Mark Richards Software Digital Formats: TIFF, JPEG or RAW?
Digital Formats: TIFF, JPEG or RAW?
Digital Formats: TIFF, JPEG or RAW?Users of most medium to high-end digital cameras often have troubles choosing between file formats in which to store their images. Most cameras most commonly will offer you a choice either of JPEG, TIFF or RAW formats. Here are some tips for you to choose a file format that perfectly fits your current situation and fulfills your need in the most efficient way.

RAW file format is the best choice when you need an image of great quality. A RAW file stores the largest amount of information compared to other formats. For example, it can capture 4096 shades of grey, while other formats can store only 256. It also allows for the greatest versatility while being edited in Photoshop. However, a RAW file takes the most time to make a great image out of a shot taken in this format.

Not all digital cameras offer both TIFF and JPEG file formats for storing images. However, if you do have both formats available on your camera, here's what can influence your choice of either one of them.

Basically, pictures stored in TIFF files are of a higher quality, and the ones in JPEG format are of a much lesser size. This means, that with TIFF files your camera will significantly slow down when it will write your images to the memory card loaded into your computer. This also means that you will take pictures with much higher speed with JPEG format rather than with TIFF format, and eventually you will be able to take more pictures in JPEG format due to their lower size. Anyhow, if the quality is what matters the most for you, RAW is better choice than TIFF since it is much more versatile and in many cases even smaller in size.

So, in most cases it is best to choose either RAW or JPEG file format; the final choice is up to you, though. Good situations for using JPEG are when you:
a) need to fit a large number of images on a storage card;
b) are afraid of running out of space on the card;
c) are capturing fast action and need to be able to use a high frame rate;
d) don't want to spend time in Photoshop adjusting your images;
e) need to shoot as fast as possible;
f) want to have your images ready immediately after shooting, etc.

If, on the other hand, you want to get pictures of the highest quality possible and don't mind having to spend some time in Photoshop adjusting your images and don't need that extra speed of the JPEG format, then choose RAW. It's that easy.


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