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TIFF vs. JPEG

Chad Latta , Apr 29, 2009; 03:05 p.m.

I understand the difference between TIFF and JPEG and up till now have been saving my final output images to a TIFF file. But I am starting to notice that the large file sizes could start to eat up my space and was wondering if there would be anything wrong with saving a final image as a JPEG. Assuming I am not going to be doing anymore editing and knowing that I have the DNG still, would this be the wrong thing to do? I am not going to be printing any poster size prints anytime soon, just the usual stuff. Will JPEG still be adequate?

Thanks
-Chad-

Responses


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Mike Blume , Apr 29, 2009; 03:17 p.m.

First, if you save the original DNG files, you can always go back and re-edit if the need arises. Second, I can think of no reason to save final edits as TIFF files. They are large and if re-editing is desired they are not ideally suited to this purpose. If I wish to save a file with my editing work intact (layers, adjustments), I use the .psd format.

Edward Ingold , Apr 29, 2009; 03:40 p.m.

If you have a substantial amount of time involved in editing, including spotting for dust and layer adjustments, it makes sense to save that work in a TIFF or PSD file (with layers). If you intend to enlarge or crop the image for various reasons, start from the saved TIFF file and save the deliverable image as a JPEG. If you truly have no reason to do further editing or resizing, then a JPEG is perfectly satisfactory.

For events and wedding candids, I can usually do all the necessary editing in a non-destructive manner on RAW images using Lightroom. Since I can revisit the editing at any time or restore the original form, I save the results as JPEGs. If I resort to Photoshop, I save those images as TIFF with layers, then JPEG for the customer. This is not so much to save space (space is cheap these days), but for the convenience of my clients. If the client wishes to edit the images, I give them TIFF files (flattened for compatibility) or copies of the RAW files, at their discretion. Most of them end up in brochures, websites or posters.

Patrick Lavoie , Apr 29, 2009; 04:40 p.m.

i always keep the raw, and the layered psd for future use. If i was working without layers, directly on the original, and know that i wouldtn need to edit anything again..i would save the file as jpeg highest quality 12.

Michael Lawson , Apr 29, 2009; 05:07 p.m.

I know "Cheap" is relative to available income, but drive space is really cheap. You can get 1TB drives in the 100.00 range now (Frys.com). I keep the original RAW, an edited uncropped tiff, a cropped ready to print tiff for those that I want to print, and a JPEG for those that I upload to the web. For me it's worth 100.00 not to have to start from RAW again if I can avoid it on just a few files, and for some of the time it takes to do HDR photos, it's worth it not to have to start over on even one of them.

Mendel Leisk , Apr 29, 2009; 05:51 p.m.

If you have a raw file behind everything, and the steps to create the finished file are documented and easily replicable, and you're doing no further editting...

Jack Franklin , Apr 29, 2009; 05:55 p.m.

@ Patrick Lavoie.... Is there any loss in quality printing a 8 bit (12 quality) jpeg as opposed to printing a 16 bit TIFF?

Steve Wagner , Apr 29, 2009; 06:14 p.m.

Mike said

I can think of no reason to save final edits as TIFF files.

(1) Maybe you'll want to edit them at some point in the future. (2) You don't want to impact the quality by using lossy compression (3) You want a 16-bit file

They are large and if re-editing is desired they are not ideally suited to this purpose.

As far as I know, TIFF are always better suited for editing or re-editing than are jpeg. I could be wrong.
If it's your final file and you're never going to edit it, tiff is an archival format, jpeg is not. If it's your final file and you might edit it by some means other than going back to the dng and re-outputting, you're selling yourself short by using jpeg.
That said if Chad holds firm to everything he's saying and doesn't care about having a compressed 8-bit file as the final, jpeg will save some space even at a 10 or higher setting. 8bit tiff with LZW compression are pretty small though, have you tried that?

Scott Wilson , Apr 29, 2009; 06:30 p.m.

I always keep my raw files, so if there is a need I can go back to the original image.

With that in mind I save edited photos as jpegs and with more compression (Q10) then I would if they were the only copies of the photos.

If I have done a whole lot of editing and have layers and masks then I will often save the file as a PSD file, at least until I am pretty sure I will not edit it any more.

Andy L , Apr 29, 2009; 06:36 p.m.

There's always PNG. I started using it a while back with mental ray renders when I wanted a 16-bit format with alpha channel. If you flatten your file and you're in 16-bit PNG is lossless at a bit over half the size of TIFF. If you don't want your file flattened, keep it in your editor's format (.PSD?). Lately I've been scanning negatives in 16-bit TIFF and batch converting them to PNG before loading into Aperture and it's been working fine.


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