12 vs 14 bits raw files

Started 4 months ago | Discussions thread
kenw Veteran Member • Posts: 6,323
Re: Noticable...?

Mako2011 wrote:

kenw wrote:

Mako2011 wrote:

kenw wrote:

The difference is only in heavily pushed shadows at lower ISOs.

The difference is actually more noticeable (when it is noticeable) with regard to highlight tones the can be captured in 14-bit but not 12. Even more rare to see the dif with shadow detail tones

Do you have an example or reference for this? I have never seen anyone ever claim this, Google produces no results and it defies the fundamentals of quantization and shot noise. But if there is something peculiar about Nikon that would be good to know. And it is certainly possible for *lossy* compression schemes.

Here's one I've used often:

14-bit compressed

12-bit compressed

The highlight tone differences in the overexposed bricks are more "noticeable" to my eye than tone differences in the shadows. Seems easier to lose detail from channel clipping at the highlight end. Doesn't mean 14-bit can't aid in getting more detail at the other end...I just think it's more obvious at the high end when you compare apples to apples. Might be that the color shift in shadow detail when lifting hard pops out more to folks ... vs actual detail captured

Thanks for clarifying!

To be clear those images are from:


And they are specifically for lossy compressed RAWs.

For lossless compressed RAWs there is no highlight difference between 12 and 14 bit.

So that's an important distinction for the OP.

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Ken W
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