Of The Popular Raster File Formats, Which One Demonstrates The Highest Image Quality Measure With All Other Variables Being Equal Regardless Of Raster Imaging Program Or Operating System?

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Question:

Regardless of the operating system in use and the raster applicable graphics program at use, which one of the popular raster layers image file formats (jpg, tif, png, gif, and bmp) is best to comparatively see in highest image quality measure (similar to that of the better image quality of vector graphics (little or no distortion and blurring when magnified)) with all other variables being equal to both visually (see a relatively low resolution object) and text (read the relative tiny font character print)?  

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Dave BaldwinFixer of Problems
Most Valuable Expert 2014
Commented:
Your question has no answer.  That is because you can never get anything better than what you started with.  And almost anything you do to decrease the picture size loses information.  There are some lossless compression schemes to reduce the file size but they do not reduce the picture size.

However, if you start with a raw image, TIFF and PNG are potentially better because they have at least 24-bit color depth available without compression.  JPEG is always compressed and GIF is limited color depth.  Uncompressed TIFF and PNG tend to make very large files.  More info here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image_file_formats
Commented:
As answered earlier, to get the best image quality you have to go with a file format that doesn't use any lossy compression.  The file format matters less than the compression type, if any that you use.  Stick with lossless compression if you are going to use compression.  And if file size is no object then stay away from compression completely.  BMP will fit the bill nicely as well as TIFF w/o lossy compression.  Stay away from GIF because it only provides 256 colors whereas most of the other file formats provide 16M+ colors.

If you are having problems resolving smaller objects in an image there are techniques like contrast stretching, sharpening and edge enhancement that can help but remember that you will never get better resolution than the original image.  When the image is snapped with the camera/scanner, the higher the resolution, the more detail you can resolve.

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Commented:
@ DaveBaldwin & a235301:

Hello again.

Thank you for your comments.

So, from what I can gather, I need to consider 'lossless compression' image file formats that offer the greatest color depth or greatest bit number. Therefore to answer my question/thread, consider TIF without file compression (both agree), PNG (DaveBaldwin), and BMP (a235301).

I may of confused you with my question, yet you both have seemed to answer it for the answer I was looking for -- oddly. I am sorry if I confused you! I am not considering implying photo conversions or photo editing modifications in a matter of speaking to current images of various image file sizes and seeing what happens to the image quality of the image file format types, but 'simply just by magnifying with the SAME magnification' many times of all the popular file types (say, of the same image in all the various popular file types) and seeing which one still possesses the best image quality 'without any conversions' of processing or any other image modifications. Does that make sense now? My question/thread was meant to be 'very simple comparison' of the popular image file formats. Again, I apologize for the confusion! Not a problem for me. It is like doing a quadratic equation and yet the methods between people are not even related, but arriving at the 'same' answer. That does not happen very often! However, thank you for the added information, it is very useful and practical to know!!!

You both will get credit since my question may be seen confusing to interpret and really and honestly, it was very difficult to write. You both did provide me answers in the manner in which you both explained yourselves through your rationale and interpretation of the question. Now, you both did a great job answering the question/thread with extra information that I find useful and practical to know. Using 'your own' intrepretation of my question for awarding credit, I see each one of you express factual points where I can compile an answer between each of your comments which makes it difficult to award points and award the one Accepted Solution. Therefore I am giving both of you 250 points each with great equal strength in your comments.

Now, I am giving the Accepted Solution award to a235501. Reason: a235501 provided me a 'slightly' stronger set of talking points than DaveBaldwin's comments; but only a negligible difference. Thanks for the weblink DaveBaldwin. That will come in handy as a reference source.
Dave BaldwinFixer of Problems
Most Valuable Expert 2014

Commented:
The only 'magnification' that doesn't change the image is to use a magnifying glass to look at the screen.  All digital changes on the screen alter the image by either reducing the number of pixels for a smaller image or creating new pixels for a larger image.

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