What is Bit Depth in Photography?


The higher the bit depth of an image the
more shades from black to white it can store the simplest form of an image is a
one bit image now this can only show two shades black and white that is because
the one bit can only store one of two values 0 and 1 on the other hand an 8
bit image can store 265 possible shades a 16 bit image can display over 65,000
shades and 24 bit images can store over 16 million shades so you can see it’s an
exponential scale which doubles every time you increase the bit depth so a 9
bit image has double the amount of shades that are in an 8 bit image and a
7 bit image has half the amount of shades in an 8 bit image so a black and
white gradient with a relatively low bit rates will look a bit like this and a
black and white gradient with the relatively high bit rate will look like
this when it comes to colors you may have
heard of the acronym B PC which is bits per channel and the channels are usually
RGB which have red green and blue if it’s an 8-bit image this image would
have 256 shades per channel so 256 Reds 256 greens and 256 blues and when these
are blended together they form the complete photograph as the bit depth
increases the file size also increases because more information has to be
stored the more bits there are so a 24-bit image will be huge whereas an 8
bit image would be much smaller for images with a gradient in them like a
sky a sunset with a bright horizon and a darker Zenith to your photo the higher
the better so you don’t get banding through this gradient whereas if it’s a
clipart file or a basic logo you should be able to drop the bit depth to reduce
the size of the image now most TVs monitors and phone screens cope
perfectly well with an 8 bit image so you shouldn’t worry about it too much
and a smaller image will always load up a lot
on websites and within apps if you like this video try clicking on this one to
learn about why you should be shooting in raw or click down here for another of
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