10-Bit Color On Your iMac! Why Didn’t Apple Make A Bigger Deal About This?

by Bret HoyLeave a Comment

Almost all cinematographers and photographers at this point know that having more bits in your image means a more stable product to work with in post. This is the reason that so often, photographers shoot Raw photos and also the reason why high bit video is so sought after.

Photographers especially have benefited from Raw output cameras for quite a long time. What most don’t understand is just how big of a difference there is between 8-bit and 10-bit. Let alone the difference between 8-bit, 12 and 14-bit. (Raw can mean either depending on which camera you're on.)

At the most basic level, the higher your bit rate, the great amount of colors and shades of grey can be displayed by your image. Why does this matter? Well, if you’ve ever seen that nasty banding that you can sometimes get along two tone gradients, you no doubt would rather have a high bit image or screen to view it. Going from black to white can easily demonstrate the downfalls of 8-bit.

While the benefits that you inherit with a high bit depth in post can’t be understated, it was disappointing to say that you couldn’t view those photos or videos in their native 10-bit. Or, the average professional couldn’t. Until now.

With their most recent update to El Capitan, Apple has increased the capabilities of their iMac display from 8-bit to 10-bit. This is no small jump. This takes your monitor from 16.8 million colors to over a billion.

Now, to temper your expectations I should say that this isn’t like opening up an entire new rainbow of color, but expect your shadows and highlights to contain much smoother transitions and in general, look more lifelike. If you're not sure if you're ready to take the jump to El Capitan (I have some witholdings) this may be the feature to put you over the edge. Will you be upgrading?

OS X El Capitan Quietly Unlocked 10-Bit Color in iMacs and Mac Pros

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Via PetaPixel:

The German website Mac & I reports that OS X El Capitan is the first OS X version that makes use of 10-bit drivers (30-bit color RGB) for the company’s latest computers.

The 4K and 5K iMacs have been confirmed to make use of the 10-bit drivers (whether or not they all have capable displays has not yet been confirmed). Other people are reporting that newer Mac Pros can also output 10-bit color using compatible monitors.

The new output lets you potentially see over a billion colors instead of the 16.8 million that you get with 8-bit color — huge for photo editors and other creatives who do high-end work with photos, videos, and graphics.

Read full article at PetaPixel “OS X El Capitan Quietly Unlocked 10-Bit Color in iMacs and Mac Pros” – Original source cinema5D

(cover photo credit: snap from PetaPixel)


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