This isn’t a dialogue on the prudence of taking pictures in RAW versus JPEG. It’s about understanding bit depth and the way it can have an effect on the standard of your photographs. Tutvid explains:
What’s Bit Depth?
Bit depth refers back to the quantity of data your photographs carry. A typical JPEG picture is an 8-bit picture. An 8-bit picture has precisely 256 ranges of colours and tones which may be manipulated (or performed with) in any photograph modifying software program (together with Photoshop).
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That stated, if you push or pull an underexposed picture, you lose a few of this data. With a picture that has a really small quantity of data to start with, similar to 8-bit picture, the lack of data will sometimes lead to banding.
These photographs can even display a common lack of high quality.
A 16-bit picture has 65,536 ranges of colours and tones. Now, that’s a major soar from an 8-bit picture. So, with a 16-bit picture, even when we occur to lose about half the colours and tones, we nonetheless find yourself with 32,268 ranges. That’s nonetheless a powerful quantity.
Even after aggressive pushing and pulling of a 16-bit picture, we nonetheless retain the main points, the dynamic vary, and the smoothness of the photographs—there’s normally no banding, both.
Why Not Open a JPEG as a 16-bit Picture?
If you shoot in JPEG you routinely create an 8-bit file. A RAW picture, however, creates a 12-bit or perhaps a 14-bit file.
Okay, so, whereas most cameras can solely create a 12-bit or 14-bit file, why would you be working a 16-bit file in Photoshop? If you open a 16-bit file (or let’s say workspace) you’re principally opening a subject to play with all the data that’s contained within the picture file. A RAW file is probably not greater than 14-bit, however you’ve gotten sufficient house—plus additional—to make the most of the complete data.
With an 8-bit JPEG picture you solely have the 256 ranges of colours and tones, however you’ve gotten an even bigger subject of play to work with them. The JPEG doesn’t magically change into a 16-bit file.
Then again, should you’d opened solely an 8-bit file (or workspace), that 14-bit of data must be squeezed right into a tiny workspace that may solely comprise 256 ranges of colours and tones. Primarily, lots of the data might be wasted. With it, the foremost purpose why you initially determined to shoot in RAW.
One other main distinction between an 8-bit picture and a 16-bit picture is within the variety of colours that you just get. An 8-bit picture has solely 16 million colours, whereas a 16-bit picture has 28 billion colours!
Should you’re nonetheless not satisfied there’s a distinction, strive modifying a JPEG and a RAW file in Photoshop with the very same changes and see what you get.