Get Image size WITHOUT loading image into memory

If you don’t care about the image contents, PIL is probably an overkill.

I suggest parsing the output of the python magic module:

>>> t = magic.from_file('teste.png')
>>> t
'PNG image data, 782 x 602, 8-bit/color RGBA, non-interlaced'
>>>'(\d+) x (\d+)', t).groups()
('782', '602')

This is a wrapper around libmagic which read as few bytes as possible in order to identify a file type signature.

Relevant version of script:


Hmmm, unfortunately, when applied to jpegs, the above gives “‘JPEG image data, EXIF standard 2.21′”. No image size! – Alex Flint

Seems like jpegs are magic-resistant. 🙂

I can see why: in order to get the image dimensions for JPEG files, you may have to read more bytes than libmagic likes to read.

Rolled up my sleeves and came with this very untested snippet (get it from GitHub) that requires no third-party modules.

Look, Ma! No deps!

# Name:        get_image_size
# Purpose:     extract image dimensions given a file path using just
#              core modules
# Author:      Paulo Scardine (based on code from Emmanuel VAÏSSE)
# Created:     26/09/2013
# Copyright:   (c) Paulo Scardine 2013
# Licence:     MIT
#!/usr/bin/env python
import os
import struct

class UnknownImageFormat(Exception):

def get_image_size(file_path):
    Return (width, height) for a given img file content - no external
    dependencies except the os and struct modules from core
    size = os.path.getsize(file_path)

    with open(file_path) as input:
        height = -1
        width = -1
        data =

        if (size >= 10) and data[:6] in ('GIF87a', 'GIF89a'):
            # GIFs
            w, h = struct.unpack("<HH", data[6:10])
            width = int(w)
            height = int(h)
        elif ((size >= 24) and data.startswith('\211PNG\r\n\032\n')
              and (data[12:16] == 'IHDR')):
            # PNGs
            w, h = struct.unpack(">LL", data[16:24])
            width = int(w)
            height = int(h)
        elif (size >= 16) and data.startswith('\211PNG\r\n\032\n'):
            # older PNGs?
            w, h = struct.unpack(">LL", data[8:16])
            width = int(w)
            height = int(h)
        elif (size >= 2) and data.startswith('\377\330'):
            # JPEG
            msg = " raised while trying to decode as JPEG."
            b =
                while (b and ord(b) != 0xDA):
                    while (ord(b) != 0xFF): b =
                    while (ord(b) == 0xFF): b =
                    if (ord(b) >= 0xC0 and ord(b) <= 0xC3):
                        h, w = struct.unpack(">HH",
                    b =
                width = int(w)
                height = int(h)
            except struct.error:
                raise UnknownImageFormat("StructError" + msg)
            except ValueError:
                raise UnknownImageFormat("ValueError" + msg)
            except Exception as e:
                raise UnknownImageFormat(e.__class__.__name__ + msg)
            raise UnknownImageFormat(
                "Sorry, don't know how to get information from this file."

    return width, height

[update 2019]

Check out a Rust implementation:

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