Difference between Lossy and Lossless Compression | Lossy vs. Lossless Compression

Lossy vs. Lossless Compression

Difference between Lossy and Lossless Compression: – “Lossy” and “Lossless” are the terms generally used to identify two different levels and qualities of image, music or video compression. Each type has its own advantages and disadvantages but these pros and cons are just relative to conditions in which the compression is being done.  That’s why it is important to understand the difference between Lossy and Lossless Compression to achieve optimum results.

Difference between Lossy and Lossless Compression

  1. Lossy Compression

When compressing an image file, Lossy compression decreases a file’s quality. This is because the algorithm which is generally used for Lossy compression scans for and tosses out documents and details, which it thinks is unnecessary.

Lossy compression is employed when a document can afford to reduce some data. It really is useful as it helps in saving space or may be reducing the data usage and time when an image is being transferred through the internet.

  1. Lossless Compression

As long as disk space is not an issue, it is better to go with Lossless image compression and just as its name suggests, it does not alter the quality of an image to decrease its size. Lossless compression is used when the quality of image matters a lot as compared to its size, such as Photoshop editing of an image. After the photoshop edit is complete, the image is changed into JPEG (or similar) at high quality. That’s why photographers and graphics designers appreciate using lossless compression, as it gives off natural images with reduced size.

  1. Lossy vs. Lossless Compression: Which is better?

There is absolutely no winner as it depends entirely on what you are trying to do with your files and exactly how much space is available for storage. If you don’t value top quality – then Lossy compression is better but if you are editing the images for a client, then obviously, lossless compression is the way to go.

  1. Files types

Most of the time, BMP and PNG image files are used for lossless compression. They keep their quality but will need some good amount of space as compared to their lossy image format like JPEG. In music, lossy data types are MP3, MP4, and OGG, whereas some good lossless file types are WAV, FLAC and ALAC (utilized by iTunes).