Bit depth = levels of gradient?

Started 2 months ago | Discussions thread
Ellis Vener
Ellis Vener Forum Pro • Posts: 11,344
Re: Bit depth = levels of gradient?

filmrescue wrote:

bclaff wrote:

filmrescue wrote:

I've been searching around to find some sort of chart or list that tells me how many levels of gradient there is for different single channel bit depths but I'm not having a lot of luck. Can anyone fill me in or link me to the info I'm looking for. I'd like to see from 2 all the way up to 20 or so.

The answer is not simple and is not the answer you will typically receive.
For example, with most systems there is no visible difference between 14-bits and 12-bits; and certain ly a factor of 4 difference.

You may want to look at what DxOMark call "Tonal Range".

What exactly are you trying to accomplish.

Primarily to be able to talk intelligently about why to be using a high bit depth capture system when capturing extremely low contrast negatives.
Also to be able to calculate for instance, if the negative I'm capturing is occupying 5 percent of the tonal range from absolute black to absolute white, how many levels of gradient do I have to work with if I use a 16 bit scanner or high end camera vs a 12 bit or 14 bit camera and at what point can I expect to see posterization given the capture system.

since you are asking about scanning negatives , try this technique: in the scanning software bring up the left end point to just a few points (3-5) below the end where you see the end of the mountain range.

This will distribute the data better throughout the actual scan so you should get better tonal separations.

The other numbers for other bit depths are primarily just because I was curious.

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