Cameras

Microsoft HD Photo Format Considered for JPEG Standardization

A proposed “HD Photo” format by computer software giant Microsoft is in the running for JPEG standardization. The international organization Joint Photographic Experts Group (JPEG), announced this month it is considering JPEG XR, the tentative name fo

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August 1, 2007 – JPEG, TIFF, NEF, DNG… Digital photographers have a plethora of file formats to choose from and could soon see the addition of one more. A 'HD Photo' format, proposed by computer software giant Microsoft , is in the running for JPEG standardization. The international organization Joint Photographic Experts Group (JPEG) announced this month it is considering JPEG XR, the tentative name for Microsoft HD Photo format, for widespread adoption.

HD Photo, or JPEG XR, is a proposed Windows Media Format designed for the next generation of digital cameras, printers, and software interoperability. JPEG XR is made of up HD Photo image-coding technology, also used in Windows Vista operating systems software.

Microsoft claims the new file format could offer better image compression and more flexible editing, according to a Microsoft press release. JPEG XR could preserve the entire original image while maintaining dynamic range and details even in compressed images of higher end digital cameras, such as those captured with the Foveon X3 image sensor in the Sigma SD14 DSLR and Sigma DP1 compact camera.

"We are very excited that there is finally a compression technology that is consistent with our goals of getting the most information out of digital images and enabling uncompromising quality for the full range of digital imaging devices and systems," said Foveon Inc. CEO Federico Faggin in the release.

Similarly, Hasselblad Director of Digital Camera Products Peter Stig-Nielsen said in a release, "As an organization, Hasselblad believes the proposed JPEG XR file format is a valuable and timely technology to standardize, promising to bring new consumer and professional success and value to the digital photography marketplace.'

JPEG XR is included in a two-part work item under the umbrella name "JPEG Systems." The JPEG committee considered Microsoft’s XR format at its 42nd meeting, held from July 2-6 in Lausanne, Switzerland.

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The JPEG organization is responsible for creating the JPEG Standard, and later the JPEG 2000, as the standard format for digital cameras and the Web. If approved, Microsoft’s HD Photo (JPEG XR) could be added to the growing list of existing photo formats.

"We are voting on consideration of this new file format for standardization because we believe it will foster breakthrough, innovative products and services in the photography and printing industries that will have widespread value for consumers around the world," said Joint Photographic Expert Group convener Dr. Daniel Lee in the release.

The ballot deadline for the overall JPEG Systems project is in October. The completed standard is expected for 2008.

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