Definition: Adjective:~ colour, ~ sound: coding, bit-depth, monitor or video- or sound-card: working with 36-bit data giving in theory billions of different colours or levels. * In imaging, up to 12 bits may be allocated to each of the R,G,B channels or it may be fewer bits, with the spare capacity for other data.
When 36 is better than 24
Quality scanners, scanning backs for cameras and graphic standards may work in 36-bit or higher (e.g. 42-bit) in order to provide smoother tonal gradations and superior shadow and highlight detail. In practice not all of the data length is used: spare bytes may be used for specific types of data or as alpha channels. Few image editing software can handle 36-bit data: Photoshop can open 36-bit files but few effects and controls will work. However, 36-bit or 42-bit scans sampled to 24-bit are generally better than 24-bit scans.* And if you really want to know, 36 bits gives 236 = 68,719,476,736 variations.

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