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One reason for archiving as a JPG (say) instead of a PDF with a JPG inside, is that its picture properties can be directly read - the keywords, camera data such as aperture and shutter, and most importantly, the date when the original picture was taken. A PDF's file properties tell you about the date the PDF was made; a JPG tells you this too, but also presents other extended properties to the operating system or to the viewing software. These extended properties can be used to search, filter, sort by.

Another reason is that a JPG (say) can be directly used by or inserted into many kinds of general purpose software, that cannot employ a PDF directly. Microsoft Office applications come to mind here.

A PDF gives you a couple of technical options that a JPG does not. However it is hard to anticipate now what the requirement will be later. It probably makes sense to archive a normal image format for general usage, and only "wrap" a copy in PDF when this can be done to the exact required specification. I am talking about the ability to password-restrict opening, printing or modifying a PDF; also, the ability to apply commenting and digital signatures and file attachments into a PDF format, where that kind of formal procedure is required.

Mark Sablow

If you want to maintain image quality then I would use the tiff file format. The file will be larger but you remove the possibility of compression messing with the image quality.

Also, the tiff file format (and jpeg for that matter) has been a standard for a long time, and the odds are good it will be a file format that you will be able to access for years to come.

The digital age has brought some great possibilities to photography but the ever changing standards has its headaches too.

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