Shoot Raw, enjoy 16-bit smoothness

I didn’t realize that one of the benefits of Raw over JPG was that it holds up better under Photoshop manipulation: you get smoother gradients. Here’s a sample from a sunset picture I took tonight (a sliver of the sky at 100% magnification):

16bit_8bit.jpg

For someone like me, with a 2.5 year old laptop, working in 16-bit really slows things down. But the improvement in quality makes it worthwhile. I would rather work in 8-bit and then slip a 16-bit copy underneath my adjustment layers at the last minute, but the adjustment layers affect 16-bit backgrounds differently than they do 8-bit ones. So wait I must, for the 16-bit smoothness.

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