As new technology emerges, file formats like JPEG, PNG, and TIFF may no longer be the best options for photographers. Let's take a look at some potential replacements.
File formats may not be the most exciting topic to read about, but they are a crucial part of a photographer's workflow. By sticking to the default options proposed by your editing programs, you may be missing out on better alternatives. Fortunately, technologist Joseph Thio has provided an in-depth look into various file formats and why using them instead of the traditional JPEG might be advantageous.
The video begins with Thio discussing different variations and extensions of the JPEG format, such as JPEG 2000, JPEG-XT, and JPEG-XL. It is interesting to see the differences between each version in terms of compression techniques, available color channels, and bit depth options. Thio also addresses the level of support these formats receive from various programs, including image editors and web browsers. This last aspect could be a dealbreaker for photographers who primarily work online, as some of these formats are currently not supported by popular web browsers like Google Chrome.
I do enjoy Thio's videos because they are always packed with informative details and presented in an accessible manner. His video covers several obscure and intriguing formats that you may or may not have heard of. One notable example is the AVIF format, which brings advancements in compression techniques for both stills and video. While some of the formats discussed may not be directly relevant to photographers, they may occasionally crop up when dealing with clients, printers, or collaborators. Personally, I haven't used JPEG-XL before, but after watching the video, I will consider it for certain purposes in the future. The JPEG as we know it won't be around forever, which is why it's not a bad idea to be open to other options out there.
What are your thoughts on these different file formats? Have you already used JPEG-XL or JPEG-XT? We would love to hear your opinions in the comments below.