August 30, 2014, 12:13:00 PM

Author Topic: "Higher Bit" Sensors  (Read 662 times)

dstppy

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"Higher Bit" Sensors
« on: May 15, 2014, 03:23:15 PM »
At a dinner party last weekend, we were discussing aspects of our amateur photography. 

Being the resident geek, I'm usually asked my opinion about different equipment, and usually have halfway competent answers. These are mostly folks who have higher end gear than me, but generally, at the same events, end up asking me for shots because I do well with my 'pro-sumer' range of gear.

One question completely flattened me was about "when canon is going to come out with a 16-bit camera".   :o  Seriously, that was the face I made (I'm not going to go on about this or that if I have no clue).  Asked to explain, he said that canon camera bodies are 8-bit color and there are new 16-bit models of other cameras that increase the dynamic range of color.

Did he pick up some marketing-speek somewhere and it just not come out right?  Someone clue me in please :)

Thanks guys.
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"Higher Bit" Sensors
« on: May 15, 2014, 03:23:15 PM »

rs

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Re: "Higher Bit" Sensors
« Reply #1 on: May 15, 2014, 03:31:13 PM »
All Canon DSLR's for the past several years have shot 14 bit raw.

I'm not aware of any DSLR from any manufacturer that shoots greater than 14 bit raw. Nikon certainly don't.
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dstppy

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Re: "Higher Bit" Sensors
« Reply #2 on: May 15, 2014, 04:02:26 PM »
All Canon DSLR's for the past several years have shot 14 bit raw.

I'm not aware of any DSLR from any manufacturer that shoots greater than 14 bit raw. Nikon certainly don't.

Right, that was the *only* thing I could find.

The web is covered with 256 vs. 65k colors analogies . . . which are great if you're living in 1995 . . . I just couldn't figure any relevance to what he was trying to ask.
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neuroanatomist

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Re: "Higher Bit" Sensors
« Reply #3 on: May 15, 2014, 04:12:07 PM »
...he said that canon camera bodies are 8-bit color and there are new 16-bit models of other cameras that increase the dynamic range of color.

Just keep in mind that sounds can come from more than one human orifice, or put another way, he was talking out of his a$$.   :o

As rs states, Canon and Nikon both use 14-bit analog-to-digital converters (although some Nikon cameras allow you to save only 12-bit data to save space).  'Color' in Bayer sensors like those in Canon and Nikon dSLRs is provided by the color mask; each pixel sits under a Red, Green, or Blue filter, but the pixels themselves are monochromatic.  A 14-bit ADC means the data contain 214 possible values for each pixel, with 'color' assigned based on the overlying filter.  When the RAW file is demosaiced, the software interpolates the color data based on a cluster of pixels, so each pixel is assigned a color value that approximates the correct one (since each pixel really only saw R, G, or B). 

Worth noting that no Canon or Nikon camera even uses all 14 bits of data; the maximum DR for Nikon (Sony, really) is just over 13-bits, and Canon tops out at under 12-bits.  So those extra bits are basically wasted space in an image file.

I do have scientific cameras with 16-bit ADCs, but as rs also said, those don't exist in the consumer world.
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dstppy

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Re: "Higher Bit" Sensors
« Reply #4 on: May 15, 2014, 04:48:51 PM »
...he said that canon camera bodies are 8-bit color and there are new 16-bit models of other cameras that increase the dynamic range of color.

Just keep in mind that sounds can come from more than one human orifice, or put another way, he was talking out of his a$$.   :o

As rs states, Canon and Nikon both use 14-bit analog-to-digital converters (although some Nikon cameras allow you to save only 12-bit data to save space).  'Color' in Bayer sensors like those in Canon and Nikon dSLRs is provided by the color mask; each pixel sits under a Red, Green, or Blue filter, but the pixels themselves are monochromatic.  A 14-bit ADC means the data contain 214 possible values for each pixel, with 'color' assigned based on the overlying filter.  When the RAW file is demosaiced, the software interpolates the color data based on a cluster of pixels, so each pixel is assigned a color value that approximates the correct one (since each pixel really only saw R, G, or B). 

Worth noting that no Canon or Nikon camera even uses all 14 bits of data; the maximum DR for Nikon (Sony, really) is just over 13-bits, and Canon tops out at under 12-bits.  So those extra bits are basically wasted space in an image file.

I do have scientific cameras with 16-bit ADCs, but as rs also said, those don't exist in the consumer world.

I'll ask him where he got the idea from.  If this is what (he thought) he was talking about, then my original recommendations to shoot straight RAW was about as close as he could get.

Thanks for the info.

-Ernie
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neuroanatomist

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Re: "Higher Bit" Sensors
« Reply #5 on: May 15, 2014, 05:13:44 PM »
I suppose he might be confusing file formats...  Are there cameras that save 16-bit TIFFs?  They'd be big...bigger than RAW.  Plus, they'd have the white balance, sharpening and other in-camera settings 'baked in' making them much less useful than RAW. 
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ahab1372

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Re: "Higher Bit" Sensors
« Reply #6 on: May 15, 2014, 06:32:54 PM »
sounds very much like he confused in-camera RAW with 8-bit vs 16-bit files on a computer

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Re: "Higher Bit" Sensors
« Reply #6 on: May 15, 2014, 06:32:54 PM »

Mt Spokane Photography

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Re: "Higher Bit" Sensors
« Reply #7 on: May 16, 2014, 01:51:18 AM »
I thought I saw that a new MF camera was rumored to be coming out with a 16 bit AD.  I'll have to search.  MF might benefit from 14 bits actual.
 
I found it!  The Ricoh Pentax 645Z.   Lots of megapixels (51) and 16 bit AD converter. Dual SD slots and 4:3 format.  Maybe it is just a big point and shoot ;)
 
 http://www.dpreview.com/news/2014/04/15/ricoh-announces-medium-format-pentax-645z
 
At $8500, its not a consumer grade camera, but its not a $30,000 MF body either.  I'd like to play with one, but its not something to carry around.

dstppy

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Re: "Higher Bit" Sensors
« Reply #8 on: May 16, 2014, 08:39:50 AM »
I thought I saw that a new MF camera was rumored to be coming out with a 16 bit AD.  I'll have to search.  MF might benefit from 14 bits actual.
 
I found it!  The Ricoh Pentax 645Z.   Lots of megapixels (51) and 16 bit AD converter. Dual SD slots and 4:3 format.  Maybe it is just a big point and shoot ;)
 
 http://www.dpreview.com/news/2014/04/15/ricoh-announces-medium-format-pentax-645z
 
At $8500, its not a consumer grade camera, but its not a $30,000 MF body either.  I'd like to play with one, but its not something to carry around.

3fps hehe

Looks like a black "Apple Cube" with a lens.
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Re: "Higher Bit" Sensors
« Reply #8 on: May 16, 2014, 08:39:50 AM »