IS&T Photography Standards

International Standards - ISO/TC 42

IS&T sponsored standards address all aspects of photography, including digital cameras and scanners used in human and machine imaging systems, digital and film-based photography systems, characteristics and image permanence of photographic materials, and the digitization of cultural heritage materials. Photography standards encompass the capture, communication, display, and printing of images, methods for measuring the performance of materials and devices, and the assessment and preservation of physical photographic materials.

ISO/TC 42, the ISO Technical Committee for Photography, was created in 1947, and is responsible for more than 200 international photography standards. IS&T sponsors the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) to serve as the Secretariat for ISO/TC 42 and its working groups, as well as for the U.S. TAG (Technical Advisory Group) to ISO/TC 42.

For U.S. experts, IS&T administers two Imaging Technology Committees affiliated with ISO/TC 42 standards in the areas of Image Permanence (IT9) and Digital Photography (IT10). IS&T also administers a Technical Maintenance Committee which maintains film-based photography standards developed by ISO/TC 42.

About ISO/TC 42 Photography Standards

The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) is a network of national standards bodies from 164 countries, which develops voluntary, consensus-based, market relevant international standards. ISO/TC 42 Photography is responsible for standards essential to current and future applications of photography, including:

  • methods for measuring, testing, rating, packaging, labeling, specifying and classifying the dimensions, physical properties and performance characteristics of media, materials and devices used in chemical and electronic still imaging;
  • specifications and recommendations of logical and physical characteristics, practices, interfaces formats and metadata for still imaging capture, processing, and output systems; and
  • methods, measurements, specifications, and recommended practices for storage, permanence, integrity and security of imaging media and materials, and imaging materials disposition.

ISO/TC 42 Working Groups

ISO standards are developed by the working group (WG) or joint working group (JWG) \responsible for the specific technical area. ISO/TC 42 working groups typically meet several times per year.  Plenary meetings of ISO/TC 42 are held every two years.

For ISO/TC 42, WG's include:

  • WG3 Image measurement, viewing, and sensitometry
  • WG5 Physical properties and image permanence of photographic materials PDF
  • Work within WG5 is organized within task areas: TG2 “Storage and Mechanical Properties,” TG3 “Stability of Color Pictorial Images,” and TG6 “Sustainable Preventive Preservation.”
  • WG18 Electronic still picture imaging

In addition, ISO/TC 42 participates in numerous joint working groups with other ISO and IEC technical committees:

  • WG8 Photographic film and paper dimensions
  • JWG20 Digital camera color characterization
  • WG23 Extended color encoding
  • JWG26  Imaging system capability qualification for archival recording and approval  (Digitizing Cultural Heritage Materials)
  • JWG 27 Image permanence & durability test methods and specifications for digital prints in commercial applications

Fourteen member countries (P-members) participate in ISO/TC 42:
Australia (SA), Belgium (NBN), China (SAC), Denmark (DS), Finland (SFS), France (AFNOR), Germany (DIN), Japan (JISC), Netherlands (NEN), Portugal (IPQ), Russian Federation (GOST R), Switzerland (SNV), United Kingdom (BSI), and United States (ANSI).

Experts within each member country work according to ISO standards development rules to develop country positions and contributions, including initiating new standards projects. Each P-member country has a one vote on each ISO standards ballot.

In addition to the participating member countries, there area eighteen observer countries (O-members) with an official interest in ISO/TC 42:
Austria (ASI), Cuba (NC), Czech Republic (UNMZ), India (BIS), Indonesia (BSN), Islamic Republic of Iran (ISIRI), Israel (SII), Italy (UNI), Korea, Republic of (KATS), Mongolia (MASM), Pakistan (PSQCA), Poland (PKN), Romania (ASRO), Serbia (ISS), Slovenia (SIST), Spain (AENOR), Ukraine (DSSN), and Tunisia (INNORPI).

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