What's better to save scan files, TIFF or JPEG?
TIFF or JPEG scans? Can you tell the difference?

TIFF Scans vs. JPEG Scans: What's Better When Saving Your Slide, Negative, Photo Scans?

Learn the difference between a JPEG and a TIFF scans, and decide what format is best for you...

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

The biggest difference between a TIFF and a JPEG scan, is the TIFF is bigger in file size

The 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

What's better to save scan files, TIFF or JPEG?
Can you see the little red, green, blue splotches on the JPEG scan?

See the image above? I've zoomed in 100x times so you can see a close up of a JPEG vs. TIFF.

As you can see, the JPEG has what is called "JPEG artifacts". These are little red, blue, green splotches on your image. You can't see them unless you really zoom in.

But if you look at the TIFF, you'll notice it has more "noise". What I mean is by noise, is little white dots that make your TIFF look grainy.

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

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Which of these saning troubles do you want to overcome?

  • What's the best resolution / DPI to scan your slides, negatives, and photos -- so you don't lose details
  • Best method to digitize slides, negatives, photos using your regular flatbed or film scanner
  • How to clean your negatives, slides, and photos before you scan them -- so you don't scratch them
  • What side should you scan a slide or negative -- so they're not backwards or facing the wrong way
  • How to setup your scanner to get higher quality digital images -- 24bit JPEG? 48bit TIFF?
  • How to fix your digital images using Digital ICE, GIMP, or Photoshop and make them look new
  • How to improve your scan workflow so you can double your productivity and finish your project twice as fast
  • Understand the technical stuff of a digital image so you can make sideshow videos, reprints, and more!

Hey, my name is Konrad. I've been scanning professionally since 2005. I've helped multi-billion dollar companies, pro sports teams, pro photographers, artists, museums, book publishers, etc. I've scanned over 930,000 slides, negatives, photos.

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