New series of smartphones Xiaomi Mi 10 allows, among many other innovations, the storage of captured photos in the format HEIF. We will explain what this format brings and how it works in this article.
What is the HEIF format?
The name HEIF was created by combining the first letters of the phrase High Effieciency Image File, which in translation means a highly efficient image file. It is also known as High Efficiency Image Coding (HEIC). It is an efficient image file format based on the High Efficiency Video Coding (HEVC).
Unlike the JPEG format, HEIF is not a file format, but a "container" for files. It can be single image or series or sequence of multiple images. It is a new compression algorithm implemented in iOS 11 that can reduce file size much more efficiently than JPEG.
Everything is done without reducing the quality of the image compared to storing it in other original formats.
In addition to the most common JPEG formats, there are BMP, PNG, TIFF, GIF and many others. For example, the BMP format is usually not compressed, the image quality is the best, but it takes up more storage space. The PNG format supports transparent layers and GIF is dynamic.
HEIF is able to compress images twice as efficiently as the ancient JPEG standard. This results in images that retain the same visual quality or even better, but are twice as small on average.
The new format supports stacks of images, higher bit depths, embedded HDR metadata, depth maps, and animations. They can store more information than in GIF format, in a fraction of its size.
HEIF is no better than JPEG in terms of creating higher quality condensed files. However, it is better when manipulating groups of consecutive images because JPEG can process one image at a time.
Editing with HEIF
In practice, HEIF can capture all the extended color ranges provided by the camera's 10-bit color output. It also supports transparency and 16-bit image color compared to 8-bit JPEG color. The HEIF image can be rotated and cropped without changing or restoring the image. This will make it possible to undo such edits at any time later.
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However, the main advantage of using HEIF is space saving when used with high resolution camera sensors. Resolution also affects the volume of the photo. The more pixels, the larger the size of the resulting photo file.
For example, when using a 108 MPx sensor, the photo size is approximately 12 MB. If we use the HEIF format to save the same photo, the size is only 4,43 MB, which saves 64% of space, while maintaining the original image quality.
For example, with the Xiaomi 10 Pro with 512 GB of storage, if the remaining storage is 428 GB, you can store 36 photos in JPG format. When using HEIF, it will be almost 522 photos. The default format can be selected in the camera settings.
This relatively new format, founded in 2013 and used since 2015, is compatible with Android 10 as well as devices with iOS 11 or later. The HEIF photo file extension is usually .eif or .heic.
If you need to convert the format to another file type, you can use various known conversion programs. Given the benefits of HEIF, it is expected that it will become standard in smartphones in the near future, and may eventually replace obsolete JPEGs.
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