GIF and JPEG are two of the most popular formats for graphics files on the Internet. It is advisable to use JPEG for photos, GIF for animations, and PNG for other images needed for online use.

Comparison chart

GIF versus JPEG comparison chart
Edit this comparison chartGIFJPEG
  • current rating is 3.18/5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
(33 ratings)
  • current rating is 3.4/5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
(50 ratings)
Support for animation Yes No
Color management No Yes
Support for multi-page Yes No
Support for transparency Yes No
File extensions .gif, .gfa .jpg, .jpeg, .jpe
MIME type image/gif image/jpeg
Raster/vector Raster Raster
Indexed color Yes No
Stands for Graphics Interchange Format Joint Photographic Experts Group
Support for metadata Yes Yes
Support for layers Yes No
Interlacing support Yes Yes
Type of format Raster graphics image format Raster graphics image format
Extendable Yes (GIF89a) No
Color depth Only 256 colors supported 8-bit (grayscale), 12-bit, 24-bit
Applications compatible Most web browsers and productivity suites Most web browsers and productivity suites
Compression algorithm Lempel-Ziv-Welch (LZW) DCT-based lossy compression
Patented No No, but parts of the technology, including its compression methods, have been the subject of multiple patent lawsuits.
Uniform Type Identifier com.compuserve.gif public.jpeg
Magic Number GIF87a/GIF89a ff d8

Applications

JPEG files are best for photographs. GIF files are appropriate for images that are animations. A limitation of GIF files is that they only support 256 colors.

File size

JPEG is a "lossy" format and you can control the file size by tweaking the Quality parameter in most image editing software. This parameter controls the aggressiveness of lossy compression used in the file. Generally, files saved at 85-90% quality using tools like ImageOptim result in significantly reduced file sizes, at the cost of minor color and detail loss that is usually indistinguishable to the naked eye.

GIF files offer pretty good compression (better than JPEG) but they only support 256 colors. Experts recommend using PNG files instead of GIF for all non-animation applications.

GIF vs PNG

See the full GIF vs PNG comparison for more details.

The PNG format has several advantages over GIF:

Market Share

The share of usage on the Internet (via HTTP Archive) of major image formats
magnify
The share of usage on the Internet (via HTTP Archive) of major image formats

References

Share this comparison:

If you read this far, you should follow us:

"GIF vs JPEG." Diffen.com. Diffen LLC, n.d. Web. 3 Dec 2016. < >