A comprehensive image file formats list would contain common image file formats as well as more obscure formats. There is no one-size-fits-all best image format out there.
The correct image file to use depends on the type of image you want to use and the task you want to perform. Some formats are better for photographs and others for logos and graphics. Some formats are better for printing and others for digital publishing. Some formats are better for graphics and others for text documents.
What follows is a list of the most popular image formats and what they are best used for.
1. Vector Images
Vector images are different from many other image file formats in that changing their size does not change their resolution. This means that they can be resized with no loss in quality, making them ideal for large-format printing, charts, text, logos, graphics and illustrations.
Most digital cameras save images as JPEGs by default with an option to shoot in RAW, which professional photographers prefer because images are not compressed and minimal information loss results.
Multi-paged TIFF files, much like PDF files, are good for archiving and publishing documents. TIFF files can be compressed without loss of quality, or you can reduce the size of a TIFF file with lossy compression while maintaining its multi-page capabilities.
PNG is a lossless format, which means that files can be compressed without losing quality. File sizes are typically smaller than a TIFF but larger than a JPEG. Good for text documents.
JPEGs are common on digital cameras and on the internet. The lossy compression results in small file sizes that are good for online publication of photographs because of their small file size, but they lose quality when enlarged.
GIFs render images in a 256 color palette, allowing them to compress images into very small sizes. GIFs are popular on the internet today because they allow for animated images that loop continually and load quickly, optimizing their memetic potential.
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