Before the rush

Before the rush
by evan-pak

Submit your Photo
Hall of Fame

Please participate in Meta
and help us grow.

Photography Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for professional, enthusiast and amateur photographers. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I'm playing around with Apple sips command. When I export a Canon raw file (CR2) to tiff via

sips -s format tiff -out img.tiff img.cr2

the result is an 8-bit tiff, although the CR2 source is reported as a 16-bit format.

How can I tell sips to export 16-bit tiffs?

ps: I have played with the --formatOptions option and with some of the image properties (particularly bitsPerSample), but nothing seems to allow for adjustment of the output bit depth.

share|improve this question
Does sips actually ever output 16bpp with other formats? Can you take an LZW tif and convert it to Packbits and retain 16bpp for example? – James Snell May 13 '13 at 12:16
@JamesSnell Well, I assume Apple's Aperture uses the same engine as sips - and Aperture can export 16-bit tiffs. – halloleo May 15 '13 at 15:48

if you look in the sips-Manpage there is no way to force exporting of 8 or 16 bit.

That's the answer: there is no way to do this with sips.

Is there any reason for using sips, instead of Lightroom or Aperture, which have great batch modes too?

share|improve this answer
Well I wanted to use sips, because I guess it is the same engine preview uses to display the images - just for consistency... – halloleo Aug 6 '14 at 13:33
As far as i know, there schoud be no differenz between sips/apature/Lightroom-tiff Images. – chris Aug 6 '14 at 13:39
Well, there is a difference when you generate the TIFFs from Canon Raw (CR2) files, as mentioned in the question. – halloleo Aug 8 '14 at 1:24
do you can see the differens between an 8 and a 16bit tif? im realy impressed. But your problem was consistency, so if you convert all you pictures to 8 or 16bit tif they will have the same look at ever computer. – chris Aug 8 '14 at 6:14

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.