What Is Bit Depth and Does It Really Matter to Image Quality? (8 Bit vs 12 Bit vs 16 Bit)

One bit (pardon the pun) of tech info you may have come across in discussions about image quality and/or a camera's imaging power is bit depth. But what is bit depth and is it really that critical to judging the quality of a digital photo?

Well, photographer Matt Granger will discuss that in a bit (sorry) in the below video called "Does Does Bit Depth Matter??! (8 bit vs 12 vs 16 bit)."

"I want to talk to you about bit depth as it applies to your digital photography and your entire workflow and it also applies to digital videography as well," Granger says. "I'm looking to go beyond just simple Raw vs JPEG and help you to understand exactly what bit depth is, what it's impacts are, what its limits are and how you can put it to use."

While the video is a bit, ahem, technical, Granger does a great job of explaining the basics of bit depth in digital photography and whether it's as important as some people believe it is to producing gorgeously detailed photos.

"16 bit Raws also have 4,000 times more colors than 12 bit Raws. 16 bit files have 16.7 million times more colors than 8 bit JPEGs," Granger says. "But if your screen cannot see them, and the web cannot display them, why bother capturing so much data?"

Has he bit off more than he can chew with this argument? Watch the video to find out and then go visit his channel for more photography how-tos.