What’s the deal with JPEG 2000?

I’m all for speed and things getting better, as long as getting better means easy for everyone to achieve the same objective without calling in a rocket scientist!

But what on earth is the deal with website speed freaks suggesting we should adopt a format of images that are a pain in the rear to work with and hardly anyone knows how to use them?

Many website developers use PhotoShop to create and edit images, export them at the correct sizes for websites or social media and most will run some amount of compression on the JPG before uplaoding – that all seems simple enough and it works for everyone.

Not only does exporting and compressing standard JPG files work for everyone but those same JOB files will open on just about every device from the last couple of decades – unlike ‘next generation’ file formats like JPEG 2000 (aka JPG 2K etc).

I’ve exported thousands of JPGs. For website design, content for blogs and pages, social media etc and every single one of them, once compressed to around 80% (my quality level of choice), they are about as compressed as they need to be to have a reasonably reduced file size and still be visually good quality.

I’ve exported a handful of JPEG 2000 files (JPG 2K) and it’s a royal pain in the backside.

The settings are confusing, the images are a couple of hundred kilobytes bigger than my compressed JPGs, they can’t be previewed in file exploer (finder on a Mac), they can’t be opened in default apps on my chosen laptop (MacBook Pro) by a simple double-click as you’d expect.

In Windows 10 I tested JP2 files using a resource online and found that, while a JPG simply opens in a browser as we’ve come to expect (Firefox is my browser of choice for this test), a JPEG 2000 doesn’t – it needs to be downloaded.

Still in Windows 10 that downloaded JP2 file, when double clicked, confuses the heck out of the operating system; no apps will open it by default and Windows wants me to take an adventure into the app store to find a compatible app.

Stick with JPGs with a bit of compression!

My advice, and what I will continue to do, is stick with JPG files with a bit of compression. The JP2 files (JPEG 2000) I managed to export, even with compression, were much bigger than JPGs and caused a great deal of hassle. I appreciate that how they laod from a website may have slight benefits because they start to download more efficiently or something but, fact remains, they are bigger and, for most people wutha few product shots or team company staff photos, it ain’t worth all the faff.

Oh, by the way, my squirrel photo; it’s a JPG. It is 167kb. I made 2 JPEG 2000 versions of it which were 349kb and 465kb. Enough said for now.

Website Page Load Test

And this page, even with the squirrel photo and the performance image above, loads in 1 second.

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