Getting confused between different image formats and their features is pretty common. After all, there are so many different types of image formats out there. Though, there are some formats like JPEG, PNG, TIFF, etc. that are used more commonly than others. If you are also confused between different types of image formats, then you have come to the right place.
In this guide, we have shortlisted the top 10 different image file formats and their features. Also, we will help you perform advanced photo recovery on various formats.
In a nutshell, an image file format is how you store and represent a digital picture. The data of an image is stored in such a way that it can be displayed on the screen or be printed. This is achieved through the process of rasterization. Ideally, an image is a grid of pixels and every pixel is allocated a value (a bit).
The mechanism used to store and raster an image can vary across different standards. This is what makes any image format so unique. Mostly, the formats follow compressed or uncompressed (that is, loss or lossless compression) techniques.
Though, some image formats are dedicated for vectors as well. Some commonly used different types of image formats are JPEG, BMP, GIF, PNG, PSD, and TIFF. Apart from them, there could be numerous other kinds of formats as well.
The JPEG compression consists of some of the most popular image types. This is because the JPEG file types are universally accepted and can compress data easily.
JPEG stands for Joint Photographic Experts Group. It is one of the most popular types of image formats out there and features 6 major formats: JPEG, JPG, JPE, JIF, JFI, and JFIF. The degree of compression is mostly 10:1 for JPEG. This means that the format JPEG can compress data while still retaining the image quality.
JPG file extension is one of the formats supported by the JPEG compression group. Just like JPEG, JPG also follows a lossy compression method. This means, the original size of the photo would be reduced, but some of its data would also be compromised in the process.
JPEG 2000 is a highly advanced compression technique and a part of the JPEG group. Unlike JPG, it supports both lossy as well as lossless compression. It improves the overall quality of the images across different platforms.
Ideally, there is not much difference between JPG and JPEG. JPEG is a group of different extensions and JPG is a part of it. Initially, Windows (or DOS) only supported 3-letter format extensions.
Hence, “E” was removed from JPEG and it got truncated to JPG. On the other hand, Mac kept using JPEG. Today, these formats are used interchangeably but JPG is more widely accepted.
Since JPEG 2000 is an advanced form, it provides us a more dynamic range to save photos. Users can retain some crucial information of the original photos by applying lossless compression.
This is missing in JPEG as it follows a default lossy technique. Nevertheless, due to its limitations and bit errors, JPEG is a more widely accepted format.
The difference between JPG and JPEG 200 is similar to JPEG vs JPEG 2000. JPEG 2000 provides a better and more advanced compression technique. The file size might be bigger, but more information would be retained. Though, JPG is a universally known format and can reduce a file to 5% of its original size.
If you are a regular user of the web or social media apps, then you must already be familiar with GIF. So what does GIF stands for in computer terms? Let’s learn it.
It means “Graphic Interchange Format”. Today, most of the GIFs are used to represent animations and clips. The format was introduced way back in 1987, but it has gained immense popularity in the last few years because of social media.
It follows the LZW lossless compression technique. This means the original quality of the data is retained. Though, GIFs only support 8 bit pixels. That is, there are only 256 possible color combinations in the format. Since GIFs store “moving pictures”, the size of the file is mostly larger than JPEGs.
Today, GIFs are used to express emotions, and for entertainment and even educational purpose due to their interactive nature. Though, the common practice of using GIFs is on social platforms like WhatsApp, Messenger, Tumblr, Twitter, etc. If you want to know where to find GIFs, then head to Tenor, Giphy, and other dedicated GIF directories.
One of the major differences between GIF and JPEG is that GIFs are dynamic while JPEGs are static. That is, GIFs can represent moving images or mini clips of a few seconds.
Also, GIFs support lossless compression while JPEG follows a lossy technique. Nevertheless, GIFs have a restriction of just using 256 colors of the spectrum and occupy larger size.
Another commonly used image format is PNG. Let’s answer questions like what does PNG stand for and is PNG lossless in detail.
PNG stands for Portable Network Graphics. It is a raster graphics image format. It was introduced in 1997 and got an ISO standard in 2004. PNG was originally designed to transfer images across the internet (and not for printing).
That is why it only supports RGB spectrum. Though, the format is commonly used in designing due to its transparent background.
Yes, ideally PNG supports a lossless compression. It supports 24-bit RGB colors and follows a 2-stage compression process. The compression technique used is DEFLATE, which is a combined code of Huffman and LZ77.
Though, you should know that PNG offers a compression parameter. Users can choose if they want to maintain the original quality or implement some degree of lossy compression.
The major difference between JPEG and PNG is that JPEG follows a lossy compression technique. On the other hand, PNG is a lossless compression (with a compression parameter).
Therefore, the size of a PNG file is mostly larger than JPEG. JPEG files do not have a transparent background while PNG does (which changes their application and use).
The difference between JPG and PNG is identical to JPEG and PNG. As you know, JPEG is a group of formats with JPG being a part of it. JPG formats are used to store photographs in general. The PNG format is used to store vectors, graphics, icons, text, drawings, and other editing-related files. This is because PNG has a transparent background and can be overlaid on another picture easily. This is something you can’t do with JPEG files.
The BMP file format has been around for a long time, but it has gradually lost its popularity. Let’s learn what is BMP image in detail.
Also known as Bitmap Image File, BMP is a raster graphic format that is used to store bitmaps. The format was originally developed by Microsoft to store colored and monochrome images.
Apart from BMP, it also follows a DIB format as well. It is a simple compression technique that follows a lossless algorithm. Mostly, 4-bit or 8-bit encoding techniques are implemented via Huffman or RLE encoding. Therefore, the image size of BMP is evidently larger than other formats like PNG or JPEG.
BMP and PNG can easily be distinguished. BMP is a lossless but uncompressed format while PNG is also a lossless and compressed format. Also, not all BMP files support transparency (alpha channels). The file size of PNG is far less than BMP as well. In designing, PNG is mostly used as compared to BMP.
The difference between BMP and JPEG is quite evident. BMP follows a lossless and uncompressed technique. On the other hand, JPG follows a lossy and compressed technique. The file size of JPG is far less, but the quality is also compromised in the process.
Both BMP and JPEG have different applications. BMP is mostly used to store the original quality of the image while JPEG is recommended for file transfer. The size of JPEG files is far less than BMP due to their compression technique.
If you are a photographer, then you must have seen RAW files in your camera. So what is RAW format? Let’s uncover it here.
As the name suggests, RAW files are the unprocessed photos. That is, they are the original files that are not processed by the camera yet. Since they are unprocessed, they can’t be edited by the usual applications.
These are the pre-conversion formats that can later be used in high-level editing (like with Photoshop). Though, they are not suitable for printing. RAW is a group of file extensions with some commonly used formats being 3FR, DNG, DATA, ARW, SR2, and many more.
Ideally, RAW images give us more advanced editing options. For instance, we can adjust colors, brightness, polarization, etc. easily with RAW files. This is something we can’t do with JPEG files readily.
Another difference between RAW and JPEG is file size and compression. RAW follows a lossless compression (or high-quality lossy) as compared to JPEG’s lossy technique. Also, RAW files are evidently larger in size than JPEG (sometimes even 5 times larger).
TIFF stands for Tagged Image File Format and follows either TIFF or TIF extension. It is a raster graphics format which is mostly used in the publishing domain.
It also supports image publishing, printing, and even optical character recognition. The format was originally developed by Adobe in the 1980s. TIFF either follows an uncompressed or a CCIT (Huffman coding) technique.
Learn how to recover TIFF images.
When we compare JPG vs TIFF, we can easily make distinctive comparisons. TIFF is a lossless data compression format that retains the original quality of an image. JPEG follows a lossy technique. The TIFF file size is also drastically more (and detailed) than JPEG.
The major difference between TIFF and JPEG is their applications. While JPEG is used for file storing, transfer, and World Wide Web, TIFF has a major role in publishing.
Photoshop is one of the most popular image editing tools developed by Adobe. It is widely used to edit raster graphics formats. The tool was released way back in 1990 and is currently known as one of the most powerful image editors.
It is compatible with almost every major image format and provides tons of options. For instance, users can alter the properties of an image, perform overlays, insert text, and make tons of edits.
While Photoshop supports a wide range of formats, the two most popular file extensions used are PSD and CR2.
PSD and PSB are the two native Adobe Photoshop formats. One of the best things about the Photoshop extension is that it retains the editing done by the user. That is, all the texts, overlays, meta data, and image editing that you have done can be recovered. Just open the PSD file in Photoshop to view all the saved layers and masks.
Learn how to recover PSD files.
CR2 stands for Canon Raw Version 2. It is used to store RAW files that are shot by Canon cameras. Since it is a raw format, it will retain all the original and unprocessed information of an image. The format is mostly used by editing tools like Photoshop.
Learn how to recover CR2 photos.
In case if you have lost your photos, then you need to learn a foolproof way to get them back. By taking the assistance of Recoverit Photo Recovery, you can easily retrieve all kinds of lost, deleted, or corrupted image files. Recoverit Photo Recovery is available for both Windows and Mac.
No matter what type of image files you lost or deleted, this image file recovery software does help you get back them without much hassle. Watch the video and get the exact solution.
You image files might be lost from hard drive, digital camera, memory card, etc. Relax and follow the below steps to get back the deleted images.
Now all storage devices detected by the Windows or Mac computer are listed. Select the location where the lost image files were and then click "Start" to begin the recovery process.
An all-around scan will be quickly initiated. Wait for a little while and your lost image files will be displayed one by one.
Finally, you can double click the images you want for a preview. Select the exact images and hit on the "Recover" button to get them back.
By following these simple steps, you can use Recoverit Photo Recovery to retrieve all kinds of image formats.
After getting to know about various image file formats, you might be confused. Here’s their comparison at a glance to help you decide their common applications.
|Formats||Compressed||Transparency||Recommended for||Chance of Recovery|
|JPEG||Yes||No||Storing and transferring pictures||High|
|JPEG 2000||Yes||No||Storing and transferring movie frames||High|
|GIF||Yes||Yes||Editing and sharing clips||High|
|PNG||Yes||Yes||Editing and storing raster graphics (transparent)||High|
|BMP||No||Yes||Editing and storing pictures||High|
|RAW||No||No||Photography and editing||High|
|TIFF||Yes||Yes||Publishing, printing, and OCR||High|
This guide on different image formats and their features would have certainly helped you. In case if you have lost your image files, then give Recoverit Photo Recovery a try. It can recover all kinds of image formats and other data types. Give it a free try to have a hands-on experience of the tool. You can also share this guide with others to teach them about different image formats as well.