Difference Between PNG 8 and PNG 24

PNG 8 vs PNG 24

PNG is an image file format used for storing images that need to be transferred over networks. Therefore, these images are relatively smaller than the file formats used in printing. These files are best for electronic view.

PNG File Format

PNG (pronounced as ping) is a file format developed as an open solution for the then patented GIF file format. PNG stands for Portable Networks Graphics. PNG was developed for transferring images over the internet, not for high quality print purposes.

In general PNG is a raster graphics format with lossless data compression. It supports palette-based images (with palettes of 8-bit RGB, 24-bit RGB or 32-bit RGBA colors). Gray scale images (with or without alpha channel) and full-color non-palette-based RGB images (with or without alpha channel) are also supported by PNG format. Since it is not developed for print purposes it does not support color schemes such as CMYK, which are commonly used in the printing industry. PNG files use the file extension .png.


PNG 8 is the 8 bit version of the PNG format. Since each color for a pixel is represented with a string of 8 bits, PNG 8 images can display 256 colors only. In some cases, images can be stored with a lesser number of bits such as 2-bit and 4-bit, as well. In each case, the number of colors available becomes smaller. Therefore, PNG file format is best suited for images with low color variations, such as icons and insignia and not suited for images such as photos. PNG 8 supports only lossless compression.

PNG 24

PNG 24 is the PNG files with 24 bit colors. This format can use more than 16 million available colors (224). Therefore, the information that can be stored in a PNG 24 file is much larger; hence the quality of the image is much better. It can use true color or RGB color schemes. Therefore, PNG 24 type is suitable for storing photographic images and images with sudden variations and broad range of colors.

PNG 8 vs PNG 24

• PNG stands for Portable Network Graphics, which is a commonly used file type for images used on webpages.

• PNG uses lossless compression for encoding.

• PNG 8 is commonly referred to a PNG file with 8-bit color depth; however, PNG files with lower color depth (such as 4-bit and 2-bit) are also included in this category.

• PNG 24 is the 24-bit version of the PNG file type, and it can hold about 16 million colors; therefore, support RGB and truecolor schemes.

• PNG 8 is relatively smaller compared to the PNG 24.

• PNG 8 is suitable for images with less color data and image details. PNG 24 is suitable for photographic images with color variations and a wide color range.

• A PNG 8 image can be saved as a PNG 24 file without data loss, but during conversion of a PNG 24 image to a PNG 8 image a severe loss in detail occurs.