JPG or PNG: Which One Is Better?

JPG and PNG are two of the most commonly used image formats, but which one is better? Read our article and learn the answer to the question: JPG or PNG?

Did you know that the world uploads 1.8 billion images every day?

Whatever your reason, you want the images you use or upload to be in its best quality. A wide variety of professions use images, from photographers to web designers.

But without a deeper knowledge of image formats, you’ll end up using the wrong ones for your project. We’re here to guide you through it.

With this guide, we’ll tackle the most common image formats around. That way, you’ll know whether to use JPG or PNG for your needs. Read on and find out more.

What are JPEGs?

JPEG is an acronym for Joint Photographic Experts Group, the team that came up with the format. In digital photography and online sharing, JPEG is the standard when using a compressed format. The primary reason is due to its right balance between image quality and file size.

Depending on the software and settings used, a JPEG file’s exact ratio will vary. Typically, a JPEG image’s compression ratio is 10:1. For example, if an image’s size is 10MB, converting it into JPEG means the image size will become 1 MB.

The good news is that the JPEG image’s quality will almost look the same when viewed. Take note, this will vary depending on the picture’s content and its original file type.

How JPEG Converts Images

To compress an image, JPEG uses the discrete cosine transform (DCT) method. The mathematics involved with this is complex, it has a simpler explanation. This algorithm examines the image and determines which pixels are near-identical.

Once it deems that the pixels are similar enough, the algorithm merges these pixels in tiles. That’s what makes this method extremely efficient. But the drawback is that it chucks out information that you can’t retrieve.

JPEG images are lossy, meaning the lost data it possessed after conversion is irretrievable. It’s similar to when you’re photocopying a photocopied image. Every time you do the conversion process, the image becomes worse with each iteration.

When to Use JPEG

Some instances can prompt you to convert PDF to JPG. It’s a format supporting both CMYK and RGB color spaces in 24-bit. Though its offerings for the former aren’t as developed yet.

Its slight CMYK deficiency isn’t an issue since modern printers can handle RGB files without any problems. For 8-bit grayscale images, its compression ratio isn’t as impressive as its colored counterparts, but it’s enough for its intended purposes.

When Not to Use JPEG

Because of its conversion algorithm, JPEG is not ideal as an archival image format. It means if the image quality drops whenever you open and edit it. Nondestructive photo editors such as Adobe Lightroom avoids this issue as long as you never delete your original file since instead of writing over the original image, it only saves edits as metadata.

Also, JPEG is not a good fit for text-heavy images or drawings using sharp lines. The reason is that the anti-aliasing will tend to blur defined lines. Anti-aliasing is a technique that aims to get rid of rough edges through intentional blurring.

What is a PNG File?

PNG is the acronym for Portable Network Graphics. It’s a lossless file format intended to be a more open substitute to GIFs (Graphics Interchange Format). Unlike JPEG’s DCT compression, PNG uses LZW compression, similar to GIF and TIFF.

At its simplest, the LZW compression is a two-stage process taking strings of bits within the image data. It then matches those longer sequences to the codebook’s appropriate shortcodes. You can find these within the image file, which results in maintaining its high quality while reducing its size.

When to Use PNG

PNG’s major advantage over JPEG is its lossless compression. It means regardless of the number of times it’s opened and saved, the quality remains consistent. PNG is also capable of handling detailed pictures with high contrast.

That’s why PNG is the default file format for screenshots. It can give an almost perfect representation of the image, pixel-for-pixel. It does this instead of compressing pixel groups together.

Another reason why PNG is a great file format is because of its transparency support. Pixels in PNG files can have transparent variants, regardless of whether it’s grayscale or in color. Lots of editing programs use a checkered background as an indication of a graphic’s transparency.

When making logos, PNG is your best format, especially when it comes to text and used for a website. On the other hand, if you make a transparent background using Photoshop and save it in JPEG format, the transparent format transforms into white since it has no transparency support.

When Not to Use PNG

A PNG file seems like a wonderful alternative to RAW formats if you want lossless image storage. But it’s not the best choice since TIFF and DNG can better handle this function. Also, PNG has no native EXIF data support.

This means when used for photography, you won’t know certain information about the creature. This includes the camera’s aperture, ISO, and shutter speed.

JPG or PNG: Which is Better?

The answer is it depends on what you’ll use the image for. If you’re using an image on a website, PNG is your best bet since it proved its worth consistently. Over 71% of all websites on the World Wide Web use JPEG, but PNG fulfills an important niche in a way JPEG can’t ever fill.

That means if you want your website to have a rendered logo over its other elements, PNG is your choice. But for sharing photography pictures on social media platforms, JPEG is the best since it’s optimized for the purpose and its size is relatively small.

Learn More About Image Formats Today!

These are things you should consider when thinking about whether to use JPG or PNG. This can help guide your decision on which format suits your image needs.

Did this guide help you decide what image format to use?

If it did and you want more, feel free to read our other posts right here. Discover all the different image editing and formatting tips you need!

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