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OM-D Bit Depth: 8-bits/component vs. 16-bits/component

Discussion in 'Video Post-Production' started by Arvin, Aug 26, 2012.

  1. Arvin

    Arvin Mu-43 Regular

    Jan 18, 2012
    Hi All,

    I've been doing all my post processing with Adobe Camera Raw and have decided to try Lightroom for a better workflow.

    I was playing with some export settings and realized that exporting at a 16-bit/component depth gave a 90MB tiff file, while an 8-bit/Component setting gives a 45MB tiff file.

    When opening a .ORF raw file in ACR, the bit depth by default is at 8-bits, resulting in a 45MB file.


    Is there any advantage to exporting in 16-bit depth on an Olympus OM-D? 90MB seems huge now that I've been so used to seeing 45MB tiffs.
  2. jyc860923

    jyc860923 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Feb 28, 2012
    Shenyang, China
    I think the Oly is producing 12 bit colours (36bit totally) stored in 16 bit (48bit) format orf files, so generally speaking it's not necessary to store 16 bit tiff unless for pp, but with 8 bit files you sure will lose something.
  3. Sanpaku

    Sanpaku Mu-43 Regular

    Jul 24, 2012
    8-bit depth per color will show color banding on natural gradients of a single color, like skies and sunsets.

    It's barely visible, but it is there:

    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)

    Perhaps more important, if you remap color curves in post by adjusting brightness, color, or contrast, it will almost always map them to fewer "bins", visible if you ever observe the histogram during 8-bit depth editing. 4096 shades of sunset orange (from a 12-bit sensor) offers a lot more latitude than 256 (from an 8-bit depth file) for manipulation prior to visible color banding.
  4. Arvin

    Arvin Mu-43 Regular

    Jan 18, 2012
    Thanks for the replies, guys.

    So my interpretation is: if I'm going to use raw data, I might as well take advantage of the quality and save at 16-bit depth with 90MB files. This is going to get very large very fast!

    Seeing as how .ORF files are only 17MB, why not just keep the .ORFs and export jpegs as needed from lightroom for facebook/flickr?
  5. kwalsh

    kwalsh Mu-43 Top Veteran Subscribing Member

    Mar 3, 2012
    Baltimore, MD
    That sort of is the whole idea behind Lightroom to begin with.

    What are you producing TIFs for in the first place? Usually you would only do that if you were exporting an image to another program for some special purpose.

  6. Arvin

    Arvin Mu-43 Regular

    Jan 18, 2012
    Great, makes sense to me. I'm happy with 17mb images.

    I had TIFFS for archiving and printing - they also render thumbnails in windows explorer, but I found a codec to show .ORF thumbnails in explorer so I'm covered.

    Hooray for lightroom!
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