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Online Backup Services - File Compression of Photos / Movies #1
john's picture
by john
May 26, 2014 - 11:40am

Hi, I see your recommendation for Backblaze and I researched many of these types of services of which I found Backblaze to be one of the better ones as well.  However, with these types of services, I have a concern with my photos and movies with regards to compression and the loss of quality in the media.  I don’t plan on moving these files between my computer and the online service too many times.  Hopefully its only an upload and that is done one time.  But I would like to feel comfortable that any loss of quality will be negligible.   How many backup/restores does it take to see a JPEG to start losing the its quality?

As for the size and quality of the photos I take currently…  My camera is an older Canon Rebel and I take most pictures as JPEG at their highest quality – at times I do shoot RAW photos, but mostly JPEGs – in about a month or so, I plan on getting a Sony A6000.   

Rolf Schmolling's picture
by Rolf Schmolling
May 28, 2014 - 7:08am

well, I cannot say anything about what kind of media/data you want to upload, but as far as I know this is NOT the same as a JPEG compression. The data is encrypted and compressed both for safety and to package the bits properly for faster transport through the net.

One can compress/encode a JPEG without loss of quality anyway. But it is not an image file then but an archive – which can be de-compressed and you end hop with the same quality JPEG Image file.

john's picture
by john
May 28, 2014 - 9:31am

Thank you for the response.

By media, I am referring to JPEG & RAW images plus the HD movies I recorded over time.  I wasn’t clear on JPEG vs file compression.  I know that copying JPEGs does not alter the picture quality, but I thought any kind of compression would affect it.  I thought compression was the same for both JPEGs and files in general.   

bjurasz's picture
by bjurasz
May 28, 2014 - 1:52pm

John, there are two types of ways to compress a file, in general.  Lossy compression is what a JPG, an MP3, and a video file are.  That means when you uncompress the file you “lose” information.  You don’t get the exact same data back.  Hence, lossy compression.  There is also lossless compression, which means when you uncompress it you get back exactly what you started with.  So if you compress a JPG with a lossless compression algorithm you get that file back EXACTLY when you uncompress it.

This is critical, if you think about it.  If Backblaze compresses my spreadsheet, Word documents and Quicken files when it uploads them to their servers I better get back exactly what I uploaded when I do a restore.

Your next question is bound to be why is everything not lossless compression?  Simple, if you allow yourself to lose some data through a lossy compression algorithm you can compress a file an awful lot more.  Which means more music on your iPod and iPhone than you could otherwise, or more JPGs on your camera.

Bill Jurasz
Austin Texas

Joe's picture
by Joe
May 29, 2014 - 1:28am


The compression used by such system is the same approach as for a zip file. it will compact your file without using the integrity of the main file. 

Hope it helps,


john's picture
by john
May 29, 2014 - 1:03pm

Thank you all for taking the time to answer my questions.  



Dale docherty's picture
by Dale docherty
December 3, 2014 - 10:35pm

There are a lot of options which you can explore to get a reliable online backup service for your Photos / Movies . I use Ahsay Online Backup which i found a great one to rely on.

bjurasz's picture
by bjurasz
December 4, 2014 - 7:03am

If it matters any, my former and current employers (Apple, Oracle) both use Crash Plan for corporate computer backups.  I use it at home as well.  I highly recommend them.  A great feature they have that the others don’t is the ability to use a “seed” drive.  For a small fee they will send you a large USB drive which you make your first backup image to.  You then send it back to them (prepaid shipping).  This means your first backup is done within a few days (rather than the 7 months the software estimated my initial backup would take on our connection).  On the other end, if you ever need all your data fast they will send you a drive to restore from.  Again, if you have catastrophic data failure and need to restore an entire machine this is MUCH FASTER than restoring everything via an internet download.

To me this is the fatal flaw with most other cloud based backup services, the time it takes to send large amounts of data up and back from their servers.  Backups are great, except when it takes forever to make them or forever to retrieve from them.  Now, if we lived in South Korea and we all had Gigabit internet connections rather than the crap I get from AT&T…  :(

Bill Jurasz
Austin Texas

john's picture
by john
December 4, 2014 - 8:10am

Hi, I’ve had experience with Crashplan and found their tech support wanting as they were never able to resolve my issues.  Nor do I trust their application either after my experience. The data was suppose to be encrypted on the seed drive but for what I could load (never could load everything with the errors, but did manage small test loads) and for what I could load on the see drive,was not encrypted.  I could move the drive to multiple computers using different accounts and could access the photos.

The deal breaker for me was their application is Java based and I refuse to expose my system to this software.  I use Backblaze, they wrote native applications for each OS, no Java! They don’t have a ‘seed’ drive for your initial upload, but they do provide those for restoration.  I found that my 65,000 photo data base loaded in their system along with my 350GB of video over short period of time and daily activity is very minimal. I even keep my system drive backed up.  I highly recommend Backblaze.

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