Image File Format: JPEG or TIFF?

Do you know the differences between a JPEG or TIFF format digital image?  Each format has its benefits and drawbacks and it is important to understand and consider the difference.

JPEG Format

This format is highly compatible and common for general purposes.  It is the standard file format in modern digital cameras and uses a lossy compression to keep files at a reasonable size.  The trade-off is that some image data is lost each time the file is opened and saved, depending on the compression level used.  Therefore it is not the best format for extensive editing but great for sharing.

TIFF Format

This format is uncompressed meaning 100% of image data is retained even when edited and saved. It is the standard format for most commercial and professional printing needs.  The trade-off with TIFF format is the larger file sizes which may be more cumbersome and take up more hard drive space.

LZW Compression?

Your TIFF file can be saved using LZW compression but that is not the same as JPEG compression. LZW compression is very similar to a ZIP file that most of us are familiar with. It compresses your TIFF without any data loss, so it will take up less hard drive space without any loss of image quality. Do note however, when you want to view or work with the TIFF image you may notice that it takes a little longer to load or save because it has to first ‘unzip’ or ‘zip’ up the data with the LZW compression algorithm. If you save all your TIFFs without LZW compression, the files will open and save faster, but take up more disk space.

Not Sure Which to Choose?

This depends mostly on how the images will be used. We recommend TIFF for your most important archival photos or JPEG for general snapshots that require little or no editing.  Memories Renewed offers either format, or both, based on your needs!