A Z9 Oops?

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by bgelfand, May 27, 2022.

  1. :eek: Potential problem for Z9 owners?
  2. Well, I am pretty sure that only a small number of Z9 users actually end up using the 8.3 K RAW video option. The data rate and processing requirements are likely to deter most people from using it. It seems something that is of interest to a small number of high-end users with large budgets.

    The idea that someone can patent and enforce a simple and obvious concept such as compressed raw video is just absurd. I hope Nikon is found not in violation of Red's patent. If they are, presumably they'd then have to make the raw video feature a paid feature which is installed in service like the raw video recording feature in the Z6 etc. This way they can then pay license fees to Red without making the camera more expensive for the majority of users who do not shoot raw video.

    I think it's interesting that Red would consider Z9 a competitor in the high-end cinema market. :) How the world has changed so quickly.
  3. mm I think that RED has turned into a kind of "patent troll" with litle recent development of themselves, they used to be verry professional in the past but little is left of that, but that is just my opinion...

    Beside that, i feel that the whole patent sceme thing is holding back to much new development, and maybe should be abolished alltogether ...
  4. If RED has a case, it will just end with some sort of settlement and lead to one of the two situations outlined by @ilkka_nissila: higher price of the camera or paid add-on like the ProRes functionality of Z6/7.

    From the Pentapixel article it looks like RED was aware of what they considered the patent violation for some time but chose to wait with their claim until it was distributed through the firmware.
    That means two things.
    1. RED don't think of the Z9 8.3K RAW as a threat to their business (or they would have sued before distribution).
    2. They wanted to wait to be in the best possible bargaining position where Nikon will loose most goodwill from a potential rollback.

    To me it just looks like RED is trying to profit as much as possible from their patents. I suspect it is just business as usual.
  5. "Business as usual"

    yes indeedee.
  6. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    Looks like it.
  7. Neither RED nor anyone else can patent the concept of compressing raw video. They can patent and others have patented a specific method of compressing data. An example is MP3 which was developed and patented by Fraunhofer. You can read about it here
    LINK: MP3 - Wikipedia

    Another example is good old ZIP. LINK: ZIP (file format) - Wikipedia

    As for the timing, it is hard to claim infringement until an entity actually infringes i.e., Nikon uses the method in a product. It is up to Nikon to do a patent search before including the process in their product.
  8. It's business as usual but it could hurt Nikon very badly. Remember the case of Honeywell vs Minolta and how much it hurt Minolta. No I do not think Red feel threaten just like I didn't think Honeywell felt threaten. It's just a chance to make a lot of money.
    Last edited: May 29, 2022
  9. It won't, unless the 8.3K RAW is essential for Z9 to be a success.
    Nikon can potentially remove it in the next firmware upgrade. Certainly, it will be difficult for Nikon to ensure it is removed entirely from their platform, that is likely the reason why RED waited for it to be distributed before they sued.
    But I see no reason why this could evolve into a big problem. RED likely have an economic interest in that it stays on the platform or they would have acted earlier.
    There is also the possibility that RED's claim is baseless, of course.
  10. Related to nothing, I'd like to buy a Fuji X100V without the loathsome never used video component, no pointless sims, and mono only for $600.
    Last edited: May 29, 2022
  11. It is "business as usual", but not in the sense you mean it.

    If you have a patent, but do not assert it and defend it, the patent falls into the public domain. By the way it is the same with trademarks.
    tholte likes this.
  12. Err, the X100V seems to be £1300 or maybe $1500 here in UK??
  13. Since Nikon licensed the raw video compression technology they use in the Z9 from intoPIX, I would assume they have considered the patents and think they're in the clear. Red thinks otherwise. I think these kinds of patents on trivial solutions hurt the industry and the users, slowing down the adoptation of raw video formats into the mainstream, which is a shame.

    However, because it's a Nikon, the Z9 is likely mostly purchased by still photographers who do a variety of subjects (Nikon mention fashion, nature, sports etc.) and relatively few users are likely to really need the raw video format, thus if Nikon have to disable this feature in firmware, most users probably won't be affected in a significant way. A large proportion of users use the video features in some format but still IMO anything above 4K is overkill for most applications. I believe a lot of professional video is still done in FullHD, not even 4K. Now, digital cinema (for theatres, or Netflix etc.) is another matter but even there I believe a lot of material is still distributed in FullHD even if raw material is shot at higher resolutions. But then how likely is it that a Nikon camera is selected for that kind of work? They don't make cinema lenses nor are they aiming for that market, instead, they target so-called independent videographers and hybrid users (small companies most likely). Larger companies that do cinema or video work are likely to have and depend on workflows that are built around the more common video brands, and inserting some Z9 in there could be difficult if they aim for a consistent user experience and editing workflow. That doesn't meant that this can't change - to me it feels a bit amusing that RED considers Nikon a direct competitor and that the offending Z9 is causing them significant loss of reputation and business, according to the lawsuit. That feels very odd. I hope they don't claim that every Z9 Nikon sold is being used to shoot RAW video.
  14. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    Nikon can't do that any more. The firmware is already out and there is no way Nikon can compel all Z9 owners to upgrade to another firmware version to disable such features. Most likely they'll settle or if RED wins in court, Nikon will need to pay.

    The thing is that previously RED has already filed similar law suits against Sony, Apple, etc. Nikon must have their group of patent lawyers, who should have seen this coming.
    bgelfand likes this.
  15. I looked at Red's and intoPIX's patents and the compression algorithms seem like very different concepts. If Nikon is, as they claim, use intoPIX's method, I don't see where the infringment of Red's patent is. Could someone more familiar with these algorithms explain where the violation is claimed to be?

    Red's patent seems to cover a method where R and B are transformed by replacing them with R-G and B-G, respectively. IntoPIX's patent discusses mainly how bits are encoded in their algorithm and doesn't talk about color channels, as far I could see by browsing the text. If the actual implementation or intoPIX's algorithm includes a preprocessing step transforming the color channels as described in Red's patent, one would think that intoPIX and Nikon must be aware of it.

  16. No, they had to wait until the software was distributed; until it had been distributed, there was no infringement and nothing to sue over.
  17. If Red wins I am afraid Nikon can't afford it.
  18. Minolta sold millions of cameras and got a good position in the market by being the first to produce a range of autofocus SLRs suitable for consumers and enthusiasts. Just about every autofocus camera maker was sued by Honeywell (and settled). RED's case basically concerns one Nikon camera which sells in a small number of units and of those only a small fraction of users actually take advantage of the RAW video capabilities (simply because Nikon doesn't have a large presence in the high end video market which RED caters to). The damages awarded has to be based on RED's lost business due to Nikon's alleged actions, so I don't see how RED could be awarded a lot of money from this.
  19. It is my understanding RED could have challenged the intoPIX's patent if they thought it conflicted with their rights.

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