New RAW Storage Pricing

After paying $100/year for 7 years, i was thrilled to see that zenfolio is now allowing the storage of RAW files alongside JPG files. This is a feature that potentially makes Lightroom/zenfolio integration a much smoother experience for us professionals.

But why in the world would RAW files incur the additional, significant cost when i'm already paying for unlimited storage?! I have read zenfolio's lame explanation that RAW files are "different", because they are so much larger and the fees are necessary to offset the additional load on your servers. But i find this sort of reasoning insulting to my intelligence. TIF files are allowed to be stored under your current unlimited policy, but RAW files are not? A TIF files is almost exactly the same size as a RAW file, so why the extra fees? It strikes me as an artificial hurdle to have to manage JPGs and TIFs separately, or get to handle JPG's and RAW files alongside each other, like they should be, only by paying a sizable extra fee.

I have loved being a zenfolio customer for 7 years and counting, but if this policy stands, i will not be renewing my membership after my current term runs out. I find money gauging like this unacceptable and unworthy of an amazing service like zenfolio has been.

Am i the only one who feels that this is not a policy worthy of zenfolio?


  • Nicky JamesonNicky Jameson TorontoMember Posts: 107
    It's hard to see the additional value-add and reason for charging extra when 1.) it's already possible to store TIFF files, plus you can upload very large size jpgs, and 2.) server space is dirt cheap and getting cheaper. I haven't any intention of uploading my raw files to Zenfolio at this point so I won't be paying Zen any additional fees for the pleasure of that particular service.
  • BarkeeperBarkeeper Member Posts: 1

    (...) I have read zenfolio's lame explanation that RAW files are "different", because they are so much larger (...) A TIF files is almost exactly the same size as a RAW file, so why the extra fees?

    Hi folks,

    Till Krueger is very close to the ultimate truth.

    The professional Hasselblad medium format camera H3DII-39 took raw files named *.3fr.
    These raw files where actually modified TIF-files as they contained only a single color information per pixel in 16 bit resolution. (This was - like in every digital camera - due to the bayer pattern of the sensor)

    Beside the overhead of Exif and other metadata the *.3fr raw was a 16 bit TIF file.
    If you converted the files using Hasselblad Phocus, Adobe Lightroom etc. you got a "real" TIF-file with 48bit color information (3x 16 bit = 48 bit for rgb)

    So the TIF file is even three times bigger then the 3fr-Raw-file due to the calculated color information (16 bit vs 48 bit).

    Starting with the 50 megapixel H3DII-50 the difference got even bigger! Why?

    The raw-files got very large and took a long time to write to the memory card.
    The solution was to kind of zip (loseless compress) the files inside the camera and write this smaller file to the CF card. This saved time.

    If you would generate a TIF file of this raw file it would be even more then three times bigger.

    Conclusion: Raw files are simply smaller then 48bit (16 bit per rgb channel) tif files.

    (Disclaimer: This ist just my personal experience and must not taken for 100% correct.)

    Zenfolio did understand this in the past.
    There is a file size limit of 64 MB even in their best accounts.

    This makes it simply unusable for Tif files generated from professional camera raw files.

    The 64 MB file itself limit would allow me to upload nef raw files from a Nikon D800. But NEF-files are not included.
    The 48 bit tif file generated by these files ist impossible to upload! Even today!

    I am a premium business user of your service.
    At first I thought it would be great to have my raw files with you too, but I was wrong.
    What I need is support for larger Tif or PSD files!
    I do not share raw files with my clients, but I share tiff / psd files with them.
    I am forced to do this via different providers as they exceed 64MB per file.

    Other providers offer cloud space from 100 GB for $1.99. (Announced today)

    I would love to have a cloud backup of my raw files but it does not need to be so highly integrated like here at Zenfolio.

    Add $ 100 to the account price for unlimited tif and psd file size and unlimited raw file storage and you are going to win this discussion easily.

    Thanks for reading!

  • jl_678jl_678 Member Posts: 7
    I agree that the new RAW option is DOA. It is not customer friendly to charge a premium and I don't buy the explanation. All that said, I think that that it is a bit extreme to cancel your account over it. As I see it, I never expected to store RAWs in Zenfolio anyway and and so this announcement simply reinforces that assumption. Hence this feature while it could have been exciting and perhaps tightened my relationship with Zenfolio has fallen flat for me and if anything reduced my loyalty.

    On a side note, I have a different storage strategy for my RAW files anyway and so I feel confident that they are stored reliably and consistently.
  • Kevin KrowsKevin Krows United StatesMember Posts: 1,462
    I agree with jl_678. I'm not sure what Zen is accomplishing by allowing for RAW storage and charging for it. There are several other features that Zen offers and charges extra for that I don't agree with but that doesn't cause me to cancel my account. For example, you can't set a minimum order limit or control which shipping method to offer your clients unless you pay for a Premium Business Account.

    Even if RAW file storage were free, I'm not sure that I would want to use it. As jl_678 points out, there are better ways to store RAW files that are much more reliable.
  • Stroodle88Stroodle88 White Salmon, WAMember Posts: 90
    I'm also in agreement with jl_678 and kevinkrows. I've been a long time subscriber to Zenfolio because in 2007 when I first became a subscriber, it was the best (in my humble opinion) do-it-all web service that existed for folks whose goal was to display photos online in a way that was extremely presentable. Zenfolio's competitors at the time was lacking. I still maintain my account with Zenfolio for that reason. That they've added additional features for me to conduct an online business is icing on the cake. Sure, competition's better now, but I haven't seen anything the competition offers that makes it compelling to switch.

    With respect to the RAW file storage: my take on it is that Zenfolio never advertised itself as a backup and file storage company. There are all kinds of companies now that do offsite/cloud storage. Read: that SPECIALIZE in cloud storage and backup. They backup not just photos, but all kinds of electronic media. I subscribe to one now and it's been great. That Zenfolio offers a RAW storage option at all that's partially free should send a pretty clear message to individuals that as a company and as a service, it was never designed for that. I agree the excuse of 'RAW files take up more space' is a lame one, but it should be a reason to remember why you subscribed to Zenfolio in the first place. I imagine the reason was not 'I want an online location where I can backup RAW files."
    Bertrand Hui
    Bertrand Hui - Lifestyle Photographer
    Based in the Columbia River Gorge, Pacific Northwest
  • GregDTGregDT Member Posts: 1
    I have to agree with the above. But what really upsets me is the cynical way Zenfolio are pricing the service. They charge the same 0.085 in four different currencies which means people like me who pay in £'s are being charged significantly more an people in the EU, US or Australia for exactly the same service. While I actually would never use Zenfolio to store RAw files anyway I find this grubby pricing policy quite disgraceful and it's reason enough for me to be cancelling my account. Shame on you Zenfolio.
  • bhufbhuf Member Posts: 72
    I wouldn't use Zenfolio on a regular basis to store RAW files, but I would like to take advantage of the service on a project by project basis. However I would also like to be able to limit my account so that it cannot go over the free threshold. As far as I know, now it just kicks in a fee if you go over your limit instead of enabling you to prevent going over your limit.
  • DegserDegser Member Posts: 1
    The way thing are now - I am considering buying Crashplan backup online cloud... at 8.5c/GB I'd be paying 100+$ per month... does that make any sense?
    or, if you say TIFF is okay, but not RAW - I well might switch to tiff... hmmm...
  • Kevin KrowsKevin Krows United StatesMember Posts: 1,462
    edited April 2015
    This is just my opinion but I see absolutely no reason for storing original RAW files on-line. The cost of high quality USB drives is so low (up to 5TB) why would you want to do it any other way? You can disconnect them and lock them up on or off site as needed. A Seagate 5TB desktop drive goes for $150.00. two of them if you want redundancy. 5TB = 400,000+ RAW files off a Pro DSLR. (Hopefully you don't keep all your out-of-focus shots :) )

    Converting to TIFF would be the way to go if you have to if you want to use Zenfolio storage. Not only is it free and unlimited it's just smart. Working with TIFF in post production works just as well as a RAW file .... again that's just my opinion.
  • Stroodle88Stroodle88 White Salmon, WAMember Posts: 90
    I personally like offsite storage backup. I use Crashplan for more than just my photos... if you are interested in storing items other than just photos, Crashplan's a great option. I bought into a family plan for 4 years, which is the cheapest-per-year option.
    Bertrand Hui
    Bertrand Hui - Lifestyle Photographer
    Based in the Columbia River Gorge, Pacific Northwest
  • ffennemaffennema Member Posts: 14
    As of a day or two ago Photoshelter is offering Unlimited photo storage and no file size limit - including RAW (e.g. NEF ), PSD, JPEG, etc. for about $550 per year.

    I'm hoping Zenfolio will offer a better pricing plan for its users that want off-site cloud storage for their Photography business that includes all photo types and sizes.
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