Let’s get acquainted with terminology
Some people can interpret incorrectly the term “bit depth of color”. For understanding of this term we will consider bases of digital color. All colors in the digital camera form by means of an intensity combination (or bit values) three principal colors – red, green and dark blue.
These three principal colors also are called channels. Bit depth can be defined for each of three channels (for example, 10 bits, 12 bits etc.) or for all spectrum, thus bit values of channels are multiplied by three (30 bits, 36 bits etc.) However in the world are accepted frequently illogical agreements on terminology, therefore you should remember some things too. For example, 24-bit color (which sometimes also name TrueColor as it the first in the numeral world has come nearer by an amount of colors to level of perception of a human eye) leads out on 8 bits on each channel. But 24-bit color never name 8-bit color.
If you hear that someone speaks about 8-bit color he at all doesn’t mean that it is 8 bits on the channel. Most likely, this person implies 8 bits on entire spectrum that gives 256 various colors (very restricted spectrum, by the way). 24-bit color gives the chance to display 16,7 million various shades. Therefore it is better to accept 24-bit color as a separating bar: if the amount of bits in a spectrum is more than 24 it is accepted to name such bit depth by an amount of bits on all spectrum or by an amount of bits on the channel. If an amount of bits 24 or less it is better to name such bit depth by an amount of bits in the full spectrum. Till last autumn almost all amateur numeral cameras worked with 24-bit color (using 8-bit).
There were already some models, type OlympusE-10 and HPPhotoSmart 912 which can work 30 or 36-bit color (using 10 or 12-bit). However, some digital cameras, capable to shot with greater depth of color, use 8-bit that leads to an image output only with 24-bit depth. The small number of cameras, type CanonPowerShotG1, can write down the 36-bit image in format RAW, but this format is patented, and it can’t be read directly by any program of editing of images. Though Photoshop also understands images with depth up to 16 bits on the channel, its functionality in such cases is restricted.
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