Sunday, March 11, 2007

Microsoft Announces HD-Photo

Once known as Windows Media Photo, Microsoft just released a new photo format called HD-Photo.  Bill Crow has a good writeup on the benefits of the new format.  Basically it allows for high-fidelity photo editing and storage.  While those of us in the normal world do all of our photography in JPEG format, professionals do not.  They use TIFF or a format called RAW (which is propreitary to each camera).  These formats are less aggressive in their compression and allow for greater color detail.  HD-Photo is similar but attempts to be a more interoperable standard.  It also supports better compression than the standards I mention.  This is a technology to watch.  JPEG has some serious deficiencies which something like HD-Photo can alleviate.  Two questions come to my mind:

  1. Will camera makers and photo editing suites adopts HD-Photo?

  2. Will consumers care?  Is JPEG good enough for them?

Only time will tell if HD-Photo takes off or not.  If it does, I think everyone will benefit.


  1. I haven't found any detailed analysis of HD Photo vs. Adobe's DNG, for example. Not to mention all the name-brand cameras use their own RAW file format.
    Meanwhile, you're wondering about The Ephemeral Nature of Computers.
    I worry about the ephemeral nature of my file formats! Er, excuse me, I should have said Nikon/Microsoft/Adobe/Canon's file formats.

  2. Good point.  We know that JPEG will probably be decodable in 20 years.  The rest, perhaps not.  If HD-Photo gains traction then it will but if it remains an obscure format, it may well fade.  The RAW formats, being proprietary, are probably doomed from a historical perspective.