-Grays of Westminster Glossary

TIFF (Tagged Image File Format)

Some Nikon digital cameras support TIFF files and depending on the specific model used it is possible to save image files as one of two different types of TIFF file (see below).


The RGB-TIFF format is supported by a wide number of applications on a variety of platforms. Similar to JPEG files RGB-TIFF files are saved in camera as 8-bit data but unlike JPEG files the data is uncompressed. This produces a file with a higher image quality but the file is much larger, so it requires more storage space on the camera's memory card. Consequently saving RGB-TIFF in camera typically takes longer than saving a JPEG or NEF RAW file, which affects camera performance in terms of its frame rate.

Saving images in camera in the RGB-TIFF file format is useful in circumstances where a high quality image is required for publishing directly from the camera. However, in most instances saving images in the NEF RAW format provides far greater flexibility in how the image can be used subsequently, and offers the opportunity to achieve the highest possible image quality.

YCbCr-TIFF file (available with D1-series cameras only)

Images are saved in uncompressed TIFF format but the image data is represented in one luminance (Y) and two colour channels (Cb and Cr) instead of the normal three colour channels (Red-Green-Blue). Since the two colour channels occupy the same space as the luminance channel the file size is two thirds of the size of an RGB-TIFF file.

YCbCr offers the same image quality as RGB but requires less storage space. This makes it the preferable option in those circumstances where the requirement is for a high quality, uncompressed file that makes the most efficient use of available storage space. However, the YcbCr file format is not supported by many applications and generally can only be viewed using the plug-in supplied with Nikon View (versions 4, 5, and 6), and Nikon Capture (versions 2 & 3).