RAW 14-bit or 12-bit

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calson Veteran Member • Posts: 9,016
RAW 14-bit or 12-bit

I purchased Thom Hogan's e-book for the D850 and have been reading it the past few days. Most of its is a complete rehash of the information contained in either the Nikon Manual or the Nikon Menu Guide, both of which can be downloaded at no cost as PDF files.

There are some real nuggets of information however, that one can glean from the pages and one of these is with regard to the effect of ISO settings (or signal amplification) and noise as one would expect, but also with regard to a significant reduction in dynamic range with increases in ISO settings which was news to me.

I won't spoil the fun for those who will buy and read the book, but there is an interesting conclusion that Thom provides with respect to 14-bit or 12-bit RAW file capture. In essence if the ISO is greater than ISO 400, there is nothing to be gained by using 14-bit RAW instead of 12-bit RAW.

For me this is a valuable tidbit (and there are many more) that will affect how I shoot with the D850 and my other cameras. Much of the time I need a high ISO setting to get a high shutter speed for wildlife photography and yet I have been using 14-bit lossless compressed 100% of the time in the past. I will not be doing so in the future.

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Nikon D850
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