Results 1 to 17 of 17

Thread: Colour Space

  1. #1

    Colour Space

    OK so I know there are different colour space formats but about the only thing I actually know is that it is recommended to use sRGB when outputting images for the web. Up to now that is all I have done but, having recently joined my local camera club I want to start showing prints. (I think) that means I need to possibly use a different colour space.

    What I want to know is should I be shooting in sRGB or should I set the camera to a different colour space and then convert to sRGB only on export for the web? By that I mean is there a colour space that has more data (?) than sRGB (in the same way that RAW has more data than jpeg) or are they all interchangeable.

  2. #2

    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    New Zealand
    Posts
    17,662
    Real Name
    Have a guess :)

    Re: Colour Space

    Hi Dan,

    If you're shooting RAW then it doesn't matter what the camera is set to as a RAW capture doesn't have a colourspace ... it's simply given one during post-production.

    With regards to "what colourspace should you use if you're going to print", it gets more complicated I'm afraid ...

    - Generally printers can reproduce some colours outside of the sRGB gamut - but ...

    (a) You won't be able to see them on your monitor unless the monitor also supports that gamut (which it may or may not)

    (b) The image may or may not contain colours outside of the sRGB gamut anyway (colourful landscapes may, portraiture won't)

    (c) Even though printers may physically be able to print a different gamut, most "print labs" (and I use the term with a looseness that is generally on par with their lack of quality control) will assume that an image is sRGB - unless they instruct you otherwise.

    So there is a potential advantage to be gained, but there are also associated "gotchas". In most cases - in my experience anyway - an image containing colours that fit into the Adobe RGB gamut won't look appreciatively different if the image is converted to sRGB. Generally, the only advantages for using Adobe RGB is for folks doing their own printing or using a print lab that understands colour management (I'm sure they actually exist; somewhere ...).

    I like to think of sRGB as being the lowest common denominator - and the safest.

  3. #3
    DanK's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    New England
    Posts
    3,711
    Real Name
    Dan

    Re: Colour Space

    To add a couple of things to Colin's comments:

    Yes, always convert to the rRBG color space for posting on the web.

    A few labs will take either sRGB or aRGB. (Bay Photo accepts either.) I would check on your lab's website for that and other information about how they want the file prepared.

    If you are using Lightroom, you can print without worrying about it. Lightroom's print module will take care of converting the color space. Most of my prints are edited only in Lightroom, so they are in proPhoto RGB. I print directly from the edited raw file, just telling LR what the device and the ICC profile are.

  4. #4

    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    northern Virginia suburb of Washington, DC
    Posts
    17,904

    Re: Colour Space

    Colin,

    I wonder if you are aware that many of your comments about color space would be considered heresy on other websites. I know of two. In fact, I stopped making comments similar to yours because it's not worth having to suffer the resulting responses that are akin to being fanatical in the worst way. Indeed, that fanatical attitude is part of the reason I no longer visit those websites, much less participate at them.

    All,

    I would like to expand on Colin's idea that using sRGB is the lowest common denominator and the safest color space. I want an image to always looks the same or at least as close as possible regardless of how it is viewed. This includes all monitors and all prints. I use nothing other than sRGB from capture to output. I do that because I know that I am always going to see essentially the same colors, at least to the extent that the various technologies allow. If others viewing my images on the web use calibrated monitors and browsers that accurately display colors, they will also see the colors that I see. If others don't calibrate their monitors and if they use browsers that don't accurately display colors, there is no hope that they will ever see the same colors that I see regardless of the color space that I use.

    I kid you not: As I typed this post, an automated pop-up message was suddenly displayed on my monitor indicating that it is time for me to calibrate it again.
    Last edited by Mike Buckley; 27th October 2012 at 03:49 PM.

  5. #5
    DanK's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    New England
    Posts
    3,711
    Real Name
    Dan

    Re: Colour Space

    Hi Mike,

    I mostly agree with you, but I disagree about a couple of points. You wrote:

    I want an image to always looks the same or at least as close as possible regardless of how it is viewed. This includes all monitors and all prints. I use nothing other than sRGB from capture to output. I do that because I know that I am always going to see essentially the same colors, at least to the extent that the various technologies allow.
    In may cases, you will see the same colors in editing regardless. For example, lightroom works in prophoto RGB, but it does not try to display that on the monitor. You can see this easily if you export to software that does not take the embedded profile into account. E.g., I stack in Zerene, which does not adjust the display. When I export ProPhoto TIFFs to stack, they display with odd colors in Zerene, but they look perfectly normal when I bring them back to Lightroom.

    I always shoot raw. The main reason not to work in the sRGB space, I think, is simply editing headroom. You are less likely to produce artifacts in prophoto or even aRGB. My rule of thumb is to throw out data as late in the process as possible, whether that loss of information is caused by the color space or by lossy compression to jpeg. So, I switch to sRGB when exporting to the web, or on the rare occasions when I send off an image to be printed by a lab. When I print for myself, I do it in Lightroom, which takes care of the conversion for me without altering the file itself.

    I don't think I am being a fanatic

    Dan

  6. #6

    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    northern Virginia suburb of Washington, DC
    Posts
    17,904

    Re: Colour Space

    No, Dan, you're not being any where near a fanatic. If you had expressed your thinking fanatically, you surely would have used many exclamation points for emphasis, as if saying something in a more excited tone is somehow more convincing. Note that your post contains no exclamation points. Seriously, there are many other symptoms of fanaticism but the abundant use of exclamation points is a dead giveaway.

  7. #7
    Mark von Kanel's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Cornwall
    Posts
    1,861
    Real Name
    Mark

    Re: Colour Space

    !!!!!!!!!!!!!

  8. #8

    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    New Zealand
    Posts
    17,662
    Real Name
    Have a guess :)

    Re: Colour Space

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Buckley View Post
    Colin,

    I wonder if you are aware that many of your comments about color space would be considered heresy on other websites. I know of two. In fact, I stopped making comments similar to yours because it's not worth having to suffer the resulting responses that are akin to being fanatical in the worst way. Indeed, that fanatical attitude is part of the reason I no longer visit those websites, much less participate at them.
    Yep, I'm aware. I fear that CiC is slowly "catching up" with them though, sadly

    My single biggest frustration with much of the advice given right across the web is that a lot of it is THEORY only - and it seems to get repeated so often that it's just accepted without anyone actually stopping to think of whether or not it applies IN PRACTICE.

    - In THEORY sRGB may clip some colours that Adobe RGB may have been able to support, but in PRACTICE most folks couldn't tell the difference.

    - In THEORY a UV filter MAY degrade image quality, but in PRACTICE it's visually undetectable

    - In THEORY a prime is usually sharper than a zoom, but in PRACTICE again, it's visually undetectable

    I've always thought of myself as a "real-world" photographer -- one who doesn't just "talk the talk" but one that also "walks the walk". Heresy is my middle name, and I carry the battle scars to prove it!

  9. #9

    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    New Zealand
    Posts
    17,662
    Real Name
    Have a guess :)

    Re: Colour Space

    Quote Originally Posted by DanK View Post
    In may cases, you will see the same colors in editing regardless. For example, lightroom works in prophoto RGB, but it does not try to display that on the monitor. You can see this easily if you export to software that does not take the embedded profile into account. E.g., I stack in Zerene, which does not adjust the display. When I export ProPhoto TIFFs to stack, they display with odd colors in Zerene, but they look perfectly normal when I bring them back to Lightroom.

    I always shoot raw. The main reason not to work in the sRGB space, I think, is simply editing headroom. You are less likely to produce artifacts in prophoto or even aRGB. My rule of thumb is to throw out data as late in the process as possible, whether that loss of information is caused by the color space or by lossy compression to jpeg. So, I switch to sRGB when exporting to the web, or on the rare occasions when I send off an image to be printed by a lab. When I print for myself, I do it in Lightroom, which takes care of the conversion for me without altering the file itself.
    There's also a potential down-side to working in large spaces though - and that's that it's possible to create colours in an image that can't be displayed accurately because they're outside the gamut of the monitor -- so you have no idea of what they are until you print them - and then wonder why things don't look right. Soft-proofing can help, but only to a point. With sRGB, if it can be displayed then it can be printed to look the same.

    With great power comes great responsibility.

  10. #10

    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    northern Virginia suburb of Washington, DC
    Posts
    17,904

    Re: Colour Space

    Quote Originally Posted by Colin Southern View Post
    My single biggest frustration with much of the advice given right across the web is that a lot of it is THEORY only - and it seems to get repeated so often that it's just accepted without anyone actually stopping to think of whether or not it applies IN PRACTICE.
    I learned a long time ago that if people say something often enough and loudly enough, other people eventually believe it. Sadly, the best example might be the holocaust. The only worse potential example, which thankfully hasn't been as successful, is that there are people loudly and repeatedly saying that the holocaust never happened.
    Last edited by Mike Buckley; 28th October 2012 at 01:04 AM.

  11. #11

    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    northern Virginia suburb of Washington, DC
    Posts
    17,904

    Re: Colour Space

    Quote Originally Posted by Colin Southern View Post
    With sRGB, if it can be displayed then it can be printed to look the same.
    Exactly. Thanks for providing such a much better explanation than I provided of the helpfulness of always working with the same set of data. If we wait until the very last part of the process to throw out data, we may well end up not knowing what to do with the remaining data.

  12. #12

    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    northern Virginia suburb of Washington, DC
    Posts
    17,904

    Re: Colour Space

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark von Kanel View Post
    !!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Very good, Mark. I'm ashamed to admit that I didn't get your post the first time I read it. Now that I do understand your post, I'm compelled to refrain from using any exclamation points to express my enthusiasm for it.

  13. #13

    Re: Colour Space

    As Colin says, there's a theoretical advantage in wide colour spaces, but most pixels in most images have colours within the sRGB colour space. Highly saturated colours beyond the sRGB colour space aren't very common in nature.

    I have over 25,000 raw images in my Lightroom catalogue - and my Nikon D300 has a sensor colour gamut a bit greater than Adobe RGB. And I have two monitors: one wider than Adobe RGB and one approximately sRGB. On the large majority of those 25,000 images I can't see any difference between the rendering on the two monitors. In other words: no significant areas of colour outside sRGB.

    I have some images I created in Photoshop in ProPhoto RGB with fully saturated colours, and I can see the difference in those on my two monitors, but very rarely in natural colours.

  14. #14
    Mark von Kanel's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Cornwall
    Posts
    1,861
    Real Name
    Mark

    Re: Colour Space

    My single biggest frustration with much of the advice given right across the web is that a lot of it is THEORY only - and it seems to get repeated so often that it's just accepted without anyone actually stopping to think of whether or not it applies IN PRACTICE.
    I will get out and take some photos when i get home.... just you wait and see

    But at least i know that the great info provided on here is ALL accurate... and if errors creep in someone usually puts it right.

  15. #15

    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    northern Virginia suburb of Washington, DC
    Posts
    17,904

    Re: Colour Space

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark von Kanel View Post
    But at least i know that the great info provided on here is ALL accurate...
    You apparently have not read any of my posts.

    and if errors creep in someone usually puts it right.
    Ahhhhhhhh, it seems that you have.

  16. #16
    xpatUSA's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Texas
    Posts
    2,949
    Real Name
    Ted

    Re: Colour Space

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Buckley View Post
    Seriously, there are many other symptoms of fanaticism but the abundant use of exclamation points is a dead giveaway.
    +1.

    "Shouting", i.e. abundant use of CAPITAL LETTERS, is another symptom, some say.
    Last edited by xpatUSA; 29th October 2012 at 07:20 AM. Reason: too many caps

  17. #17

    Re: Colour Space

    Thanks for all the info guys. Most helpful.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •