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Thread: Colour Management Question

  1. #1

    Colour Management Question

    Until recently I was using Nikon View NX to convert my raw files and then convert to tiff files but I am now using Nikon Capture NX2 software. Firstly I was told by Jessops to set my in camera colour space to Adobe sRGB and use this colour space throughout my workflow which I have done and then I import my NEF files into NX2.

    What I am confused about is in the colour management settings in Capture NX2 there is a drop down list of colour profiles to select from, am I right to select Nikon sRGB also there is a check box that says "use this instead of embedded profile" I do not understand what this means what embedded profile could they mean?
    I have calibrated my monitor on my laptop using a Spyder Pro3 and this has created a profile called by default Generic PnP Monitor-1.icm which I thought I should mention because this also comes under the list of options to select from under the ICC profiles list in NX2.

    I am using Windows Vista Home Premium and when i go to control panel> colour management settings and open it up on the Devices Tab it says Display: Generic PnP Monitor-NVIDIA GeForce 8200M G is this displaying the correct profile, that is the one my Spyder Pro3 created as the default ICC profile and is connected to my graphics card. I would appreciate any help given on this subject to help me get the best colours from my prints.

  2. #2

    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    South Coast, UK
    Real Name

    Re: Colour Management Question

    Hello Gary,
    I'm not a Nikon user so those who are may wish to correct me please. That said:-

    In relation to RAW files the message "use this instead of embedded profile" is err … misleading. RAW files have no profile as such (simplification). So you need only concern yourself with output profile for files saved from your RAW converter – e.g. the output tiff file. You may wish to set this to an sRGB setting if your preparing you work for output to the Web – e.g. to post here on CiC. On the other hand you can use another colour space setting which will give you a larger range of colours – e.g. Adobe RGB. You can convert to sRGB for the Web latter if you wish. Please remember to save and make backup copies of your RAW files. That way you can go back and revisit your images at a latter date – as your post processing skills improve.

    I believe your using the correct display profile. I use the older Spyder 2 software and I recognise the naming convention for the file name. As you've discovered, Windows dumps all icc and icm profiles in the same place so it can get a bit confusing at times.



  3. #3

    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    New Zealand
    Real Name
    Have a guess :)

    Re: Colour Management Question

    Hi Gary,

    RAW captures don't have a colourspace - so it doesn't matter what you set the colourspace to in the camera. However a colourspace is assigned as part of the RAW conversion process; if you choose sRGB that that's what you're limited to for the rest of the workflow.

    There are big debates over colourspaces - things aren't as simple as they might seem at first though ...

    sRGB has the smallest range of colours - but - that range is still very very good and if you're new to colour management it's the one least likely to get you into trouble.

    Adobe RGB has a slightly wider range of colours, and ProPhoto wider again.

    The initial reaction of many photographers is to use ProPhoto - or Adobe RGB because they can't stand the thought of losing colours, but it's not that straight-forward for a couple of reasons ...

    1. Most monitors only display sRGB (or close to it) - so even if you've captured more colours, you won't be able to see them, and

    2. Most commercial printing services can only handle sRGB; so wider colourspaces are only of use if you're printing your own on a printer that can handle it - or you're printing at a high-end lab.

    So the very real downside of wider colour spaces is - if you're manipulating colours - then you may have some areas that print differently to what you see on your screen since your screen can't properly display what's actually there. So think of sRGB as being "Safe RGB".

    Adobe RGB is really only an advantage if you're printing on a printer that can handle it - on your screen or on the web you'll only see sRGB for all intents and purposes anyway.

    Embedded profiles are profiles embedded in the image file - only applicable if you're shooting JPEG, unless Nikon are doing something tricky, but I wouldn't think so.

    The profile created by the Spyder III is what you should be using as your default display profile, but that's the only place it's used - never ever use it as a profile to attach to an image or as an output/print profile (common mistake).

    If you want to master colour management, pick up a copy of Real World Color Management, 2nd edition by Fraser, Murphy, and Bunting - it's the industry standard reference text.

    Hope this helps

  4. #4

    Re: Colour Management Question

    Hi Nick,
    Thank you for your help on this topic, I was told that colour management can be a bit of a minefield but I only want to set up the basics so that the colours I see on screen are a pretty good match when output to a printer. I assume that the monitor profile setting is just for viewing on screen and that the sRGB profile used by the editing software is a seperate profile relating to colour space/gamut when transferring images to printers, is this correct.

  5. #5

    Re: Colour Management Question

    Hello Colin,
    Thank you so much for taking time to reply to my message, you have been of great help I sort of knew about the colour gamuts of sRGB and Adobe RGB but the embedded profile was confusing me and the windows viewing profile added further to my dilemma but you have been a big help I feel like I am getting somewhere now. To sum up then, in the Nikon software I leave the setting to Nikon sRGB but leave the box unticked so has not to use any embedded profile and leave the Spyder .icm profile as the default viewing display profile and leave that well alone.

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