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Thread: Color Depth R10 ?

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    Workshop Member ptomsu's Avatar
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    Color Depth R10 ?

    Hi Folks!

    I must admit I feel a bit guilty to have to ask this question here, but I recently ran into the color bit discussion in other forums. Think we all found out that the latest and greatest Nikon's and Canon's are coming with 14Bit (D3, D300, 1DSMkIII etc...)

    I always thought that DMR - which I owned for 2 years and sold in freeing some money for the R10 to come (which BTW went into lot of new M glass for my M8 already ) - would work only with 12 Bit. But in another forum I was corrected that this has already 16 Bit.

    What is right ?

    What Bit depth is the M8 using ?

    What Bit depth can we expect from the FF R10 and Mxyz to come ?

    Thanks for updating me...

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    Re: Color Depth R10 ?

    DMR: 16 bit

    M8: 8 bit.

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    Workshop Member ptomsu's Avatar
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    Re: Color Depth R10 ?

    Quote Originally Posted by fotografz View Post
    DMR: 16 bit

    M8: 8 bit.
    If this is the case (which I do not doubt) then I do not understand why my M8 photos are so much better than the DMR one's?

    Does that mean that color bit depth is actually something not so important for great results?

    What I have seen from the Nikon D3 (not my own photos) is that the D3 results seem much better than what I was used to from my D2X. Can that be because of the color depth, or are there mainly other effects the reason?

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    Re: Color Depth R10 ?

    Quote Originally Posted by ptomsu View Post
    If this is the case (which I do not doubt) then I do not understand

    Does that mean that color bit depth is actually something not so important for great results?

    What I have seen from the Nikon D3 (not my own photos) is that the D3 results seem much better than what I was used to from my D2X. Can that be because of the color depth, or are there mainly other effects the reason?
    " ... why my M8 photos are so much better than the DMR one's?

    Are they? Try using Flexcolor to process the DMR files as 16 bit ProColor files. Imacon (Now Hasselbald) made the DMR unit for Leica, and Flexcolor is their RAW processing engine. Give it a try.

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    Senior Member EH21's Avatar
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    Re: Color Depth R10 ?

    Peter,
    I've read user impressions in different places that both that the DMR files are better and also that the M8 files are better so it seems that if it depends on who you ask, that they must be pretty close in terms of IQ. I haven't read much stating that the Canon is better though. :-)

    I only shoot the DMR but the M8 files i've seen seem about the same and if anything I'd give the advantage to the DMR. Some of the M lenses are a better than their R counterparts so perhaps this is what you are referring too? I think its really close unless you are shooting ISO 800 or higher where the M8 has an advantage. As has been previously stated, Flexcolor produces the best conversion for the DMR. I am continually amazed at the quality of the files.

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    Re: Color Depth R10 ?

    Of course, the M8 has the advantage of continuous firmware upgrades and hopefully will continue to do so ... where the DMR has been slow in this regard ... which is why I recommend the Flexcolor processing software which has continued to improve quite a bit since the introduction of the DMR. The DMR ISO 800 has improve as a result of the latest firmware upgrade and the latest version of Flexcolor.

    I also believe certain M glass does perform certain imagery that people look for ... but that's more a matter of preference. The 2 90AA lenses are a good point of comparison in terms of "new school" optics. Files from either camera are very hard to detect from one another ... but I'd give the edge to the DMR here.

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    Re: Color Depth R10 ?

    I have both, I would say that the color is better with the DMR, but there is a very slight resolution advantage to the M8...the M8 files seem to stand up a little better to enlargement than the DMR files, but I think this is due to the fact that the 100% detail in the DMR is a bit harsher. I don't really know how to describe it better than that, but the M8 100% detail looks a bit more natural to me, and consequently it holds up better to enlargement. In general, there is a little to choose between the two files.

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    Workshop Member ptomsu's Avatar
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    Re: Color Depth R10 ?

    Also from my experience I can say that the difference between DMR and M8 files is hard to tell for me, although I find the M8 files better, especially due to the latest FW upgrade, which fixes AWB issues to some 95%. But I know that is no issue if one uses only DNG - which I do.

    But all these observations brings me to he conclusion, that obviously color depth is not something so important as other factors, like less noise at higher sensitivity, dynamic range, maybe also more MP ....

    You think I am right?

    I will be able to answer when I get my D3 and can compare the files to the DMR, M8 and also the D2X files - at least somehow. And I am "only" using LR 1.3 - nothing else - because I found differences (although there are some) not worth for me to use different SW packages. But please do not kill me for this

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    Senior Member EH21's Avatar
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    Re: Color Depth R10 ?

    Peter,
    You might consider breaking your question into two discreet sections - Does 16bit A/D sensor processing make a difference and does a 16bit image file make a difference? The former offers a clear advantage in terms of DR and color. The later can make a difference depending on how much handling and work the file needs in post but if you're not doing much to the files then you might not see a difference. The M8 has the 16bit sensor A/D like the DMR but employs a trick to compress the RAW files to 8bit to save storage space. So both cameras capture images similarly and have similar DR and color tonality, but write them to the card differently as the M8 images are "compressed". Perhaps this is why you don't perceive a significant difference?
    Eric

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    Re: Color Depth R10 ?

    Quote Originally Posted by EH21 View Post
    Peter,
    You might consider breaking your question into two discreet sections - Does 16bit A/D sensor processing make a difference and does a 16bit image file make a difference? The former offers a clear advantage in terms of DR and color. The later can make a difference depending on how much handling and work the file needs in post but if you're not doing much to the files then you might not see a difference. The M8 has the 16bit sensor A/D like the DMR but employs a trick to compress the RAW files to 8bit to save storage space. So both cameras capture images similarly and have similar DR and color tonality, but write them to the card differently as the M8 images are "compressed". Perhaps this is why you don't perceive a significant difference?
    Eric
    Eric

    I don't think that 16 bit really has an impact on DR. The DR is a function of the sensor noise at the dark end and the point of sensor saturation at the highlight end.

    What 16 bit really does is provide many more discrete points of tonality compared to lower bit depths. So you have more colors to work with and in black and white more grey scale gradations. This can be very important in the areas of highlights

    Woody

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    Senior Member EH21's Avatar
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    Re: Color Depth R10 ?

    Woody,
    Think of bits as powers of 2 ... just the same as stops since every aperture stop up or down results in a doubling or halving of light. It would be impossible for the sensor to capture more than 8 stops with just 8 bits - thats why its important for the sensor and A/D to be 16 bit. And actually even with 16 bits the best that is currently done is about 12 stops DR because of overhead involved. Downstream from the A/D then the file can be converted/compressed to 8bits and retain the capture DR. Make sense?


    Regards,
    Eric

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    Re: Color Depth R10 ?

    Quote Originally Posted by EH21 View Post
    Woody,
    Think of bits as powers of 2 ... just the same as stops since every aperture stop up or down results in a doubling or halving of light. It would be impossible for the sensor to capture more than 8 stops with just 8 bits - thats why its important for the sensor and A/D to be 16 bit. And actually even with 16 bits the best that is currently done is about 12 stops DR because of overhead involved. Downstream from the A/D then the file can be converted/compressed to 8bits and retain the capture DR. Make sense?


    Regards,
    Eric
    I agree with this Eric. Having only 8 stops means that the tonality steps are gross as opposed to fine when 16 bits are in play. My only point was that the dynamic range is a function of the sensor physics as opposed to the number of steps or bits in the A to D converter. The number of colors and the gray scale tonalities definitely are a function of that converter however and 16 bits is the way to go.

    Woody

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