Tips & Tricks

What’s the difference between JPEG, TIFF, and RAW?

JPEG, TIFF, and RAW are photo file formats that almost all DSLR cameras can use. The camera initially only offers JPEG file formats. Some DSLR cameras and shoot in JPEG and RAW together and while you won’t find many cameras that provide TIFF photography, some advanced cameras offer this precise image format. Read on to learn more about each type of photo file format.


JPEG uses a compression format for inserting some pixels that supports compression algorithm support, thus saving some storage space. The image of compression will be in a place where the colors of the pixels will repeat, like an image that shows lots of blue sky. The firmware or software inside the camera will calculate the compression level when saving the camera, so less storage space will happen instantly, saving space on the memory card.

Most photographers will work on JPEG most of the time, since JPEG is the ideal image format for digital cameras, especially free-range and shoot cameras. The camera of the smartphone records most of the time in JPEG format. More advanced cameras, such as DSLR cameras, often shoot at JPEG as well. If you are planning to share photos across social media, it is smart to use JPEG, because it is easier to send small files via social media.


Close to RAW-film quality, requires a lot of storage space. Digital cameras do not compress or process RAW files in any way. Some people refer to the Rao format as “digital negative” because it does not change anything when saving files. Depending on your camera manufacturer, the RAW format may be called something else, such as NEF or DNG. All of these formats are very similar, although they use different image formats.

Some high-level cameras allow file storage of RAW files. Some professional and advanced photographers like RAW because they can perform their own edits on digital images, but without thinking about how the compression program will delete the image elements, such as JPEG. For example, you can change the white balance of a photo shot in RAW using image editing software . Some smartphone cameras are starting to offer RAW image format with JAPG.

One drawback for shooting on RAW is the amount of storage space you need, which will quickly fill up your memory card. Another problem you may encounter with RAW is that you cannot open it with certain types of image editing or viewing software. For example, Microsoft Paint cannot open RAW files. Most standby image editing programs can open RAW files.


TIFF is a compression format that does not lose any information about the photo’s data. TIFF files are much larger in size than JPEG or RAW files. TIFF is a more common format in graphics publishing or medical imaging than digital photography. Although there are some instances where professional photographers may have a project where a TIFF file format is required. Very few cameras have the ability to record in TIFF.

How to use JPEG, RAW and TIFF

If you are a professional photographer who is not going to print huge, a high quality JPEG setting is probably going to meet your need for photo data. TIFF and RAW are overkill for many photographers, unless you have a specific reason to shoot in TIFF or RAW, such as the need for proper image editing

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