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Lynn Sheren
18 January 2006, 11:25 PM
I am thinking about adding photos to my Reunion files.

I have copied most of my photos in JEPG format and I am concerned about the long term archival status of the JEPG photos as compared to TIFF's.

Is it better for archival purposes to change a image that was saved as a JPEG image, to a TIFF image, so the the image will be loss less as far as the image data is concerned? Or recopy the photos so that they will be originally TIFF's and then import them into Reunion?

I am uncertain how much data is lost, if any, when you open and close a JPEG file, repeatedly, as compared to a TIFF image. Should I be concerned with this?

Will I run into problems concerning the amount of storage space required moving from a JPEG to TIFF image in Reunion.

I contacted Leister Productions, Inc., and Michael Martin recommended that I post these questions on Reunion Talk for some input from other users. So here I am. Your assistance and opinions are appreciated.

theKiwi
19 January 2006, 01:03 AM
Is it better for archival purposes to change a image that was saved as a JPEG image, to a TIFF image, so the the image will be loss less as far as the image data is concerned?
No, the loss has already occurred when you created the JPEG file. You won't get anything back if you resave those JPEF files as TIFF files.

Or recopy the photos so that they will be originally TIFF's and then import them into Reunion?
You could do this if you wanted to rescan all the images - assuming you have access to the originals and the time to do it.

In terms of archival longevity both formats will last the same length of time I imagine. The problem is going to be what you save them on - if it's a CD that you make, then leave laying on your desk for 10 years, then the chances of being able to read it in 10 years time are possibly quite slim.

I am uncertain how much data is lost, if any, when you open and close a JPEG file, repeatedly, as compared to a TIFF image. Should I be concerned with this?
No data is lost if you only open and close a jpeg image. The data is lost when you open it and then resave it.

Will I run into problems concerning the amount of storage space required moving from a JPEG to TIFF image in Reunion.
The amount of storage space required for TIFF files is certainly more than that required for JPEG files, but this isn't going to have an effect on Reunion. The effect will be on your hard drive storage requirements.

But as time passes hard drives get larger and cheaper, so it's easy to keep up - the last 300 GB drive I bought cost $80 after a $50 rebate. My pictures folder is 55 GB currently, and still growing - as I run out of room I just buy a bigger hard drive or two.

Hope this Helps

Roger

Lynn Sheren
19 January 2006, 12:48 PM
No, the loss has already occurred when you created the JPEG file. You won't get anything back if you resave those JPEF files as TIFF files.

You could do this if you wanted to rescan all the images - assuming you have access to the originals and the time to do it.

In terms of archival longevity both formats will last the same length of time I imagine. The problem is going to be what you save them on - if it's a CD that you make, then leave laying on your desk for 10 years, then the chances of being able to read it in 10 years time are possibly quite slim.

No data is lost if you only open and close a jpeg image. The data is lost when you open it and then resave it.

The amount of storage space required for TIFF files is certainly more than that required for JPEG files, but this isn't going to have an effect on Reunion. The effect will be on your hard drive storage requirements.

But as time passes hard drives get larger and cheaper, so it's easy to keep up - the last 300 GB drive I bought cost $80 after a $50 rebate. My pictures folder is 55 GB currently, and still growing - as I run out of room I just buy a bigger hard drive or two.Roger:

Thanks for your reply. One question leads to another.

I have been scanning my photos at 300 dpi. Should that be enough for most purposes? Any reason to go higher or lower on the dpi?

Thanks,

Lynn

Urs Geiser
19 January 2006, 04:18 PM
I have been scanning my photos at 300 dpi. Should that be enough for most purposes? Any reason to go higher or lower on the dpi?
It depends on (1) the quality of the original and (2) the purpose of the scan.

Most consumer photos and a great number of old black-and-white photographs don't have any detail beyond 300 dpi, but exceptions exist. In most cases, at higher dpi you'll be imaging the noise detail, not adding real picture content. 200 dpi is often enough, in bad cases there isn't even anything to be gained beyond 150 dpi. On the other hand, 35 mm negatives or slides have image information at least to 1200 dpi, sometimes more than twice that.

If your main purpose is to display photos on a computer screen, lower dpi settings are sufficient. Of course you know that it's a one-way street: you can always make a copy with reduced resolution if you have too much, whereas increasing the resolution of a low-res scan only magnifies pixels but doesn't add detail.

Mike Stupinski
19 January 2006, 06:39 PM
Roger:

Thanks for your reply. One question leads to another.

I have been scanning my photos at 300 dpi. Should that be enough for most purposes? Any reason to go higher or lower on the dpi?

Thanks,

Lynn

I can't remember the specifics, but it's my understand that even black & white originals should be scanned as color because it gives more detail to work with. It also, of course, means bigger files result. I always scan my B&W photos as color.

See Urs Geiser's comments re: what ppi to scan at.

...........Mike

Joyce Glover
19 January 2006, 08:36 PM
Roger:

Thanks for your reply. One question leads to another.

I have been scanning my photos at 300 dpi. Should that be enough for most purposes? Any reason to go higher or lower on the dpi?

Thanks,

Lynn

Hi, Lynn,
This is off topic, but we've been in touch before on the Bremer/Sheren family connection. I have a question or two for you. Please contact me at rcbmom(at)charter(dot)net
Joyce Bremer Glover

AE Palmer
20 January 2006, 12:38 AM
I am thinking about adding photos to my Reunion files.

I have copied most of my photos in JEPG format and I am concerned about the long term archival status of the JEPG photos as compared to TIFF's.

Is it better for archival purposes to change a image that was saved as a JPEG image, to a TIFF image, so the the image will be loss less as far as the image data is concerned? Or recopy the photos so that they will be originally TIFF's and then import them into Reunion?

I am uncertain how much data is lost, if any, when you open and close a JPEG file, repeatedly, as compared to a TIFF image. Should I be concerned with this?

Will I run into problems concerning the amount of storage space required moving from a JPEG to TIFF image in Reunion.

As a curator of a museum near where I live, I've had to deal with this problem. The policy I set down was to convert ALL digital images to either .tif or .psd (Photoshop format.) Whether they originated via a digital camera or a scanner. Once the image has been converted (without any alterations), I ALWAYS discard the .jpg image. At the same time, I also indicate this new image as ".org" for "original." This image is NOT to be altered in any way! I always make a duplicate of the original whenever alterations are made. These images are labeled as ".mod" for "modified." This way, I can identify the status of an image without opening it. If a low-res image is needed for the web, I can make a .jpg or .pic image from either the original or a modified version thereof.

As for losing data when opening and closing .jpg files, there is no harm done if the image has not been altered. On the other hand, each time you alter a .jpg, some vital data is lost when it is saved over the original. Thus, using a lossless format (.tif, .psd, bmp, etc.) removes this concern.

The real problem digital imagery presents, is storage

theKiwi
20 January 2006, 01:00 AM
[QUOTE=AE Palmer]The real problem digital imagery presents, is storage

Bob White
20 January 2006, 02:28 PM
I can't remember the specifics, but it's my understand that even black & white originals should be scanned as color because it gives more detail to work with. It also, of course, means bigger files result. I always scan my B&W photos as color...............Mike

As do I for the same reason that I have seen in several sources on scanning. I also scan at 600 dpi. Yes, some extra noise and dust might be picked up but modern software is pretty good at cleaning that stuff up. The reason for 600? Well, one can always take away but one can never add what wasn't there in the first place. Note: My original scans are left untouched; I use copies. For example, the photos in my Reunion file are copies that were "saved as" in Photoshop Elements at 150 dpi -- sufficient for screen display and charts. But I still have the 600 dpi original if a cousin wants me to print a larger copy for their old fashioned photo album. (Remember that not everyone has or uses computers.)

AE Palmer
20 January 2006, 06:43 PM
You don't need to trust that the technology to read today's digital media will be around for many years if you diligently keep moving your archive forward with the technology as it advances.

The danger is in putting those old 8 inch floppies with the only copy of some important files on them in the fireproof safe and leaving them there for 20 years to eventually find that you no longer have a working 8 inch floppy drive, nor/or a computer to connect it to.

Roger

Perhaps my choice of wording was less than ideal. That said, some of us genealogists are working on a shoestring. The process of repeatedly updating both the computer and its attendant software in an ever expanding spiral of technology is costly. Not all of us can, or are unwilling to, keep up with the pace of technology.

As both a genealogist and a photographer of many years, I defy any digital image to come close in the longevity of properly processed wet chemistry prints. We now have examples of photo prints taken more than 150 ago that look as good as the day they were made! I cannot believe digital images being around that long without constant upkeep

theKiwi
20 January 2006, 07:42 PM
Perhaps my choice of wording was less than ideal. That said, some of us genealogists are working on a shoestring. The process of repeatedly updating both the computer and its attendant software in an ever expanding spiral of technology is costly. Not all of us can, or are unwilling to, keep up with the pace of technology.

I started using my own Macintosh in 1988 (prior to that I used other peoples) and for the most part I still have every file I've ever created - certainly all the important ones.

Certainly it has cost money, but my "strategy" isn't to keep up with the latest and greatest, but rather to just keep moving everything along with me - mainly via upgrades to hard drives that are ever increasing in size, and multiple ones of them at that.

My "home" on my PowerMac is 198 GB currently, and that's kept on 2 x 300 GB drives and a 250 GB drive in its entirety. The 250 GB lives in a safe, bought out when I do a backup to it. I don't think any of those hard drives cost me more than $100 - the last 300 GB drive was $80 after a $50 rebate.

I couldn't possibly hope to print out my entire genealogy file of 13,000 people, much less the file of the Clan Moffat Society which is very nearly 68,000 people, and even much less the 198 GB of "stuff" that makes up my home folder.

But I can save mulitiple copies of the files, and make sure that I have computer to run Reunion on and the software to open the other files (Photoshop for example).

I've already promised my neice who is interested in being my successor on the family research that when she gets the data and boxes of photographs and papers and letters etc she'll get an iBook or similar to run it on too.

Roger

Don Bell
28 January 2006, 02:32 PM
My thanks to all members who have contributed to this excellent thread. I've always wondered if the scanning resolutions and the image formats I have been using were adequate, and your informed comments have reassured me that I am on the right track.

I currently scan all family photos (black & white and color) at 300 dpi and save them as TIFF files as is. I do, however, scan some smaller prints at a higher resolution if larger copies are wanted. These original TIFF images are then safely kept in their own folders. Backups of these folders are placed on quality CDs and are stored at an offsite location for added security.

Whenever a family member requests a photo, I send either a TIFF or JPEG image copied from the original TIFF image, depending on their request. To add images to Reunion, I prepare JPEG images copied from the TIFF originals; these JPEG images are optimized for screen display at 72 dpi, and their small file sizes make for quick loading.

I am concerned about the long-term archiving of digital files. As long as the images and their backups are converted to the latest formats when necessary, all will be fine; however, if this process is neglected for a generation all could be lost. It's altogether possible that the old nineteenth-century prints will outlive the contemporary digital images.

David G. Kanter
28 January 2006, 05:49 PM
To add images to Reunion, I prepare JPEG images copied from the TIFF originals; these JPEG images are optimized for screen display at 72 dpi, and their small file sizes make for quick loading.I would suggest you are going a bit too far in the resolution reduction for the image linked to your Family File.

While the 72 ppi is, indeed, fine for display on a computer screen, I would recommend you only go down to 150 ppi for your linked images if you ever plan to get a high-quality printing of charts and reports from your Family File. I base that on the advice from Tim Lundin at Heartland Family Graphics

mobang
30 January 2006, 11:44 PM
[QUOTE=AE Palmer]Perhaps my choice of wording was less than ideal. That said, some of us genealogists are working on a shoestring. The process of repeatedly updating both the computer and its attendant software in an ever expanding spiral of technology is costly. Not all of us can, or are unwilling to, keep up with the pace of technology.

As both a genealogist and a photographer of many years, I defy any digital image to come close in the longevity of properly processed wet chemistry prints. We now have examples of photo prints taken more than 150 ago that look as good as the day they were made! I cannot believe digital images being around that long without constant upkeep

mobang
30 January 2006, 11:45 PM
"Something else to consider, slightly off-topic here: when any image is captured, the process is a series of mapping transformation applied to the source data stream. This is symbolically expressed as If = f(g(h(...(n(x))...))) where f, g, h,...,n are transformation functions that alter or map the values of the source data. These may be physically implemented as the transfer function of a lens assembly, the photo-chemical reaction of an emulsion in film, or the A/D conversion that occurs in a pixel in a digital camera. At each transform there is a CHANGE to the data that occurs - whether that is rejecting data values outside the capture range of the media (off the "heel" or "shoulder" of a film characteristic curve) or in the maximum mapped value for a pixel on a CCD array - a transformation of the data occurs.

"Now, the reason I mention this: it is the job of the image recorder (photographer) to decide how to work with the transformations in creating a final image. Each decision in the set-up, composition, image capture and subsequent post-process are decisions on how to manage the transformation functions required to create the final image. Choice of film, camera, lens, software, imaging system, etc. are all part of this decision matrix.

"How does this relate to the archive question? Well, that's an interesting point. Usually the argument about the merits of "wet" photography versus digital center around stability and cost of the processes. No one discusses the differences in the transforms to the original data that are required in each of the processes, or if the choice of process is unduly altering the "fidelity" of the image. Consider: a digital image is only one set of transformations away from a final image (in the simple sense of "snapshots" that are not post-processed); a film image has at least two and usually more transforms before it is available for view. With calibrated monitors and color spaces, the digital image is perfectly reproducible indefinitely in exactly the same context as it was originally captured; the film/print image is subject to degradation, changes in viewing conditions that are no EASILY reproduced, and random changes that occur to each subsequent copy that is produced from the original negative.

"And finally - FINALLY - the ultimate way to preserve data is to make many exact copies of it and store it in many locations to prevent it from being destroyed. For film and paper, this is an arduous task and requires considerable complicity and resources for each copy stored. Digital images, on the other hand, can easily be sent to other locations and stored - sometimes without intention - for very long periods of time. (There are WEB sites available that have preserved caches of web pages since the inception of HTML on the Internet - many are complete archives of web sites that have been gone for over a decade. I think this qualifies as archival - in a very non-traditional implementation).

"Well, that's my thoughts on the subject. You gets what yous pays for: my opinion was free...."

ttl
31 January 2006, 01:27 AM
There's probably not too much more to add to this discussion, but here's my $0.02 on a very narrow aspect... the longevity of digital prints.

Printing with current printers which use archival (pigment-based) inks on acid free paper yields essentially fade-free hard copy estimated in the neighborhood of 100 years. One could probably expect much much longer than that with good storage and a willingness to accept minor image degradation for your descendants.

The one twist on this with respect to wet process prints is that selenium, or even silver, have the potential to outlast these digital prints, but these are monochromatic (black and white) technologies that are well suited for 19th and first half of the 20th century photos. Color photos, negatives, and slides from the mid-20th century on are fading fast because of the dye technology used and I'm not aware of any major improvements in this area in the wet processes. (Let me know if there are.) With that fact in mind, people who want hard copies of color photos (in color) for future generations might be best served by copying them and printing them on one of these newer ink jet printers. These printers tend to be the higher end photo quality printers, but you'd have to check the ink specifications before you could trust them for this purpose. Printing with a color printer which uses dye based inks would be very counterproductive.

Regarding the debate of digital storage vs. paper copies, I feel strongly both ways!

P.S. If you look at my avatar, you can see me standing next to my grandfather as photographed ca. 1900. If he'd been photographed in color, the scan of the print 100 years later would have likely been close to a white blank. Meaning, whatever method you choose, it's probably more important for you to archive your current photos (at least a few important ones) than it was for your grandparents to do so.

Don Bell
31 January 2006, 03:40 AM
While the 72 dpi is, indeed, fine for display on a computer screen, I would recommend you only go down to 150 ppi for your linked images if you ever plan to get a high-quality printing of charts and reports from your Family File.
Thanks David. Excellent point and advice, and I certainly agree. The higher 150 dpi images are recommended for those wanting to include linked images in printed charts and reports. However, I prefer not to use linked images, so the lower resolution works fine for my viewing purposes. When I prepare my custom reports in AppleWorks, I add the images separately to the document before printing to a PDF file for distribution to family members.

By the way, I learned a little trick from James Walker of PrintToPDF fame. When adding a 300 dpi jpeg image to AppleWorks, I create it at least twice as large as I require, then I paste it into my AppleWorks document and scale it down by 50%. After the document is printed to PDF, the bit-mapped image still appears sharp when magnified to 200%. I don't know whether this little technique works with other word processors, but it works well with AppleWorks. Those viewing the PDFs can simply magnify any of the family pictures to see much greater detail.

Warm regards,

S. Kennedy
31 January 2006, 01:06 PM
There's probably not too much more to add to this discussion, but here's my $0.02 on a very narrow aspect... the longevity of digital prints.

With that fact in mind, people who want hard copies of color photos (in color) for future generations might be best served by copying them and printing them on one of these newer ink jet printers. These printers tend to be the higher end photo quality printers, but you'd have to check the ink specifications before you could trust them for this purpose. Printing with a color printer which uses dye based inks would be very counterproductive.

I agree fully with these comments but would like to add one additional comment. If you have old color prints that have faded, don't give up on them. I have scanned a number of prints from the 1950 era that were so faded that they appeared to be monochrome sepia. It is really amazing how much color can be pulled out of these with a bit of experimenting. Of course, the sooner they are saved the better. I have processed all of our 47 year old professional color wedding photos which had faded badly and the color came out as good or better than the originals.

ttl
31 January 2006, 01:08 PM
I agree fully with these comments but would like to add one additional comment. If you have old color prints that have faded, don't give up on them. I have scanned a number of prints from the 1950 era that were so faded that they appeared to be monochrome sepia. It is really amazing how much color can be pulled out of these with a bit of experimenting. Of course, the sooner they are saved the better.Hear, hear!

AE Palmer
31 January 2006, 06:42 PM
Color photos, negatives, and slides from the mid-20th century on are fading fast because of the dye technology used and I'm not aware of any major improvements in this area in the wet processes. (Let me know if there are.)

There is ONE exception to this -- Dye transfer prints. (Not a new process as it was developed in the late 1940's.) These color prints are made very much like silk screen images with four separate layers of color put down -- CMYK -- cyan, magenta, yellow and black. Normally, a print made this way is very stable as the "ink" is really heavily pigmented. And since pigmented materials are quite stable, prints made this way may last hundreds of years. The down side of this process is that it is a VERY expensive process -- each layer is screened on the paper and the registry must be made with pinpoint accuracy or the product is scrap. When done properly, the result is truly outstanding! BTW, this process can be done from both film AND digital images.

AE Palmer
31 January 2006, 06:59 PM
The one twist on this with respect to wet process prints is that selenium, or even silver, have the potential to outlast these digital prints, but these are monochromatic (black and white) technologies that are well suited for 19th and first half of the 20th century photos.

Granted, the number of professional labs that "do" black and white processing is dwindling. That said, the very finest photography done today is STILL B/W. Especially if archival processing is warranted. I do not see monochrome wet processing disappearing any time soon

sgtbob
09 December 2012, 08:56 AM
I realize this is an ancient issue, but would like some input. I have copied some data through 'grab' and saved them as .tiff data. The items consist of written data and a photograph. As an experiment, I opened the .tiff file and then 'exported' the .tiff to .jpeg. jpeg-2000, openEXR, .png and .pdf. All of them looked pretty decent when I opened them, except for the 'openEXR', which was horrific and quickly discarded. In viewing some of the comments, it appears that storage was one of the concerns, but with with my system it would seem to be a lesser concern.

Under the above scenario, my question is - is there any reason I should even consider changing or converting the .tiff to other formats? Is the .tiff format the more desirable?

Bob

iMAC 3.06 GHz, 4GB SDRAM, OS X 10.8.2, 500 GB internal drive, and a 1 TB backup HDD

Paul Bridges
09 December 2012, 10:04 AM
I do the same as you.
The only problem I run into is when I attach a TIFF file to an e-mail.
Then I get complaints that the recipient cannot see the attachment.
No problems with JPG though.

sgtbob
09 December 2012, 12:16 PM
I suppose I could print the .tiff files, scan and save them as .pdf files. A bit awkward, but.....

dfilpus
09 December 2012, 12:37 PM
I suppose I could print the .tiff files, scan and save them as .pdf files. A bit awkward, but.....
Just open the .tiff file in Preview and Print to PDF.

Bob White
09 December 2012, 04:49 PM
I do the same as you.
The only problem I run into is when I attach a TIFF file to an e-mail.
Then I get complaints that the recipient cannot see the attachment.
No problems with JPG though.
Older versions of Windows mostly do not recognize the TIFF format. That's why I long ago stopped sending TIFFs to anyone unless I knew what their computer and OS is.

John M. Leggett
10 December 2012, 06:23 PM
I realize this is an ancient issue, but would like some input. I have copied some data through 'grab' and saved them as .tiff data. The items consist of written data and a photograph. As an experiment, I opened the .tiff file and then 'exported' the .tiff to .jpeg. jpeg-2000, openEXR, .png and .pdf. All of them looked pretty decent when I opened them, except for the 'openEXR', which was horrific and quickly discarded. In viewing some of the comments, it appears that storage was one of the concerns, but with with my system it would seem to be a lesser concern.

Under the above scenario, my question is - is there any reason I should even consider changing or converting the .tiff to other formats? Is the .tiff format the more desirable?

Bob

iMAC 3.06 GHz, 4GB SDRAM, OS X 10.8.2, 500 GB internal drive, and a 1 TB backup HDD

Of course, another way to work with graphics files is a dandy application called Graphic Converter. It can do batch conversions which is especially handy if you have a number of files to deal with.

baddorfdeb
10 December 2012, 07:04 PM
Just open the .tiff file in Preview and Print to PDF.

Just open the .tiff file in Preview and Save As --- then change the format (not the name, but the format box) to JPEG. It will change the name for you.

Thor Bjarne Stadshaug
10 December 2012, 07:09 PM
I realize this is an ancient issue, but would like some input. I have copied some data through 'grab' and saved them as .tiff data. The items consist of written data and a photograph. As an experiment, I opened the .tiff file and then 'exported' the .tiff to .jpeg. jpeg-2000, openEXR, .png and .pdf. All of them looked pretty decent when I opened them, except for the 'openEXR', which was horrific and quickly discarded. In viewing some of the comments, it appears that storage was one of the concerns, but with with my system it would seem to be a lesser concern.

Under the above scenario, my question is - is there any reason I should even consider changing or converting the .tiff to other formats? Is the .tiff format the more desirable?

Bob

iMAC 3.06 GHz, 4GB SDRAM, OS X 10.8.2, 500 GB internal drive, and a 1 TB backup HDD


Bob,

Continue using tiff. It is one of the few graphics formats that is lossless and it is an recognized format alowed for use in electronic achives. Jpg is not lossless and looses details every time you save the file.

Thor Bjarne

Bob White
11 December 2012, 01:57 PM
Bob,

Continue using tiff. It is one of the few graphics formats that is lossless and it is an recognized format alowed for use in electronic achives. Jpg is not lossless and looses details every time you save the file.

Thor Bjarne

Isn't the newer PNG format also lossless?

Dennis J. Cunniff
11 December 2012, 06:50 PM
Isn't the newer PNG format also lossless?

PNGs are lossless, but are designed for flat-color, sharp-edged art (diagrams, line drawings, cartoons) rather than photographs.

Michael Talibard
12 December 2012, 02:39 AM
Bob,
Continue using tiff. It is one of the few graphics formats that is lossless and it is an recognized format alowed for use in electronic achives. Jpg is not lossless and looses details every time you save the file.
Thor Bjarne

True, but I don't think those folk who have been using jpegs need to worry: normally, one makes all the adjustments one needs before first saving a jpeg - so it gets saved only once. You don't subsequently degrade it just by opening and closing it on screen.