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Thread: To Save As 16 Bit or to 8 bit Tiffs?

  1. #1
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    To Save As 16 Bit or to 8 bit Tiffs?

    I have always saved 16 bit files out of SPP which I then process in Lightroom. Other cameras are supported by LR so I just process the Raw files.

    However I don't do much in LR - a bit of white balance, very minor curves adjustments, some shadows adjustments and highlights perhaps, possibly minor adjustments to exposure and that is mostly it. Sometimes I use the gradient filter on part of the image but again nothing very dramatic.

    By accident I processed a number of files as 8 bit tiffs the other day then went back and re-processed as 16 bit. I then printed out at 3+ size. I can't tell any difference.

    If one doesn't do extreme post processing, is there really any value in 16 bit over 8 bit? Yes I know hard disks are cheap now but I am currently up to 6 TBs of basic storage duplicated times 3. I note that Edward Burtynsky's project on oil, made I believe with a Hasselblad, were all saved as 8 bits.

    Any thoughts?

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    Re: To Save As 16 Bit or to 8 bit Tiffs?

    You will not see a difference between an 8-bit and 16-bit image. The benefit is in the processing. As long as you have the RAW file, there is no reason not to make your tiffs 8-bit if you don't want to. If you need the extra bit depth, just process the RAW file again.

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    Re: To Save As 16 Bit or to 8 bit Tiffs?

    Depending on the subject and your sensibility you will be able to see a difference. Example: if you like clean images, free of luminance noise, you will pretty easily see posterization (mostly called banding, but it's not) in every bigger gradual color change, e.g. sky.

    But many users won't notice with their photographs, and editing in 16/32 bit should be more important then than acutally saving and looking at in 16 Bit, yes.

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