What is Bit Depth?

Bit depth--also called pixel depth or color depth--measures how much color information is available to display or print each pixel in an image. Greater bit depth (more bits of information per pixel) means more available colors and more accurate color representation in the digital image. For example, a pixel with a bit depth of 1 has two possible values: black and white. A pixel with a bit depth of 8 has 28, or 256, possible values. And a pixel with a bit depth of 24 has 224, or roughly 16 million, possible values. Common values for bit depth range from 1 to 64 bits per pixel.