Yesterday, I was surprised to receive a comment suggesting that I replace JPG images with PNGs. I was surprised because the images I had uploaded had been PNGs. Moreover, the originals were still on my computer and there were no JPGs. (So I know that I am not just going crazy and exporting to the wrong format. At least, if craziness it be, I'm sufficiently crazy to probably be asking you about pea soup despite believing I'm asking you about marigolds.)

Under what conditions does the site do this? I'm guessing it has to do with the size of the image but I'd like confirmation and to know the exact criteria.

The post which triggered the comment was this one. The images there now are PNGs because I uploaded three new images, reducing the scale to reduce the file size. These seem to have stayed PNGs which further suggests to me that size may be a key factor.

up vote 14 down vote accepted

This seems status-by-design with IMGUR. That is when the size of the image reaches some threshold, conversion to JPG is automatically initiated. The threshold seem to be around 1MB.

Here is an external reference to a discussion on one of IMGUR's forums:

PNG file changes to JPG when uploaded

Posted by Kiana Gordon, updated Jan 28, 2012

I'm trying to upload a PNG image, but when I do so Imgur changes the file to JPG, even after stating it is PNG while uploading it. It only ever does it on the one image. I can upload smaller ones as PNG and they remain that when uploaded, but the file that keeps changing is only 0.98MB. I read that the max size for a PNG file is 2MB, so why is it changing?

I really need it as PNG as I need the transparency. Not to mention that the quality is severely diminished as a JPG file.


Answer by Sushubh Mittal, Jan 28, 2012

The maximum non-animated file size you can upload is 10MB. However, if the image is over 1MB then it will automatically be compressed or resized to 1MB, for better viewing on the net. The maximum animated file size (both GIF and PNG) is 2MB.

PNG around 1MB are getting optimized I guess. You might try to drop the filesize a bit more before uploading to IMGUR.

Answer by Sarah, Jan 30, 2012

Sorry for the inconvenience. This is by design. When a PNG is too big, it gets converted to a JPG.

  • 1
    How annoying. But good to know why. Thanks. – cfr Sep 8 '14 at 3:14
  • 3
    You can also use the medium size version of the images if the original is abc123.png, you get the medium size via abc123m.png. I don't know if the medium size is also converted to jpg though. – percusse Sep 8 '14 at 10:03
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    My experiments suggest that it will convert images of 700+K but not of <630K. So I'm not very confident about the 1MB claim. (I know M \neq MB and never remember which is which but this is too big a difference to be explained by that.) – cfr Sep 9 '14 at 1:30
  • @cfr: It may have changed over the years, I'm sure. – Werner Sep 9 '14 at 1:45
  • True. I really commented in case that information was useful to anybody else. – cfr Sep 9 '14 at 1:47

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