Approve the Cookies
This website uses cookies to improve your user experience. By using this site, you agree to our use of cookies and our Privacy Policy.
Forums  •   • New posts  •   • RTAT  •   • 'Best of'  •   • Gallery  •   • Gear
Forums  •   • New posts  •   • RTAT  •   • 'Best of'  •   • Gallery  •   • Gear
Register to forums    Log in

POTN forums are closing 31.12.2023. Please see and other posts in that thread for details.
FORUMS Post Processing, Marketing & Presenting Photos RAW, Post Processing & Printing 
Thread started 15 Dec 2007 (Saturday) 20:53
Search threadPrev/next
sponsored links (only for non-logged)

12 bit, 14 bit, 16 bit

2,040 posts
Likes: 1
Joined Aug 2003
Location: Dartmouth, Nova Scotia
Dec 15, 2007 20:53 |  #1

With all the megapixel/AF/sensor cleaning features of the newest cameras, the recent introduction of the 14 bit depth feature has kind of come in under the wire. I've heard from some sources that it makes no difference to image quality, while others suggests that it's easily the most important improvement of this camera generation.

If some one could point me to a source of disinterested information I'd be greatful.

In any case these are the questions I'd like to get answered:

I assume that the 14 bits advantages lay only in RAW and only if the RAW file is decoded with a 16 bit decoder. Is this true? Having said that, am I leaving quality on the table when I routinely decode my 12 bit RAW in 8 bit?

If there are advantages to the 14 bit RAW files (or even my current 12 bit RAW files) when they are decoded to 16 bit; do those advantages (obviously locked in place) survive if my finished product is an 8 bit (the only way they come) jpeg?

In an 8x10 commercially made print (like from a Fuji Frontier) is there a visible difference between well exposed 12 bit and 14 images decoded to it's optimal quality?

Would an ink jet printer that can use a higher dpi than a Frontier make more use of the 14 bit as well?

Does the pay off for 14 bit images show when the exposure is bad, especially quality in an underexposed shadow area?

Well there they are. The 14 bit questions. And if you'll forgive me I'm not particularly interested in opinions. I have lots of opinions and guesses too, as to what's going on, and what I'd like now are some facts.

"There's never time to do it right. But there's always time to do it over."
Canon 5D, 50D; 16-35 f2.8L, 24-105 f4L IS, 50 f1.4, 100 f2.8 Macro, 70-200 f2.8L, 300mm f2.8L IS.

1,550 posts
Joined May 2007
Dec 15, 2007 22:23 |  #2


Theoretically, yes 14 bit is supposed to be better than 12. 16 is better than 14.

However, you probably would never be able to see it. 95% of us edit images on computer displays that are only 8 bit. Be it a graphic card limitation, or a monitor LUT limitation, your edit workflow is still going to be limited to 256 values for each of the R,G,B channels within a particluar pixel. If you don't want to be limited by this, feel free to pony up the $$ to go to a 10 bit monitor.

If you do your color correction in the largest number of bits available to you, even if you only have an 8 bit output device, it allows you to avoid problems like banding. If you don't have problems with banding if you capture and edit from a 12 bit RAW file in a 16 bit color mode, you probably still won't see any benefit.

Website (external link)
My Blog (external link)
facebook (external link)
Gear List

Senior Member
811 posts
Likes: 1
Joined Apr 2005
Location: Cleveland
Dec 16, 2007 00:46 as a reply to  @ BrianAZ's post |  #3
bannedPermanent ban

Somewhat true...if your output is will benefit from a 14 bit file. You are right that you will not see it until you print though as most monitors are unable to reproduce all the info.

FYI, Epson just started shipping 16 bit print drivers, at least in the Professional models (3800 and higher). I can't speak for the consumer models. I did read somewhere though that at the moment it doesn't really matter because Photoshop's print engine in CS3 automatically hands off an 8 bit file to the print driver regardless of your working file.

- Phil

sponsored links (only for non-logged)

1,623 views & 0 likes for this thread, 3 members have posted to it.
12 bit, 14 bit, 16 bit
FORUMS Post Processing, Marketing & Presenting Photos RAW, Post Processing & Printing 
x 1600
y 1600

Jump to forum...   •  Rules   •  Forums   •  New posts   •  RTAT   •  'Best of'   •  Gallery   •  Gear   •  Reviews   •  Member list   •  Polls   •  Image rules   •  Search   •  Password reset   •  Home

Not a member yet?
Register to forums
Registered members may log in to forums and access all the features: full search, image upload, follow forums, own gear list and ratings, likes, more forums, private messaging, thread follow, notifications, own gallery, all settings, view hosted photos, own reviews, see more and do more... and all is free. Don't be a stranger - register now and start posting!

COOKIES DISCLAIMER: This website uses cookies to improve your user experience. By using this site, you agree to our use of cookies and to our privacy policy.
Privacy policy and cookie usage info.

POWERED BY AMASS forum software 2.58forum software
version 2.58 /
code and design
by Pekka Saarinen ©

Latest registered member was a spammer, and banned as such!
3904 guests, 109 members online
Simultaneous users record so far is 15,144, that happened on Nov 22, 2018 Digital Photography Forums is the website for photographers and all who love great photos, camera and post processing techniques, gear talk, discussion and sharing. Professionals, hobbyists, newbies and those who don't even own a camera -- all are welcome regardless of skill, favourite brand, gear, gender or age. Registering and usage is free.