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Old Dec 4, 2003, 4:27 AM   #1
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Default Best Image format to save as?

Hi All,
I am unclear as to what the best image format should be used when saving a post-processed image?

I shoot Raw (D100) and after editing, I am unclear as to save the image as a Tif, High quality Jpeg, etc?

Why would I use Tif (which is a bigger file) over Jpeg or anything else (obviously jpeg is best for mailing stuff around - but....)?

For images that I am going to archive, am I better off leaving them as Raw or as Tif or something else?

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Old Dec 4, 2003, 6:04 AM   #2
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Default Re: Best Image format to save as?

Originally Posted by eriseman
I am unclear as to save the image as a Tif, High quality Jpeg, etc?
If you think you're ever going to come back and rework, retouch, or otherwise twiddle the image, save a compressed tif. Otherwise, a high quality jpeg will lose very little and provide a most satisfactory archive at a fraction of the hard disk & CD space.

If you compare a 27MB tif and a 2MB jpeg, pixel by pixel at high magnification, you'll find it difficult to tell the difference. It's only an issue when you start resaving jpegs as jpegs as jpegs, when compression artefacts will be a nuisance.

Don't forget that archives will last only as long as the medium *and* the equipment to read it.
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Old Dec 4, 2003, 6:23 AM   #3
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IMO If you're using Photoshop, it's best to save as PSD if the work is unfinished since all the layers info are still retained so you can save time when going back for retouching (especially the original copy which is always in the background layer).
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Old Dec 4, 2003, 1:34 PM   #4
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I would archive in raw format. Nothing else comes close for image quality verses size. Some raw formats are more efficient than others, but they are all much more efficient than other loseless formats. Regardless of what I do with an image I like to keep the original anyway in case I want to try a different approach.

It becomes a hassle to keep track of raw archives though. There is a program called IMatch that will make thumbnails of raw images and catalog them for you. It even keeps the thumbs and details when you remove the images from the computer to another storage like CD or tape. So it will search for the image just as though it was on the computer and direct you to the correct CD.

Another approach is to make thumbnail contact sheets of the converted images and store them with the raw files.

Saving from Photoshop the most efficient is probably PNG and LZW or ZIP compression of a TIFF. You have to flatten the image if you have layers to get a decent size. PSD is OK for temporary storage of files you are in the middle of working on but the files can get enormous. Since PSD doesn’t save the history and I leave my computer on all the time I just leave Photoshop open with the image until I finish it. Then I flatten it and save in a more efficient format.

I seldom “Save” as a JPG. I will “Save as” for specific purposes like e-mail or the web, but I don’t replace a good image with one containing compression artifacts.
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Old Dec 4, 2003, 2:35 PM   #5
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Boiling it on down, always save an uncompressed or lossless-compressed version, whether it's TIF, PSD, or RAW. How you work and what your goals are will likely determine which format you use. Save all the JPEG versions you want, but have that original handy or archived safely for the day you decide to do something a little different with the photo.
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Old Dec 4, 2003, 4:04 PM   #6
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see you didn't need to ask. you knew the answer all along.
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Old Dec 4, 2003, 6:21 PM   #7
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That is one of the "standard" beginner's questions, and I think it is confussing because there are several correct answers. As several folks have said, you want to save your prize photos after editing in a lossless format so you have as much information from your editor as possible. I would also recomend saving them as a TIFF and JPEG since both of those are standards that will be able to read in the future. They are the photos that will revive Life Magazine, have book publishers camping on your doorstep, ... Unless you have an ego bigger than Texas and/or are a better photographer than Ansel Adams, there really won't be many of those.

Another answer is to save all your originals exactly as they come out of the camera with no editiing, rotation, cropping, format change... whatsoever. Two copies on different brands of CD. Those are your digital "negatives" - don't mess with them.

For the photos that are good enough to print, that you want to be able to give to your grandchildren, ... it really doesn't matter what format you save them in - you have the originals so you can always go back to them if you mess them up. If you have put a great deal of editing work into a photo, you might want to save it in your editor's native format to be able to do further editing. Otherwise IMHO, a low compression (big file) JPEG is just fine.
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Old Dec 4, 2003, 7:17 PM   #8
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Bill brought up a very important point, and it's the one about saving those originals on two CD's of different brands. CD's can and do fail. Also, if those photos are truly important to us, we should probably not save all those CD's in the same location. Bad things can and do happen. For instance, my best friend lost everything but her child and her two cats in a flood. She saved what was most precious to her, but the photos? They were swept away.
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Old Dec 4, 2003, 11:30 PM   #9
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The CDR brand is important if you want to keep the images long term. I would rather have a single copy that I had checked the error rate on Mitsui Gold, Kodak Gold or Verbatim Data Life than multiple copies on cyanine based cheap CDRs. Those have a much longer lasting dye type and are all made to high standards in a known factory.

If you buy rebadged cheapos like TDK, Imation, HiVal etc you don’t really know who made them. They could all be the same poor CMC or Ritek CDs. Taiyo Yuden, Sony and Fuji are good quality cyanine based CDs and I would trust them to last until you moved them to the next technology in the future as long as you checked the error rate.

I make a copy on Kodak CDRs and another on El Cheapos. I check the error rate and they get stored in a different place in the dark. Keeping them in the dark both before you use them and in storage is important – especially for cyanine based CDs.
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Old Dec 9, 2003, 3:15 PM   #10
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Default Save as.....

I would highly recommend LizardTechs Genuine Fractals for saving lossless images. I worked up an image last night in CS & saved it as an 8x10" TIFF (17.2mb's) & and a Cenuine Fractals .STN (5.1mb's). The GFractals files really shine when you want to increase image size without artifacts...test drive the free version & you'll buy it!
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