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Thread: sRGB v Adobe RGB

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    sRGB v Adobe RGB

    Hi all, I have read many of the great tutorials but remain puzzled by one area - If my output is going to be either the web, or printer (mine or a print shop) am I creating potential problems by using Adobe RGB? I ask as I believe the output modes I am most likely to use only properly support sRGB so if I spend time editing images etc with the wider gamut of Adobe I then have to convert to sRGB for the web or to print. What is the advantage in using Adobe RGB in the middle of all this?

    Thanks for the enlightenment
    Adam

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    Re: sRGB v Adobe RGB

    If the only intended use of these photos is for devices that can only utilize the gamut of sRGB, then there is really no advantage to using Adobe RGB during the editing process. However, if you think you might try printing somewhere else at some point in the future, then sometimes it's worth having your images saved in a wide gamut like Adobe RGB. After all, it is easy to convert an image from a large to a smaller gamut, but once this is done you cannot realistically go back.

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    Re: sRGB v Adobe RGB

    Hi & thanks.

    OK, that's kind of what I was hoping - I'm getting there....

    If you're critical of the quality of your printing and your printer (& most external print shops as I understand it) only support sRGB (or I suppose CMYK for mags and the like) aren't you creating problems by having to do the sRGB conversion at the output stage and *hoping* the conversion provides a pleasing result, else you either get a poor print or spend time and money on different conversions etc? So although you'd have the future possibility for better printing if you can get greater than sRGB, you may have a fair bit of hassle here and now due to the conversion and out of gamut colout handling???

    Or, is it that the *potenital* issues at the conversion stage are not really that bad and 99% of the time a default transition from Adobe RGB to sRGB will be fine?

    Maybe I'm missing something else - my thinking has been caused by trying to simplify my processing and get predictable results. But if my monitor and printer don't provde good sRGB support then I'm going to have the potential issues even using sRGB. Currently using a Pixma Pro9000 and a Dell HC24 monitor - must look into their claimed sRGB support.

    Thanks again
    Adam

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    Re: sRGB v Adobe RGB

    Quote Originally Posted by stylo View Post
    Or, is it that the *potential* issues at the conversion stage are not really that bad and 99% of the time a default transition from Adobe RGB to sRGB will be fine?
    Yes, that's been more or less my experience. The average photo will not experience significant problems on conversion, and even if it does, often switching between relative colorimetric and perceptual conversion (or vice versa) can reasonably sort things out.

    Quote Originally Posted by stylo View Post
    Maybe I'm missing something else - my thinking has been caused by trying to simplify my processing and get predictable results. But if my monitor and printer don't provde good sRGB support then I'm going to have the potential issues even using sRGB. Currently using a Pixma Pro9000 and a Dell HC24 monitor - must look into their claimed sRGB support.
    Nearly all monitors can encompass sRGB; it's just whether you have a good color profile and whether it can precisely allocate bits anywhere throughout sRGB that can be the problem. There' a lot more on this on this site's tutorial on sRGB versus Adobe RGB 1998. The "high end inkjet" gamut shown in the interactive comparison plots should be a reasonably accurate estimate of your printer, since the printer used on that page is the Canon iP9900.

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    Re: sRGB v Adobe RGB

    I think that there's a wee bit of "Excessive / Compulsive Disorder" in every photographer. When presented with choices like sRGB and Adobe RGB we're tempted to gravitate towards the bigger colourspace because we feel that it's just that little bit closer to perfection.

    In reality though the bigger the colourspace, the greater the opportunity to create something that can give you no end of headaches. I recall a particular image that I was working on in L*A*B colour (a colour space much larger than either sRGB or Adobe RGB) - I had certain bright reds looking great on the screen, but portions of them always printed out closer to orange - making the whole image look a bit of a mess - and I was tearing out what hair I had left trying to figure out why; in the end (or course) I had created colours that could be neither displayed on my monitor, nor printed on my printer - but what compounded the issue was my monitor profile had translated them into something displayable on the screen - and that's what I was adjusting the image around (kinda like the blind leading the blind). When I finally wised up and turned on the out-of-gamut warning (when soft-proofing) I was met with a grey sea of "warning". From this point I was able to tweak the colours until the warnings disappeared - and "hey presto" everything printed just fine after that.

    The lesson I learned in the end was "the bigger the colourspace, the more trouble you can get yourself into" - that's not to say we shouldn't use bigger colourspaces - just be careful; if you capture an image in aRGB (or RAW) and print it on a printer that has a wider gamut than sRGB then you'll almost certainly be printing additional colours that sRGB would have rendered into something else - but whether or not you can even notice these additional colours is another matter entirely.

    Personally, I shoot RAW - manipulate & print in either ProPhoto or LAB colourspaces - and only convert to sRGB if I have to put the image on the web or have it printed at a lab - but to be honest, I'm probably not gaining a lot.

    Hope this helps.

    Cheers,

    Colin - pbase.com/cjsouthern
    Last edited by Colin Southern; 12th January 2009 at 06:11 AM.

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    Re: sRGB v Adobe RGB

    This is an old thread, but I hope I can draw on some more advice. I have been shooting in Adobe 1998. If monitors usually work in sRGB, assuming I have a good monitor profile, can I see anything more on the screen than if I shot in sRGB? If so, how come? (as an analogy, thinking just in 2D for the moment for the colour space, I have assumed a colour space can be taken as a box of coloured pencils, with the Adobe 1998 being a bigger box, mostly with more green and blue pencils). If the monitor can't "see" these extra pencils and I can't edit using that range of colours, how can any colour space larger than sRGB be used in editing?

    I think I am missing some basic concept, even after reading all the helpful tutorials.
    Last edited by ijbrewst; 20th February 2010 at 05:59 AM. Reason: spelling

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    Re: sRGB v Adobe RGB

    Quote Originally Posted by ijbrewst View Post
    This is an old thread, but I hope I can draw on some more advice. I have been shooting in Adobe 1998. If monitors usually work in sRGB, assuming I have a good monitor profile, can I see anything more on the screen that if I shot in sRGB? If so, how come?
    If the monitor was capable of reproducing the sRGB gamut only, then no - you wouldn't see any of the additional colours of the Adobe RGB gamut. In reality though monitors don't have a strictly "RGB only" gamut - the average monitor probably also represents a very small fraction of the Adobe RGB gamut ... so in theory - if the monitor could display something just in the Adobe gamut - and the image contained such a colour then yes the monitor would possibly display it; I say "possibly" because when you have colours that are out of gamut, the computer still has to show something - so it handles the out-of-gamut using a set of rules called rendering intents and depending on what rendering intents you have set it may simply clip OOG colours to the nearest sRGB colour, or it might scale the entire image colour info so that everything remains proportional, in which case the colour you were trying to display would already have been remapped to a safely in gamut sRGB colour, whilst colours that were even further OOG will then in turn be mapped to colours on the fringe of the sRGB gamut.

    OK - having just said all that - if you're shooting to display on screens only, shoot in whatever colourspace you like (or preferably RAW which doesn't have a colourspace) - process with a working colourspace that's as big as you like (I use ProPhoto) - and then convert a copy back to sRGB for display, if you're not making big colour shifts (ie you're looking for colour realism). In reality - until the majority of monitors are capable of Adobe RGB - then it's a sRGB world for display; Adobe RGB is really only of benefit for prints (where printers have different gamuts that are more aligned to Adobe RGB) (although having just said that, most photo "labs" can only handle sRGB, so it again becomes a moot point unless you do your own printing with a more capable printer).

    My advice is if you know what you're doing then there's no downside to shooting RAW and working in a large colourspace ... if you DON'T know what you're doing then the bigger the space the more trouble you can get yourself into, especially with large colour shifts.

    Hope this helps!

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    Re: sRGB v Adobe RGB

    Thanks again Colin; every bit helps. I am moving more to Raw shooting and can see it is best to capture as much data as possible in my "master" files, even if I don't use it all later. The tutorials and even PS itself have made the rendering options clear; I have been using Relative Colormetric mostly, though for landscapes perhaps I should use Perceptual?

    From what you say, if I shoot jpegs in Adobe 98, there would be no point in using ProPhoto as a working space, only if I shoot in Raw.

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    Re: sRGB v Adobe RGB

    Quote Originally Posted by ijbrewst View Post
    Thanks again Colin; every bit helps. I am moving more to Raw shooting and can see it is best to capture as much data as possible in my "master" files, even if I don't use it all later. The tutorials and even PS itself have made the rendering options clear; I have been using Relative Colormetric mostly, though for landscapes perhaps I should use Perceptual?
    Hi Ian,

    I use RC for just about everything these days - you might like to do some experimenting and see what you prefer

    From what you say, if I shoot jpegs in Adobe 98, there would be no point in using ProPhoto as a working space, only if I shoot in Raw.
    Pretty much. Again, I just leave mine set to ProPhoto - the only "downside" is needing to convert back to something a bit "tamer" at the end, but that's just a simple action (that also does a few other things), so not exactly hard work! Just don't save jpegs in ProPhoto and then get them printed at your local lab (been there, done that - results weren't pretty!).

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