Nikon Made a New In-Camera ‘Digital Watermark’ to Go on Top of C2PA

Nikon lens and camera lineup 2023

Nikon will work with Agence France-Presse (AFP) to verify a new “digital watermark” image provenance function that will act as an additional layer to the C2PA digital signature system from the Content Authenticity Initiative.

This new image provenance function supports the confirmation of image authenticity, which Nikon says is designed to protect individuals and enterprises from “any unfavorable results caused by falsification and/or unauthorized use of images, and to realize a society in which creative and business activities can be conducted with more peace of mind.”

Of note, Nikon’s technology isn’t the same as the C2PA digital signature system that was deployed into the Leica M11-P last year and what will be coming to the Sony a9 III, Alpha 1, and a7S III later this year, but is instead an additional layer on top of it.

Nikon’s technology involves a newly incorporated electronic watermarking technology and it is actively developing a feature that generates images with embedded watermark data all from inside the camera. Nikon says that when active, in the event that the Content Authenticity Initiative’s C2PA digital signature system is accidentally deleted, there will still be a way to prove a photo’s provenance, therefore enabling a more robust authenticity system and — as a result — contributing to higher-quality image verification.

Nikon’s system is designed not to replace C2PA, but augment it.

“Nikon will continue to incorporate new elements of the evolving C2PA specifications and conduct development and verification. This function is planned to be included in upcoming products,” Nikon clarifies.

This comprehensive provenance solution is being actively tested with AFP, a Paris, France-based news agency who will start what Nikon is calling a “practical verification” of the technology.

AFP and Nikon

“AFP is proud to unite our strengths with Nikon to address the critical matter of image provenance. Together, we aim to elevate the standards of professional journalism and foster a renewed sense of trust within the public sphere,” AFP says.

“Through this partnership, we are poised to develop the way images are sourced, verified, and shared, ensuring an unwavering commitment to authenticity and transparency. Together, we work towards a future where the truth matters, empowering individuals and institutions with accurate and reliable information.”

“AFP is a leading global news agency providing fast, comprehensive and verified coverage of the events shaping our world and of the issues affecting our daily lives. Drawing from an unparalleled news gathering network across 151 countries, AFP is also a world leader in digital verification,” Nikon says of the partnership.

Neither Nikon or AFP specified a timeline for when testing would begin or how long it would last. That said, Nikon will announce the full implementation of its technology and integration of C2PA at some point in the future — specifically, the company says it “will be announced separately, once determined.”

Nikon hasn’t detailed which cameras will receive this new “digital watermark” feature but image provenance support is expected to come to the Z9 at the very least.