Skip to main content

JPEG’s governing body puts out new version, with 12-bit color and lossless compression

A graphic of the JPEG file format.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

While JPEG has become the most commonly used image file format for everything from digital cameras to smartphones and the Web, the compressed format doesn’t offer the greatest flexibility for users who want to edit the image afterward. It’s why many photographers prefer shooting in RAW and designers like TIFF because they aren’t as heavily compressed, which don’t suffer from compression artifacts as much as JPEG does when the image is scaled up; however, RAW and TIFF files tend to be much larger in size than JPEG. But if JPEG continues to be de facto in the future, artifacts like noise, fuzziness, and blockiness may not matter as updates to the standard offer more flexible compression options, including completely lossless (uncompressed). In other words, better image quality.

jpeg-9-codec-graphicThe Independent JPEG Group at Leipzig Institute for Applied Informatics, which defines the JPEG standard, just put out a new version (JPEG 9.1) of the software library. It supports 12-bit color depth, scaling functions, HDR support, and the aforementioned compression options.”New additions include functions for improved compression (arithmetic coding), multi-functional new scaling functions (‘Smart Scale’), as well as options to fully lossless compression. For future versions, among other enhancements are planned that support applications in the areas of ‘High Dynamic Range’ (HDR) imaging, and ‘Augmented Reality,'” the group wrote in a press release. The enhancements could also benefit printing or output on displays or projectors with a wide color gamut, according to the group.

With the ability to save images as lossless JPEG files that are still smaller in size, we could possibly do away with RAW and TIFF formats. JPEG as a standard is more universal than RAW (as every camera manufacturer has its own proprietary version of it and third-party software like Adobe Photoshop constantly have to get updated to support new cameras), so supporting one standard may be far easier. However, before any of this can happen, hardware and software makers have to adopt the new JPEG standard first.

(Via Pop Photo/The Phoblographer; image via Thomas Reichhart/Shutterstock)

Les Shu
Former Digital Trends Contributor
I am formerly a senior editor at Digital Trends. I bring with me more than a decade of tech and lifestyle journalism…
‘Photoshopped’ royal photo causes a stir
The Princess of Wales with her children.

[UPDATE: In a message posted on social media on Monday morning, Princess Kate said that she herself edited the image, and apologized for the fuss that the picture had caused. “Like many amateur photographers, I do occasionally experiment with editing," she wrote, adding, "I wanted to express my apologies for any confusion the family photograph we shared yesterday caused."]

Major press agencies have pulled a photo of the U.K.’s Princess of Wales and her children amid concerns that it has been digitally manipulated.

Read more
Help NASA in its quest to learn more about our sun
Scientists have used the ESA/NASA Solar Orbiter’s Extreme Ultraviolet Imager (EUI) in a new mode of operation to record part of the Sun’s atmosphere that has been almost impossible to image until now. By covering the Sun’s bright disc with an ‘occulter’ inside the instrument, EUI can detect the million-times fainter ultraviolet light coming from the surrounding corona.

SunSketcher Solar Eclipse Project Tutorial

NASA is calling on citizen astronomers in the U.S. to help it learn more about our sun.

Read more
How to photograph April’s solar eclipse, according to Nikon
A total solar eclipse.

Solar Eclipse Photography Tips from Nikon | Best Camera Settings | 2024 Solar Eclipse Guide

Excitement is building for next month’s total solar eclipse that will see the moon’s shadow fall across a large part of the U.S., from Maine in the northeast all the way to Texas in the south.

Read more