Photo CD

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What Does Photo CD Mean?

Photo CD is a format introduced by Kodak in 1992 as a means to store and edit high-quality digital images that were taken using film and conventional cameras. It was widely used by professional photographers and for commercial purposes.


Photo CDs could store 100 high-quality digital images along with slides and scanned prints. The images had a special proprietary encoding. Photo CDs enabled users to view, store and edit pictures using computers. Their design was compliant with the CD-ROM XA and the CD-i Bridge specifications. The images stored in a Photo CD could be printed using a special Kodak machine.

Techopedia Explains Photo CD

Photo CDs were launched by Kodak to enable digitizing and storing of photos and negatives on compact disks that can be used in a computer. The images are stored as positive images in 5 to 6 levels of resolution. The image files are stored in the Image Pac format.

Images can be stored on a Photo CD while film is being developed or the CD can also be made from a set of slides or cut negatives. Images can also be added to a Photo CD that already contains data, creating a multisession disk.

The different types of the Photo CDs include:

  • Standard master disc – maximum resolution: 2048 × 3072
  • Catalog disc – maximum resolution: 512 × 768
  • Professional disc – maximum resolution: 4096 × 6144

The process of storing an image on a Photo CD involves the following steps:

  1. Each image is scanned using a special Kodak scanner.
  2. The image is encoded using a proprietary technique.
  3. The image is stored on the CD in different sizes using a multi-resolution format created by Kodak.

Photo CD images can be viewed on computers or on conventional televisions connected to dedicated CD-i players. At present, most CD-ROM players, DVD-ROM drives and recorders are capable of playing Photo CDs.

Kodak has stated that the shelf life of Photo CDs should be 30 years under normal home or work conditions.


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Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert
Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert

Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.