In an effort to improve the RAW conversion quality provided by Aperture (and other applications that rely on the same operating system code for those conversions), Apple issued a call for RAW files from professional photographers earlier this month. The earlier request was made to a select group of working shooters and others; now, Apple has given the green light to make the option of submitting files open to anyone seriously interested in helping the company spruce up its RAW file processing. In the words of Apple PR staffer Christine Wilhelmy: "We want to reach as many professional photographers as we can."
The wording of the request is as follows:
In a ongoing effort to improve and refine the handling of RAW images in the Mac OS, Apple is interested in working with a broad range of sample images from professional photographers. If you have images that you feel exemplify particular aspects of RAW handling that require improvement, you can submit these to Apple for testing and evaluation purposes. Please be assured that any image content you send us will be used for internal testing purposes only. None of these images will be distributed to the public, used in any marketing capacity whatsoever, or included in public demos. They will be used exclusively to test and evaluate RAW image processing, with the goal of delivering improved RAW support for your camera in the future.
And here's what Apple would like to receive in each submission (this text is from the request sent to us in mid-January 2006):
- The original, unmodified RAW image. Please specify the camera model used to create the image.
- A 16-bit TIFF version of the image created with Aperture using all default settings (no adjustments, no Auto Exposure or Auto Levels).
- A 16-bit TIFF version of the image created with the RAW decoder of your choice, also using default settings. If using the Adobe Camera Raw plug-in, make sure all the "Auto" checkboxes have been turned off.
- Any notes or commentary you wish to provide regarding whatever weaknesses or strengths you see in the decode provided by Apple's software. When possible, point to specific areas in each image that you would like us to examine. Also include information about the camera, computer, and software used to create the image.
Please put all related files together into a single folder, then upload via FTP to the following server:
FTP Site: privftp.apple.com
After posting your files to the server, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org to notify us that the files are available.
(NOTE: For security reasons, the above FTP site is set up as a drop box with write-only access, so other users can not view or download the images.)
Thanks for working with Apple. With ongoing feedback from the pro photo community, we look forward to continually improving the quality of our image handling in the future.