Jpeg Or Tiff – Which Is The Best Digital Image Compression?

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jpeg conversionAs classic photography can be taken on many types of film, digital photography cannot only be stored on a wide range of devices but can also be formatted (compressed or not) in different ways.

Compression is basically categorized into 2 parts: lossless (which preserve the information of image) and lossy (it may discard certain image data).

Jpeg compression

One of the most used compression methods for digital pictures in digital cameras and internet web pages is JPEG (acronym for Joint Photographic Experts Group). This is actually a standard how the picture will be compressed into a stream of bytes and how that stream will be uncompressed back into image.

JPEG compression is a lossy compression meaning you achieve small size of picture on the cost of its quality. It keeps the most important details of pictures while discarding the less significant ones.

The file size obtained by JPEG compression is much smaller as compared to those obtained by Tiff compression but JPEG compression is highly dependent on image content. Images with less details and noise levels will be compressed well as compared to those with high noise levels.

Tiff compression

Acronym for Tagged Image File Format, TIFF is a more complex file format that allows storage of picture data using lossless compression and is mostly used in printing and publishing industry. This translates in the fact that the picture’s quality will not be altered by editing and re-saving it.

It uses 8 bit or 16 bit per color instead of 24 or 48 bits per color providing high quality lossless compression. Many cameras come up with the option of storing in TIFF format but the image requires excess storage as compared to its JPEG counterpart.

A possible choice that could be considered balanced

Comparing pictures taken in TIFF format with those taken in JPEG format shows only small differences of actual quality of the picture and an average photographer will more often choose to save the photos in JPEG format because this way the pictures will take less storage space.

However, for an experienced photographer, there is another format to take in equation and this is RAW format which is the best alternative as the images in RAW format are smaller in size and can retain more information about your image.

For the sake of saving storage space and take hundreds or even thousands of photos with a minimum of compromise in picture’s quality, JPEG format seems to be the ideal choice.

Posted in: Digital Imaging

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