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Thread: 8 bit vs 16 bit drum scans

  1. #1

    Join Date
    Aug 2009

    8 bit vs 16 bit drum scans

    how much better are 16 bit drum scans? where will i see an improvement? how noticeable will it be? in other words, is it worth the effort to upgrade? i primarily print 30x40 inch images from transparency sheet film.

    i'm thinking of upgrading from linocolor to newcolor or silverfast.


  2. #2

    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Germany, Aalen

    Re: 8 bit vs 16 bit drum scans

    There will be no difference in detail, but in the number of tones you get per color channel. If you make only little adjustments to the file produced by the scanner you will probably not see much. But should you need any more substantial adjustments (very sensitive is for example color -> BW conversion or strong curve/color) - especially if you apply yellow/orange/red filter) you can easily get banding in the smooth areas (sky).

    Just test it - have one image scanned for you in 16 bits and make a copy which you convert to 8 bit prior any post processing. Then process them both in the same way and compare (even better compare the prints)

  3. #3

    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Ontario, Canada

    Re: 8 bit vs 16 bit drum scans

    There are two other things to consider before deciding on 8 or 16-bit scans. The first is that in the future (maybe not-so-distant), printers will be capable of utilizing 16-bit colour when printing. The other, more practical reason for sticking with 16-bit is that even if you don't perform heavy tonal manipulation, if your working colour space is ProPhoto, you're going to hurt that 8-bit image pretty quickly.


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