Questions on 'Bits per pixel'


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Dec 3, 2008
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#1
I've got 2 noobish questions, hope friends here can help:

I read about some cameras (eg Canon 7D, 50D etc, Nikon D300) having "14 bits per pixel" while some others (eg Nikon D90) having "12 bits per pixel".
Would having say 2 more 'bits per pixel' have any significant impact on the photos, and if so, in what way?

Also, what is 'Pixel Pitch'? Eg 4.3um, 5.5um...
What does it mean to have higher or lower Pixel Pitch numbers?

Thankyou in advance!
 

J-Chan

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Sep 21, 2005
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#2
Bits are a logarithmic units so 14bit is able to store 4 times more info ie. a 14bit cam is able to capture more colour depth 16,384 tones vs 4,096 tones..

Pixel pitch is the physical size of the individual pixels on the sensor, measured in micrometers (μm), a larger pixel pitch means it has larger pixels and generally better noise control than a smaller pixel pitch sensor..
 

Rashkae

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Nov 28, 2005
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#3
Click here for pixel pitch:
http://www.lmgtfy.com/?q=what+is+pixel+pitch

(FYI, in DSLR sensors we normally use pixel density, pixel pitch is a monitor term, though technically accurate for describing the individual pixel sizes on the sensor)

Click here for the 12 vs. 14-bit question:
http://www.lmgtfy.com/?q=what+is+the+difference+between+14+bits+per+pixel+and+12

Quick answer: Supposedly you will get more dynamic range headroom when working in RAW, but realistically most people can't see any difference, and it seems to be a marketing gimmick. I've seen better DR and smoother tonal gradings from 12-bit cameras than most 14-bit sensors.
 

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Dec 3, 2008
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#4
Thanks for the help, guys.
And especially thanks to the 'quick answer' from Rashkae...I got lost from the 4th paragraph of the lmgtfy writeup!:confused:

So a quick-quick sum up will be that I shouldn't be especially worried about pixel pitch or the 12/14 bit thinggy when I purchase my next camera.
(I need to buy one that is good at high ISO since I'll be taking performance shots, which typically are dark places and disallows flash. Got abit confused when I start reading on the two aspects.)

Click here for pixel pitch:
http://www.lmgtfy.com/?q=what+is+pixel+pitch

(FYI, in DSLR sensors we normally use pixel density, pixel pitch is a monitor term, though technically accurate for describing the individual pixel sizes on the sensor)

Click here for the 12 vs. 14-bit question:
http://www.lmgtfy.com/?q=what+is+the+difference+between+14+bits+per+pixel+and+12

Quick answer: Supposedly you will get more dynamic range headroom when working in RAW, but realistically most people can't see any difference, and it seems to be a marketing gimmick. I've seen better DR and smoother tonal gradings from 12-bit cameras than most 14-bit sensors.
 

Rashkae

Senior Member
Nov 28, 2005
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#5
(I need to buy one that is good at high ISO since I'll be taking performance shots, which typically are dark places and disallows flash. Got abit confused when I start reading on the two aspects.)
Well, for that specific use, a camera that can do 14 bits *may* help you, as you can shoot underexposed in RAW and still recover details. Though colors may be affected, etc.

For that specific use, the D3 is still one of the better cams out there.
 

Dec 3, 2008
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#6
For that specific use, the D3 is still one of the better cams out there.
Heh Heh...D3? :embrass:
For my budget, I was actually deciding whether I should get a D90 (12 bits) now, or save up for another 8-9 months for either a D300s or EOS7D (14 bits).
 

Rashkae

Senior Member
Nov 28, 2005
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#7
Heh Heh...D3? :embrass:
For my budget, I was actually deciding whether I should get a D90 (12 bits) now, or save up for another 8-9 months for either a D300s or EOS7D (14 bits).
If you can wait, then wait. In 8-9 months we'll have a whole new generation of cameras that'll be miles ahead of what we have today. :)
 

Dec 3, 2008
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#8
If you can wait, then wait. In 8-9 months we'll have a whole new generation of cameras that'll be miles ahead of what we have today. :)
Ya...something that replaces the currend D90 maybe?
 

grantyale

Senior Member
Oct 4, 2004
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Bedok
#9
I've got 2 noobish questions, hope friends here can help:

I read about some cameras (eg Canon 7D, 50D etc, Nikon D300) having "14 bits per pixel" while some others (eg Nikon D90) having "12 bits per pixel".
Would having say 2 more 'bits per pixel' have any significant impact on the photos, and if so, in what way?

Also, what is 'Pixel Pitch'? Eg 4.3um, 5.5um...
What does it mean to have higher or lower Pixel Pitch numbers?

Thankyou in advance!
Practically there is very little difference unless you are intro astrophotography where the extra information in the two LSB can be somewhat useful. At base ISO, 14bit allows a bit more pushing when shooting RAW.

If you shoot JPEGs only, there is no difference at all.
 

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Dec 3, 2008
166
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16
#10
Practically there is very little difference unless you are intro astrophotography where the extra information in the two LSB can be somewhat useful. At base ISO, 14bit allows a bit more pushing when shooting RAW.

If you shoot JPEGs only, there is no difference at all.
Thanks! Looks like I'll ignore the difference between 12 and 14 bits.
Doing some analysis over the differences that matter over getting something like a D90 versus something like a Nikon D300 or Canon 7D. At first I thought it's the 12-14 Bits...now I have to re-analyse.
 

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