TIFF (.tif, .tiff)
TIFF or Tagged Image File Format are lossless images files meaning that they do not need to compress or lose any image quality or information , allowing for very high-quality images but also larger file sizes.
Best For: High quality prints, professional publications, archival copies
BMP or Bitmap Image File is a format developed by Microsoft for Windows. There is no compression or information loss with BMP files which allow images to have very high quality, but also very large file sizes.
Best For: High quality scans, archival copies
JPEG (.jpg, .jpeg)
JPEG, which stands for Joint Photographic Experts Groups is a “lossy” format meaning that the image is compressed to make a smaller file. The compression does create a loss in quality but this loss is generally not noticeable. JPEG files are very common on the Internet and JPEG is a popular format for digital cameras - making it ideal for web use and non-professional prints.
Best For: Web Images, Non-Professional Printing, E-Mail, Powerpoint
GIF or Graphics Interchange Format files are widely used for web graphics, because they are limited to only 256 colors, can allow for transparency, and can be animated. GIF files are typically small is size and are very portable.
Best For: Web Images
PNG or Portable Network Graphics files are a lossless image format originally designed to improve upon and replace the gif format. PNG files are able to handle up to 16 million colors, unlike the 256 colors supported by GIF.
Best For: Web Images
An EPS or Encapsulated PostScript file is a common vector file type. EPS files can be opened in many illustration applications such as Adobe Illustrator or CorelDRAW.
Best For: Vector artwork, illustrations
RAW Image Files (.raw, .cr2, .nef, .orf, .sr2, and more)
RAW images are images that are unprocessed that have been created by a camera or scanner. Many digital SLR cameras can shoot in RAW, whether it be a .raw, .cr2, or .nef. These RAW images are the equivalent of a digital negative, meaning that they hold a lot of image information, but still need to be processed in an editor such as Adobe Photoshop or Lightroom.
Best For: Photography