I have struggled getting any good responses to this question... this forum seems to have some of the advanced minds in the photo world.. I am very interested in hearing any opinions on this....
Scanning 8x10 film creates huge files and many storage issues. I am trying to e stimate the max. amount of data a "high end" digital printer can utilize to bene fit the final print. Knowing this, it will prevent me from storing files excess ively large with no current or possibly future benefit. (This relates to saving 8 bit files vs. 16 bit files only, not the size of the file determined by outpu t dimensions)
I was curious if anyone has ever ran the following test on a "high end" digital printer. (Like the LJ 5000 or other very high end ink jet, such as 8 or 12 colo r printers)
Scan a perfect chrome in 16 bit, save file, then print the 16 bit file on "high end" digital printer.
Take the same file and open in Photoshop and use one of the tools, therefore th e file would be compressed into an 8 bit file when saved...print this 8 bit file on the same printer and compare the results. (Use Ektaspace for your work spa ce to eliminate data clipping)
Does anyone think (or know) the 16 bit file would create a better looking print ? Or is it possible, even todays best printers are so inferior to this massive amount of data (8 or 16 bit file size), that the additional data 16 bit provides is completely wasted?
If there is no perceived difference in these prints using todays best printers, I wonder if it's possible to try the same experiment comparing 4 bit and 8 bit files on a print. The benefit of knowing this information, would be t o determine the optimum file size to work with (8bit vs. 16 bit) then we can ma ke an educated guess on what size file will be obsolete or inferior in the near future.
Some peoples opinion is to always save the largest file size possible to accomod ate the improved printers of the future. Of course this appeals to my common se nse, however if current "high end printers" make equal prints between 4 bit and 8 bit files, I can see NO reason to save 16 bit data now. It seems 8 bit files would be very sufficient to accomodate the improved printers of the future.
It's my gut feeling, in the next 10 - 20 years, there will always be limitations of printing papers. Considering todays digital printers already mat ch darkroom quality, I doubt manufacturers will invest heavily into R&D to furth er the resolution of the papers and ink delivery systems. This seems logical co nsidering the current "high end" digital printers output is nearing the capacity of the human eye.
Of course this discussions excludes saving files for other purposes other than p rinting to paper, such as film recorders, which have the capacity to record 10x - 20x more data than printing papers. Thank you all in advance.