User experiences: "12bit (raw16)" vs high speed mode

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User experiences: "12bit (raw16)" vs high speed mode

Post by cmas »

Well, this has been discussed time and a time again. And many of us have tested this by ourselves. But let's entertain us a bit more, shall we...

I noticed that PlayerOne has made an H-alpha tutorial and recommed using 12bit mode with their Apollo m-max camera instead of high speed mode. I have not seen any big effect with imx178 or imx174 while comparing "12bit" vs high speed mode when we are stacking a lot of frames. Actually it seems that higher frame rates are better of providing decent amount of frames to mitigate daytime seeing issues and a lot of frames in stacking will mitigate the bit depth, at least to a certain degree. Solar Astronomy book, among other references, state that there is benefit in increasing frame rates, not bit depth if it leads to significant decrease in frames rates. Or is it so that this Apollo m-max can record 126 fps in 12 bit mode and changing to 8 bit mode does not increase the fps? The information on the net seems to vary on this matter.

Link to PlayerOne tutorial:
https://player-one-astronomy.com/solar- ... llo-m-max/

Question:
Has anyone really found out a situation (seeing conditions, some type of solar detail, some sensor type, etalon type, single vs double stack or something) in which, using lucky imaging and trying to capture H-alpha solar details, higher bit depth would actually be more beneficial compared to a typical 8 bit high speed mode?
Last edited by cmas on Thu Mar 31, 2022 3:55 pm, edited 2 times in total.


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Re: User experiences: "16bit" vs high speed mode

Post by Montana »

I've not done any tests but I know I have much more contrast control when imaging white light and CaK with 16 bit. I feel it in my gut that it is so much easier to get the effect I want in the image. I use both 16 bit and 8 bit. I try to use 16 bit when the seeing is calm and when exposure doesn't allow high speed. I find WL, CaK and proms benefit so much when captured in 16 bit. But when I need high frame rate I will do it. I don't think it is a hard and fast rule, you go for it when you know you will get the benefit of 16 bit over fast fps.

Alexandra


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Re: User experiences: "16bit" vs high speed mode

Post by cmas »

And no other opinions? I thought this question was going to start a debate :lol:


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Re: User experiences: "16bit" vs high speed mode

Post by rigel123 »

I have never done a comparison, but this YouTube from Woodland Hills Camera seems to show that 16 bit does give more depth, but at the cost of files that are twice the size of 8 bit. I have always used 8 bit so file sizes are smaller for my animations but maybe I'll rethink that.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G9sGsnqrqdg


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Re: User experiences: "16bit" vs high speed mode

Post by rsfoto »

cmas wrote: Wed Mar 30, 2022 3:29 am And no other opinions? I thought this question was going to start a debate :lol:
Hi,

Well Yes and No :lol:

At the end of the food chain the result will be a jpg or a gif or a png (no difference in quality whatsoever compared to JPG but a lot bigger and memory space greedy-guts)

in 8 bit ...

My H-alpha images are all taken in the first step in 8 bit AVI while the White Light the RAW material are 16 bit ser videos.


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Re: User experiences: "16bit" vs high speed mode

Post by cmas »

rigel123 wrote: Wed Mar 30, 2022 2:09 pm I have never done a comparison, but this YouTube from Woodland Hills Camera seems to show that 16 bit does give more depth, but at the cost of files that are twice the size of 8 bit. I have always used 8 bit so file sizes are smaller for my animations but maybe I'll rethink that.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G9sGsnqrqdg
This is an interesting video, thanks for the link! Would be nice if the Solar Astronomy authors would also chime in regarding their rationale.


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Re: User experiences: "16bit" vs high speed mode

Post by rsfoto »

Hi,

Of course are 16 bit images more detailed as 8 bit as 16 bit dos have 65535 shades of grey while 8 bit have only 256 shades of grey.

Another thing is ¿ are our ZWO, Player One, etc. CMOS chip equipped cameras real 16 bit recorders ? A lot of these cameras are maybe 10, 12 or 14 bit and the internal soft or firmware interpolates it up to 16 in order to fill up the sequence as 10, 12 or 14 bit dos not fit in the 8 bit or 16 bit 0r 32 or 64 bit system.

Interpolation is equal to inventing something to fill up the gaps.

Many years ago I was a bit involved in printing calendars and there is the same question about this rear part analysis of how much bit depth you need.

One sends a 16 bit TIFF image to the offset printer with millions of shades of grey and then when it goes to the offset printing machine one has to find out that the machine can only print let me say, I do not remember well, not more then 10000 shades of grey ...

So, what is behind all that ?

Have you analyzed how many shades of grey your monitor can really depict per color ? Yes a huge amount in 8 bit would be 16,777,216 different colors but careful. If you take a pure Red it can only be represented in 256 shades as well as Green and Blue so from where do the 16'777,216 colours come from ?

Very easy 256 at the power of 3 gives you that huge amount ... but at the basics you have only 8 bit ...

There are monitors which can show 10 bit colour look at this one https://www.viewsonic.com/global/products/lcd/VP2772 as of which I am looking at one right now writing this :lol:

Understand more or less what I want to explain ? and at the end of the day we present our images in 8 bit by interpolating down our 16 bit images ...

It is like buying a Bugatti Veyron or Chiron and then drive it oin a Highway limited to 100 km/h ...

Unless you have not made your own te4sts and looked at your own monitor in order to detect dfferences IMHO nobody will be able to answer your question ...

Some people see it and most of the people do not see it IMHO ...


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Re: User experiences: "16bit" vs high speed mode

Post by cmas »

Surely you are right, its only 12 bit (player one uses term raw16 and I wrote it wrong) so my bad on the terminology! I corrected the topic title and the first post on this regard.

I have an 8bit + frc (so 8 bit with generating false data) monitor which is calibrated, but it is not 10 bit 3000 euro monitor. As you said, everyone do not have one.

But I guess I need to test the whole setup. The problem is that it is STILL snowing here every other day and all my setup parts are not at hand due to supply chain issues: I have too much time to think these things while I actually would like to be imaging and testing if the weather would just cooperate more :)

The point being: There must be some differences as some people tend to recommend that 12bit mode vs high speed mode. And one could argue there are differences with different settings in the video Rigel linked. Just trying to understand what actually is behind those different settings.


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Re: User experiences: "12bit (raw16)" vs high speed mode

Post by rsfoto »

Hi cmas,

You do not need the Sun for testing out 8 bit versus 16bit ...

You can do it with any motif ... Best is to shoot B&W and compare results ...

The Moon is also a good candidate for it.

Wait, we need to wait for another 14 days, as at the moment the separation is only ~ 7° :lol:


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Re: User experiences: "12bit (raw16)" vs high speed mode

Post by rsfoto »

There are already a lot of 10 bit monitors

https://www.rtings.com/monitor/tests/pi ... /gradients


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Re: User experiences: "12bit (raw16)" vs high speed mode

Post by rsfoto »



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Re: User experiences: "12bit (raw16)" vs high speed mode

Post by rsfoto »

Hi cmas,

One thing IMHO which is much more important then comparing 8 bit or 16 bit ...

Is Monitor Calibration. Why ?

There are different Colour Temperatures you can adjust your Monitor going from Warm to Cold eg Warm is a yellowish tint and Cold is a bluish tint of your white background.

Now many people think that Cold let me say 9000°K is Paper white, but no, they are completely wrong. Paper White is somewhere between 5000°K and 6500°K.

The problem is getting the shadows stand out and when you adjust your monitor to 9000°K your shadows will be nicely visible and you do not work on this part of your image anymore because you see them but people with Monitors set at let me say 6500°K will not see the shadow details.

You need to properly set your Monitor Colour temperature in order to get good shadow details which is achieved by properly stretching the histogram of an image. Make a test by setting it to warm and then to cold and look at the same image ...

The best investment is a monitor calibration device from X-Rite like the https://www.xrite.com/categories/calibr ... lay-studio

Also when acquiring your videos you need to expose to the right which means get your white pixels as near as possible to the right border of the histogram graph but careful, do not overexpose. Once it is overexposed all is gone. Take a look t the histogram of your raw images and the line falling down on the right side should visibly fall on the lower line and then have a tiny straight line to the right border.


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Re: User experiences: "16bit" vs high speed mode

Post by rsfoto »

Montana wrote: Sun Mar 27, 2022 6:23 pm I've not done any tests but I know I have much more contrast control when imaging white light and CaK with 16 bit. I feel it in my gut that it is so much easier to get the effect I want in the image. I use both 16 bit and 8 bit. I try to use 16 bit when the seeing is calm and when exposure doesn't allow high speed. I find WL, CaK and proms benefit so much when captured in 16 bit. But when I need high frame rate I will do it. I don't think it is a hard and fast rule, you go for it when you know you will get the benefit of 16 bit over fast fps.

Alexandra
Hi cmas,

I wrote a lot of BS in my last few messages and after reading through the previous messages Alexandra summed it up very well.


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Re: User experiences: "12bit (raw16)" vs high speed mode

Post by rsfoto »

Hi,

Look at the image below and that is how I adjust my exposure time. You can see I try to get as right as possible but avoiding to overexpose.

You can see I go as near as possible to the 255 value but as the light changes a bit i get to max let me say 245 or 250 which means my whites have a max value of 245 or 250 and so when I stretch the histogram my whites being 245 or 250 I make them 255.

Now if your whites would be for example exagerated 127 only and you stretch them to 255 you are inventing too much inbetween. Every second value is out of reality.

Perhaps this was not expressed very clear but I hope you get the idea.

Exposing_to_the_right.JPG
Exposing_to_the_right.JPG (121.91 KiB) Viewed 3600 times


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Re: User experiences: "12bit (raw16)" vs high speed mode

Post by cmas »

I use Calibrite color checker pro to calibrate my displays (laptop and a regular pc) so that is covered - been doing this for years. And in solar h-alpha I typically fill the histogram during imaging to 80-85 % with imx174 to leave some margin for flares and other features or changes in illumination as the sun gets e.g. higher in the sky. I record ser files. So normal stuff here.

But yeah. I need to test things. Again. And then see how that 12bit looks like compared to 8bit in a situation which I typically use (that being one exposure for both surface details and proms so that I can make a compromise and show both in the same exposure). My imx174 reaches somewhere close to 70 fps at 12bit and close to 170 fps in high speed - quite the difference and that is the ultimate reason behind my thoughts of 12bit vs high speed mode with 8bit.

Last summer I did only full disk animations and utilized only 8bit data as I did not want to waste my precious imaging time to getting involved in too much testing (I do that enough at work and with the family I am lucky if I can image one hour per day, in the morning, on a sunny day - here where I live the amount of sunny days is quite low anyways so all in all, not that much time for a lot of testing :) )


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Re: User experiences: "12bit (raw16)" vs high speed mode

Post by rsfoto »

... somewhere close to 70 fps at 12bit ...
Hi cmas,

¿ You complain about 70 fps @ 12 bit... ?

... and I am happy getting 16 fps at 8 bit for my H-alpha Sun mosaic

:lol: :lol: :lol:

I wish I had your problems ... :mrgreen:


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Re: User experiences: "12bit (raw16)" vs high speed mode

Post by cmas »

I don't complain, I try to understand - there is a difference :mrgreen:

So I went back to my current goto material - the Solar Astronomy book. And read more. Then I read this: https://skyinspector.co.uk/zwo-cmos-dig ... o-cameras/ and https://www.cloudynights.com/topic/7158 ... ry10313180.

A lot of info in the that book and on those web pages. My conclusion: testing needed with my equip and that's it...
Still wondering though how much advertisement talk is built into e.g. that PlayerOne tutorial which I linked in my first post.


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Re: User experiences: "12bit (raw16)" vs high speed mode

Post by rsfoto »

cmas wrote: Fri Apr 01, 2022 4:40 am I don't complain, I try to understand - there is a difference :mrgreen:

So I went back to my current goto material - the Solar Astronomy book. And read more. Then I read this: https://skyinspector.co.uk/zwo-cmos-dig ... o-cameras/ and https://www.cloudynights.com/topic/7158 ... ry10313180.

A lot of info in the that book and on those web pages. My conclusion: testing needed with my equip and that's it...
Still wondering though how much advertisement talk is built into e.g. that PlayerOne tutorial which I linked in my first post.
Hi cmas,

If I would be you, but I am not, I would always shoot at 12bit = interpolated 16bit with 70 fps and done ... :lol:

Based on my experience with 8 bit and 16 frames per second ...

.. and OH BTW with Gain set to 0 zero ... Gain IMHO kills details ...


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Re: User experiences: "12bit (raw16)" vs high speed mode

Post by marktownley »

I always use 8 bit now.


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Re: User experiences: "12bit (raw16)" vs high speed mode

Post by cmas »

Okay. I did some testing. For my seeing conditions and for solar features (not proms, haven't tested them yet properly) I'd state that 8 bit and high frame rate provides some advantage over 12 bit acquisition at least with my imaging gear (Baader 110 mm D-ERF, Starwave 102 mm f/7, Quark, ASI174mm). Some comparisons:

Image

Image

Here one sees a slight advantage by using 8 bit as with 160 fps vs 80 fps in 12 bit mode one gets double the amount of frames in which to select the best. In this setup a stack close to 500 images provides a relatively good result. There is a big difference e.g. in imaging these type of structures where I would not push the imaging time over 1 minute (9601 frames compared to 4845 frames).


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