Another color space question

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by Fox Paw, Oct 8, 2008.

  1. Fox Paw

    Fox Paw TPF Noob!

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    I'm wondering whether to set my camera for Adobe RGB or sRGB. I tried to work this one out for myself but couldn't.

    I shoot in RAW with a Canon. The conversion software by default uses Adobe RGB, and I never changed that. My Corel photo software, however, uses sRGB and does not appear to allow any other options. I just realized my camera can be set to Adobe RGB (it has been set on sRGB).

    My sense is that I get better colors with Adobe RGB, particularly when I print directly from the RAW image. But I almost always finish it off in Corel because I get better sharpening there. Corel always makes me convert the color space before I can proceed. Given this mishmash, should I set the camera to Adobe or sRGB? Any thoughts would be appreciated.

    Signed,

    Confused in the Desert
     
  2. Bifurcator

    Bifurcator TPF Noob!

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    I think the color space you set your camera to only matters if you're using your camera's JPEGs. For RAW as you said you're shooting, it doesn't matter.
     
  3. Fox Paw

    Fox Paw TPF Noob!

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    Thanks, Bifurcator. In that case, I'll leave it set wherever it's set.
     
  4. Mike_E

    Mike_E No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    When you save though, save to whatever your lab prints in.

    For use on the web or your monitor go with sRGB.

    IF you print your own you will need to do a lot more research. I know this because there are a couple of more questions you'd need to ask that you didn't. I only bring this up so that when/if you do your own you'll know there are a couple of pitfalls to watch out for. :)
     
  5. mark h

    mark h TPF Noob!

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    I disagree. When working on your computer, you should always be in the best available colour space. Adobe RGB or ProPhotoRGB if possible. When you export an image for posting on the web, THAT is when you should export/save it as an sRGB.

    All this is kind of pointless though if you don't have a properly calibrated monitor profile for your screen, as it won't be accurately displaying the colour space anyway.
     
  6. Garbz

    Garbz No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I double disagree :)

    a) colour conversion is lossy
    b) colour conversion is inexact
    c) large colour spaces cause larger shifts in colours for a given picture which means your bitdepth is wasted if the colour space is much larger than the image (points at ProPhoto space) Less of an issue if working with 16bits.
    d) Unless you can display the colours while working with them you have no idea how they will print. (not an issue if you have a HP DreamColour display with a 136% NTCS gamut coverage)

    Very true on that last point though. If your screen is not calibrated, and can't display the colours, then what's the point of colour management :) If you have no fancy screen and you don't print then shoot, edit, and save all in sRGB. If you print then AdobeRGB is more than enough, and often more than most camera profiles capture anyway, and unless you're shooting into single peak sources like LEDs, lasers, or artificially boosting your saturation you won't have colours that fall outside AdobeRGB anyway.
     
  7. Bifurcator

    Bifurcator TPF Noob!

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    I agree with the double disagree but disagree that calibration is as meaningful and people make it out to be- even ho they all see to agree. ;)
     
  8. Moglex

    Moglex TPF Noob!

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    The reason they all agree is because it is so obviously true.

    What is the point of carefully adjusting things to get the perfect picture on your monitor if it then prints with a completely different colour balance?

    Of course if all you ever do is download, crop, and print, without making any adjustments I suppose that calibration is irrelevant.
     
  9. Garbz

    Garbz No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Yeah for the most part you could get away without it. Colour temperature and brightness / contrast control is a bit anal for the average photographer who doesn't work for pantone. But knowing that the gamma curve is right is an absolute god send at times. I had a photo which was intentionally dark http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2250/2130215253_01e4ab8e6d_b.jpg printed, and I just thought that the lab totally fouled up the print. Turns out my gamma was quite a bit higher than I thought on the screen so the dark portions were quite bright. I only really noticed it when I pulled up my website from uni at the start of the year and though jesus my photos look nasty.

    In reality though it often too hard to calibrate many of the cheap LCDs on the market. Their birghtness changes depending on viewing angle so there is no certainty in what you see regardless if you calibrate or not.
     
  10. Bifurcator

    Bifurcator TPF Noob!

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    Yup yup. Calibration is pretty needed if the work is going from machine to a service of some kind or is going out to a customer - etc.

    I think if we're just working off a hobby-box doing hobby stuff (or practicing) and sharing at sites like this then calibration by sensor device isn't needed at all. I get it pretty close just by displaying SMPTE bars and etc. And actually my dual 24" LCDs are worse than most laptop screens . :D I have them turned down to save energy and to fit the room's lighting and I've got an 8" wide by 4" high window I can hold my head in before the colors go completely whack at that low brightness level. SO, your laptop theorem applies to a wider audience than you might at 1st expect. ;) I wonder how many other folks on TPF don't have $1,000+ monitors either?

    Hmmm... I just had a thought... Now I'm wondering how many people here surf by cell phone, PDA, or PSP.. :lol:
     
  11. Moglex

    Moglex TPF Noob!

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    But surely, it is not why you are doing the work, it's whether or not you want your print to look like your carefully adjusted image as viewed on the screen?
     
  12. djengizz

    djengizz TPF Noob!

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    And I also disagree ;).
    Yes, but this starts when we go from RAW to any colour space. From AdobeRGB --> sRGB is also lossy and the same goes for sRGB to some printer profiles. Does this mean we should always work in the smallest colour space?
    True but it's a fact and we need to live with that when working with colours on different devices. Luckily the same inexactness goes for any colour conversion.
    Define a given picture? If you look at the RAW image colour space you'll see it's wider than most common profiles. Should you not choose a gamut that comes closest? Also a part of the ProPhoto RGB gamut is there for mathematical abstraction and is not visible (so called imaginary colours). The part that falls within the visible spectrum is converted by the same formulas used in any conversion. (by the way: you should always work in 16bit when using ProPhoto RGB, it's no intended for 8bit use).
    You can always use proofing to simulate how a certain image would look on a certain device. This is exactly what profiles are for.
    It might surprise you how much colour a DSLR's sensor can capture.
    To show my point here are two images with the gamut of a Canon 20D compared to Adobe RGB and ProPhoto RGB. As you can see there are certain area's were the gamut of the 20D exceeds the gamut of AdobeRGB. ProPhoto RGB is a much closer match. With more modern, better sensors this difference will only become larger and this technology goes very rapidly forwards.

    [​IMG]
    20D vs Adobe RGB
    [​IMG]
    20D vs ProPhoto RGB

    By converting your images to a smaller colour space and then start your post processing you will throw away information that is not recoverable. I do agree that you need a solid, colour managed workflow to make good use of these wide gamut profiles and mistakes made with them can look horrible.
    Also wide gamut printer inks and wide gamut monitors are much more common now than they were, let's say, 4 years ago. Applications and operating systems are more and more colour managed. By choosing a wide gamut you preserve more colour information which might benefit you now or in the (near) future.
     
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2008

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