Which File Format Is Best?

JPEG vs. TIFF: Which File Format is Better?

What is the difference between JPEG and TIFF file formats? And what should you use in photography?

In this guide, I explain everything you need to know about these two popular formats – including what they are, their benefits and drawbacks, and how they compare. By the time you’re done, you’ll know the best file format for your photos (whether you plan on sharing online, high-end printing, or anything in between).

So without further ado, let’s take a look at JPEGs and TIFFs in turn:

What is a JPEG file?

JPEG files They are compressed image files, standardized by (and named after) the Joint Photographic Experts Group. It’s a common format for storing digital images, features 24-bit color and custom compression, and is generally marked with a .JPG or .JPEG extension.

JPEG is one of the most popular image compression formats used by photographers today, but what makes it so great?

JPEGs allow users to store high-quality, viewable images – without Create files of huge sizes. As I mentioned above, JPEG files can be compressed (often up to a few hundred kilobytes). This is great for sharing files, plus it saves space and potentially prevents photos from being copied illegally.

Of course, pressure has its drawbacks. The more you compress an image, the more data you lose, which reduces image quality and limits editing and printing flexibility.

What is a TIFF file?

Quarrel is a high-quality image file format (the name stands for .). Tagged image file format). Creates a large uncompressed file with no image degradation or compressed elements, recognizable with a TIFF extension.

One of the great advantages of TIFF files over JPEG files is that they can be created with 16 bits per channel (for greater color depth over 8-bit JPEGs). Also, unlike JPEGs, they can store multiple layers, which is useful when editing in a layer-based program like Photoshop.

However, TIFF files take up more storage space than their JPEG counterparts.

JPEG vs. TIFF: An In-Depth Comparison

JPEG and TIFF files have similar characteristics – but there are a lot of differences, too. I highlight all the key features below.

JPEG vs. TIFF: Compatibility

Files in Lightroom

JPEG and TIFF files can generally be opened by the same program. Files of both types can be viewed and edited using a range of photography applications for desktop and mobile interfaces, from Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop to Preview (Mac users) and Microsoft Windows Photos (Windows users).

However, only JPEG files can be viewed reliably by Internet browsers. You will have a hard time sharing TIFF files on websites and social media.

JPEG vs. TIFF: Print

TIFF files provide greater color depth and improved image quality, so they are usually preferred when saving for large-format printing purposes such as a large poster or canvas print.

But in some cases, high-quality JPEG files can be just as effective in creating prints, as some professional printing services cannot reproduce the additional image data stored in TIFF files.

JPEG vs. TIFF: Post-Processing Flexibility

TIFF files contain a lot of data, so you can perform extensive post-processing in editors like Lightroom and Capture One without noticeable quality loss. TIFFs are also great for editing in Photoshop, as they can save layers; This way, you can always save your unfinished files with their Photoshop layers intact, and come back later for another round of edits.

JPEGs offer little flexibility in editing, and large adjustments can cause unpleasant blemishes such as banding. They cannot save layers.

One point worth noting: the cameras do not shoot in TIFF. To create a high-quality TIFF file, you’ll need to shoot in RAW, process the image in a RAW editor, and then save it as a TIFF file. You are can Shooting in JPEG format (your camera will convert the camera’s RAW-to-JPEG), but this will reduce post-processing flexibility; You also have the option to shoot in RAW format, then save the file as a JPEG once editing is complete.

In other words: while TIFF files be More flexible for editing, you can always edit in RAW first, then convert to a JPEG or TIFF file at the end of your workflow.

Night photo editing
After you’ve edited a RAW file in Lightroom, you can save it in either a JPEG or TIFF format.

JPEG vs. TIFF: Size (and Image Quality)

As I emphasized earlier in this article, TIFF files are much larger than JPEG files – and also have significantly better image quality. JPEG files undergo lossy compression, which discards the image data, while the entire TIFF file information is preserved.

JPEGs may look as good as TIFF files, especially when viewed in a browser – but the lack of image data can reduce the usefulness of the format if your goal is to print.

On the other hand, one of the main reasons to use JPEG is the sheer amount of storage space you’ll save when working with large numbers of photos. JPEGs take up much less space on your hard drive, plus they take up less space on your memory card (you can often get a single 32GB or 64GB photo card for days, weeks, and even months).

Export a JPEG file
Export my image as a JPEG.

JPEG vs. TIFF: Practical Uses

JPEGs are ideal for sharing online (with friends and family), social media, blogging and some printing.

TIFF files are mainly used when you need a file bone Data – i.e. the optimized file that has the best output details. Photographers often use TIFFs for show prints, magazines, brochures, and newspapers.

Export an image in TIFF format
Export my image as a TIFF file.

JPEG vs. TIFF: Metadata

Both JPEG and TIFF files embed metadata; This is necessary to prevent copyright theft, as the files will include additional information (such as the owner of the image).

Other EXIF ​​metadata saved in both file formats can include the time and place the image was taken, file size, camera and lens used, and technical details such as aperture, shutter speed, focal length, and ISO. You can also add captions to your file’s metadata!

JPEG vs. TIFF: The Last Words

JPEG and TIFF images side by side

Now that you’re done with this article, know when it makes sense to use JPEG – and when it makes sense to use TIFF.

While JPEGs can be the best file choice if you’re looking to conserve hard drive storage space and keep file sizes low, TIFFs offer superior quality and flexibility when editing.

Whether you choose JPEG or TIFF is ultimately up to you and depends on the intended use. Just be sure to choose carefully!

Now to you:

When do you plan to use the TIFF format in your photography? When do you plan to use JPEG? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

FAQ about JPEG vs. TIFF

What is the difference between TIFF and JPEG files?

TIFF files are usually larger and allow users to create higher quality prints. JPEG files are compressed and therefore of lower quality (but also smaller).

Are TIFF files high quality?

TIFF files are uncompressed, resulting in high quality images (and very large file sizes).

Is TIFF higher than JPEG quality?

Yes, TIFF files are not subject to compression, so you won’t lose any data during conversion. JPEG files experience compression (with data loss), so the quality is affected.

Does converting from JPEG to TIFF improve quality?

No, unfortunately not. Converting JPEG to TIFF will increase the file size, but it cannot generate image data that has already been discarded. (Convert JPEG to TIFF will, however, prevented any additional stress.)

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