Which file type is recommended for archiving images?

Posted on 2005-04-18
Last Modified: 2010-04-03

I would like to know which file type I've to use for the following image types :

- Black and white (ex. : word documents or hand written documents)
- gray scale (ex. : pictures)
- color (ex. : color pictures)

For black and white I think tiff can be a good, lossless solution... but for the others I don't really know. (maybe jpeg 2000, but I'm not sure it's a good idea because I need to archive those files and I'm not sure that over 10 years Jpeg2000 will still exit)

I need the best ratio between quality and size.

Question by:davyberroho
    LVL 1

    Expert Comment

    For black and white, tiff is fine, but I would use GIF, since there are only two colors
    for gray scale, you can also use tiff
    but for color, use JPG or PNG
    they have the best ratio
    LVL 6

    Accepted Solution

    davyberroho: what are you going to do with these picture files later? Are they to be used for additional working on them in the future (then I would store them in TIFF format) or do you want to show them on presentations etc. (then I would use a format like JPG - with losses - or PNG - lossless, but much larger)? likeachild gave you already good advice, in my view, but another question is how many such files do you have. A PNG file is easily 10 times the size of a comparable JPG, and a TIFF again is at least 2 or 3 times the size of a PNG. These values can change, of course, they are my own experience. And I do quite a bit of slide scanning, working on the pictures and storing them. So far I did only a few thousand slides, and so I can afford to store both TIFF and JPG (for fast access with a picture browser) on the media.

    In my view, if you can tolerate some loss, the best ratio between quality and size you have with JPG/GIF. And if you really need all the quality, PNG I do recommend. JPEG2000 somehow does not get a start, many programs still cannot read it. But in 10 years - it could be the standard, or it could be obsolete.


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