JPEG & TIFF FILE FORMATS ?

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jamesd1981

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Hi everyone first proper post looking for some advice on file formats, I have always thoughtlessly used only jpeg format but as my photo collection continues to grow and i want to keep them as high quality as possible and not end up with photos ruined by degradation.

I am now wondering how important it is to use tiff format ?
 

SCraig

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If you want them as high-quality as possible then JPEG is not the way to obtain that. First off, JPEG is primarily a compressed format which in and of itself denotes a loss of fidelity. Secondly, JPEG is an 8-bit format whereas most cameras today are using 12-bit or 14-bit formats. Uncompressed TIFF or DNG would be a much better choice if you want a common image format. My personal preference is RAW for all of my images.
 
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Yes i picked up some of that researching online today, I have been browsing cameras today with the intention to upgrade as the camera i have just now for stills is a rubbish samsung ES17 that does not even support raw.

The camera i was considering is a canon powershot s100 is this a decent camera for a beginner or does anyone have suggestions on a better camera within a reasonable budget.
 

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The loss of quality arguments against the .JPG format made a lot of sense, way back in 1998. Today, not so much. A big .JPG file, made with minimal compression, is STILL a very high quality image...you can open a 12 to 36 MP JPG image, and it expands, uncompressed to a very large size. Save that image as a TIFF file and show it to somebody, and they will rave about how great it is. The actual quality of images files created today, and the amazing compression algorithms, and the sheer SIZE of today's bigger .JPG files means that that old boogey man "JPEG compression artifacts", is effectively dead. Again, it's no longer 1997. We are no longer working with crappy software, and crappy, lo-rez images.

If an image was originally shot in-camera as a .JPG image, there's really no sense in converting it and saving it to TFF format.

Today, we have RAW images that are much smaller than TIFF files, and if your camera can shoot RAW files, then those are great to keep, process, and adjust; but when it comes time to export the images, for the vast majority of "regular users", a high-quality 8-bit JPEG is going to be fine.

The above comments are made with "regular people" in mind. No need to worry about JPG versus TIFF for just regular workaday pictures.
 

tecboy

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Yes i picked up some of that researching online today, I have been browsing cameras today with the intention to upgrade as the camera i have just now for stills is a rubbish samsung ES17 that does not even support raw.

The camera i was considering is a canon powershot s100 is this a decent camera for a beginner or does anyone have suggestions on a better camera within a reasonable budget.

You may want to spend a little more money on a DSLR. There are some descent ones that will fit your budget.
 

SCraig

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The loss of quality arguments against the .JPG format made a lot of sense, way back in 1998. Today, not so much. A big .JPG file, made with minimal compression, is STILL a very high quality image...you can open a 12 to 36 MP JPG image, and it expands, uncompressed to a very large size. Save that image as a TIFF file and show it to somebody, and they will rave about how great it is. The actual quality of images files created today, and the amazing compression algorithms, and the sheer SIZE of today's bigger .JPG files means that that old boogey man "JPEG compression artifacts", is effectively dead. Again, it's no longer 1997. We are no longer working with crappy software, and crappy, lo-rez images.

If an image was originally shot in-camera as a .JPG image, there's really no sense in converting it and saving it to TFF format.

Today, we have RAW images that are much smaller than TIFF files, and if your camera can shoot RAW files, then those are great to keep, process, and adjust; but when it comes time to export the images, for the vast majority of "regular users", a high-quality 8-bit JPEG is going to be fine.

The above comments are made with "regular people" in mind. No need to worry about JPG versus TIFF for just regular workaday pictures.

Agreed that a JPEG is a very high-quality image, but it is still a lossy format regardless.

If you save the image as a JPEG straight from your camera then the best you can get out of it is an 8-bit image so you are discarding a lot of fidelity right there in many cases. Saving it as an uncompressed image is somewhat of a misnomer because it is most likely still going to be slightly compressed or "Optimized". Next, you edit it. When you save it down again you are on a second-generation JPEG with second-generation loss.

The OP's question was what is the format for the highest possible image quality, and I don't feel that the JPEG format will meet that. A 16-bit TIF file will, a 16-bit DNG file will, a RAW file will. Any file format that only uses 8-bits is not going to be wide enough for most / many / some cameras made today in my opinion.

I do agree that the losses may be minor, and in many cases unnoticed, but I still maintain that JPEG is not the "Best" format for saving images.
 

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SCraig said:
Agreed that a JPEG is a very high-quality image, but it is still a lossy format regardless.

The term "lossy format" these days means basically...nothing...nothing of any real consequence in most situations.

Again, back in 1997 when we had 900k images, lossy was horrific...today we have 8 to 12 megapixel PHONE images, and 16,18,21,24,36 megapixel D-SLR images. we can live with HUGE degrees of compression these days, and the images are still high-quality.

The lossy-ness is largely theoretical nonsense, left over from a byegone era. The era of the 14.4 dial-up modem.

Yes, JPEG is "lossy". Agreed.
 

Gavjenks

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I shoot raw.
He's asking about STORAGE formats....

And storing your images in RAW is pretty silly. I see zero reasons to do so, really, and many reasons not to.
If you want to store the full bit depth, etc., then use DNGs or higher than 8 bit tiffs or pngs or whatever.
These will do the same thing as RAW and MORE, because RAW is a proprietary format that usually doesn't support all kinds of edits (like transparency, for example). Some I don't think you can even save in at all, meaning you'd be storing unedited images.
Additionally, it doesn't have the same forward compatibility as normal file formats do. Some years down the line, you may not be able to open your RAWs if you've lost your software and whoever supported it or made it has given up. That's just ridiculous to risk, when you can store the same info in a common format that definitely will be supported in years, like DNG or tiff.

For real quality that you actually will ever notice and care about as a non-paranoid person, save in either:
* jpeg with a low amount of lossiness ("quality 10-12" or whatever) - Do this if you're done editing and don't plan on going back and doing any more editing later. It has the highest compression and does so in a way that is best tailored to the human perceptual system (it compresses more where people won't notice it, thus most efficiently saving space without losing any real quality).
* or a 24 bit PNG perhaps (if saving directly from a RAW that was never converted in between into jpeg or edited in 8 bits in photoshop, etc.) - Do this if you might still edit stuff later and still want more bit depth than the human eye can detect.
* DNG accomplishes the same thing as 24 bit PNG, but might be smaller files in some cases or more convenient for some people's work flow (since there's a nice adobe program that converts whole folders eaily with no fuss).
* or TIFF is okay if you really want or if a client requests it, but it isn't anything magical. It doesn't add quality. It just acts as a wrapper for holding more types of information (like vectors and crap), and it is a standardized container that some printing industry types prefer since it agglomerates many types of formats together conveniently. If you don't actually have any vectors or transparencies or weird stuff, though, it's probably mostly a waste of space.
 

tecboy

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I shoot raw.
He's asking about STORAGE formats....

And storing your images in RAW is pretty silly. I see zero reasons to do so, really, and many reasons not to.
If you want to store the full bit depth, etc., then use DNGs or higher than 8 bit tiffs or pngs or whatever.
These will do the same thing as RAW and MORE, because RAW is a proprietary format that usually doesn't support all kinds of edits (like transparency, for example). Some I don't think you can even save in at all, meaning you'd be storing unedited images.
Additionally, it doesn't have the same forward compatibility as normal file formats do. Some years down the line, you may not be able to open your RAWs if you've lost your software and whoever supported it or made it has given up. That's just ridiculous to risk, when you can store the same info in a common format that definitely will be supported in years, like DNG or tiff.

For real quality that you actually will ever notice and care about as a non-paranoid person, save in either:
* jpeg with a low amount of lossiness ("quality 10-12" or whatever) - Do this if you're done editing and don't plan on going back and doing any more editing later. It has the highest compression and does so in a way that is best tailored to the human perceptual system (it compresses more where people won't notice it, thus most efficiently saving space without losing any real quality).
* or a 24 bit PNG perhaps (if saving directly from a RAW that was never converted in between into jpeg or edited in 8 bits in photoshop, etc.) - Do this if you might still edit stuff later and still want more bit depth than the human eye can detect.
* DNG accomplishes the same thing as 24 bit PNG, but might be smaller files in some cases or more convenient for some people's work flow (since there's a nice adobe program that converts whole folders eaily with no fuss).
* or TIFF is okay if you really want or if a client requests it, but it isn't anything magical. It doesn't add quality. It just acts as a wrapper for holding more types of information (like vectors and crap), and it is a standardized container that some printing industry types prefer since it agglomerates many types of formats together conveniently. If you don't actually have any vectors or transparencies or weird stuff, though, it's probably mostly a waste of space.

I don't know what is your point. It's just your opinion.
 

Gavjenks

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I don't know what is your point. It's just your opinion.
What?

I thought it was pretty clearly written.

1) Using RAW for storage has no advantages (since you can get the same data stored with common public domain formats) and several disadvantages (can't save some types of edits, takes up way more space, might not be able to open it in the future, etc.). Thus, using RAW for storage is simply a bad idea in every way.
2) Amongst the other common format options (jpeg, png, tiff, DNG), there isn't a ton of difference, and I'm not stating any strong opinions. They are slightly more optimized for different things, but they are all fine, and all way Way WAY better than RAW.
 

480sparky

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.....
And storing your images in RAW is pretty silly. I see zero reasons to do so, really, and many reasons not to............

Because someone may come along in 5 years and want a different edit than what I originally produced. Having access to the original raw data means I can re-edit the image, from scratch, to the customer's liking instead of mine. And their liking pays better.

.....Additionally, it doesn't have the same forward compatibility as normal file formats do. Some years down the line, you may not be able to open your RAWs if you've lost your software and whoever supported it or made it has given up. That's just ridiculous to risk, when you can store the same info in a common format that definitely will be supported in years, like DNG or tiff............

And the simple truth is......... NO file format is future-proof. None of them. DNG, TIF, PNG, any of 'em can fall off the face of the earth. The only way you can be 100% sure of what format is going to be used in 5 or 10 or 20 years is to build a time machine out of a DeLorean and crank it up to 88 mph.


fluxcapictor.gif
 
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jamesd1981

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I hadn`t really heard much of the DNG & PNG formats, but sounds like they can less compatible with different software and similar to TIFF.

File size is not really an issue as i have large hard drives.

Although my immediate query is about storage as i only have JPEGS at the moment, I am looking to upgrade my camera to one capable of RAW.

So i guess my primary 2 questions are

1. Is it worth converting my current JPEGS to TIFF, i know it will not up the quality of the image, but is it worth to preserve the quality of the files ?

2. When i get a RAW capable camera should i then save photos in TIFF format to prevent both immediate loss and future loss of quality ?

Even if the loss with JPEG is minimal, i would rather get and keep the best possible image as file storage space is not an issue.
 

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I hadn`t really heard much of the DNG & PNG formats, but sounds like they can less compatible with different software and similar to TIFF.
..........

.DNG is Adobe's open-source answer to the proprietary raw format issue. Instead of all the different manufacturers cameras making .NEFs, .CRWs, .CR2s, etc., the idea is to create one raw format that everyone can use. (Kinda like their .PDF format for documents). Problem is, it hasn't taken root as they planned.
 

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So i guess my primary 2 questions are

1. Is it worth converting my current JPEGS to TIFF, i know it will not up the quality of the image, but is it worth to preserve the quality of the files ?

2. When i get a RAW capable camera should i then save photos in TIFF format to prevent both immediate loss and future loss of quality ?

Even if the loss with JPEG is minimal, i would rather get and keep the best possible image as file storage space is not an issue.
1. No. Image quality will not degrade with them just sitting on a hard drive. Should you decide to EDIT them in the future then would be the time to save them in a less lossy format.

2. No. Save them as RAW files and don't worry about them. Should a proprietary format change at some point in the future it's not like the ability to use your older software will switch off like a light. If you decide to upgrade the older software to a non-compatible version, then would be the time to do a batch conversion of everything to TIF format.

Proprietary file formats have been around since the beginning of computers. I've seen them come and I've seen them go, but in 30 years of working with computers on a daily basis I have yet to lose a file to a format change. I have yet to see software released that was not backwards-compatible with older versions, that would be a perfect example of a software vendor cutting their own throat. In short, I have yet to see a single version compatibility issue arise that I couldn't work my way around.

My personal opinion, of course. As you have seen others may have varying opinions. Unlike some I won't go as far as to call theirs "Silly" though.
 
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