JPEG stands for Joint Photographic Experts Group, and it is a file format used for pictures and images. The JPEG/Exif format is used by digital cameras, while the JPEG/JFIF format is used for storing and transferring images. Both formats are considered JPEG files. What are the advantages and disadvantages of the JPEG file format?
Advantages of JPEG
The JPEG file format is almost universal. This is in part due to the fact that it has been around for a long time. JPEG files can be opened and viewed in almost all image viewing applications. The JPEG format is also compatible with all printers, allowing users to print JPEG files directly from the viewing application without having to change its format. JPEG is also compatible with practically every photo editing software, though the files often need to be saved to another format to save the alterations. JPEG images are stored quickly by cameras and other devices. This allows users to capture fast moving action with a JPEG image that would be blurry in a higher resolution image. JPEG is often set as the default file format for digital cameras to enable them to take pictures quickly. JPEG files are compressed, meaning that a JPEG image will be smaller than pictures taken in another format. This makes JPEG files easier to store and email. This has made JPEG one of the default file formats for images used on the internet, since the images can be compressed to up to 5% of their original size went transmitted along with a web page’s information.
Disadvantages of JPEG
When image files are converted to the JPEG format, significant amounts of information about the image are lost. The compression method is actually called the lossy compression technique. The compression method allows users to save images in relatively small files, but at the cost of image quality and detail. In essence, JPEG images are lower quality than other formats. JPEG does not handle line drawings well, nor does it support animation. JPEG is not suited for images that will be radically modified, since detail is lost each time the image is saved. Another limitation of JPEG is that it does not support layers, a problem for those who want to touch up or alter images. JPEG files cannot have transparent backgrounds, though the background of the photo may be light in color. The JPEG format only uses 8-bits for color data, yielding 16.7 million colors. In contrast, many modern digital cameras can capture color using 10 and even 14 bits of data. This makes JPEG best suited to smooth tone images that have limited color variation or large areas of the same color. For those seeking vivid color images or more color data for subsequent editing, images captured in JPEG are lacking. Taking black and white photos in the JPEG format causes all color information to be lost. The lossless JPEG mode attempts to mitigate the information loss during JPEG compression. However, lossless mode does not allow for the same level of compression that made JPEG so popular, hindering adoption of lossless mode.