Adobe RGB or sRGB setting on Canon 40D (which to use)

Discussion in 'Canon EOS' started by dan_hall|4, May 21, 2008.

  1. Which color setting do you use and why? I am flying to Alaska tomorrow and read
    today that many people use the Adobe RGB rather than the sRGB (which I use).
    Any pros/cons? I want to get the best possible shots while up in Alaska. I shoot
    RAW with my 40D and convert to DNG if it matters. Thanks for any thoughts.
  2. If you're shooting RAW it doesn't matter. RAW doesn't care.

    Pick your color space when you're doing the conversion. DPP gives you about 5 different choices. The differences are normally pretty subtle.
  3. Bob, I may be wrong, but I think it does matter even in RAW. I shot on a tripod once to test it and you could see a very noticable difference in the RAW images when clicking back/next in DPP. I think this is one area where choosing what you shoot before hand matters in RAW. I think my manual say to choose before hand as well. I use DPP extensively and have never seen where you could change the 'Shot" colorspace in RAW in DPP. You can set your "Default settings of Workspace" and "Color match settings" for embedding a profile, but not the actual image colorspace in which it was shot. I say this because hearing this from you now definitly has me confused. Please set me straight if I am wrong.

    On a side note, I bet if you put 2 side by side in a print, you couldnt tell a difference. All consumer print shops use sRGB anyway, so shooting in Adobe wouldnt matter in your case Dan. Besides, unless your well versed in Color space, then you are better off leaving it sRGB or you'll wind up with some bad prints.
  4. Adobe RGB has more colors (wider gamut) than sRGB. My rule of thumb for hiking, eating and photographing has always been... Having "too much" is better than not having enough... If there's no major downside, why not go with "too much?" Adobe RGB matches nicely with most photo quality ink printers. Many people use Kodak's comparatively huge gamut ProPhoto. No monitor or printer can reproduce all of the colors, but some people feel that it's just a matter of time before that changes.
  5. I think it does matter because when I bring a picture into CS3 from ACR and the picture's color space does not match the sRGB that I have set in PS I get a warning that asks do I want to convert, retain the current color space or discard it altogether. I am not positive but PS knows what color space I used on the camera. It may have been discarded but there is a difference I think in the soft proof. Bob, you know more than I do so I think you are probably correct but then why do I get this message.
  6. David - I could be wrong, but what I posted above is what I understood the situation to be. The RAW file just takes the intensity of each of the pixels in the sensor and stores that information. For a 12MP sensor there are 6 million green pixels, 3 million red pixels and 3 million blue pixels in a standard Bayer matrix camera (like all EOS models). So the RAW file is just 12 million numbers. The colors are only applied when the RAW file is de-matrixed and converted into RAW and JPEG by interpolating colors. That's when the yellows and cyans and magentas and pinks are generated and where (I presume) you need to define a color space. You go from 3 colors in the RAW file to the usual 16 million colors of an 8-bit JPEG. I don't think you can define a color space for a RAW file because it only contains red, green and blue information. It doesn't need a color space.


    As I said, I could be wrong. If you find info to the contrary, let me know.

    Of course when you display a RAW file in DPP, it has to be be de-matrixed and the color and intensity of each pixel determined. That conversion probably uses whatever color space you had set in the camera by default. As far as I know you can change the colorspace which DPP uses when you do the final conversion from RAW to JPEG and save the result.
  7. Ken. I have printed in Adobe RGB, sRGB and Samsung RGB but, just in my case I get a better screen match after using Spyder with everything set to sRGB. Even at 16 bits its hard to tell the difference.
  8. Dan,

    Are you shooting only RAW or RAW + JPG? If you're only shooting RAW, I believe
    it's default color space is ProPHOTO, so sRGB or AdobeRGB does not apply.

    But if you are shooting RAW + JPG, why wouldn't you want to use the larger color
    space that AdobeRGB allows for JPG?

    Then when see an image that you'd like to post on any web page, that's where,
    "Save for the Web" comes into play- see Photoshop, under File. This function turns
    the written color space and converts it to sRGB.

    In a Nut Shell, capture an image in the Largest File, with it's largest color space that
    is allowed. You can always throw away information- Go from Large to Small.

    On the other hand, if you're going to photograph something, that's only going to be posted on a web-page, then by all means, shoot in sRGB
  9. This article will be very helpful to better answer your question.
  10. If you're shooting RAW it doesn't matter.
    In a nutshell, correct. The only difference it makes is the changing of the first letter of the filename to an underscore.
  11. To Bob,

    I 2nd David's observation. I too believe that when shooting in sRGB, over
    AdobeRGB does in somehow affect the performance of the RAW file being
    generated. This was on a 20D.

    Back in 2005/2006 I was shooting a Sunset and accidently had the 20D set to RAW
    + JPG Large in sRGB. Even after opening the RAW image in PS CS2 {Using Adobe
    to open the RAW file} Color Space ProPhoto RGB, my colors where very much out
    of Gamut.

    Meaning: RAW has the potential of writing a file in the ProPhoto RGB color shoe,
    but if the camera set to sRGB, the color space will be confined to sRGB within the
    ProPhoto RGB Color space for the written RAW file.
  12. Interesting, though I don't see how you can assign a colorspace to a RAW file since it only contains three primary colors. The pixels in the RAW file don't have any color tags at all. It's simply their position in the matrix that determins what color is assigned to them, red, green or blue.

    You can assign a default conversion profile. For example is you shoot RAW in B&W, the image will show up as B&W when opened in DPP, but only because it uses the "B&W" tag in the RAW file. You can still open it as full color if you want to.

    I'd assume the same for color space. It may well "tag" the RAW file to tell DPP what color space to use as default, but that should be a default, and just like a "B&W" tag you should be able to override it.
  13. I am still pretty confused. Sounds like there are different schools of thought on the subject. Still, very informative reading over the responses and the logic that suports each. I fly to Alaska in 22 hours. Adobe RGB or sRGB?
  14. Bob's right - shoot RAW and it doesn't matter. And for the record, when you convert these images, ProPhoto has a larger gamut than Adobe RGB which is larger than sRGB.

    Save your RAW images and someday you'll figure this out...and have the RAW files to manipulate.
  15. Here's what my 5D manual says...

    The color space refers to the range of reproducible colors. With this
    camera, you can set the color space for captured images to sRGB or
    Adobe RGB. For normal images, sRGB is recommended. In Full Auto
    Mode, sRGB will be set automatically.

    About Adobe RGB
    This is mainly used for commercial printing and other industrial uses.
    This setting is not recommended if you do not know about image
    processing, Adobe RGB, and Design rule for Camera File System 2.0
    (Exif 2.21).
    Since the image will look very subdued with sRGB personal computers
    and printers not compatible with Design rule for Camera File System
    2.0 (Exif 2.21), post-processing of the image with software will be
  16. What do I use? I shoot in Adobe RGB, producing both a RAW file and and a small jpg file.

    I almost always process the best RAW files in Adobe RGB. But the critical step is the last one. You need to remember to convert back to the sRGB profile before you post those RGB files to the net. I also convert before I send files to be printed, as some printers may not read the EXIF data and so mess up the translation. I find that if I forget to convert to sRGB, the colors look a little muddy on an internet browser.

    Some authors argue just to shoot all in sRGB, guys like Ken Rockwell. It's easier, though I think you lose some data latitude if you do the conversion before using photoshop.

  17. FWIW, from the Lightroom help file:
    "Lightroom simplifies color management in your photographic workflow. You donメt need to choose color settings or color profiles until you are ready to output your photos. . . . Raw photo files generally donメt have embedded color profiles. For raw files, the Develop module assumes a wide color space based on the color values of the ProPhoto RGB color space."
    I can't speak for DPP as I don't use it.
  18. "I am still pretty confused. Sounds like there are different schools of thought on the subject. Still, very informative reading over the responses and the logic that suports each. I fly to Alaska in 22 hours. Adobe RGB or sRGB?"
    Dan - trust me - if you're shooting RAW then you can toss a coin - neither will have any effect what-so-ever on the RAW data.
  19. I just took 2 test shots. JPG+RAW. There's difference between .jpg files ONLY. Raw files look identical.

    Someone people mentioned what they use. I use RAW+small JPG (worst quality). I'd shoot only RAW but raw files viewer doesn't work on win 64-bit and if I shot only raw files I wouldn't have any thumbnails.
  20. *someone/some (edited it later and forgot to delete "one")
  21. IMHO if you are asking this question you should be using sRGB. If you can articulate a
    reason to use some other color space, then go ahead.

    That being said, I'm pretty sure Mr. Atkins is right. If you use, say, Lightroom, to do your
    conversions, it uses an internal color space for all of its work and only converts to sRGB
    or whatever when exporting to the final JPEG or Photoshop file.
  22. Bob is correct, it doesn't matter. You're confusing rendering and encoding. On has to
    take place before the other. The encoding (selecting a color space) has to happen
    after rendering and in this case, its an option you're selecting when you ask the
    camera to build a JPEG (render) for that encoding:

    As to the Raw data having a color space, that's a totally different discussion and
    one that's somewhat open to debate. In the case of the OP, you can set the camera
    to whatever you wish, the Raw isn't affected (same for White Balance and any
    matrix or picture style settings), that's only EXIF data suggestions a Raw converter
    may recognize and use, or totally ignore. The Raw isn't affected one bit. Only ISO
    and exposure affect this data and both are quite different in terms of JPEG from the
    camera or optimal data for Raw conversions:
  23. Dave Holland has said what I was going to. ;-)

    I'll just add, do all your image adjustments in AdobeRGB colour space. This way Photoshop has access to the full range of tones when processing your images. Save as a 16-bit TIFF file - or Photoshop format if you have multiple layers. Then convert your colour space to sRGB before printing or for web use. I always convert to an 8-bit colour mode as well so I can save as a jpeg (unavailable in 16-bit mode).

    Does it matter if you're shooting RAW? I'm not sure to be honest, but I always set-up the camera for maximum quality incase I do shoot some jpegs. Just remember to convert back in Photoshop after processing.
  24. So Andrew. If my camera is set to Adobe RGB and I bring an image through Bridge to ACR that image is virginal. However it is encoded with the color space set on the camera. So when the image is moved from ACR the encoding tells PS CS3 that it was shot in Adobe RGB. But, PS knowing that I have sRGB set up tells me that there is a mismatch in coler space. I get three options. Use the mismatch. Convert to sRGB. or, discard the encoding altogher. Now I usually convert. What is the practical effect in PS of using the other two options? Are my above assumptions correct? Keep it simple. You guys can get over my head in a nano second.
  25. Raw files have no color space assignment. There might be EXIF data that Bridge or
    LR sees that indicates the encoding set on the camera, it plays no role here. The
    only way you tell ACR what encoding space you wish is by clicking on the workflow
    options at the bottom of the UI and select one of the four color spaces. Then the
    image is rendered and encoded into that color space (I'd highly recommend
    ProPhoto RGB in 16-bit).

    When any image is opened in Photoshop and it doesn't match the color space
    you've selected in color settings AND you have the warning check box on, an error
    is popped to inform you of the mismatch. You want to preserve the color space.
  26. Thank you Andrew for your prompt and confirming answer.. That's about what I thought but I will now preserve the color space instead of converting it.
  27. Andrew is an acknowledged expert in this area (he has written books about it). You may also find the following helpful:
  28. Thanks for clearing this up Andrew! It's good to have a resident expert here!

    Just one point. On the cameras that have it, Highlight Tone Priority also affects the RAW file as well as exposure and ISO. Though Canon haven't given exact details of how HTP works, it's presumably done through a variable gain hardware step that acts much like the gain associated with the ISO setting, except that the gain for HTP is non-linear, with highlights getting less gain than shadows and therefore being more resistant to "blowing out". It's done in hardware before the A/D conversion required to generate the RAW data.
  29. This is actually part of the problem I was having in lightroom... whenever I exported a jpg (sRGB) it looked like crap (lost all color and saturation)

    I fixed this by exporting in the right color space. Interesting stuff.
  30. ted_marcus|1

    ted_marcus|1 Ted R. Marcus

    It's probably best to use the sRGB setting. Although the camera's color space doesn't matter to the raw converter, it could matter to any software that uses the medium-resolution JPEG embedded in the raw file to create thumbnails or previews. That includes stand-alone hard disk devices that can display images on an LCD screen or a TV set (they can't decode the actual raw file, but they can display the embedded JPEG). Those thumbnails or previews will look more accurate if they're written in sRGB, since the software or device probably isn't aware of color spaces. An Adobe RGB JPEG will probably look washed out.

    For what it's worth, I set my Rebel XT to increased saturation, contrast, and sharpness (and sRGB). Adobe Camera Raw ignores all those settings (although Canon's raw converters will use them). But the images on the camera's LCD display or a hotel TV screen look better because they're actually the embedded JPEGs in the raw files.
  31. Wow! Great information here. Thanks to everyone for giving me a crash course education in color space. I appreciate the time you spent helping me out. My wife and I caught an earlier flight to Alaska. Heading to the airport in an hour or so. Thanks for all the info on RGB settings. With some luck, I hope to capture some memorable shots. The info offered here will certainly help. Thank you!
  32. Hey Ted that's a good point! I have one of those backup devices that reads the jpeg data within the raw file. And if it really doesn't make a difference when shooting raw, then I might switch.
  33. In short the best setting to use if space and format afforded is ProPhoto RGB as it maintains the most followed by Adobe RGB 1998 than sRGB.
  34. I suggest Albert reads the links I provided - the largest colour space won't always give you the best result.
  35. Not to negate your post Mark but I question the source as it has no citations. Moreover, logic says 16bit is better than 8bit. Furthermore, printer vs. monitor comparison should be considered. Lastly, even your expert Andrew has suggested ProPhoto RGB.

    Correct me if I'm wrong. I'm not claiming to be an expert but logic suggest this.
  36. It's funny, I started reading this thread knowing what to do and then everybody chirps in :)

    Seriously, I shoot in ARGB and print in it, if I put it on the web then i convert it to SRGB, if you don't do that you'll find that the photo will appear ot be a bit hazy or cloudy, don't know why but I'll bet somebody here does.
  37. IF you shoot Raw, and output to a modern ink jet (or expect to print to some device in
    the future yet on the market), you'd be well advised to stick with 16-bit ProPhoto as an
    encoding space for master rendered images, especially if you're using Lightroom or

    The reasons are explained here:

    Adobe RGB isn't a wide enough gamut to contain the possible gamut of a scene or the
    capture device most are using.

    While there are way more colors that can be defined in something like ProPhoto RGB
    than you could possibly capture, we have to live with a disconnect between the simple
    shapes of RGB working space and the vastly more complex shapes of output color
    spaces to the point we're trying to fit round pegs in square holes. To do this, you need a
    much larger square hole. Simple matrix profiles of RGB working spaces when plotted 3
    dimensionally illustrate that they reach their maximum saturation at high luminance
    levels. The opposite is seen with print (output) color spaces. Printers produce color by
    adding ink or some colorant, working space profiles are based on building more
    saturation by adding more light due to the differences in subtractive and additive color
    models. To counter this, you need a really big RGB working space like ProPhoto RGB
    again due to the simple size and to fit the round peg in the bigger square hole. Their
    shapes are simple and predictable. Then there is the issue of very dark colors of
    intense saturation which do occur in nature and we can capture with many devices.
    Many of these colors fall outside Adobe RGB (1998) and when you encode into such a
    space, you clip the colors to the degree that smooth gradations become solid blobs in
    print, again due to the dissimilar shapes and differences in how the two spaces relate to
  38. All the authorities seem to agree - shoot in RAW. The RAW downloaders (at least Lightroom) defaults to Prophoto RGB which is the largest color gamut and which allows for most accurate adjustment. The other RGB's are important only afterward - sRGB designed for monitor display, Adobe RGB for printing.
  39. Everything Peter Su said, especially:

    "IMHO if you are asking this question you should be using sRGB. If you can articulate a reason to use some other color space, then go ahead."

    I might have missed it - but has Dan (the OP) said what he intends to do with his images?
  40. >The other RGB's are important only afterward - sRGB designed for monitor display,
    Adobe RGB for printing.

    Minor but important point. Nether is designed for these tasks, both are based on a
    theoretical emissive display output devices defined using three simple attributes (TRC
    gamma, white point and chromaticity values for RGB). There were designed as Quasi-
    Device Independent editing spaces with differing gamuts (just like ColorMatch RGB,
    ProPhoto RGB etc).
  41. Andrew Rodney. I printed out and studied the reference you posted above. I now get what you have been talking about. I now, for the first time, understand what I am trying to manage by using different color spaces. It was well written, the visual are great and the article now sits by my computer for reference, I recommend it to anyone who would like to understand the subject better. BTW I think your name would be a great one for a detective in a british mystery. Apologies to Agatha.
  42. This thread demonstrates one of the key problems of these forums -
    misunderstandings can be stated as truths, leading to further misunderstandings
    which become conventional wisdom. (1D Mk III issues spring to mind)

    This is not an issue of "different schools of thought" or opinion - it's a simple
    unequivocal fact - embedded color spaces make no difference to the image content
    of a RAW file, none.

    As Colin correctly states, it changes to prefix on the naming of the file and puts a
    tag in the metadata, that's it. The colorspace decision is made at the output stage
    and can be previewed in the RAW processor.
  43. This one may can help

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