Thursday, April 11, 2013

Common Digital Photo Image Types: jpeg, raw etc..

JPEG - RAW-GIFT-BMP -etc - what's the difference??

They are all "Digital Photo Image Files" the sizes for which are based on the number of pixels in an image and the color depth, or bits per pixel, of that image and images can be compressed in various ways, which are determined by their "image type"

JPEG or JPG (Joint Photographic Experts Group) is the most common Digital Photo Image type that we use.  It's the most common type accepted by 3rd party software programs like Walgreens, Shutterfly, MovieMaker and when uploading to the "clouds"...This is because JPEG's are much smaller than other image files types and ideal for storing images.. Because they are known for accurate color representation they are an ideal format for photographs - but each time a JPEG is saved, the quality becomes degraded
RAW is a raw image format that some of the better more sophisticated digital cameras use.  RAW format typically requires special software for editing.  RAW image format is used primarily for editing because it gives users complete access to the data the camera sees before any effects are applied.
GIF (Graphics Interchange Format) is used for animations and for storing images with low colors because it's limited to using 256 colors but can be saved repeatedly with no loss, which is why it works well for cartoon-based images.
BMP's are Windows bitmap image files and also work with limited colors, and is an image file format originally used in Windows-based applications.
TIFF (Tagged Image File Format) is used most often for sending logos and other images to a printer for reproduction, so widely used by photographers and we often see this format when we are using scanner for photos
PNG (Portable Network Graphics) is the newer version of "GIF" with many of the same features, except PNG supports 16 million colors vs. only the 256 colors of GIF

JPEG or RAW... Which should you choose

Basically, Raw is the unprocessed information straight off the camera's sensor without any processing for sharpness, white balance, color or contrast.

But when cameras take a jpeg image, it takes the info from the camera's sensor and processes it inside your camera with specialized chips to make a final jpeg file.

When you take a "raw photo" you will have to convert it yourself, essentially substituting your own computer and photo conversion software for the specialized chips built into the camera, which will give you more control over how the image ends up--sharper, softer, more contrast, less contrast, white balance, etc.  But the drawbacks to Raw are that you will have to  take the time to convert your digital photo images and the most important drawback is that you can't share raw files as easily as jpeg files, because not everyone has a converter for the raw format

Now that you understand them a little more, for those of you using Picasa Free Photo Editing Software you can modify which types of Photo Image Types your Picasa will Scan/See - When you are in Picasa go to Tools (on Picasa Menu Bar) and choose "Configure Photo Viewer" and when the list appears - Check off which types of digital photos you want Picasa to Scan/See..

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