Photo file format face-off: JPEG versus PNG

iPhone cameras save photos as JPEGs (JPGs), a “lossy” compression format; shooting uncompressed RAW images is not an option. If you edit a JPEG photo, then the resulting image file will be further compressed when you export the file from your photo editor of choice. Question is, if you edit a JPEG image (using say, Aperture 3 by Apple Inc.) then how can you export the image without further compression?

One solution to this problem is to use a “lossless” compression format such as PNG. But there’s a problem with PNGs: PNG doesn’t support EXIF/IPTC; if you export a JPEG file as a PNG, then the EXIF/IPTC info is lost (e.g., geolocation info). That’s an unacceptably BIG trade-off for me, especially since I’m not sure the difference in image quality between JPEGs and PNGs is noticeable. So I set up a face-to-face comparison test.

There are four pairs of photos in the following gallery: A cropped version of a JPEG photo, exported as a JPEG file; followed by the same cropped JPEG photo exported as a PNG file. You tell me — are the PNG versions noticeably better than the JPEG versions? Comments are invited and welcome.


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