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AdobeRGB vs RGB??

Discussion in 'Printers, Monitors, and Color Management' started by Minuteman3, Apr 16, 2007.

  1. When I took the Nikon School class, the pro who was leading (Nick Didlick from Vancouver, BC) recommended a series of settings for the camera. One was to always shoot in the AdobeRGB space and then color correct later. I have been doing so, and in general it seems to me that the images appear somewhat flat. PP'ing them fixes this, of course, but I'm wondering if I should perhaps just shift back to the sRGB mode.

    Since I think usage plays into this, I'd say most of the images will be viewed on a monitor (either on websites or to family & friends via email) and the occasional wall hanging photo for our home. (These prints could be through a pro printer or an outfit like Costco, although I am looking at a Canon pro5000 or Epson 1800/2400 in the not so distant future to print my own photos.)

    Thanks in advance ...


  2. If you are planning to print at home with the printers you have mentioned there is some advantage in staying with AdobeRGB otherwise standardising on sRGB will avoid any need to do conversions for the web etc..
  3. This will never be fully resolved. There are so many different sorts of criteria for making the decision. If you went to smugmug.com and read their treatise on it you'd NEVER use Adobe98; which is of course, nonsense.

    Clearly, if you want to post on the internet sRGB yields brighter images...I think that's been put to rest. However, if you have a fairly expensive printer (but then $ don't always guarantee this) I feel Adobe98 yields the better images.

    Now if you put down two images both printed on the same printer in different profiles and offered me $100 to guess the difference I'm not sure I'd be able to tell.

  4. The pro was telling you to preserve as much of the information as the camera can capture, even if your primary output intent does not require that much information. He probably also recommended capturing your images in raw format in addition to using Adobe RGB color space. In reality, if you capture images in raw format, it doesn't matter what color space setting you use on the camera itself. That only matters when you capture images in JPG format.

    The image sensor in the D40x, D80 and D200 cameras captures 12 bits of gray scale. That is 4096 shades of gray. Capturing in raw format lets you interpolate that into 12 bits per color channel RGB - 4096^3 = 68,719,476,736 (68 billion) colors. Capturing in JPG format tells the camera to take your saturation, tone, white balance, sharpening, and color space settings, and interpolate that 4096 shades of gray into 8 bits per color channel RGB - 256^3 = 16,777,216 (16 million) colors. I think everyone will agree there is a whopping difference between 16.7 million and 68.7 billion colors. That is 4000 times more colors. That permits much more detail in shadows and highlights, and more saturation across the board. Adobe RGB and other wide gamut color spaces support that. sRGB does not.

    Technology will continue to evolve over time, and you will be able to take more and more advantage of all those potential colors. Most printers today are 8-bit per channel RGB. Canon has a 16-bit per channel RGB printer (Canon iPF5000). I'm sure more manufacturers will follow suit.

    The bottom line is save all that information, even if you don't take advantage of it today. You can't go back and take those pictures later so save that data now.

    You will want to convert your raw files into sRGB color space in Photoshop and save them to JPG when creating web files because Windows (the most pervasive operating system on the Internet) does not do color management. The sRGB color space most accurately matches the colors that Windows displays.

    If you want to get deep into the science of all this, read Bruce Fraser's book Real World Color Management, Second Edition. All of his Real World series is tops in my opinion.
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 17, 2007
  5. Well from my understanding... Browsers can only read/show as sRGB. Thus why posting Adobe RGB for general web users is pointless.

    However, Adobe RGB has a wider/larger gamut (range of colours, for want of a better explanation). So this is probably better to use for processing (over sRGB at least) and then dropping back to sRGB for web posted images.

    I remember reading once that the first thing to do in Photoshop was to switch to 'lab colour' (before applying changes - e.g. curves). I am not sure what one that corresponds to, if any.

    There is another, Prophoto RGB, which has an even larger gamut than Adobe RGB. You will see it as one of the colour space options in the CS2 colour space list. Adobe Camera RAW can also import RAW as Prophoto RGB (amongst others).

    That is just some random stuff I have picked up/read recently. I have done little with any of these -- I will have an article or two open at home to read about them.
  6. WOW. Thank y'all so very much for this "tutorial"!! I am learning quite a bit. I generally do not shoot RAW, but will do so for a while to run some tests.

    Thanks again.

  7. I use Adobe RGB, although as mentioned for RAW files I don't believe it matters. Using Lightroom the colour space used is prophotoRGB but upon export (after processing) I select the most apropriate space i.e. Adobe RGB for printing or sRGB for web or out printing.
  8. GregR


    Feb 28, 2007
    All proper book/magazine/calendar publishes use Adobe 1998. It's the de facto standard for professional printing. But sRGB is fine for web display.

    I highly recommend the book "The Essential Color Manual for Photographers". It will answer a lot of your questions. The author is also technical editor for Practical Photography magazine.
  9. If I process in Adobe, and the lab says they want sRGB, what will happen to the prints?
  10. sclamb


    Jan 2, 2007
    The AdobeRGB space will get compressed into the sRGB space when the image is printed. Best way to ensure you get what you expect is to save the image in sRGB to send to the lab.
  11. gaopa


    Jun 30, 2006
    NE Georgia
    I used to use AdobeRGB and was never satisfied with skin tones on my Epson printer. After reading a number of thing on the net I switched to sRGB a year or so ago and have been pleased. The skin tones are much better and the photos processed for e-mail etc are just great. Cheers, Bill P.
  12. BigPixel

    BigPixel Guest

    That may be the way they prefer submissions for approval but all offset litho work will at some point be converted to CMYK. Most ad agencies submitting work for publication would supply files in CMYK to maintain the look they want in print.
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