Google launches Ultra HDR image format

Recently, Android Police showcased samples of Google’s newly introduced “Ultra HDR” image format on its website, garnering significant acclaim and heralding it as “the future of imaging technology.”

In the article, the website interviewed imaging specialist, Dylan Raga. Dylan opined that the display quality of Ultra HDR offers superior contrast and delivers a more authentic imaging effect. It addresses the issue in mobile photography where HDR algorithms distort the tonal relationships in photos. Moreover, the visual results achieved through SDR tuning with Ultra HDR are unparalleled by previous HDR technologies. Analytically speaking, Ultra HDR fundamentally provides a JPG image with HDR effects, granting it notable compatibility advantages.

Google Pixel cumulative shipments

However, the true potential of Ultra HDR can only be fully realized on HDR-equipped displays, such as the Pixel 7 Pro, Pixel 8 Pro, or the latest MacBook Pro. Regrettably, most current social platforms do not support the Ultra HDR format. Platforms like Instagram and others compress user-uploaded photos, leading to degradation of the HDR data. Still, since Ultra HDR is backward compatible with JPEG, the images remain displayable even under such constraints.

Presently, the only software supporting Ultra HDR format includes Android 14, Windows 11, and Google Chrome on macOS. For this format to achieve mainstream adoption, updates from software manufacturers and social media platforms are imperative. Nonetheless, given Google’s influential standing in the smartphone domain, persuading major Android phone manufacturers to integrate Ultra HDR capture and display capabilities into their camera and gallery apps should be feasible, ensuring a smooth proliferation of the Ultra HDR format.