Lightroom: Fails to import some valid scanned TIFFs created by Mac Image Capture

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When LR tries to import some scanned TIFFs created by Mac Image Capture, the import fails with "The file uses an unsupported compression algorithm".  The problem is that LR doesn't implement the representation used by Image Capture with these TIFFs: JPEG compression, 4 samples per pixel (RGB + Alpha), and PhotometricInterpretation = RGB.

For some reason, Image Capture uses this representation on crops with non-zero angles, such as those created by the very useful feature Auto Selection: Detect Separate Items, which identifies and separates multiple photos being scanned.

Here's such a TIFF: 
https://www.dropbox.com/s/ks57ijejfuvjcbp/Image-Capture-Angle.2018.07.14.tiff?dl=0

Many programs correctly read this TIFF: Preview (Mac), Gimp (Mac), Photos (Mac), Safari (Mac), Photos (Windows 10), Paint (Windows 10).

Unfortunately, there's a longstanding bug in Photoshop that incorrectly reads this representation: 
https://feedback.photoshop.com/photoshop_family/topics/scans-not-working-in-photoshop

There are (at least) two workarounds:

1. In Image Capture, save the scans with non-zero angles as JPEGs rather than TIFFs.  These TIFFs use JPEG compression anyway, so there is no advantage to using TIFF over JPEG.

2. Open the TIFF in another program and save it with a different compression algorithm (e.g. none or LZW). 

Unfortunately, you can't use Preview to export as a TIFF, since it seems to have a bug in its Export / Save that ignores the setting Compression = None.  But since the TIFF is already using JPEG compression, simply use Preview to export it as a JPEG, and in this case you won't suffer any additional loss in quality.

Tested with LR 7.4 / Macos 10.13.5. But this problem has been in LR for years, based on reports in the forums.
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John R. Ellis, Champion

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Posted 2 years ago

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Simon Chen, Principal Computer Scientist

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Thanks John for the bug report!
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Lyle Berman

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I had this same problem which was driving me nuts.
I ended up installing ImageMagick from https://www.imagemagick.org/script/index.php.
Then I used this command in Terminal to convert the files to LZW. 
mogrify image.tiff -compress LZW
This overwrites your originals so make sure to back them up first!
HTH,
-Lyle
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Rikk Flohr, Official Rep

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Greetings

Updates to Lightroom Classic CC (8.2), Lightroom CC for desktop (2.2), Lightroom CC.Mobile (Android and iOS) were released on Monday, February 11, 2019. Please verify that your issue is fixed by the current update.

Thank you for your patience.
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John R. Ellis, Champion

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Unfortunately, the sample file linked above still gets an error when importing:

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Rikk Flohr, Official Rep

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I've pinged the team, John. 
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Rikk Flohr, Official Rep

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Apologies John,

This issue is not fixed. There is no ETA for a fix.
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John R. Ellis, Champion

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Thanks for the update. The use-case I identified above has a low-impact workaround, so it's not important to me personally. 
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Michael Naylor

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Well its important to, as I've just scanned 500 images and I don't want to do that again. Nor do I want convert each image manually.

WORKAROUND:  Install XnConvert from the Apple App Store. It will batch convert and its FREE!
(Edited)
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Czarek Gorzeński

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Any news in that topic? After 8 months still doesn't work...
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John R. Ellis, Champion

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Lyle, Mike, and Czarek: Make sure to click Me Too in the upper-right corner. Right now, there's just one Me Too (me) -- the  more people who vote on the topic, the more likely Adobe will pay attention.
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Simon Chen, Principal Computer Scientist

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Official Response
From the bug report, our developer reported that the problematic TIFF files are compressed with lossy JPEG compression. This type of lossy TIFF compression is not supported by Lightroom/ACR. The bug is marked closed/won't fix.

One workaround is to re-save the lossy compressed TIFF from Photoshop, and then the result can be imported into Lr.
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Czarek Gorzeński

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It is not a proper solution. You can open these files in Photoshop, but - in my case, at least - it is not properly displayed. Roughly one quarter of the right side part of the picture is destroyed. It is a repeatable issue on every scanned image. Surely I am able open the same pictures using other software without any issue.
(Edited)
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John R. Ellis, Champion

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As described above, Photoshop is also buggy reading these files: 
https://feedback.photoshop.com/photoshop_family/topics/scans-not-working-in-photoshop

The two workarounds described above: Save the images as JPEGs rather than TIFFs, or use a third-party program like XnConvert or Imagemagick to convert the TIFFs to uncompressed or LZW compression.
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John R. Ellis, Champion

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Since the internal bug report is marked closed/won't fix, I changed this topic to "idea" (feature request).
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Lyle Berman

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Frustrating that they're just throwing up their hands and not fixing this.

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Jeffrey Tranberry, Sr. Product Manager, Digital Imaging

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This issue should be fixed in the current version, Photoshop 2020 v21.x or later. Let us know if you're still having trouble.
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John R. Ellis, Champion

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Great. My sample file loads correctly in PS 20.0.

LR 9.0 still chokes on it with the same error message: "The file uses an unsupported compression algorithm."
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robandmars80

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I have just had this problem. Lightroom is up to date. 

I'm concerned that "These TIFFs use JPEG compression anyway, so there is no advantage to using TIFF over JPEG."

I was using TIFF to avoid JPEG compression. Is there an alternative way to scan my photos using Image Capture that doesn't have JPEG compression? 
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John R. Ellis, Champion

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"Is there an alternative way to scan my photos using Image Capture that doesn't have JPEG compression?"

At least as of a year ago, Image Capture used JPEG compression in TiFFs only when the crop had a non-zero angle, e.g. when you used Auto Selection: Detect Separate Items.  If the crop had a zero angle, it didn't use JPEG compression.
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robandmars80

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Thanks John.

I have been using Auto Selection: Detect Separate Items. It works a treat except for this issue. 
Is there a way of telling whether it has used JPEG compression or not? perhaps the file size? I've noticed that some are scanning at 100MB plus whereas most are 7-20MB. My intention is to archive the best reasonably sized copies then copy them all as smaller JPEGs later so I don't mind the larger file size.
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John R. Ellis, Champion

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You can use Photoshop to see what compression is being used with the TIFF: 
https://feedback.photoshop.com/photoshop_family/topics/scans-not-working-in-photoshop?topic-reply-li... 

Or use the free Exiftool utility (which is easier, but you first have to learn how to use Exiftool).
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robandmars80

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Thanks again John. 
I think the filesize is the giveaway. The files that Lightroom accepted were all around 100MB.  The very small files were the ones it wouldn't import. That makes logical sense as the smaller files are clearly the compressed ones. The photos were all a similar size so I was already wondering what was going on. 

As Image Capture automatically detects if the photo is on an angle I have no way of guaranteeing an uncompressed TIFF other than scanning the entire page (huge filesize) and cropping in Lightroom. Or trying different software. Its a shame as Image Capture seemed to be working beautifully and scanning lots of photos was looking easy. I must admit it seemed too good to be true!
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John R. Ellis, Champion

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You might find the JPEG compression acceptable. These days, with higher-resolution images and high-quality compression selected, the difference in image quality between JPEG and TIFF can be very, very close.  
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robandmars80

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I think I agree John. I might just save scanning as uncompressed TIFFs for the very special photos that I might want to work on in the future.

Interestingly, I just saved one of my Image Capture created TIFFs as a JPEG in Preview and the file size increased from 15MB to 65MB. Very strange.

Thanks for your help.
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robandmars80

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I have found a workaround to this with Detect Separate Items activated.
The issue is in Image Capture, not Adobe products. I also have difficulty opening these files in Nikon software. 

In Image Capture after doing an Overview scan, click on each image individually. You may have to click off the images initially to be able to click on individual images. Check that the angle for each image is 0. If it isn't 0 it will compress the scan so just change it to 0 manually. Then scan. I have decided to do any cropping or rotating once the image has been scanned. I'm also just scanning two photos at a time. The max I can fit on my scanner is three photos and with two I can use the edge of the scanner to get them as straight as possible.

I have Finder open and watch the file size as the images come in. If the file size is very small compared to others, delete and rescan using the above strategy.

It sounds fiddly but I am up to a thousand scanned photos so far and find this is easy.  I did purchase scanning software but I find that Image Capture is much more user friendly. I'm separating out some of the extra special photos so that later I can scan them with the higher quality software if I find I need it.

I hope this helps.