What color space?

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by jwt, Nov 30, 2007.

  1. jwt macrumors 6502

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    #1
    What color space should I use for shooting? My camera options are sRGB and Adobe RGB. Also, I read somewhere that color profiles are not embedded in RAW files at the camera level. Is that true?
     
  2. seenew macrumors 68000

    seenew

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  3. JFreak macrumors 68040

    JFreak

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    #3
    Adobe RGB has deeper colors, so that's what I use. I can always shrink color range later, but it's hard to invent colors that are not there to begin with.
     
  4. jwt thread starter macrumors 6502

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  5. yeroen macrumors 6502a

    yeroen

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    #5
    No, Use sRGB. There's a reason why sRGB is standard.

    More here:
    sRGB vs Adobe RGB
     
  6. balofagus macrumors regular

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    #6
    If your shooting RAW it doesn't matter. The image is tagged with the profile (so an accurate JPEG preview can be rendered) but you RAW editor can overwrite that tag to export any color space you want. You won't necessarily use the whole larger space though if you do decide to export at say... ProPhoto RGB.
     
  7. Westside guy macrumors 601

    Westside guy

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    #7
    Sorry, but Mr. Rockwell is wrong (about many things, but that's another discussion).

    The reason sRGB is standard has nothing to do with cameras, and most everything to do with Windows and computer accessories. Microsoft and HP developed it so that what comes out of the standard cheap home printer is reasonably close to what is displayed on the standard cheap home monitor. Its narrower gamut is not the best color space for photos (it's not awful either; just sub-optimal), and web browsers are beginning to follow Safari's lead and move away from its limits - although it likely will be the default for some time. Even Microsoft is looking at alternatives, although as usual they're pursuing their own proprietary course.

    Also remember - if you capture images in Adobe RGB, you can still easily convert to sRGB for the web. Tools like Aperture will even do this transparently for you.

    Addendum: Here's a reasonably unbiased comparison between the two.
     
  8. yeroen macrumors 6502a

    yeroen

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    #8
    sRGB was proposed by MS + HP? Is is irrational to say that knowing that now kind of ruins sRGB for me?
     
  9. Westside guy macrumors 601

    Westside guy

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    #9
    :D

    Actually, overall I think this should go down under the "nice" section rather than the "naughty" section - at the time it really needed to be done, and it serves its original purpose well.
     
  10. Abstract macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

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    #10
    I use sRGB because in the long run, I don't think it matters. Also, if I'm shooting JPEGs, the image won't look so weak and flat. I can switch colour space when shooting JPEG, but what if I forget? Also, what's the point of having a camera that was designed to allow me to quickly change from RAW to JPEG (and vice versa) if I'd also need to dig through menus to change the colour space? It doesn't seem worth it, and unless you can tell me what colour space I'm shooting in, I probably wouldn't be able to tell. It's probably more beneficial to you to just calibrate your camera to output accurate colours (when compared to something like Imatest) to begin with (if you can calibrate things like this only your DSLR).
     
  11. jdavtz macrumors 6502a

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    #12
    Am I right in assuming that if I'm shooting RAW anyway, the camera-set colour profile has zero relevance at all? (Importing to Aperture).
     
  12. Father Jack macrumors 68020

    Father Jack

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    #13
    I was at a Photoshop seminar a few years back and the speaker (Adobe certified) advised against using sRGB, and said always use Adobe RGB. When he was asked why, he said the "S" in sRGB stood for simple, he then said only simple people should use it !!!! ... :eek:

    I never found out if he was serious or not, but since then I have always used Adobe RGB.
     
  13. jtblueberry macrumors regular

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    #14
    Depends on your workflow and what you do with your images.
    Typically commercial photographers and photographers whose photos are going to offset printing shoot adobeRGB.
    Typically portrait photographers shoot sRGB because that's what their labs and/or printers want (most printers prints in sRGB).
    I'm sure other types of photography justify one or the other or both. They are just tools...ones that need to be used accordingly for a given job...one is not always better than the other.
    This is a really deep issue but that's as simple as I could make it.
     
  14. ChrisA macrumors G4

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    #15
    raw files do not have and can not have a color space. raw files are not images. Color space only has meaning full once you have an RGB image. You can choose the color space when you convert the image. The setting on the camera is just there to tell the raw converter your intent but does nothing to the raw image.

    There is a trade off. A wide color space like Abodbe RGB covers a wider range but it uses wider "steps". A narower space like sRGB has smaller steps. The number of steps is fixed by the number of bits. At 8 bits per channel you have 256 steps. Just like steps in a house. If the number of steps is fixed they must each be taler if the floors are 12 feet apart than if they are 9 feet apart. But if you are using 16-bit images the step size is very small no mater what color space.

    The best workflow is to keep the image in raw format or in 16-bit color depth and Adobe SRB until you need to export a JPG then pick the color space based on where you will be sending the mage. It it is going to most on-line printers or the web it will have to be in the "standard" sRGB color space.

    Many people will argue that if you must convert to sRGB for export you may as well just use that as your working color space. This makes sense for some people. But it depends on an "if".

    I think the answerdepends on
    • if you keep your archive in RAW or 16-bit RGB or in JPG
    • if you work mostly for print and web output
    • how much you post process your images
    • How much hassel you are willing to put up with

    For example if you shoot JPG and then make prints directly from camera files then you want sRGB but if you shoot raw and then convert to PSD 16-bit per chanel format Adobe RGB is a better color space but you will have to remember to convert the color space when you create JPG versions for export.
     
  15. jtblueberry macrumors regular

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    #16
     
  16. Abstract macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

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    #17
    No it's not. ChrisA is right. RAW files are not image files at all. It's just data....1s and 0s. You can argue that JPEGs are as well, but the file is of an actual formed image. RAW files contain uninterpreted data, the data that's there before any of the interpolation/demosaicing (ie: guessing) is done by the system to form an image. That is why a RAW file isn't an image file......because demosaicing hasn't happened yet. JPEGs, TIFs, etc, are files formed from demosaicing a RAW data file, and so it's not RAW data anymore.
     
  17. jtblueberry macrumors regular

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    #18
    I guess you can decide how much you want to split hairs...I feel it is an image format that is simply not yet processed to be used (my interpretation of the definition). What are those 1s and 0s there for? They are there to record image data...nothing else. Just because you need software to show you the data doesn't mean it's not there. What is an image besides data recorded in one way or another? Anyway, my point is that a color profile does not make an image an image.

    Wikipedia definition - A raw image file (sometimes written RAW image file[1]) contains minimally processed data from the image sensor of a digital camera or image scanner. Raw files are so named because they are not yet processed and ready to be used with a bitmap graphics editor or printed. Normally, the image will be processed by a raw converter in a wide-gamut internal colorspace where precise adjustments can be made before conversion to an RGB file format such as TIFF or JPEG for storage, printing, or further manipulation.
    Raw image files are sometimes called digital negatives, as they fulfill the same role as film negatives in traditional chemical photography: that is, the negative is not directly usable as an image, but has all of the information needed to create an image. In addition to raw files from cameras, raw data from film scanners can also be referred to as digital negatives. Likewise, the process of converting a raw image file into a viewable format is sometimes called developing a raw image, by analogy with the film development
     
  18. benzslrpee macrumors 6502

    benzslrpee

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    #19
    or a better idea...shoot both, print and see which one you like better?
     
  19. seenew macrumors 68000

    seenew

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    #20
    if you want a visual representation of data loss from AdobeRGB to sRGB, just open your ColorSync utility in OSX. Click profiles, then in the list click AdobeRGB. Click the little arrow in the corner of the image, and select "hold for comparison" then go back to the list and click sRGB.

    Looks like this

    [​IMG]


    a lot of color data lost.

    edit: to explain the image: the ghosted out 3D form represents the adobeRGB color space, the form inside represents the sRGB color space, encompassing a much smaller volume.
     
  20. mactastic1971 macrumors regular

    mactastic1971

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    #21
    My 2 cents worth...
    If you're printing use Adobe RGB.
    If you'll only ever be uploading pics to the web, I guess you could get away with using sRGB but why bother when you can always go from RGB->sRGB. You cant go the other way !!!
     
  21. jtblueberry macrumors regular

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    #22
    That's half true. You can't add more information to an image by going from sRGB to adobeRGB. However, you CAN convert an image from an sRGB color space to adobeRGB color space (granted you can't get back information that could have been there if the image was adobeRGB from the start).
    Some may notice a difference in image quality...others may not.
    Plus...most printers want sRGB.
     
  22. pinktank macrumors 6502

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    #23
    If you are shooting family pictures that you dont want to modify later, go srgb but Rockwell is not really correct
     
  23. nutmac macrumors 68040

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    Mar 30, 2004
    #24
    Best: shoot RAW and not worry about the color space.

    Although JPEG can handle higher color depth, most cameras write 8-bit (per channel) JPEG. With these JPEG images, Adobe RGB's larger gamut won't accommodate both professional printing and online photo sharing.

    Good photo management applications and few browsers (e.g., Safari) support color profile, but most don't. Adobe RGB photos will look worse when viewed by these applications.

    Although Adobe RGB has wider gamut, with 8-bit encoding, it won't have enough data for sRGB conversion. So if you are shooting with JPEG, use sRGB if you care more about sharing photos with general public.
     
  24. DanielSmith macrumors newbie

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    #25

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