12 vs 14 bits raw files

Started 3 months ago | Discussions thread
beatboxa Veteran Member • Posts: 7,473
Re: 12 vs 14 bits raw files

plumberdp69 wrote:

Saw some web articles on the pros and cons of using 12 vs 14 bits raw. Higher data resolution in 14 bits but its usefulness is limited by what human eyes can see (in theory).

Appreciate feedback from Z users on your choice of 12 or 14 bits and why.

Use 14 bits to be on the safe side despite the larger file size?


Use 14-bit if you are shooting at base ISO (64 or 100), such as in the case of landscapes.

Use 12-bit if you are shooting sports / wildlife / action at ISO 400 or above.  It can help with EVF lag, framerate (fps), buffer, size, etc., though perhaps not as much as one would want since the raws are lossless compressed.

In practice, there is almost no IQ difference between the two, except for a very slight difference in tonality at the very extremes shadows & highlights that are usually invisible unless you heavily push or pull at ISO 100.  And given the amount you have to push/pull, chances are these shadows or highlights are already less than ideal anyway.

If you want to just use one and never think of it again, lean toward what you shoot more of.  If shooting sports/wildlife/action more, use 12-bit.  If landscapes, portraits, etc., use 14-bit.  Again, won't make a significant difference either way.

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