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I know there are video cards that display True Color (24 bit color), but are there any video cards that display Deep Color (30, 36 and 48 bit color)?

Further-more are there any display devices that can handle Deep Color?

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2 Answers 2

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The ATI FireGL™ 3D Workstation Graphics Accelerators support 16-bit per RGB channel (48-bit color). "Beyond true color" video is typically used for HDRI applications (high dynamic range imaging).

Microsoft announced that color depths of 30-bit and 48-bit would be supported in Windows 7 if you have a video card that supports 48-bit color and a monitor that supports 48-bit color using hdmi 1.3.

Here are a few articles I found about monitors supporting HDR and 48-bit images:

Sunnybrook HDR displays 40,000:1 resolution

BrightSide DR37-P HDR display

SIM2 Solar Series HDR LCD Monitor

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Just curious, roughly how many bits per channel is the Mark I eyeball good for? –  dmckee Aug 6 '09 at 2:41
I thought it was in the range of 32-bits (+/- a few billion colors). We'll see if 48-bit makes a difference or if it is going to be the next "resolution war." –  Robert Cartaino Aug 6 '09 at 3:16
I was always taught that the human eye can only reliably discern roughly 24-bit color; however we can still see "banding" of similar, but slightly different -- notably in very large, very subtle gradients where 24-bit isn't sufficient to get all the variance between the start and end shades. I think the 48-bit color will help with that issue. John Carmack wrote up something about that a few years back. –  John Rudy Aug 6 '09 at 13:35
I think the 8 extra bits in "32-bit" color are actually for alpha transparency. Since 2^32 is about 4.3 billion (only a few, itself), "+/- a few billion" could widen your range to anywhere from 0 to 8 billion or more. ;) –  rob Jan 29 '10 at 21:20
It's also worth noting that some people are tetrachromatic, and can see more colors than the rest of us. –  rob Jan 29 '10 at 21:22

Your eyes can certainly recognize much more colors than 32bit depth allows to display. If you look closely you can clearly see the line separating colors in various gradients, like the one mentioned above. 48-bit color depth is very useful if you're working with 48-bit images, which will make your gradients, fades etc much smoother, if you find a printing service that is capable of printing it.

The color depth is one of the reasons why analog photography can still be superior to digital photography, the other one is the resolution, because in analog photography there is no "pixels".

The low fps (films are still mostly in 24 fps, games usually are capped at 30 or 60, while eye can recognize much more, and many First Person Shooter players state that being able to see 200 frames per second makes a huge difference) and low color depth being a standard, shows just how much space for improvement and progress there is.

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