Upload & Sell: Off
If there were not a noticeable difference between 12-bit and 14-bit, Nikon would not offer 14-bit as an option.
There is no noticeable difference in the large majority of cases. However, in certain circumstances, there can be a difference. Whether one ever needs to post-process your images under those circumstances is dependent on the photographer. In order to judge your need for 12-bit vs 14-bit (or lossy vs lossless), you need to know the facts, not go by other people's opinions. After all, they may have different requirements than you.
To your second point, why does Nikon still offer an uncompressed NEF option on the D800, D4, etc.? By your logic, there must be some benefit to it, otherwise Nikon would have eliminated the option, right?
I can't understand the logic of using 12-bit if file size is your issue with it. Storage is relatively inexpensive.
It isn't only a matter of absolute storage cost, but storage efficiency. If there really was no consequence to file size, we would all be saving everything as 16-bit PSD files, and there would not be a single JPEG to be seen anywhere. And yet JPEGs are extremely popular. I bet even you use them. Why? Because it is a highly efficient method of storing digital photos: you save a lot of disk space for very little reduction in image quality. If I can reduce my storage requirements by half, that would make sense regardless of how little storage costs.
Not all storage is cheap either. I edit my work from a 256GB SSD, which cost me about $300 last Thanksgiving. If my storage requirements suddenly tripled (e.g., going from the D700 to a D800), I may need to replace that SSD with a 600GB one. That's a $1000 expense. If there is a way I can continue to work with my current SSD without noticeably compromising image quality, it would be worth my time to investigate.
Don't forget about other factors too, not just storage capacity. Transmission times will increase as well. A 72 MB uncompressed NEF will take over twice as long to download as a 30 MB compressed NEF. If you are using an online backup service, your file transfer times just doubled or tripled. In most cases, it costs a lot of money to increase your network bandwidth, assuming it is possible at all. A backup that used to comfortably run overnight while I sleep now starts hogging my connection during the day, or else I have to split up the transfer over two or more nights.
Edited on Apr 11, 2012 at 03:17 AM · View previous versions