changing from 16 bit to 8 bit in Elements 7

Discussion in 'Digital Darkroom' started by ryan_synovec, Dec 19, 2008.

  1. I have recently decided to move from traditional darkroom printing to digital. I will be scanning my medium format B&W negatives with a Nikon 9000, and printing using an Epson 4880. I am currently using Photoshop Elements 7 for my website images. PE7 has been fine for editing my images for my website, but from the previous threads that I've read, I'm not sure if it is what I want to use for editing my images for printing. Initially I thought PE7 would be fine as I'm probably only going to be doing some basic adjustments to the scans: cropping, using levels to adjust, possibly adjusting brightness/contrast. Most of what I will be doing can be done in 16 bit, but the problem comes when some things such as using the spot healing brush, etc., require converting to 8 bit. I'm wondering how much of a detrimental effect this has on the final print? I read in a previous post that it is best to do all 16 bit edits first, then convert to 8 bit as late as possible in the process. Does this really minimize the effect of changing from 16 bit to 8 bit, by doing it later in the process, or is there still a significant difference in image quality? I would like to keep working with PE7, since it is what I am already comfortable with, but If it would make a difference in the quality of my prints by switching to a different software such as Picture Window Pro, which I understand is capable of working with 16 bit throughout, I would probably go that route. Any opinions and experience with this would be greatly appreciated. Please forgive me in advance for my relative ignorance with terms, etc. in this area as this a whole new world for me! Thanks so much.
     
  2. Do as much as you can in 16, change to 8 and finish up. Keep your healing brush small. I would not change unless I saw a problem so remember what you fix and check out the prints.
     
  3. Remember the Epson printer driver is going to change your 16 bit file to 8 bits before it starts printing anyway. While some edits are best done with 16 bit files, the file is going to be 8 bit in the end anyway.
    It was not that many versions of Photoshop ago that you could not do layers in 16 bit, so almost everyone worked with 8 bit files. And those prints looked damn good.
     
  4. Thanks for the info guys! Nice to know I should be fine sticking with Elements 7. I have more than enough new things to learn the way it is.
     

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