The original JPEG format was updated in 2000 to provide a variety of features including less artifacts, better compression and lossless compression. Why haven't cameras updated to use this new format?
JPEG 2000 has not garnered wide acceptance due to a few factors.
- Lacking backwards compatibility to JPEG
- Lack of wide browser support
- Questionable legal status
- (Only) 20% higher performance, while considering how inexpensive storage is
- Additional processing power/time needed to create
- JPEG already considered quite good
- Amount of rework to the code in cameras and desktop software is high
Because people who really care a lot about quality generally just use raw files. JPEG 2000 is quite a bit of extra work to implement, for what is apparently perceived as a fairly minimal benefit in quality.
With any improved image format, there's a chicken and egg problem. A format isn't useful unless people can see it, and if there's not widespread display medium support, it's hard to get started. If you look at Wikipedia's list of applications with JPEG 2000 support, you'll notice that major web browser support is weak at best.
Same goes for digital picture frames, smart phones, and even printers with native support. So, if you have a JPEG 2000 image, it's hard to do anything with it.This means that no one has much incentive to make devices which produce JPEG 2000 files.
Or maybe it's the other way around. Chicken and egg and all that.
That means that in order for something to really catch on, it has to have a big, clear benefit, either to end users who demand it, or as a secret-sauce competitive advantage for a manufacturer, or else some sort of overall industry agreement to move forward (which is like herding those chickens). If there's no advantage, or if there's even possible drawbacks (JPEG 2000 isn't perfect in avoiding artifacts, is comparatively computationally expensive, and it went through a long period of patent licensing uncertainty), there's not going to be a place to start from, and so nowhere to go.
All that seems unlikely for any progress at all, but I think eventually as consumer technology gets better at broader gamut displays, the current JPEG standard is going to really see its age, and maybe we'll eventually see something like JPEG XR start to gain traction. But maybe not — maybe the rapidly expanding data storage universe, which is growing to hold more and more video content, will make the storage and data-transfer needs for lossly-compressed images seem humorously small anyway. And then we'll all go back to 1986's TIFF format.
I wager it never really was adopted as a better JPG-standard due to its licensing issues.
JPEG 2000 has 2 primary uses that I've been able to decipher.
- People with huge images, in the hundreds of gigapixels, who want to allow the image to be seen, but not requiring the image to be downloaded. Several NASA missions, including HiRISE, use such images. JPEG 2000 has some nice features which allow for a Google Earth like approach to image management, but many placed simply have photos of varying resolutions to manage different images. (See the JPIP protocol for sending JPEG 2000 images)
- People who much have images with absolutely lossless compression, but send them out. Pretty much this is restricted to Doctors, who much send out X-rays with 0 chance of compression artifacts.
Given that there are really only these 2 groups of users who really get a lot out of such a complex process, and there are several complications, it seems unlikely that JPEG 2000 is going to come to popular use anytime soon. Maybe some day it will, however. But I don't really see that happening...