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Author Topic: 14 bit files from D300  (Read 2376 times)
DavidWBrown
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« on: August 04, 2011, 12:17:40 AM »
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I can't seem to see anything special or better in the 14 bit files my D300 creates.
I have loaded them into Lightroom 3.4.1, Nikon Capture 2.0 and CS4. The files are
about 6 mega-bytes larger in file size(19megs VS. 25megs) I am not the brightest
bulb on the tree, but I don't see anything different. How about you folks?

Sincerely
Dave Brown
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howardm
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« Reply #1 on: August 04, 2011, 09:44:30 AM »
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it's EXTREMELY subtle.  there is a fantastic write-up at regex.info by Jeff Friedl about this topic.
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JeffKohn
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« Reply #2 on: August 04, 2011, 11:29:50 AM »
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At base ISO, there's a slight improvement in the shadows, which are slightly cleaner. If you don't need the burst speed of 12-bit RAW, I feel that it's worth using 14-bit at base ISO. I'm not sure there's any real benefit at higher ISO's.
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Ellis Vener
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« Reply #3 on: August 07, 2011, 09:26:43 AM »
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"I can't seem to see anything special or better in the 14 bit files my D300 creates."

Given that we don't know what you shoot, or how you shoot, how is it possible to evaluate whether or not you can see the difference?
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Ellis Vener
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Creating photographs for advertising, corporate and industrial clients since 1984.
DavidWBrown
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« Reply #4 on: August 08, 2011, 04:49:10 PM »
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Sir;

The original question was can you see anything different in your 14 bit files, I already know I can't see anything different
in my files. I was hoping to hear from folks that have done some kind of conparison shooting and have an informed opinion
on the matter.

Sincerely
Dave Brown
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Ellis Vener
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« Reply #5 on: August 08, 2011, 07:22:45 PM »
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Fair enough Mr. Brown. I admit that i have not When I have had Nikon cameras in house (among them D2X, D300, D3, D3s, D3x) I immediately set them to 14 bit lossless compressed NEFs - I did do some comparison shooting under controlled conditions seeing if I could differences between lossless compression and non compressed but failed to see a large enough difference to not use lossless compression -- an leftthem parked there.

I would expect the differences to between 12 bit and 14 bit NEFs to show up in the extremes  - a little higher (better) signal/noise in the shadows and a little more detail in extreme highlights.


Are you looking  into  your dark tones  at 100% magnification? Can you see differences in noise levels at different ISO settings  between your 12 bit and 14 bit per channel NEF images?  Are there any differences in the highlights?

If, given the way you shoot in the lighting you generally work with, you don't really see a difference then for all practical purposes  there is no difference for you. My basic philosophy is that i want to take in as large a set of data as possible at the start and winnow it down to what I need later.
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Ellis Vener
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Creating photographs for advertising, corporate and industrial clients since 1984.
DavidWBrown
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« Reply #6 on: August 08, 2011, 09:02:44 PM »
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Sir;

Thanks for your kind reply, your experiences with several Nikon bodies is most helpful.
I am trying to shoot stars, the Milky way in particular over a lake to get reflections. I am
using high ISO setting on my camera(ISO 6400), no noise reduction and make 30 second exposures
@ F2.8 of the night sky. As I'm sure you know noise is everywhere at those settings and I was hoping
for an improvement/difference in the noise either or luminance or color. The camera slows way down and
write time to the card is longer indeed. Proper focus is problematic, so I think I will set focus with live view
(zoomed in) and then switch back to mirror up for the exposure. Thanks again for your feed back

Sincerely
Dave Brown
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JeffKohn
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« Reply #7 on: August 08, 2011, 09:11:30 PM »
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I don't recall the technical terms exactly (read noise vs shot noise?), but there are two types of noise contributing to a photo and the type that dominates at high ISO is not the type that is reduced by shooting at 14-bit. So if you're shooting at ISO-6400 I don't think you're going to see any benefit at all from 14-bit shooting.
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FranciscoDisilvestro
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« Reply #8 on: August 09, 2011, 11:13:15 AM »
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With a D300, the only way where 14 bits could make a difference is at base ISO, and even that is questionable.
There is a relation between useful bits and noise level. According to DxOMark, the maximum DR for the D300 is 11.72 EV (screen) at ISO 200, which means 12 bits should suffice.

Going above ISO 200 will make completely redundant the extra 2 bits from the 14 bits file

At ISO 6400, the DR is about 6.7 EV (according to DxO Mark), so even 12 bits is an overkill

For those kind of exposures you should use "Long Exposure Noise Reduction"

Also, I would try to use the same exposure time and f/stop and setting a lower ISO, like 1600, and then adjust in post processing

If you want a more detailed study, this study analyzes the issue of bit depth, noise and dynamic range, including the specific case of the Nikon D300
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JeffKohn
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« Reply #9 on: August 09, 2011, 12:11:10 PM »
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With a D300, the only way where 14 bits could make a difference is at base ISO, and even that is questionable.
There is a relation between useful bits and noise level. According to DxOMark, the maximum DR for the D300 is 11.72 EV (screen) at ISO 200, which means 12 bits should suffice.
It's not just about number of bits. With the D300 (and D3x), 14-bit mode uses a different, slower readout method that produces less read noise.
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FranciscoDisilvestro
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« Reply #10 on: August 09, 2011, 12:28:04 PM »
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It's not just about number of bits. With the D300 (and D3x), 14-bit mode uses a different, slower readout method that produces less read noise.

Agreed, but I doubt it will make a difference at ISO 6400
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