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14 bit vs 16 bit (S3 v S007)

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5 hours ago, Jon Warwick said:

Aside from the IQ4, are any medium format cameras “true” 16 bit (eg, Hasselblad, Fuji?).

According to various materials online, the Leaf Credo 60 is 16-bit. I have one for my Hassy H system. The files are beautiful. 

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On 5/14/2024 at 10:11 PM, Slender said:

Leica M9 had a 16bit container file (you can check in LR0 but the sampling from the sensor was done in 14bits... Anyway heart leans towards S007 anyhow. If i need more pixels for the sake of pixel, there is the SL2 for this. If I need ultra low light, there is the SL2s for that... On Photons to photos it sits in betweem these and my M10r and I think eventually my Leica ecosystem would look like SL2(s?) - S - M10r.

This is what the S cameras had - a 14-bit file structure but a 16 bit container. I remember reading that it was 14-bits of data and two extra containers for, well I never really understood that part. But what Leica did was add those two additional bit containers to the 14-bit file container and call it 16-bit, when in reality that was very misleading at best and entirely incorrect at worst.

But all of this fails to address the main point which is that the files you get from the S(007) are wonderful, in particular the tonal range and colour rendering is sublime and if not true 16-bit, that's kind of what it feels like when you process them in post.

At the time I was using the S(007), I was being mentored by a fairly well known photographer who did most of her best known and best received work on film. She was reviewing the work I was doing and was amazed when she learned that the files were shot digitally. She had assumed, based on their look, that I was shooting film. I always liked how maleable the files from S(007) were and how I  could process them to look like film.

The OVF is a delight to use; it is so big and so bright, it sucks you into the world through the lens and gives you an incredible connection with your subjects. I think you will appreciate this more than any other aspect of the camera. it's also worth mentioning that the way the camera feels to operate, how it falls into your hands, how it balances, it's responsiveness and the simplicity of the controls, all make it a wonderful too to use. As a professional photographer, I think you will fall in love with it and I'm sure it will aid your productivity.

I never used the S3; to be very honest there would have been no way I could have afforded the S(007) when I got it but a fluke of luck meant my local dealer had had one hanging around for quite some time and they just wanted to move it off their books, so I paid about half retail price for it and traded in an SL and a couple of lenses to make the purchase affordable. I got a second hand 70mm lens at the same time.

So an S3 was never remotely a possibility and even if it had been, I doubt very much if I would have bothered. The files from the (007) were more than large enough for print sizes not to be any issue. I strongly suspect that more than 30-50 megapixels and your into the realm of compensating for poor framing and composition, i.e. cropping to the nth degree because you didn't get it right in camera. And the (007) is vastly less expensive than the S3 - if you find two that are roughly the same price, one is either hugely inflated or the other is stupid cheap (in which case you should buy it!)

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  • 4 weeks later...

The Hasselblad X2D is a true 16 bit color inside a 16-bit container, but you have to use Phocus (their app) to get the color.  I have both the S007 and S3 and the colors are outstanding as are the dynamic range.  

You need not only true 16 bit color space, but an editor that will use that space and save it.

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Posted (edited)
On 5/9/2024 at 7:49 PM, Slender said:

Thank you very much @tom0511@Stuart Richardson@Einst_Stein@ImmerDraussen@irenedp

Photons to Photos confirms there are slight differences at various ISO - this proves that the S3 has a dual gain design, like the M10R, M11, SL2 and probably SL2s... and Leica probably decided to drop the sampling from 16 to 14iso to preserve the speed given the processor and most of the pipeline is same as S007 whilst having to deal with nearly 90% more pixels... Which goes in the direction of the precious insight from @Stuart Richardson: the S007 files could be a bit more malleable, which is really what matters to me. For sheer resolution the SL2 with multi shot would trump everything else on offer from Leica... I am more looking for the "one shot hdr" side.

That's what the GFX100 II and SL2s do to access higher frame rates = they drop from 14 bits to 12 bits.

@ImmerDraussen your feedback is encouraging because I loves the output of the pentax so so mucn, its so impressive and neat ensemble with the 55mm f2.8 (a great little lens) and yes, the main argument for going the S route would have to be the lenses, because if not the Pentax ticks all the boxes for a sub 2/3K medium format DSLR

GFX100II is a 16bit sensor under single shot  and 14bit under CL mode and 12bit under CH mode, I think. 

never really used the high speed mode to be honest. 

Edited by xiaubauu2009
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I am not trying to troll, but can anyone point me to an actual visible difference between a true 16bit vs 14bit in a 16bit container? It was my understanding that it was very minimal and mostly marketing except in all but the most extreme post processing scenarios.

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2 hours ago, Stuart Richardson said:

I am not trying to troll, but can anyone point me to an actual visible difference between a true 16bit vs 14bit in a 16bit container? It was my understanding that it was very minimal and mostly marketing except in all but the most extreme post processing scenarios.



In summary, while true 16-bit images theoretically offer superior gradation and dynamic range, the practical, visible differences between them and 14-bit images in a 16-bit container are often minimal for most use cases. The benefits of true 16-bit images are more relevant in professional workflows where extensive post-processing is required, or when viewed on high-end equipment specifically designed to take advantage of higher bit depths. For general viewing and printing, 14-bit images typically provide more than enough quality.

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