirely raw for at least the past 7 years. With Lightroom (previously Aperture) there is very little time penalty, and significant quality benefits. Admittedly, I use Olympus, Fuji, and Sony mirrorless cameras, so there can be significant advantages in the noise/detail tradeoff, especially with M43 sized sensors. I also find the dynamic range improvement with raw capture to be a huge advantage over camera jpeg in a great many circumstances.

Of course the final output the majority of times these days is web-based, therefore jpeg, but in my experience, jpeg post-raw processed is still better in almost all cases than camera jpeg, yes, even from Fuji.

Take an excellent in-camera Fuji Jpeg and compare it to the same image but shot in Fuji RAW and output via a 3rd party app, particularly one that does not respect Fuji's 'look.' There is quite a difference. Which one is right? It could be argued the in-camera Jpeg has had a lot more 'secret sauce' applied to it in respect to selective sharpening, color and local clarity-like contrast enhancements.

Where I think this Reuters directive is aimed is precisely at improving image delivery times. Photographers can sometimes be their own worst enemies, wanting to endlessly tweak images to conform to their 'vision.' This can waste a lot of time, which I know from both being on the sending side shooting deadline sports events, and on the receiving side working in a newspaper imaging department (before it was automated). Many a time have I hounded a photographer to upload images from an event to meet deadline...

I feel it boils down to what the photographer's prime role is: to document whatever newsworthy event it is he/she is witnessing. Shoot it and ship it. Let someone else worry about file preparation.

But it can be difficult to relinquish control over one's creations, especially when in the past one was dissatisfied with how an editor may have cropped or toned an image, leading to increased reluctance to leave that aspect to someone else.

That said, the many tools available in raw converters do make it easy to considerably change the look of images. Couple this with the greater dynamic range capabilities of modern cameras, and it's only a few extreme slider moves between a bland straight out of the camera image and one with considerably more dynamic tonality, and if done sloppily, verging on the abused HDR look popular with so many the last number of years.

Again from my experience in the newspaper imaging department, in-camera Jpegs were always good enough. Raw conversions can be technically butter. But for news applications it boils down to pixel peeping that will never translate to the printed page, or web resolution displays.

Is this image 'manipulation' anything new? Recall the analog days of extreme 'hand of god' darkroom burning/dodging. I suspect the question of how much post processing is too much will never be settled.

JPEG -- ShmayPEG, it's what's selected for the picture (or added) that moves the story to show one side or the other. From Arthur Rothstein's cattle skull (used in FSA pictures from the dust bowl until it became too familiar) to the children's damaged dolls that showed up in multiple scenes of Israeli bombing damage in South Beirut, images from a war scene tell a story that is directed. Maybe Reuters new rules will prevent them from running the shot of Iranian rocket tests that needed some duplication in post to get all the rockets to fire. But I suspect there, that they would take the official label on the shot as absolving Reuters of responsibility and run those as well.


The argument that "Reuters wants its photographs to closely reflect reality" is rubbish. Photography is an illusion. You can, by a mere choice of focal length, make a crowded rally look like a blatant mobilization failure, and vice-versa; and you can make an irrelevant event look like an extraordinary one. (The opposite also applies, but only if a particularly bad photographer was assigned.) The real reason is that Reuters don't want photographers to manipulate reality through image edition, but it is clear from what I stated above that it isn't by banning Raw files that manipulation will be stopped.
It's something Roland Barthes probably explained: a photograph can deceive, even if it's supposed to be a depiction of reality. It can depict a real event, but it's the reality that the photographer saw. There's no such thing as an 'objective' photograph, Raw or otherwise.
My point? The concept of 'manipulation' extends well beyond photo edition. Banning Raw files won't make it stop, nor will it make the photographs more 'real'.

Seems like an odd and uninformed proscription to me; much like requests for 300 dpi files that don't specify image size. If they're allowing minor adjustments in post, then what's the difference between a file that came out of the camera as jpeg or raw?

Instead of the photographer creating a JPG from a raw file it's created by some unknown who designed the software that is used by the camera to create a JPG file.

So instead of a known source (The Photographer) we have an UNKNOWN person creating the JPG.

Good thinking Reuters.

Where is Reuters placing all these images? There don't seem to be many (any?)places in my part of the country.

It's actually an interesting topic for a stand-alone post, Mike, that small note you made that JPEGs have gotten good enough. That has been my experience the past couple of years. The JPEG output from my preferred cameras for the work I do is really just fine. (Exception: Leica. Always their DNG better than JPEG). I find that the choice of converter may have a bigger impact on what you see and what you do than whether it's a RAW and JPEG.

Part of this may be that I used Aperture for the past five or six years and now it's been orphaned, and I can't be bothered to try to work out which RAW files are supported by my software and which are not, when I see that the JPEGs look great. They look even better in DXO and Capture One, actually. But that all truly could be its own topic.

I suspect John Camp's observations about conflict areas are correct, but I was amused - if that's the right word - by his reference to "a sea of armed ideological crazies". I live in Roseburg, Oregon, where a number of people were murdered (I knew one of them) recently at Umpqua Community College. I have lived here for twenty years, and "a sea of armed ideological crazies" is an accurate way to describe many of my fellow Roseburg residents. Presumably Roseburg is not a conflict area.

I think this is a "time is money" issue. Given how immedeate news has become, even world news, being able to shorten processing time is probably seen as necessary. Reuters undoubtedly understands what is possible if a photographer is dertermined to manipulate a jpg photograph, so the underlying reasoning here would seem a need for immedeacy.

I don't know how the rate structure is set up with regards to post-processing, but that may also be a motivation with Reuters. Out of camera JPGs may just be cheaper.

Mike: With tongue only slightly in cheek, herewith in no particular order…

Reuter’s Top-10 Enemies List:

Clone Stamp Tool
Spot Healing Brush Tool
Exposure/Contrast Slider
Crop Tool
Content Aware Move Tool
Color Replacement Tool
Sharpen Tool
Transform>Level Tool
Red Eye Tool
Magic Eraser Tool

There's a pretty well-known "Error Level Analysis" thing that gets passed around as able to detect edits in JPEG files. I am pretty sure it's almost but not entirely BS.

Sometimes, in very special cases, edits pop out of the tool. Any effort to defeat it, basically, will work, and there are reasonable workflows that will defeat it by accident.

Dear Mike,

I'm very surprised to hear you sounding like this is a bad idea, because that's pretty much in contradiction to things you've said in the past. [No, not at all. I said in this very post that photojournalists are the ones who should be trusted to tell the truth. It's what I've always thought. --Mike] You're also painting with a misleadingly broad brush, strongly implying that Reuters is saying that generally photojournalists are untrustworthy. Which is hardly what they said, and hardly what one has to think to support their move.

So it goes to “character?” We are already know that there are photojournalists who lack character. Not many, thankfully. But, a news organization can't survive on the principle of “Well, most of the time, our journalists don't lie.” (Okay, Fox News is the exception that proves the rule. Moving on…)

Furthermore, I don't see how anyone can act like this is a big deal, unless their knowledge of photojournalism started less than 15 years ago. The standard operating procedure in the film days was you dropped off your film at the news desk or you had it couriered back to the agency. You didn't process your own film, you didn't do your own editing or “printing” or cropping. Furthermore, you've decried it in the past when publications have summarily shut down their darkrooms (or digital photo processing labs) and fired their photographic editors and put the whole job on the shoulders of the photographers, requiring them to not just be good at photography but also custom printing and photographic editing.

So why is this a bad thing? Of course it doesn't fix everything, it doesn't even fix most things. But it reduces one known source of data corruption in the system with no downsides that I can see. Reuters has said they are fine with photographers capturing RAW+JPEG, so this in no way limits the photographers' options for how they use their photographs in the future. All Reuters has said is that they'll only accept the JPEG's.

I agree that technically JPEGs are not a problem. The only way in which JPEGs are substantially inferior to RAW files is in the exposure range they portray; generally they cover two stops less range than the RAW file does, because of the default camera processings. But, with your typical good camera capturing 12 stops of exposure range these days, a 10 stop range is hardly a limitation to photojournalism. Film photographers worked with less.

In summary, my reaction is that this is a mildly good idea but that it is mostly much ado about nothing.

pax \ Ctein
[ Please excuse any word-salad. MacSpeech in training! ]
-- Ctein's Online Gallery http://ctein.com
-- Digital Restorations http://photo-repair.com

I would imagine that the controversies over some World Press Photo entries has something to do with the decision, although what's to stop someone altering a raw files and them exporting it as a jpeg to be sent to Reuters?

" It is a camera, it only captures what you point it at and excludes all else.
JPEG captures can be edited in camera, the photographer can set a considerable number of preferences for image capture beforehand.
The ethics of those who bear witness remain paramount. "
This is good Opinion :)

Saving time has nothing to do with this – Photographers who spend too much time tweaking their shots on Photoshop/Lightroom will do it no matter what files they have. This is an effort to curtail excessive image manipulation; noble in intent perhaps, but terribly flawed in execution (my guess it came from someone in management who knows the barest minimum about imaging technology).

Here's how to get around it: Shoot raw + JPEG in your camera. Process the raw file however you want and export it as a JPEG. Open both the manipulated and the in-camera JPEG in Photoshop; paste the manipulated image onto the in-camera JPEG as a new layer; flatten and save.

The original JPEG will now have all its metadata intact but all the pixel data will be from the modified raw file. (Of course there will be a tag that indicates the file has been through Photoshop, but since Reuters' new rules permit basic Levels adjustments and cropping, that'll be no big deal even for those too lazy to change it with a metadata editor.)

Dishonest photojournalists who want to cheat will barely notice this speed bump.

As alluded to above, if you use the mfg's software - especially Canon's DPP - you should be able to get the "JPEG look" from the RAW.

(OTH, I don't know how many times on the Aperture Support boards people complain that the picture comes up great, but then after a few seconds gets ruined. What they are seeing is the JPEG preview that pops up for a few seconds before Apple's RAW processor gets to it.)

What if I accidentally set, or by mistake forget to change, the white balance setting in my camera and it captures a completely out of colour, say, too blue image. That is not reality by any standard. Yet it is a jpg captured by camera with no manipulation after. Sure, I should know better, but if that is the only image available of an important news story. Common sense should always prevail. That is the problem with too many rules, you can never have enough when you start setting them.

Newspapers are often printed at far lower resolutions than standard prints, and most news websites likewise don't require the kind of resolution that takes advantage of raw files. JPGs also don't eat up a lot of storage space or internet bandwidth. At the same time, out of camera JPGs probably allow the company to take advantage of software that detect significant alterations, which is important when dealing with freelancers in remote areas and war zones that can't easily be vetted. What are the downsides for Reuters? I can't think of any off the top of my head.

I guess it is not something that pertains entirely to the difference between JPEG and RAW files, but rather to the concept of "false or poorly chosen:" I wonder how often it is related to the speed with which something is gathered and transmitted? Obviously, speed has always been an important part of news, but these days it is instantaneous.....faster than forethought or consideration.

I went to an all-RAW workflow with my first camera that supported RAW (though it was actually Bibble Pro that made it practical for me; Bibble was fast enough to handle raw files in the quantity I shot events in). Not the slightest bit interested in going back; would make my photos a lot less good.

There are many ironies (and a few stupidities) in this announcement. One of the most obvious is that all digital photographs begin as raw files and, therefore, the supposedly "original" jpg files are guaranteed to have been processed, often according to automated camera settings that, wait for it, alter the image from what the camera recorded.

It's as if the agency had a policy in the film era that said, "We don't accept negatives. We only accept automated drug store prints."

Someone doesn't understand the concept.

I would expect that the speed of today's news cycle (24 second cycle, not 24 hour cycle) means that Reuters just doesn't want to bother with people sending photos "late", and can't be bothered trying to vet photos in non-standard formats. Yes, there are programs that analyze for local changes in pixels, and by insisting on in-camera jpg, Reuters only needs to run the image through one program. KISS. Nowadays even the phones can produce usable news photos. It doesn't pay to have a perfect photo, just to have a timely "good-enough" photo.

It's ok to remove a coke bottle or video camera from the shot before it's taken, but not after... This is crazy. Just the choice of crop manipulates the truth of an image, and newspapers (especially in the UK)tell lies in words all the time. We should question the truth of everything, all the time.

The time it Takes to Export a JPEG based on the Standard Import settings in a Program like Lightroom (Assuming the Standard Import Settings are reasonably correct) can be measured in few Seconds.
I shoot RAW always, mainly because I can then concentrate more on things that matter like composition, Focus and exposure, while not have to worry about Color Temperature or Picture Styles, which can be done easily in Post with very little effort.
More than 90% of my published or printed Pictures need no more than 10 or 20 Seconds in Post for the first edit, but it is reassuring that I can edit much more in case the result needs more tweaks.

It is funny how the RAW / jpeg things has become ideological for some people. They are simply different tools.

Reuters is a news agency, not an art gallery. Having worked in the news biz in the past, news photos are shot in jpeg. Post processing is minimal. The end user (ie: the public) needs to have confidence that the images are real - not "photoshopped." Credibility is at the core of any news organization, especially now when we get bombarded with information from dubious sources, the incompetent and manipulators.

News photographs are documents of reality. They are not art. Their purpose is to inform what really happened. The photographer is there to prove the event really happened, not just believing what someone said or wrote.

Being a universal format, you will probably be able to open up a jpeg file in 50 years. Good luck doing that with a proprietary format.

Back when I was a news shooter (and there were still newspapers), rule was: Get it right in the camera. No, you will NOT fix it is post. If you can't do that, then we will find someone who can.

Just my two yens worth.

Paul Crouse
Kyoto, Japan

You were probably right on the money - it's harder to hide edits in a JPEG because the limited tonal range (8bits) makes any edit quite destructive.

16 bit editing is only compressed to 8 bits on conversion to JPEG, so you can't tell as much about what was done. It all gets smoothed over.

Which is why I only shoot RAW. But then I'm obviously crazy because editing for me is even more fun than taking pictures.

Reuters mentioned two reasons for the new policy and you added one, but could it be because they sacked their honest photojournalists, preferring to hire devils-they-don't-know, forced into anonymous competition for instant client dollars, and now they are battling to control an ethical environment that they not only created but modelled?

Thank you for the reference to the Reuters Handbook of Journalism. This will provide some good random reading.

With the 7x24x365 global news cycle we now live in speed to online publication(s) is a probably a significant factor in moving to the .jpeg requirement. With wifi enabled cameras and memory cards now available a photographer anywhere in the world only needs a smart phone to complete the workflow: capture the image, in camera .jpeg conversion, wifi to smart phone, email or texted or app'd (e.g. snapchat), and off to Reuters for editorial review and publication.

Someone who is concerned that some raw photos are being processed to the point where they're no longer real, has no idea what a photograph is in the first place.

For years, my workflow included shooting RAW plus JPEG, with the idea that I immediately pass my JPEGS on to the the client, and then they contact me with their selections, and I post-process the RAW file to my requirements, and give them a TIFF. In fact, I originally bought into NIKON because they had more models that shot native TIFF (the D800 series, the Df, the D300, 300s, D4), which would be a godsend to people like me, that spent the greater part of their career "getting it right" on transparency film.

What started happening years ago, is that the clients were perfectly happy reproducing from the JPEGS most of the time, in fact, about 70% of the time for me; they never called to have the RAW processed. Whatever settings I was using, and glass filter color correction I was putting in, was working out perfect for them.

Of course, since I was working in advertising and marketing, there really were very few retouching restrictions anyway, but if you can get it in camera, why bother?

I actually easily understand why Reuters wants what it wants, and in fact, photographers CANNOT be trusted. I've spent more than a few years of my life hanging with journos, and even worked with one on a journalism web-site for a while, and the incidence of photographers retouching photos beyond journalistic standards is increasing.

There are just vast amounts of people from the "participation trophy" generation that have no problems stealing intellectual property off the internet, and believe everything is free. These are the same people that won't have (and haven't had in the past), any problem boosting those colors to a pleasant look and taking out those distracting bit in the frame. If they don't understand why they can't steal intellectual property off the internet, why would we expect them to understand the subtleties of how changing the look of something for journalism is editorializing and not reporting?

I don’t get it about their invocation of reality, as it relates to a jpg vs a raw image.

To a Buddhist, so called reality is empty -- which is to say that any particular display of phenomena is subject to innumerable causes and conditions. Which is to say that the existence of anything at all, particularly our experience, is, in a word, complicated.

You don’t need to be a Buddhist photographer, just an experienced one, to see images as the same thing. Any photographic image is just an interpretation of some tonal values as captured by some sensitive media. Then for us to see it as a nice picture it is interpreted; something is changed from that capture so that we can see it as a nice picture.. That process is either kind of complicated on the human side, or complicated but quick on a machine side. That interpretation can be completely automated, and we can be trained to accept that automated kind of interpretation as something real. But I’ll hold firm that I can do a better job than the camera, pretty often, at interpreting something so it has fidelity, so the interpretation is more “true” than what some software in a ROM in a camera would do.

Which is not to say that I always do that “true” interpretation, or that we should accept that "true" interpretation, because an image is also something else than a “real” interpretation, even when it is just a .jpg from the camera. The image has its own realm of experience. A good one has emotional resonances. These are best managed by a being who also has emotional resonances, like a human. The camera’s ROM algorithm of how it will make a .jpg is programmed by a human, and it has rules that are of course based on some average take on how humans like to see an image. But they are average rules, and they don't know what they are doing. The rule might be "make it look snappy," but the image might not be one that benefits from a snappy look. Stupid. Bosh and balderdash. I’m with Mike; glad I’m not a Reuters photographer. I'll keep using raw files.

Police photographers shooting for evidence have had cameras capable of outputting "locked" unaltered files for as long as police departments have used digital cameras. It is an important selling point.

As someone who has a good friend who worked for Reuters up until recently I very strongly suspect that by far and away the primary reason for this is that they just want to manage the images as quickly and cheaply as possible. Time is money and Reuters needs to move images as quickly as possible if they want to make money. RAW files simply take too long and require more man hours. Both of these things are luxuries that today's news industry is quite short on.

[They're also banning JPEGs made from raw filess, so this can't be all there is to it. --Mike]

This reminds me of a programmer's koan.

In the days when Sussman was a novice, Minsky once came to him as he sat hacking at the PDP-6.

"What are you doing?", asked Minsky.
"I am training a randomly wired neural net to play Tic-tac-toe", Sussman replied.
"Why is the net wired randomly?", asked Minsky.
"I do not want it to have any preconceptions of how to play", Sussman said.

Minsky then shut his eyes.
"Why do you close your eyes?" Sussman asked his teacher.
"So that the room will be empty."
At that moment, Sussman was enlightened.

I first saw this in The New Hacker's Dictionary, edited by Eric Raymond, but it certainly predates him.

Mike, Here's another interesting angle on raw vs JPEG: In 2003 Patrick Schneider of the Charlotte Observer had some awards rescinded by the North Carolina Press Photographers Association because photos he entered in their competition were judged to have been excessively altered. He spoke at the Grandfather Mountain Camera Clinic (the event at which you spoke a few years earlier) shortly thereafter. Besides the details of this specific event, he revealed something interesting: The Observer REQUIRES that all their photographers shoot raw. They retain the original raw files for reference so they're available for comparison should accusations of image manipulation arise some time in the future.

And there are some publications that prefer raw photos.

This struck me as a change that
focused (sorry) me on what my purpose in taking/making photographs may be at a particular point in time. Editorial? Reportage? My view of my world? As informed y my state of mind when I took the shot? Printed it? By a hangover?

Should recorded music only be the sound recorded? No recording engineers allowed?

One of the things I admire about Gene Smith's and Harry Callahan's published photos is that, sometimes, they don't work. Yet I still get to see their vision, and the fact that this is something they were willing to
share/disclose. So, too for writers/authors (jpeg vs raw+post production?).

This seems to raise the question of whether it is possible to have any objective representation of reality. JPEG? Was it shot with CCD or CMOS chipped camera? If film, was it Tri-X reality or Pan-F Plus? Was it a vintage Shure microphone or something new? Tape or digital recording?

Would this rant make more sense if it had been written on
bond paper with a fountain pen?

I seem to remember reading in 2008, on Nikonians, that the AP then only accepted jpegs that were pretty pristine, no raws. [Needs documentation by someone who really knows what they are talking about.]

So, the Reuters story sounded to me a bit like deja vu all over again.

AP's policy now deals with the faithfulness of the image, rather than a technical file format.


If it is really a matter of time then reporters would just send unedited notes. Any news agency has processing times for all elements going into a story or report--fact checking, proofing, formatting, coding, etc--or its just a data dump. In that time there is room to post process especially with batch editing, developing recipes, etc. and any photojournalist that exceeds or conflicts with deadline of an assignment won't be working long.

If it is really a matter of honestly raw files would be required.

Reuters is throwing major shade and I hope this backfires soon. It will eventually.

I really don't understand the problem.
A bag of Tri-X, a couple of Nikon F's, two or three lenses.
Problem solved.

I was in Santa Fe a few years back and wandered into a photo gallery. There was a big display of an "original" test print marked up in white chalk or pen - I think 16 x 20 inch - for Bill Eppridge's famous shot of Robert Kennedy lying on the floor having been shot by Sirhan Sirhan. The explanation was given that the original 100 ASA 35 mm film had been pushed in development to 3200 ASA (I think), then a 5 x 4 inch negative was taken of the 35 mm negative. The resulting - um - positive was then retouched before printing, with a final touching up on the final print by airbrush. Nothing has changed. (BTW I have no idea if the print shown was real or the explanation true but they wanted a cool US$250 k for it.)

As for camera's cryptographically signing files to prove their integrity, wasn't Canon's implementation cracked/broken back in 2010?

So, someone shoots the president and Reuters can't touch the only photo because it started out life as a NEF? Yeah, right.

[[Canon markets this by including the signing tech for free, and charging for a 'verification kit,' but that's just an implementation detai]]

[[Police photographers shooting for evidence have had cameras capable of outputting "locked" unaltered files for as long as police departments have used digital cameras. It is an important selling point. ]]

Marketing and reality are two different things. The "security" around such systems is easily broken:


Are Reuters aware that some cameras, like Fuji, can "redo" RAW processing in camera and generate a new and obviously different looking JPEG in camera.

Does this sort of JPEG meet their requirements? Or is it a edge case they haven't though about.

That said the most sensible comment I've seen by by "Maxwell" at Ars Technica:

Many here are missing the point, only LostData seems to get it.

As a photographer, you are now certifying/testifying that the image you give to Reuters is straight from the camera - no edits of any kind.

If, later, you are found to have cheated it is all on you.

With the raw process the photographer can say "I wasn't trying to cheat, I was just doing my normal processing! Wasn't my fault those extra rocket entrails accidentally got pasted in there!". No more excuses. No more processing opportunities for 'mistakes'. If you edit *anything* you are cheating. There is no more grey area, it's very simple. Get caught and you've submitted your last photo to Reuters.

I think this is the only sensible move for Reuters.

This is really an effort to draw "a line in the sand" by Reuters. You can finesse all you want but Reuters won't care.

I suspect Reuters don't require keeping RAW (even though that would be best practice) because I suspect a lot of career PJs never shoot RAW because of space and speed requirements. Some do but Reuters need a rule that covers every PJ that sends them images.

The correct way to do this is to cryptographically sign the JPEGs (and RAWs) in camera. Canon tried this but with a naive implementation that was hacked.

For this to work the camera needs to be designed as a real cryptographic system. It needs a real "secure element" not just some code in firmware (from which the key can be extracted). With the need for secure elements for financial transactions (and other uses) in smartphones the technology (if not the skill) is now available to camera companies to do this properly (i.e. so it would stand up in court).

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