bit depth

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A description of the number of colours or shades of gray a monitor can display or a scanner can process; the higher the bit depth, the higher the number of colour hues that can be supported

bit depth

The number of shades of gray in a digital image. Bit depth is defined as 2n , where the multiplier 2 indicates that the image is in black and white and n represents the power to which the computer can multiply this function. Therefore a bit depth of 21 would produce 2 shades of gray; a bit depth of 212 would produce 4096 shades of gray. Digital radiography, CT, and MR images are produced with bit depths of 10 or 12.
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