The question of which file size to use is a subject that confuses many

Here we will explain the differences between each of the common format settings.




The most common file format is Jpeg (Joint Photographic Experts Group).

This is the standard method of compressing an image. If you shoot Jpeg images, then these can be compressed to as low as 10% of their original size before being written on to your camera’s memory card. Your camera does this by blending pixels it thinks the eye can’t see.

This means Jpegs are slightly lower in quality than other formats, but it also means that you can fit more images on your memory card.

The Jpeg setting on your camera will usually offer three choices of quality settings – JPG S – JPG M – JPG L.   The letters stand for JPG Small, Medium or Large.  We recommend to most amateur photographers to choose JPG L as this will offer the most flexibility and a quality that serves most applications that you will require.

The choice will ultimately depend upon what you wish to do with your photo.

If you are only ever going to use the image as a memento and upload to a website or social media sites, then JPGS will be sufficient.  This choice will use the minimum file size and take up the smallest amount of space on your camera memory card thus allowing you to really fit a massive number of photos on your card.

However, please be very aware this will create a very low resolution photo and will not allow you to edit or print your photo with any real quality. If the image is to be viewed only on a computer monitor or printed at the smaller print sizes, image degradation will not normally be an issue or in many cases even noticed.



This setting will provide you with a marginally better resolution than JPGS however, it is not a setting that we would recommend.



This is the setting that is perfect for most amateur photographers as it will provide the maximum quality and the flexibility of resultant images that can be used for making nice prints.  Photos taken with this setting can also be modified with software to reduce the size of the file for images that you may wish to use on the Internet.

The reality here is that if you create an image in JPGL mode is that you can change it to become the same as JPGS



1/ You can not make a JPGL image from a photo taken with the JPGS setting.

2/  If a JPG file is opened, changed and saved multiple times, or the image is printed at one of the larger-than-normal print sizes, reduced image quality will be noticed.



A Tiff (Tagged Image File Format) is an uncompressed, high-quality format that you should choose if you need to maintain the image’s original quality. Because of the lack of compression, Tiff files take up more space on the memory card, and can take longer to write to if you don’t have a fast (ie, more expensive) card.



Raw is a format in digital SLRs that prevents any in-camera processing affecting the data – and hence the quality – of the image. This format provides all the information captured by the camera’s sensor. Raw images are the best quality you can get, but they take up more time and space to process. Professional photographers usually shoot Raw photos as they allow more flexibility when it comes to digitally manipulating an image.


Each type of photo file format has its own pros and cons. So before a file first edited and saved, the final use of the file should be considered. Once that decision has been made, then save the file in the best format to support the end use of the image.

So when thinking about file format, first consider how the image will be used. Then select the best format that supports the use of that image. In the broad-spectrum use of images, all three photo file formats may be used at one time or another.

TIP:  Whenever you are editing images (particularly Jpeg) ensure that you always edit a copy of the image,,,, therefore you will always have an original copy to go back to. 


If you are still unsure about File Formats, simply use the recommended JPG L setting