sRGB vs. Adobe RGB - Final Answer?

Discussion in 'Digital Discussion & Q&A' started by Browncoat, Jul 11, 2010.

  1. Browncoat

    Browncoat No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    First, a little about my workflow: I shoot in RAW and do initial adjustments in ACR before making any final processing in Photoshop. I have read conflicting reports concerning the use of Adobe RGB color space, and would like to know your thoughts.

    SIDE 1:
    Says if you always use Adobe products (such as ACR and Photoshop) then switch your color space mode in-camera to Adobe RGB. There is a wider color spectrum, yadda yadda yadda, etc.

    SIDE 2:
    Never use Adobe RGB if you plan to make prints. Many printers do not recognize the Adobe RGB color space, and the end result could be flat colors.
     
  2. ann

    ann No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Side two, it will depend on who is doing the printing.

    if your printer only prints with sRGB then you will have issues if your files are adobeRGB

    i would second the above, as well
     
  3. manaheim

    manaheim Jedi Bunnywabbit Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Search for posts by Garbz on color space on this forum and you will find a WEALTH of information. He is the master.

    Short answer is work in broader color spaces when you are doing editing, and then convert to the color profile you need for your final product. Always keep the broader color space as a master. sRGB is best when displaying on the web since it's the most consistent when viewing via browsers.

    Note that this is MASSIVELY oversimplified, but it will get you there.
     
  4. Double H

    Double H TPF Noob!

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    You need to check out the new Epson Pro stuff
    If used properly with a RIP, and a decent understanding of professional-level color management, it is mind-blowing.

    ColorBurst RIP is super easy to configure using specific ICC profiles for your printer and various types of media. And, of course, there are others.
     
  5. eric-holmes

    eric-holmes No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Does it matter if you shoot in one and convert to the other or should you keep it the same from beginning to end? My camera was set to adobe but on the computer I export as srgb. I didn't know if things could get messed up through the exchange.
     
  6. Garbz

    Garbz No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I wrote a big long spiel on this. If you have time and a cup of coffee I suggest you have a look through this thread here, and by all means bring it back to life for further discussions: http://www.thephotoforum.com/forum/...prophoto-colour-management-general-worth.html

    I was going to say no until I saw you had it set in the camera, now there are two cases to consider:
    a) you shoot RAW: The colour space doesn't matter. It is entirely defined by your RAW processor. Adobe Lightroom for instance will open the camera RAW file, work in MelissaRGB, and the convert it to a profile of your choice when you export.
    b) you shoot JPEG: Don't! JPEGs are 8bit. 8bits per pixel per channel provide only just enough discrete values to cover every colour in the sRGB space. It does not provide the required colour depth to describe every discrete colour step in a larger space. The result is your pictures may be more colourful, and more than likely posterised reducing your latitude when post processing, and in some cases even causing banding right out of the camera.

    Using just Adobe products has nothing to do with it, there are many image editors which are ICC profile aware and will allow you to select your working profile. The camera ultimately has no say in the matter when you shoot RAW. The data is RAW and the software will ignore what the camera says. Within Adobe CameraRAW / Lightroom / Aperture / whatever RAW converter you use the colour gamut will be as large as the software designs it for processing. As I mentioned above Adobe use a proprietary profile based on ProPhotoRGB designed specifically for editing RAWs. Your decision comes into play only when you click the button "Open" at the bottom of the CameraRAW dialogue, and then the colour space chosen at the bottom of the CameraRAW dialogue becomes your working space.

    Short answer is yes there are wider colour spaces, yes you can get a benefit if you take care with your processing (keep it 16bit etc), but the result ultimately depends on what you do with it. For instance if you're not going to make prints then there is no reason to use anything other than sRGB. No one on the net will benefit from your files being in AdobeRGB. Your monitor itself for your own viewing is not likely to have a large colour space either.

    This confuses me because prints are the one situation where wide gamuts can and do make a difference. The normal colour space is defined in terms of red green and blue, so there's a lot of printers out there (like the 7 colour CcMmYyK printers or 7 colour CMYRGBK printers) which produce weird shaped colour gamuts which extend beyond the normal sRGB space in some places, but not in others. Furthermore there are a lot of companies out there which will print with a colour laser/LED printer onto photographic paper and then chemically develop the print. This is about as high quality, colourful, and wide gamut as you can get. Costs a bit, but as far as prints go if you have a colourful scene like an extreme sunset this is exactly where you would want a wide colour space.



    Ultimately though it's down to your style and preference. If you don't use the fancy printers I've mentioned then you wouldn't gain any benefit from using a wider colour space, just colour management headaches. If you do print, but don't have images that are worthy of the colour space (things like weddings, portraits, natural scenes other than sunsets which aren't artificially saturated, fit quite nicely into the sRGB gamut). Laser lightshows, LEDs, funky sunsets (deep yellows), very shallow clear waters taken through a polarisers and bumped in saturation in photoshop (deep cyans) would benefit.

    You can tell if you gain a benefit by using a large colour gamut, then setting photoshop to soft-proof to the sRGB colour space, and then enabling the gamut warning indicator. This will show what you may be able to print but not see.
     

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