02 Aug Understanding file formats: What do the JPGs, the TIFFs and the PNGs mean?

Source: Macfilos

Zoom In: Retaining as much quality and detail as possible while compressing file size is the object of the exercise in most cases. But there is more to file formats than this. Here’s a photograph from a five-year-old Panasonic Lumix G2 with the standard 14-42mm kit zoom, starting life as an uncompressed RAW file, converted to JPG in Lightroom and pushed through Silver Efex Pro to make a punchier black-and-white JPG.

We constantly bandy around the terms JPG and TIFF, in particular, and note that downloaded logo or graphic could be a PNG. But what do they all mean? I’m no expert, but I now know a lot more after reading this article in Macworld by Lesa Snider. Most of us know this one, by the way:

JPEG stands for the Joint Photographic Experts Group that developed it. It supports a wide range of colors, so it’s the one most folks capture on their cameras and scanners (JPEG works well for black-and-white photos, too). However, JPEGs are also compressed, so some detail gets sacrificed to produce a smaller file size, which is great for maximizing space on your camera’s memory card, posting online, or for sharing via email.

But GIFs, TIFFs and PSDs could do with a bit of further explanation and so Lesa’s article is a good place to mug up on the facts.


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