Four of the most common formats for compressing or encoding and storing digital images are JPEG, PNG, GIF, and BMP. This article provides a quick comparison of the four and discusses key features and differences in terms of image quality, file size, and usability.
Take note JPEG or JPG stands for Joint Photographic Expert Group while PNG stands for Portable Network Graphic. GIF is an acronym for Graphics Interchange Format while BMP is short for bitmap image file or device-independent bitmap.
JPEG vs. PNG vs. GIF vs. BMP: Which One is Better?
Advantages and Disadvantages of JPEG
1. Image Quality: The JPEG image format is recognized for compressing and encoding high-resolution digital images. It supports 24-bit color with up to 16 million colors. This is the reason it has become popular on the Internet, in digital cameras, and in desktop publishing.
However, a notable drawback of JPEG is that it is a lossy compression. This format compresses digital images by dropping unneeded color data that are undetectable by the human eye. It is also worth mentioning that editing and resaving a JPEG image degrades further its quality.
2. File Size: One of the notable advantages of JPEG over the PNG format is that it can achieve a smaller file size than PNG for a relatively similar image quality and resolution. This makes it an ideal format for storing or sharing images and for online content consumption.
Another advantage of the JPEG format is the adjustability of the degree or level of compression. This enables a user to either balance or control the tradeoff between image quality and file size depending on his or her priorities, usage requirements, or specific applications.
3. Usage: It is ideal for images with smooth color variations. However, unlike PNG and GIF, it is not ideal for images with text or objects with sharp lines and edges between colors. It creates artifacts that are noticeable within the sharp edges between two or more different colors.
Furthermore, because of the smaller file size of JPEG compared to PNG, it is ideal for use on the web and for storing professional quality print graphics taken using a digital camera or produced using a graphic design software. However, unlike GIF, it does not support animation.
Advantages and Disadvantages of PNG
1. Image Quality: An advantage of PNG over JPEG is that it is a lossless compression. Image file format. This means that image data and details are retained after compression or after multiple edits and file transfers. This format also supports 24-bit RGB color images.
Another advantage of PNG is that it supports grayscale images and transparency. This enables more image manipulation freedom. The JPEG format does not support transparency and, instead, renders the supposed transparent area of an image with a solid white background color.
2. File Size: There is one critical drawback or disadvantage of PNG. It is not good for large or high-resolution images because it generates a large file size. The JPEG file format generates a smaller file size in most cases for an image with the same resolution and quality.
There are several reasons for its larger file size. These include its core characteristic of being a lossless compression that retains data and details. It also supports a greater color depth of up to 16 million colors. This means that more complex PNG images have larger file sizes.
3. Usage: Take note that PNG is an image format specifically designed for the web and as a replacement for the GIF format. However, unlike the JPEG format, it is not ideal for storing and printing digital images because of its large file size and lack of CMYK support.
PNG has other notable advantages. It has better transparency than GIF. The drawback is that it does not support animation. It is still ideal for images with text or those with sharp lines and edges between colors compared to JPEG. Texts and edges will look crisp and clean.
Advantages and Disadvantages of GIF
1. Image Quality: The main drawback of GIF is that it only supports 8-bit color and a 256-color palette. Hence, when compared to other image file formats such as JPEG and PNG, images based on the GIF file format tend to have lower quality or appear pixelated and less vibrant.
The overall quality of GIF is a tradeoff between image file size, color limitations, and animation capabilities. It is still a lossless compression despite its limited color support. It is very ideal for compressing images with a single solid color but not ideal for high-resolution images.
2. File Size: The main advantage of GIF over JPEG and PNG is that it compresses digital images to a smaller file size by reducing the number of colors and replacing multiple occurring patterns into one. This makes it a suitable format for simple images that require a small file size.
Furthermore, similar to the PNG format, it supports transparency. Nonetheless, the most notable advantage of GIF is that it supports brief animation by looping different images into a single file and a small file size. Animated GIFs still retain a smaller file size than video clips.
3. Usage: GIF was the standard file format for the web. It became a standard format during the era of dial-up connections when the loading speed for generating an image was crucial to overall website performance. This has changed with the arrival of new image file formats.
The current use for GIFs is online. It is specifically used for producing and presenting animated images due to its small file size. Different social media platforms and messaging platforms have used this file format for adding an engaging element to human communications.
Advantages and Disadvantages of BMP
1. Image Quality: BMP supports 8-bit to 24-bit colors. Images rendered under this format are very high in quality. Furthermore, depending on the compression process, the quality of images based on this file format can be similar to images based on the JPEG and PNG formats.
However, compared to other image file formats significant losses are noticeable when resizing a bitmap image to a smaller or larger size. This is because resizing the entire image is comparable to resizing the individual pixels. Resized BMP images appear fuzzy or blurred and jagged.
2. File Size: The BMP file format is not a compression standard but an actual file encoding format. Digital images encoded as a bitmap are very large in terms of file size. Hence, based on this, the notable disadvantages of BMP over JPEG and PNG include poor scalability.
However, BMP images can still be compressed and effectively saved and stored using other file compression standards such as JPEG and PNG or archiving formats such as zip and RAR. This makes it a versatile format for backing up images in a raw and uncompressed format.
3. Usage: BMP is a file format native to the Windows operating system that is independent of the display device and a graphics adapter. However, because of the large size it generates, it is not suitable for online use or for sharing via the internet or wireless connection.
It is important to reiterate the fact that this image file format is ideal for archiving or backing up images in a raw and uncompressed format. This means it is suitable for image editing because it maintains the data and details needed for manipulation without generating loss.
Conclusion: JPEG vs PNG vs GIF vs BMP
Based on the aforementioned, and in conclusion, JPEG is the most suitable in terms of file size and in consideration of high-resolution images. It is ideal for both web and print. On the other hand, PNG has an advantage because it is more versatile. It is a lossless compression ideal for images with text or sharp lines and edges between colors and for online use.
It is also worth mentioning that both GIF and BMP are obsolete in modern computing. BMP does not have real advantages over JPEG and PNG because it is an uncompressed format that generates a larger file size. GIF has made a comeback in social media platforms in which animated GIFs provide an added entertainment value to online users.