TIFF Scan vs JPEG Scan

If you learn and use the tips I’m about to show you, you’ll know when to save your slide, negative, or photo scans as TIFF images or JPEG images.

And if you’re not sure what the difference between a TIFF and JPEG scan is, you might be wasting your time scanning and maybe re-scanning.

What’s The Difference Between A TIFF And A JPEG Scan

Tiff scans are bigger file size than JPEG scansThe biggest difference is, a TIFF is a bigger file size.  If you scan a slide as a TIFF, the digital image is going to be about 100 MB.  If you scan a slide as a JPEG, it’s going to be around 12 MB.

How come a TIFF is bigger than a JPEG?  Glad you asked.

Remember back in the 90’s when it took forever to load a web page on your Internet browser? And remember how long it took an image too load?  Well, to help with loading times, TIFF digital images can be compressed into smaller JPEG images.

So instead of waiting for a 100 MB image file to load, you can compress the same image down as far as 500 KB (half of 1 MB).  A 500 KB file is going to load way faster than a TIFF.

What does this have to do with your scans?

The same principle applies: if you don’t have a powerful computer, it’s going to take longer to load and view your TIFF scans. Oh, and not to mention you’ll need a lot of disc space (100 TIFF scans will take up 10 GB).

But if you save your scans as JPEGs, they will load faster and not take up a lot of harddrive space. 100 JPEG scans will take up 1 GB.

Another Difference Is Quality

Tiff scans have more detail than JPEG scans

I just mentioned that JPEG images are COMPRESSED.

Does these mean the quality is lower?

Sort of, but not really.  A TIFF image file holds ALL the digital data — every bit, byte, and pixel.  When you compress a TIFF into a JPEG, what you’re doing is taking away only the bits and bytes you DON’T need.  The pixels are still there.  They don’t really get touched.

But if you compress a JPEG way too far, you are going to lose pixels and quality.

Ok, I’m going too far talking about JPEG compression levels.  Right now I’ll stick to TIFF vs. JPEG, and I’ll tell you about JPEG Compression levels in another article.

But the big take-away here is, the difference in quality isn’t too much.  In fact, a TIFF scan will look more grainy because it does have a lot of digital data.  JPEGs look more smooth, but less sharp.  But, the grain is important because it does add more pixel depth (sharpness).  That’s why JPEGs look smoother.

Why Save Your Scans As TIFFs Or As JPEGs

If you’re doing any commercial work with your scans, you must save your scans as TIFFs.  When you’re doing any editing or manipulating your images in anyway, you need as many bits and bytes as you can.  Also, TIFF images can be printed at billboard size.

But if you just want to archive your scans, watch them on your HDTV, or share them on the net, JPEGs are perfect.

How To Save Your Slide, Negative, Photo Scans As TIFFs

Here’s three steps on how to save your scans as TIFFs:

  1. Find the “File Save Settings” on your scanner software
  2. Change Image Format Type to TIFF, .tif, or RAW
  3. Make sure to use 48-Bit Color

Remember, TIFFs will be about 100 MB in file size.  So make sure you have the disc space.

How To Save Your Slide, Negative, Photo Scans As JPEGs

Here’s three steps on how to save your scans as JPEGs:

  1. Find the “File Save Settings” on your scanner software
  2. Change Image Format Type to JPEG, .jpg, or JPG
  3. Make sure to use 24-Bit Color

Are Your JPEG Scans Compressed To Far?

Don't save your scans at a high compression jpeg digital image

Here’s the catch — your scanner might be compression your JPEGs way to far.  If your JPEGs are compressed to far, you’ll end up with a lower quality digital image.

In my free How To Scan Ebook, I address this issue with JPEG compression levels.

Download your free copy, now…

[contact-form-7 id=”50″ title=”Post Contact Form”]

Good Luck With Your Slide, Negative, Photo Scanning Project!

– Konrad M.