Canon vs Nikon RAW

Started Apr 21, 2012 | Discussions thread
steelski Senior Member • Posts: 2,555
Re: 14 bits to 8 or 16...

The direct relationship is that a 16bit RAW file and a 16 bit workflow will have exactly the same possibilities in terms of brightness levels/graduations. it has nothing to do with RGB values or color profiles..... if you have a 14 bit file and open it up FLAT in a 16 bit workflow, you will still only have 14 bits worth of data spread over 16 bits worth of graduations!!!!! If you had a 16 bit RAW file and opened it up in a (theoretical) 15 bit workflow, you will have to compress the graduations in doing so. its as simple as that. Now, what the RAW converter is try to precompact them as much as possible. bit it too is still only working with 12, 14 or 16 bits worth of data to begin with.

You are right that the current RAW files hardly show much difference if they are 14 or 12 bit, but it does not mean the extra data is always useless. imagine you are so massively underexposed that you get an almost black image, but if you lift the image 7 stops you get a visible image, the extra bits in the 14 bit image will help make the image more usable due to being able to show more graduations between values, resulting in a less posterized image.

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