What Is Bit Depth and Why Does It Matter to Your Photography?

Bit depth is one of the most fundamental and important parameters you're likely to come across in photography and videography. This great video will give you a quick introduction to what bit depth is and why it matters to your work.

Coming to you from ZY Productions, this quick and informative video will teach you about bit depth. Bit depth is essentially how much information your camera can store in each color channel for each pixel. For example, a camera with 8-bit color depth can store a string of eight 0s and 1s in each color channel for each pixel. Since there are two possibilities (0 or 1) in each slot and eight slots overall per channel, that equates to 2^8=256 values per channel. Since there are three overall channels, this equates to (2^8)^3=16,777,216 total colors. Altogether, higher bit depths are better, as they create finer gradations, and this results in smoother transitions between tones. As the video notes, the standard JPEG is 8-bit, whereas raw files are typically 12-bit or 14-bit files. This is by far one of the best reasons to shoot in raw; the massive gain in information you get from those extra bits creates much more post-processing latitude. Check out the video above for more. 

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3 Comments

Elan Govan's picture

Intelligent and funny way of sharing science and technology.

"...and et cetera" in an ad for an English learning service. :-)

Michael Jin's picture

For all practical purposes, it doesn't really matter to your photography. It only matters to your editing.