Microsoft Announces HD Photo, touted to be the next file format for digital photographers:
HD Photo offers compression with up to twice the efficiency of JPEG, with fewer damaging artifacts, resulting in higher-quality images that are one-half the file size. In addition, HD Photo offers increased image fidelity, preserving the entire original image content and enabling higher-quality exposure and color adjustments in the image. This new format offers the ability to decode only the information needed for any resolution or region, or the option to manipulate the image as compressed data.
…In addition, HD Photo offers both lossless and lossy image compression, and can retain the full dynamic range and color gamut data from a camera’s sensor. Also, because making adjustments to common color balance and exposure settings won’t discard or truncate data as other common bitmap formats typically do, it’s easier to â€œundoâ€ those changes at a later time. As a result, significantly smaller files can be created while still retaining optimum picture quality.
New image formats are long past overdue. We’ve been living with JPEG, GIF, and the less touted PNG for a long time and in many ways, they have outlived their usefulness. It will be interesting to see how this new image file format works, if it is accepted by society, and what the competition will offer.