The format, dubbed HD Photo (and until recently known as Windows Media Photo) is gaining ground over the JPEG format, a 15-year-old technology that is still widely used in cameras and photographic processing applications.
Both formats compress the image to create smaller files so that a memory card can store a larger number of images. However, the quality of images tends to degrade during the compression phase.
Microsoft has indicated HD Photo uses an algorithm that causes less degradation in the image during the compression phase, obtaining images of better quality and occupying half the space compared to the JPEG format.
The format can also be set to use lossy or lossless compression, two data compression methods with different effects on image quality. Microsoft has indicated that it is also possible to make adjustments to the color balance and exposure of the image without deleting or modifying data, unlike what happens with other formats based on bitmaps.
On the other hand, considering that JPEG is a mature format, it has also evolved over time. The latest version, JPEG 2000, offers better image quality while also offering lossy and lossless compression, whereas the original JPEG only allowed lossy compression.
In the next two months Adobe Systems and Microsoft will release plug-ins for Photoshop versions CS3 and CS2 for Vista, XP and OS X. Microsoft has also created an HD Photo Device Porting Kit, so that hardware manufacturers can support this. Format.