Printing with 16bit files

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Printing with 16bit files

Postby UKIan » Sun Apr 06, 2008 7:05 am

As I understand the majority of printers are only capable of covering the 8bit range. Does this mean its better to work in 8bit for printing. I have been printing 16bit tifs and guess I would have been better working in 8bit, maybe?
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Re: Printing with 16bit files

Postby jrhilton » Sun Apr 06, 2008 10:28 am

UKIan wrote:As I understand the majority of printers are only capable of covering the 8bit range. Does this mean its better to work in 8bit for printing. I have been printing 16bit tifs and guess I would have been better working in 8bit, maybe?


It is a good idea to work in 16bit when doing your editing, and when you save your files. But when printing, you might as well down-convert to 8bit, as there is no printer out there about to print all the colors you can get with 16bit, also apart from some special RIPs (which bypass the o/s printer driver) I am not aware of any drivers that actual support 16bit, I think they all run on 8bit max. Think both windows and osX printing subsystems are 8bit only too.

So best to edit in 16bit, save in 16bit, and then print in 8bit, file sizes will be smaller, and no difference in print quality.
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Postby Costas L » Sun Apr 06, 2008 12:58 pm

As JR says, there are many benefits to doing your editing in 16-bit and there are a huge number of well qualified and respected authors of such a philosophy to be found. Although its true that most printers only have 8-bit driver support, 16-bit drivers started to appear with the Canon iPF5000 and I believe HP also have a pro model with 16-bit drivers. Not sure about the current crop of printers but can well imagine that Canon will provide that driver for its A3 printers as well.

So although 16-bit printing may not be affordable today, I think its on its way, competition in the market will favour manufacturers who make the most of the technology out there. You only need look at the hammering Epson have taken with some of their printers due to the need to physically swap inks for matte printing.
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Postby Colin » Sun Apr 06, 2008 2:51 pm

I work and save in 16bit files and when I print on my R2400 I am still using the 16bit file and it has always worked perfect for me. I never knew this problem existed until now.

Colin :lol:
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Postby Costas L » Sun Apr 06, 2008 4:01 pm

Colin wrote:I work and save in 16bit files and when I print on my R2400 I am still using the 16bit file and it has always worked perfect for me. I never knew this problem existed until now.
Colin :lol:


Its not a problem Colin - Photoshop and the print drivers do the conversion from 16 to 8-bit for you, so there is nothing for you to worry about. The only issue is, 16-bit files are twice the size of 8-bit files so you could save a lot of disk space by working in 8-bit :)
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Postby Colin » Mon Apr 07, 2008 1:13 am

Costas,
I like to work in 16 bit as it retains a lot more information and gives better gradations in the the colours, I dont know if it gives better prints but I hope with the extra information it is bound to have some effect to better prints.
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