Is There a "One Size Fits All" Image Format?

Is JPEG (JPG) the most suitable image format for all situations? It's certainly the most commonly used format and it has strengths, but it also has weaknesses.

Quality vs Size

There's always a compromise that needs to be made and in the case of graphic image formats is Quality vs Size.

If you want to preserve the image unaltered, with the best possible quality, JPG (or JPEG, the acronym for Joint Photographic Experts Group) is not the format to use. JPEG is a lossy image format that sacrifices image data in order to achieve much better compression (it can reduce file sizes to 5% of their normal size). Moreover with each consecutive save, the JPEG format will lose more image data.

So if quality is more important to you than size, opt to use a lossless format like TIFF (TIF) or PNG. The TIF and PNG image formats do not sacrifice image data for better compression and therefore don't lose quality with each consecutive save, but they have a larger file size than JPEG.

Web Formats

For web sites we have three important formats that are each used for representing different types of images:

  • JPG — Used for photos or other images with a wide color gamut that need a small size footprint;
  • PNG — Used for images with a wide color gamut, where quality is more important than size;
  • GIF — Used for graphic elements that have a very small color gamut (255 colors + alpha) with the advantage of a very small file size. Usually used for small elements from the graphical template, like a button.

Other Formats

There are many other image formats with different uses, like:

  • RAW Formats — The digital negatives for DSLR digial cameras. Each DSLR camera manufacturer (Canon, Nikon, Sony, and so on) has it's own custom build image format;
  • PSD, EPS — Formats used by Photoshop® to store project and image data;
  • PDF — The classic PDF document cannot only store text but images as well, even with JPG compression. For example, a single PDF with multiple photos is easy to share;
  • BMP — The classic Windows® Bitmap format, an uncompressed image format used by Microsoft®

Bulk Conversion

Converting images from one format to another can be done with Adobe Photoshop® or more lightweight and specialized software like BatchPhoto from Bits&Coffee.

BatchPhoto is a specially designed image converter software for Windows® and Mac OS X that can convert multiple images in one session as well as apply custom edits, touch-ups, and effects, all at the same time.

But you can try BatchPhoto fully-featured for free and see for yourself if it's what you need, just click on the "Try it Free" button below!

Note: BatchPhoto works on Windows® 10, 8.1, 8, 7, Vista, and XP as well as Mac OS X® Yosemite (10.10), Mavericks (10.9), Mountain Lion (10.8), and Lion (10.7).


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