Nikon D300 User Manual (en)

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❚❚The NEF (RAW) Recording Menu: NEF (RAW) Bit Depth
The [NEF (RAW) recording] > [NEF (RAW) bit depth] item in the 
shooting menu offers the following bit-depth options for NEF 
(RAW) images:
A
NEF (RAW) Images
Note that the option selected for image size does not affect the size of 
NEF (RAW) images. When opened in ViewNX version 1.2.0 or later or other 
compatible software such as Capture NX version 1.3.5 or later or 
Capture NX 2 version 2.1.0 or later (available separately), NEF (RAW) 
images have the dimensions given for large ([L]-size) images.
Option
Description
q
12-bit
(default)
NEF (RAW) images are recorded at a bit-depth of 12 bits.
14-bit
NEF (RAW) images are recorded at a bit-depth of 14 bits, 
producing files roughly 1.3 times larger than 12-bit files 
but increasing the color data recorded. Maximum frame 
advance rate (pg. 77) falls to 2.5 fps.