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Difference between JPEG and PNG, GIF, BMP, TIFF, RAW

Difference between JPEG and PNG, GIF, BMP, TIFF, RAW

Difference between JPEG and PNG today is the question that bothers every modern photographer that wants not only to photograph professionally, but additionally use Photoshop or other photo editing programs.

Today photo post production services are popular due to their possibility to economize time and retouch photos with high quality. The first thing that every person should be aware of while dealing with photo retouching programs is the variety of file formats. In this article we are going to discuss difference between TIFF and JPEG, BMP, JPG, RAW. This basic knowledge is just indispensable to start photo retouching, but still a lot of photographers ignore this fact thinking that it is not important. So, let`s start finding all differences and similarities in PNG vs JPEG quality.

Is JPG or PNG better for printing

We are going to discuss what image format is the best for dealing with professional photos of varied genres. Most of beginning photographers are not eager to study all kinds of file formats and devote much time to read about difference between TIFF and PNG, JPG and JPEG, and so on. They try to find the most suitable variant their own. Still, is it right? Or for completely successful work photographers need to know peculiarities of all formats? Together we will find the truth. Then, we will focus on the most peculiar difference between all formats that are used in modern photo retouching. We will find out for what reason every photo file format has been created. And the last question that is going to be covered in the article is what format, PNG or JPEG, suits best for printing. That is important as printing is a final step that shows all pluses and minuses of photo retouching done.

Types of Image Compression

Types of image compression

Due to the fact that all mention file formats exists now and, to say more, they are quite popular, we may come to the conclusion that all of them are beneficial in a particular way. This means that every format is suitable for a special kind of photo purposes being quite indispensable for it. A lot of modern photographers know different kinds of file extensions, but usually they do not realize the real difference between JPEG and PNG, RAW vs TIFF not knowing what to choose.

There are certain standards that are practical while choosing the practical file format. But before considering every type of files extension and organize a kind of a battle TIFF vs JPEG vs PNG.

It is convenient to organize all kinds into three categories:

  • Lossy compression
  • Lossless compression
  • Uncompressed images
 

Below we will consider every category in order for photographers to know what they should expect from every class. We will start with the last one, because such formats usually contain the biggest amount of date. They are considered to be exact image representations. To this category belongs BMP, as the most popular format of this kind.

Lossless Compression: GIF and PNG

The class of lossless formats is widely used for varied illustrations, text materials or different dRAWings. The reason for their using is that they work with such materials that simply will not look good and attractive being compressed. Judging from the name of the category such file formats encode all information from the starting variant of a file. When a file is again decompressed, the achieved variant will not have discrepancies from the initial sample. The most widely-used samples of this format are GIF and PNG.

Uncompressed: RAW

Uncompressed formats, as usual, occupy the most disk space, but they show us the most exact displaying of the image. Such format as RAW will serve as a great example.

Lossy Compression: JPG

We deliberately left format with lossy compression for the end. That is so, because this format suits perfectly for all modern photographers. Although it cannot be used with various text materials or illustrations, as compression may spoil the date of this type. According to their name, such formats usually do not use all file information. Therefore, we cannot say that a final image will be the exact representation of an initial picture. It simply discards unnecessary information that does not contribute to the general view of a photo. For this, most of samples of before and after photo retouching are done in this format. From this point of view, in the photo editing battle JPG vs PNG quality, TIFF vs RAW, the last format is a leader.

It should be noticed that such file formats as TIFF vs BMP may contain either uncompressed or compressed pictures. All this depends on the used technique. To make the question still simpler, in order not to have battle like TIFF vs JPEG vs PNG inside in your head, you should realize that all formats with a mark “lossless” make picture smaller than they are. This does not spoil their quality. When you see a file format with a mark “lossy”, you should understand that a picture will be made smaller, but notice that it will be reflected in its quality.

Color Depth

color depth

One more criterion to classify formats and compare JPG vs PNG vs TIFF and others is color depth.

According to it we have:

  • Indexed color
  • Direct color
 

If any file format has the first mark, it means a picture can have a restricted number of colors, which is usually not more than 256. If you come across the second mark, you will have a possibility to store as many colors as you want. And all colors will not be chosen by an author. The right choice of file formats influences greatly photo color correction services. In general, the choice TIFF vs JPEG vs PNG or others is important, but you will be able to feel the difference between JPEG and PNG or others only after using all of them. Practice is everything for photographers that have brevity to start learning all file formats

Color Channels

Not dealing with printing, most people do not thing about the fact that there are other types of color channels except the RGB. But can we replace the same corporate colors in the design layout of the site and the design layout of the printed products? And why do they look different? The answer to this question lies in the differenced in color models, such as digital and polygraphic.

color channels rgb cmyk

The color of the computer screen varies from black (the absence of any color) to white (the maximum brightness of all constituent colors: red, green and blue). But on paper, on the contrary, white means the absence of the colors and the mixture of maximum amount of colors corresponds to the dark brown, which is perceived as black color.

That is why when you prepare an image to printing, you have to switch the additive (“folding”) RGB color model to the subtractive CMYK color model. The CMYK model utilizes the opposite colors to the original – blue that is the opposite to red, purple that is the opposite to green and yellow that is the opposite to blue.

RGB

rgb srgb

The abbreviation RGB means the names of three colors that are used to display a color image to the screen: Red, Green and Blue.

The color on the monitor is formed by the combining the rays of three basic colors – red, green and blue. If the intensity of every of them reaches 100%, then a white color is obtained. The absence of these colors gives a black color. In such way any color we see on the screen , we can describe with the help of three numbers that denote the brightness of the red, green and blue color components in the digital range from 0 to 255. Graphic softwares allow you to combine the required RGB color out of 256 shades of red, 256 shades of green and 256 shades of blue. Total is 256 x 256 x 256 = 16.7 million colors.

Images if RGB colors are used for display in the monitor screen. When creating the colors that are intended for viewing in browsers, the same RGB color model is used as a basis.

CMYK

The CMYK system is created and used for typographic printing. The abbreviation means the names of the basic colors that are used for the four-color printing: Cyan, Magenta and Yellow. The letter “K” stands for the black color (there is no clear decoding, sometimes one can use blacK, Key or Kobalt) that allows to obtain a rich black color while printing. The area of application of the CMYK color model is full color printing. It is with this model that most of the printing devices work. Due to the discrepancy between color models there often occur such situation when the necessary color cannot be reproduced with the help of the CMYK model (for example, such as gold or silver). In such cases, the Pantone paints are used. They are ready mixed paints of a variety of colors and shades.

All the files meant for output in typographic must be converted to CMYK. This process is called color separation. RGB covers a larger color range than CMYK, and everybody needs to take it into account while creating the images that are planned to be printed.

When watching the CMYK image on the screen, the same colors can be perceived a little differently that when watching the RGB images. It is impossible to display very bright color of the RGB model in the CMYK model. And the RGB model, in turn, is not capable to convey dark and dense shades of the CMYK model, due to the difference in the nature of the color.

The color display on the monitor screen often changes and it depends on the lightning specifics, temperature of the monitor and the color of the surrounding objects. Besides, a lot of colors visible in the real life can not be displayed in the printed variant, not all colors displayed on the screen can be printed and some printing colors are not visible on the monitor screen.

What is the Highest Quality Image File Format?

Below you can observe the difference between JPEG and GIF in tabular form as well as difference between other formats:

highest quality image file format

Out of the great number of modern file formats JPG vs PNG and surely TIFF are definite leaders, as these samples are the most frequently used in photo retouching and printing. Step by step we will focus our attention on every format in order to find the main spheres of their application and possible bonuses.

There are many compelling reasons to shoot in RAW format rather than JPEG. You'll find the main of them below.

JPEG

JPEG Format


Pros+
  • Small image size
  • Сontrol the degree of compression
  • It is supported by all browsers, graphics and text editors, compatibility and correct display on all operating systems
  • If the compression ratio is low, the quality of the photo will be high enough
Cons-
  • When the picture is strongly compressed, the image is scattered into separate quadratics
  • Worse than other formats suitable for working with texts or monochrome graphics pictures with clear boundaries
  • Does not support transparency
  • It is not recommended to change and save the file again. This action improves the image quality for the worse
 

 

The abbreviation for the Joint Photographic Expert Group – the team that developed this format. The JPEG format has become the standard compressed format in digital photography and online image sharing due to its appropriate balance of the file size and quality of the image.

That is a file format that is the most popular in contemporary image retouching like common portrait retouching or limited headshot retouching and so on. JPG comes from JPEG files, as that is its extension. Modern cameras and websites usually use this format. This file format enables to make the date smaller, so that the size of a file is not big and everything, mainly web pages, work faster. Thus, an image with a size of 10MB when compressed into the format of JPEG, then you gets an image with a size of 1 MB. At the same time, the image quality remains practically unchanged.

Download our free RAW images for retouching and try to enhance them in Photoshop to compare with photo editing of JPEG format photos. You will see how they differ, the way RAW format provides wider possibilities for image retouching.

But this also depends on the content of the image. We have an approximate compression ratio of 10:1. Still, this fact hides a minus, as JPG is normally used when the minimal size of a picture is of the bigger importance than its maximum size. That means if a photographer needs to get a photo of a professional quality, the size of a JPG file will be big. Additionally, JPG always uses lossy compressions, meaning that with minimizing the size of a file you work with the quality of a picture is spoilt. In this sphere JPG is unique, as almost all other file formats provide lossless compression.

This means that during compression, the pixels that are around a similar pixel are merged into tiles, that is, they are groups with the same pixel value.

JPG photo format quality

This is a beneficial way, but it has its dRAWbacks. When JPEG images are saved, you cannot return the original data. When you copy an image that has already been copied, the quality of the photo will deteriorate with each time.

So JPEG is not used for image archiving. Because, when editing images, their quality is deteriorating. The most famous photo editor Adobe Lightroom can help you. It will be useful if the original image is not deleted, because this photo editor preserves the changes in the metadata, in contrast to the JPEG format, which writing over the original picture. JPEG is not suitable for text images and images with sharp lines that can be blurred.

JPG files are perfect for you if you do not need to greatly reduce the size. This format will be of interest to those who do not need to reduce the size much.

But you must know specific nuances:

  • The quality of the original image should be the highest
  • Retouching the photo takes little time, so you have a poor-quality photo.
 

Difference between JPEG and JPG?

The first thing we should talk about is the most asked question about the image formats – the difference between JPEG and JPG. The only difference between these two formats lies in the letter “e”. And that is it. There is no difference between them in practice, while working. These two formats of images are exactly the same. But here a second question can arise, why did two file extensions come from the same format?

It is quite simple, actually. The case is that in old operating systems you could not indicate a file extension consisting of more than three symbols. This led to the reducing of the JPEG formats just to JPG. In the versions of operating systems, the extension can include four, five and even more symbols. That is why the letter “e” was decided to be returned to the images and the name “JPEG” became wide spread. However, the tradition to record the three-lettered name of format still exist, so even in new OS you can meet now the image format JPG. If you would like to change the file extension of the JPG to JPEG, it will easy for you, all you have to do is add the letter “e” and here you are.

PNG – is it the Best File Format for Printing Logo?

PNG Format


Pros+
  • When the photo is compressed or saved, the quality of the image remains unchanged
  • Transparency when applied
  • It is possible to edit layers of photos meta-data, if you need copyright
Cons-
  • You can’t work with animation.
  • The lousy format for full-color photos
 

 

PNG compress picture without loss of quality. That is a file format that is expected to replace GIF. That is possible as browsers can show both formats. It is as useful as TIFF is, as they provide nearly the same bonuses. That is the youngest file format out of all used but is the best file format for printing logo. It was designed to bypass all common problems with quality losing and compression. As a rule, size of PNG file is smaller than file size of other formats. But that is slower to be read by web sites. Maybe for this reason this format is not as popular as TIFF or JPG, but still contemporary photographers should pay attention to it. That is a format sample for lossless retouching work, where quality is everything.

JPEG vs PNG

PNG uses LZW compression — similarly, such compression is used in GIF vs TIFF formats. Boiled down, PNG’s two-stage LZW compression takes strings of bits contained in the image’s data, matches those more extended sequences to accompanying short codes held in a codebook that is stored within the image file.

In the end, we have a file of small size but at the same time best image quality. Therefore, the PNG format is considered better than JPEG due to the fact that the image does not lose quality when compressed, that is, you can edit and save the image without limit.

What is PNG Used for?

This is the format used for screenshots. Thanks to PNG we have high-quality images and pixel-for-pixel representation of the screen.

what is PNG used for

PNG is idea variant for the logo. A significant advantage of this format is transparency support, regardless of whether the image is color or black and white. This allows the image to overlay on the image of the site or another image. Adobe Photoshop Mix and other photo editors apply a checkered background to show the transparency of the image. Due to its advantages, PNG can compete with the RAW format and save images without losing quality. In most cases, PNG is used in internet, but thanks to its advantages, it elevates the status and strengthens its position in front of JPEG. It is better to use PNG for logos and sites when applying text images.

All about GIF - How is a GIF Compressed?

GIF Format


Pros+
  • Picture are compressed and translating the picture into a 256-color language
  • Supports animation
Cons-
  • The format does not allow smooth transparency
  • Animation significantly increases the size of post compressed file
  • When compressed, the size of large images remains large enough
  • GIF is not suitable for images storage of containing multiple layers and for images with vector graphics
 

 

One of the most popular formats on the Internet is GIF that was designed when 8 bit videos were on the top of popularity long before JPG vs TIFF. It is quite good for video purposes, but does not suit completely for printing purposes. All GIF files are quite limited in colors, 256 colors are maximum. But still for graphic that is enough. Due to such limitations in coloring, photo retouchers do not use indexed colors for picture that enhance. The main idea is that modern GIF files offer animation, unlike other formats, and transparency.

What does GIF stand for? Today GIF format remains to be frequently used in web graphics. In graphics where the variety of colors is not a vital thing, GIF provides pure colors and reasonably small files. The GIF format compresses images while reducing the number of colors of the photo. There is another way when the format replaces several small image models in one. As a result, when you save an image, e.g. all shades of red, replaced with red.

The image with horizontal lines is compressed better than with vertical ones:

how is a GIF compressed

GIF format saves color, using a much smaller number of colors in the palette, leads to a sharp decrease in the file size. Thus, the received data in a graphic GIF format is still realized with the help of LZW lossless compression. This leads to the preservation of the full palette and does not lead to the appearance of any defects. The LZW compression used in GIF format, however, is quite simple and processes the image in rows. First, the pixels of the first line of the image is compressed, and then the second, third, and so on, so images containing horizontal motifs are more compressed than those with vertical themes.

photography gif format

Graphical GIF format allows you to store even a simple animation, which makes it very popular on the Internet. The principle of animation in the GIF format is elementary. GIF will enable you to store multiple images within one file, each with its own color palette and other parameters. But all images must be the same size. Next, you need to determine how fast the photos should be interleaved and whether you need to repeat the animation indefinitely. When you create an animation, the process happens so that the individual animation phases are created as standard images, and then you add them to the original ribbon in the corresponding program (for example, Adobe Image Ready). Sometimes the fact that GIF contains the words "animated GIF emphasizes animations".

Therefore, GIF used for graphic images, logos, and charts, because there are few colors used here. The downside of GIF is that it is, after all, an outdated format created back in 1989, when there were no special requirements for the color palette.

TIFF – the Best File Format for Printing Photos

TIFF Format


Pros+
  • Picture are compressed and translating the picture into a 256-color language
  • Best photo quality
  • Supports photo compression with the best quality
  • Images are saved with excellent color rendering
  • Suitable for all programs for processing
Cons-
  • Huge photo size
  • Long time recording on the memory card
  • The processing process complicates the work of PC
 

 

TIFF stands for Tagged Image File Format and is the standard for the printing and printing industry. All of us saw advertising billboards and most often TIFF-format is used on them and in the sphere of polygraphy.

That is a sample of lossless file formats. So, if we take difference between TIFF and JPEG and think about it, TIFF will be more preferable for preserving the desirable highest quality of a done picture. For this fact, this modern file format is chosen the most frequently for commercial purposes, for instance for portrait retouch for fashion industry. Why it is so beneficial? TIFF format does not contain JPG artifacts or varied additional losses and TIFF for printing is a nice choice too.

TIFF vs PNG

What is the main difference between PNG and TIFF? TIFF shrinks without loss of picture quality. The quality of the files remains at the height even after repeated re-saving. The format is supported by most image viewers. The TIFF format allows saving several layers, which is very convenient for photo post processing, and in contrast to JPEG can have a resolution of 8 or 16 per channel. TIFF is the most universal, and is usually used to store original pictures, which can later be edited. But keep in mind that browsers do not display TIFF files. TIFF has 5 compression options (LZW, Huffman, etc.) - which affect the size and the used color channels - RGB / CMYK. Not all cameras now support this format, because it is often easier to convert to TIFF from RAW in the editor. But even in the near past TIFF equipped most models. TIFF is the best file format for printing photos and big sized posters.

BMP

BMP Format


Pros+
  • Good quality of photos
  • Raster files (BMP) can be easily created from existing pixel data stored in an array in memory
  • Are good to work with point formats output devices, such as CRT and printers
Cons-
  • Do not support effective image compression. They can be very large, especially if the image contains a big number of colors. It is not supported on different platforms
  • Reducing these image codecs by resamplingn(reducing the number of pixels) can change the image in an unacceptable way
 

 

The most straightforward format for recording numeric data representing an image, it is used on personal computers running the Windows operating system. The name of the format is derived from the phrase bitmap. The format is designed to record images encoded in the RGB model, that is, images intended for playback on the screen. The color of each point is recorded in 24 bits. The first 8 bits correspond to the value of the red component, the next 8 bits - green, and the last 8 bits - blue.

The original BMP format doesn't require any image compression – it provides the high recording and playback speed and increases the productivity of Windows internal operations. The payback for the speed is the increased recorded data size. Recorded images in BMP format have an increased size, which is inconvenient for storing large collections and transporting data through computer network channels.

BMP vs PNG

There is a type of BMP format that allows some data compression. This format is called BMP / RLE. Compression is done with the RLE - Run Length Encoding method. The RLE compression method is extremely simple. If there are duplicate values in the data sequence, for example, 255, 255, 255, 255, then they are replaced by two numbers, one of which indicates the value, and the second - the number of repetitions, for example, 255, 4.

BMP photo format

Extracting the pixel data stored in a bitmap file can often be done with a set of coordinates that allows you to conceptualize the data as a grid.The pixel values can be changed individually or as large groups by changing the palette. Bitmap files can be well transferred to output devices, such as CRT and printers.

RAW - Highest Quality Photo Format

RAW Format


Pros+
  • Wide opportunities in image editing
  • Correction of exposure and white balance after shooting
  • Correction of chromatic aberrations after shooting
  • Complete image data
  • Color correction after shooting
Cons-
  • Very large size of RAW-file
  • RAW files cannot be used immediately
  • Separate programs are required to edit or convert the image
  • It takes more time for recording on the memory card
  • The process of editing often takes a lot of PC resources and time
 

 

The file format that contains RAW information coming directly from the matrix of semi-professional and professional cameras. These files are not processed by the camera processor and contain all the footage in a "RAW" format. The size of such files can exceed 25 MB. RAW files are great for editing, but because of their size, they are not really convenient to store. Every photographer knows about the real importance of RAW files. But still, we cannot consider difference between RAW and TIFF, as RAW is not an adversary for it or for other file formats. RAW formats, even its name says about this, has to be converted to regular file formats. That enables it to be usable. RAW format has one undisputed bonus. It enables photographers or retouchers to see a picture after photographing and before it will be changed to any format. This way, professionals may choose what format will be the most suitable for a picture and for their purposes. Recording in JPEG camera first processes the received image, and then compresses and saves the photo. And if you start to fix such photo in a graphics editor, then the loss of quality will be very significant.

RAW vs JPG

So, shooting in JPEG, the amount of the recorded information, 8 bits/channel, is enough to use on conventional monitors and printers. But modern matrixes give much more information, usually 12 bits/channel or even 14. So, if the automatic setting went wrong and the frame turned out to be dark or lighted up, the white balance failed or the noise reduction was overdone, then it's extremely difficult to get a normal photo from JPEG in the editor.

RAW photo format white balance

Thus, when using RAW, it is easy to correct the exposure qualitatively. In addition, many settings of images that are set on the camera can be set after the shooting, not before it. These settings include white balance, image style, saturation, contrast.

photo distortion

Moreover, the photographs obtained from RAW, are better detailed, than when shooting in JPEG. Such a paradox happens because of using rougher processing algorithms in the camera for the sake of speed. Also RAW allows you to correct the optical imperfection of gear easily.

The example of correcting chromatic aberrations is a color border that appears on contrast objects at the edge of a frame:

correction of chromatic aberrations

As you see, in theory, everything is just fine: you can set the camera to save in RAW and forget about exposure and white balance, choose even the manual mode and shoot everything with the same settings because afterward everything can be fixed within few minutes. But in practice, you have to sacrifice a flash drive and a hard disk memory, as RAW-files take up a lot of space.

RAW photo editing softwares

The biggest problem is converting a RAW file to a "normal" format, which can be viewed without special programs on any computer. There is an incredible array of RAW-converters, each of which has its own advantages and disadvantages. But nevertheless, all these converters have the difference between the intra-camera JPEG and the one converted from RAW with all the default settings, whatever converter is used.

Actually RAW is not a format. This term refers to the general designation of formats that are used to store an unprocessed array of data received directly from the camera matrix while shooting. Each manufacturer of photographic equipment has developed its own RAW format for its own camera matrixes:

Raw Image Formats on Different Cameras

RAW image formats on different cameras
 

This is one of the main disadvantages of using RAW - it is not universal and requires further conversion, for example, in JPEG. Besides, many RAW file editors may not support the formats of certain producers.

Is JPG or PNG Better for Printing ?

Modern photographers usually do not think hard about the difference between JPEG and PNG. Most of them are just used to work with only JPEG, because they know how to work with it. But modern reality requires using varied file extensions and PNG now becomes more and more popular. Often using PNG is connected with illustrations, screenshots and any files that contain text. They can be graphs, logos or even web-comics. So, how do PNG vs JPEG differ?

difference between jpg png

PNG is a special file format that is known to be lossless compression. For this characteristic that is a frequent choice for various web-users. They always save their drawings or texts in this type of format that has small size.

JPEG has almost the same characteristic, as it is also widely used for websites. Unlike PNG, this certain format is totally lossy compressed. Besides, the difference between TIFF and JPEG lies exactly in this fact, as TIFF is a lossless format.

It can save files at smaller size than BMP, which now is not modern. One more discrepancy is that JPEG cannot save files that contain text or line drawings. Usually JPEG files are chosen for realistic images and photographs, because they are able to transfer colors. PNG, from its size, has some specialty concerning quality and colors. Firstly, you will not be able to set the saving quality. But still, there is a possibility to adapt the saved picture in order to achieve the minimum file size. But mention that this can considerably reduce the number of colors in the image. PNG 24 is optimal for images with a restricted number of colors.

For example, these may be icons, schemes and dRAWings. PNG 8 is a more compact format. But it is only applicable to images with a limited number of colors, as 256 is the completed maximum.

Additionally, JPG format does not support transparency and for some cases this criterion is rather important. That is so when a photographer works with photo retouching programs and wants to separate object from the background. In PNG format this backdrop is already empty and they do not need to waste time to cut out an item. That considerably economizes time, and, besides, in this also the difference between TIFF and PNG lies, as TIFF also does not have empty background. Moreover, the TIFF format is quite complex for work and is not practically supported in browsers. To sum everything mentioned up, the optimal choice for retouchers is the PNG format. It is perfect for images with large size. If you need a large amount of compression, for example, to send photos via e-mail, it's better to use JPEG.


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Hi there, I'm Ann Young - a photographer, photo retoucher and of course, journalist. Here on FixThePhoto blog you can find all of my reviews, photography and photo editing tips, pricing guides, and photography experiments.

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