There are plenty of different image formats available on computers. The only problem is deciding which one works best for your needs. Today, we’re going to show you the best image format for any of your needs.
Taking a picture with a digital camera? Use RAW
If you’re obsessed with preserving the quality of your photographs, then the best type of picture format you can choose is called RAW. You can select the RAW format on most cameras so that every time you take a picture, it will be saved to your memory disk in RAW format. The advantages of this are better picture quality and the ability to manipulate the picture after you have taken it (things like white balance and contrast are not hard-coded into the image).
There are downsides to RAW format, however. The picture file size is much larger. And, once you transfer your pictures to a computer, you have to post-process it using software like Adobe Lightroom or Adobe Photoshop. However, if you’re a photography enthusiast, then it will be worth the price in the end.
The best image file format for a website and your computer
For standard web-based images, you want to strike a careful balance between quality and file size. The larger file size you have, the higher quality the image will be. However, it will also take longer for visitors to your website to download these images, increasing load times and detracting from your website’s user experience.
Browsers also limit the types of files that they can show. So, instead of having 70 different picture file formats available for you to use, you only have a handful: JPG, GIF, and PNG.
If you’re displaying photographs on your website, then JPG is the best format to use. It compresses the picture and reduces its file size while still retaining decent image quality. The one major drawback is that you can’t continue to edit and save JPGs over and over again, as the quality of the photograph will continue to be degraded.
GIFs are most often used for animated videos online. The one major difference between GIFs and JPGs is that GIFs are limited to 256 different colors, while JPGs can use nearly 17 million. This makes GIFs much smaller than other image formats, which is why so many people use them to share short animated clips online.
PNG is the successor to GIF. It supports more colors than GIF (about 16 million different colors) but it isn’t as large as JPG files. This makes PNG pictures ideal for website banners and any website images where perfect image quality isn’t necessary.
Whether you’re a webmaster or you just want to save your pictures in a more efficient way, this guide has taught you the most important things to know about some of the major file formats on the market today.