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Chuck Kimmerle

I am not worried in the least. Adobe is going strong, it's stock prices continue to climb, and I have no doubt that they will be around for many years to come. Seems like a bit of quasi-irrational fear mongering on the part of some folks.


I agree with the comment prior. Adobe is still an industry standard, so why worry? It's still going strong. With that said, I use PSD personally because it handles layers better. TIF files gets huge because it adds file size to every layer you include.

Markus Spring

Oh well, I work in the field of Geographic Information Systems (GIS), and decades ago Siemens (still going strong!) had a wonderful GIS named Sicad, with many survey administrations and companies using and extending it - with all their data in the proprietary Sicad format. And then the Geomatics part of the company was sourced out - and died. And all the data held in Babylonic Captivity of a proprietary format had to be converted at amazing costs into other, in many cases proprietary again, formats.

What could we learn from this for our photography? Proprietary formats are almost always evil, some times a necessary evil albeit, and the worst choice for long term archival. Free file formats like TIF or PNG are much more likely to be supported on the computers 30 years away from now. And mind you, proprietary raw formats are problematic as well.

Rob Lewis

Well I agree with all here but I have been involved with the Information Systems industry for over 30 years and agree with Markus. I've seen some wonderfully useful and dominant applications fade into obscurity for a number of reasons.
I drank the Kool Aid :) and signed up for the cloud when it came out but I also read the blog that Brooks mentions. While Adobe will probably be around for some time to come, it could be messy and very time consuming to need to convert in the future. I for one have decided to move to the open TIFF format for all my final processed images.

Chuck Kimmerle

What exactly makes you guys certain that, if Adobe folds and renders our PSD files useless, that layered TIFF's will fare any better?

Markus Spring

Chuck, TIFF is a well known and widely supported standard, so chances that tif-files can be read by other applications than the one they were created with are a multitude bigger than with any proprietary file format. And as a pixel-only format it does not rely on vendor-specific algorithms to achieve the final representation of the image.

Caveat emptor: The TIFF specification allows private sections, in which malevolent software designers could hide proprietary instructions indispensable for the integrity of the image. But as TIFF can be read by other applications, such things most likely will be discovered.

This all boils down to the question whose property an image file is: the creator of the content or the creator of the file. All reasonable thinking should denominate the content creator, but as the discussion is completely dominated by companies doing both, i.E. film and music industry, the rights of individual creators are not specifically considered. As software users are a disperse crowd and software companies have the money and with it the political influence, we all will continue to sign not fully read nor understood waivers before even starting a single instance of proprietary software.

Brian Stewart

I've pretty much always used layered TIFF rather than PSD for all the reasons that Chuck stated and it's worked well for me, mostly. Most photographic apps will display a TIFF, but PSD less often.

I hesitate to comment further because I'm no expert but recent experience, and a little research I did after you asked the question, has me wondering. Adobe now owns the TIFF standard, does it not? And TIFF can contain undocumented "private tags". So there are no guarantees.

So far the only instance where I've had a problem with TIFF is where the file has some transparency and also a saved alpha channel, like a saved selection. Other (non-Adobe) applications do not display the file correctly. Either they show a flattened version of the file without the transparency, or they show only the alpha channel. The PSD version is shown correctly. But this is a fairly specific instance.

In my research I also found that that PSD apparently has advantages for designers who move files between Creative Suite products, but this seems less relevant for most photographers.

On balance I'll stick with TIFF unless and until I find a reason not to.

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