Digital image format decides picture quality and storage space

A digital camera generally provides three digital storage formats. These are: JPEG, TIFF and RAW. You need to understand what these digital image formats are; only then you will be able to get a high quality photograph.

The RAW mode, as the name suggests, is a picture format where the camera has made no changes. The picture has been stored as it is. This means that each and every pixel that was captured by the camera is now on the image. You can now download this image on your computer for processing.

However, when you do so you will notice that this is a very large image, probably a few MBs. This means that you will need a very large storage area or memory space if you are going to shoot images in RAW format. Your advantage is that you can sharpen, size, or crop the picture without losing any picture quality.

But your disadvantage is the file size. You cannot transmit it easily because it needs high bandwidth connections. Also, you can shoot very few photographs if you select the RAW mode. After that, you have to change the memory card or make space by erasing a few photographs.

Also, this mode is generally not accepted by the publishing industry because it produces a 12-bit image. The photographer needs to modify it using photo-editing software before submitting it for publication.

The TIFF mode is a better mode. There is no picture loss, and the picture is also acceptable to the publishing industry since it is in an 8-bit mode. The image takes relatively less storage space as compared to the RAW format, and is very suitable for any changes that need to be made using photo-editing software.

However, it still has some drawbacks. These pertain to file size, which is still very large and can choke small e-mail boxes. You also need more memory cards if you are using TIFF images during a photo shoot.

The JPEG mode is the compression format. It not only reduces the size of the photograph but it also lowers the quality of the picture. That is why it is called the ‘lossy’ mode. A lot of pixels are lost when the photograph is changed to the JPEG format. This makes the image less suitable for photo-editing.

The advantage is that the JPEG images take less space to store. They are easier to transmit and can even be sent over dial up connections. You also can shoot more photographs with the same amount of memory space. This format is especially suited for amateur or family photography.

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