New JPEG format, JPEG XR, coming this year.

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by Mike
Posted January 30th, 2009 at 10:54 am

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JPEG has become somewhat of a household name the digital world.  JPEG XR was developed by “The Joint Photographic Experts Group” whom designed the original now aged JPEG.  Its relatively good quality combined with small size has made it a standard in many areas.  It’s not perfect however.  Since a JPEG is a lossy picture format information is removed from the picture.  Making editing it somewhat limited.  Though more hardcore photography and photo editors don’t touch JPEG with a ten foot pole, they use formats such as RAW that offer much greater detail (and file size).  The new JPEG format is set to be called “JPEG XR”.  The “XR” stands for “Enhanced Resolution”.  Duh!  What are the advantages of JPEG XR?

  • XR has the ability to capture imamges in 16bit or higher, compared to JPEG measley 8.  For comparison, a modern DSLR captures pictures in 14bit.
  • XR has a more efficient compression algorithm meaning two things.  (1) You can take a better quality picture in XR while still maintaining the same file size as a lesser quality JPEG or (2) Have an XR image that is the same quality as a normal JPEG but half the size.
  • XR can decode certain parts of images meaning zooming is much faster.  Also, Microsoft has designed the new format to work well when integrated into camera image processors’ internals, not just in software.

Clearly, JPEG is due for an update and the new JPEG XR format looks like it is ready to deliver.  However specs don’t always sell a product.  Uptake in the marketplace will be tough seeing as how JPEG has a commanding lead.   However, the inclusion of XR support in Windows 7 will surely help the new format gain a following quickly.

Source: Cnet, Bill Crow

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