Steve's Digicams Forums

Steve's Digicams Forums (
-   General Discussion (
-   -   Color Space choice (

BDD Jul 18, 2010 6:39 AM

Color Space choice
Which color space do you guys prefer and have your cameras set to? I've had mine set to sRGB for the past 2 and some odd years. Since I bought my Nikon D300. Have been happy with the results (viewed on my MacBook Pro laptop). Oddly enough I haven't done any printing. Haven't gotten around to buying a good photo printer like the R1900 (new) or R2880 from Epson. Nor have I taken any photos to a local Kodak developer. Just never gotten around to it.

Last night, I started reading "Hot Shoe Diaries". A book by Joe McNally. He recommends using Adobe RGB. Better color gamut. What he prefers.

Yet, I recall reading an article by Ken Rockwell, who wrote an article about this exact matter. sRGB vs Adobe RGB. He prefers sRGB and recommends we set our cameras to sRGB if we plan to email our photos, put them on websites or have our photos printed by local photo development shops. Because the "standard" for internet is sRGB and that the average photo developing shop wouldn't have the software to see Adobe RGB? Not in this day and age I'd assume. Not shops in big cities like mine (Toronto). Even if we don't go to specialty developing shops used by "pros".

I did a quick test early this morning. At around 2 am (was still up). Only light source was the yellowish hallogen light over my kitchen table. Took two photos of the 2 lenses I had standing on my table. First shot with camera set to sRGB and the 2nd set to Adobe RGB. Using my SB-800 flash. The Adobe RGB shot had noticeably deeper colors. Didn't look dull at all (like Ken Rockwell said they would).

And I will be buying a good photo printer to do my own prints. Probably one of the 2 Epson's I mentioned.

JimC Jul 18, 2010 7:30 AM

If you're going to print your photos using a color managed workflow (properly profiled monitor, printing application supporting color management, profiled printer), then Adobe RGB is fine.

But, for posting photos on the internet for others to view, I'd suggest sticking with sRGB.

The problem is that most users have browsers that are not color managed, and will not properly render anything other than sRGB.

Click on the "Profiles and Windows" menu option from this next link, and you'll see a page with two side by side images tagged with different color profiles. They'll look the same if your browser supports tagged images (but, they'll look different if your browser is not color managed).

Here's another page you can see images tagged and untagged in a variety of ways, using a mouse over and clicking on them (and note that you should see a difference with some of them, as the untagged images using other color spaces are not supposed to display properly)

Safari is a color managed browser, as are newer versions of Firefox (and 3.5.x and higher versions default that way). But, Firefox 3.5.x and 3.6.x only support version 2 icc profiles for now. For example, version 4 profiles will not render correctly, and you can see that looking at this page:

Internet Explorer versions through IE 8 are not color managed, and 2.x versions of Firefox are not color managed. Firefox 3.0 has that ability, but it's not enabled by default (although 3.5.x and later versions are). Now, there is an addon that allows better control of it with Firefox here:

After it's installed, look under Tools>Addons>Extensions and you'll see the Color Management extension you just installed. Click on it's options button and select your calibrated profile.

I have it setup to use color management with all images. Under Advanced, I have it set to Perceptual.

It's my understanding that IE 9 will support color management. But, I haven't tried the IE 9 beta yet to see how well it works.

Bottom line is that most internet users are still not using a color managed browser. You'll also find that many image viewers and editors are not color managed (so if you e-mail an image to someone, the image viewer they're using may not render it correctly).

So, I'd stick to sRGB for sharing photos with others for now.

JimC Jul 18, 2010 7:52 AM


Also note that most monitors are not wide gamut displays, and can't even display all of the sRGB color gamut, much less the Adobe RGB color gamut.

You'll find some reviews of monitors here:

More here:

If you want a wide gamut display, you'll need to move up to a better panel type (for example, IPS or PVA), and the vast majority of panels are TN now.

Even with a better panel type (IPS, PVA or one of their variants), a monitor may still not be designed as wide gamut. You have to look at each one on a case by case basis.

BDD Jul 18, 2010 10:04 AM

Hello JimC,

Thank you for all the good information. But for now I won't be buying a new monitor or printer. Or not till early next year (will be selling my present no new toys till later). Plus, I'm thinking of buying an 27" Apple iMac. Don't know how accurate the monitor is and how accurate you can get it using a colorimeter (e.g. Spyder 3). Or if I will end up buying a Dell Uxx11 27" (which according to the first monitor review site link you posted is fairly accurate...well the 23" version...I assume the 27" will be the same) and an Apple Mac Pro desktop.

When I do buy either the 27" iMac or Dell 27" xx11 monitor/Mac Pro I will buy either the Epson R1900 or R2880 as my photo printer. Which I will then both profile (monitor & printer). I don't really care that much if the emailed photo my friends/family see are accurate (since their monitors/browsers will not be color managed/ what if they see a inaccurate version of my photos...they won't know the difference any how). But I do care about what I see on my end and the print.

As it is now...I definitely do see a difference between photos taken in sRGB and Adobe RGB on the tiny 3" LCD on the back of my D300. The Adobe RGB shot look more true to what I see. The sRGB shots usually look more hyped in comparison though not unpleasing.

So I guess I will leave my color space (on my D300) set to Adobe RGB. Since accuracy on my end and my friends/family doesn't really matter at this point. Later having an accurate "workflow" is what I'll be aiming for later. And I like the look of the photos seen on my LCD (DSLR) and MacBook Pro laptop even if my laptop monitor isn't calibrated. And I like the less "hyped" look vs sRGB.

Will buy a Spyder 3 Pro or Print SR later when I buy my Apple desktop (27" iMac or Dell 27"/Mac Pro) and Epson photo printer (R1900 or R2880).

JimC Jul 18, 2010 10:12 AM

You'll have to decide what's acceptable and what's not. I don't keep up with the displays on the Macs. But, it looks like Rob Galbraith has an article about the Macbook Pro displays online (it's from 2007, and I don't know if it would be applicable to newer models).

BDD Jul 18, 2010 10:17 AM

Thanks for the link. That is the exact version of the MBP I have. :) Will read article now...

Do you think it's worth investing in a Spyder 3 now to calibrate my MBP? If I do want to see as accurate an image as I can get. Or do you think it would be better to wait till I have a good monitor (e.g. Dell Uxx11 series 27")?

As I mentioned in my last post (which I've edited) I will put off buying a colorimeter till i've purchased my new desktop & photo printer. As it is now I like the look of Adobe RGB photos.

Thanks again for the help.

UPDATE: I think the Spyder 3 Print is only for calibrating your printer ($350 CAD) so I'd need to buy a Spyder 3 Pro for my monitor as well ($250 CAD roughly). And after reading a review on the Spider 3 Elite...I think I'll look elsewhere as the accuracy results after calibration were "mediocre". I think I'll consider the X-rite Colormunki Photo all-in-one (calibrates monitor, projector and printer) and runs $560 CAD. Used by many industry "pros" (though some were "motivated" to endorse it). Don't think they would put their name with the device though if it wasn't good. Or I wouldn't think so. Has any one here on the forum used or owned it? What are your experiences?

JimC Jul 18, 2010 10:20 AM

Again, you'll need to decide what's acceptable and what's not. ;-)

Some monitors are better calibrated straight from the factory compared to others, and the lighting you're using one in also enters the equation.

If you're seeing what you want to see in your prints, then it's probably acceptable. If not, you may want to do some profiling (display, printer, etc.).

BDD Jul 19, 2010 10:25 PM

Do you all have your monitors and photo printers calibrated with some colorimeter? (Spyder 3, X-rite's Blue 2, Colormunki...etc.) Will likely buy a Colormunki as my colorimeter later.

Also, when you make a print (assuming the monitor and printer are not calibrated) will be based on how ever the printer has been set at the factory...correct? I mean the reason why some of us calibrate our monitors and printers is so that the print resembles what we see on the screen.

And if we're uploading a JPG to our computers is the file altered in any way or does the JPG file remain as is (as it was on the CF card)? Assuming no PP was done. Only displayed differently (because the monitor is not calibrated). I know if it were a RAW file how it looks and is changed depends on the RAW converter used.

If the screen (laptop)/monitor IS calibrated then what you see on the screen should be the same as what you see on the little 3" LCD on the back of our DSLR's?

VTphotog Jul 19, 2010 11:31 PM

Wider color gamuts sound cool, but when you stop to think about what is going on, you may want to reconsider. If you store or use photos as jpeg files, you are still using 8 bits per color. If you start with a wider gamut, those 8 bits have to be spread out more. This can, and has caused problems with printing, even with printers that can reproduce the wider gamut. Converting wide gamut color space back to sRGB for web display or other use can cause inaccuracies.
Getting prints to closely resemble original photos can be an ordeal, from what I have seen of discussions of the subject. It usually starts with 'I was getting what I thought were good prints, then I read about using Adobe RGB, and the prints didn't come out right, so I thought I was double profiling, so I got a colorimeter, and updated printer driver, and new paper profiles, ........"
Have fun


BDD Jul 20, 2010 12:44 AM


Originally Posted by VTphotog (Post 1120032)
If you start with a wider gamut, those 8 bits have to be spread out more. This can, and has caused problems with printing, even with printers that can reproduce the wider gamut.

When you mention "wider color gamuts are you referring to RAW files (vs JPG)? What do you mean "if you (I) start with a wider color gamut"? Or are you referring to shooting in the Adobe RGB color space vs sRGB?

Is it that much of a hassle to get your prints to look like what you see on your monitor? Assuming both are calibrated using lets say a Colormunki. If it truly is then what are we to do? Just settle for what our recently calibrated photo printer outputs?

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 5:24 PM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.9
Copyright ©2000 - 2018, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
SEO by vBSEO 3.6.0 RC 2