sRGB over ARGB?

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by kyle shortes, Apr 9, 2007.

  1. Can anyone give me a cloear example of what color space is better? sRGB or Adobe
    RGB? I know the Adobe RGB is better for post etc ewtc, but what makes it that
    way? What are the clear differences?
  2. Adobe RGB is considered a preferred color space because it is able to capture a higher gamut of colors. It is especially strong in reds. sRGB is considered a preferred color space because while it may not capture a very wide color gamut, it is more compatible with output devices and screen display for web, etc. I always capture in Adobe, but I capture in RAW, so it isn't that big of a deal because you can change the color space when shooting RAW.

  3. The way that Eddie Tapp explained it in a 5 day seminar I did with him, there are three
    steps in photography. He also said that this is going to get easier and easier and less
    costly so why would anyone hire a pro? Is there more to this art than equipment &
    technicals? Something to think about!

    1. Capture stage. Camera, scan and othger ways to capture an image.

    2. Process stage. This takes place after the image is loaded somewhere like a computer.
    This is where the image has further creativity applied in programs like photoshop, painter.

    3. Print stage or I suppose it could be said, visual stage.

    Each of these can have different color spaces. That's assuming that at the capture stage
    you have the camera write in RAW and not let the camera do some of the #2 for you.

    Each of the three stages is an art. It helps to capture your vision in #1 but #2 and #3 can
    play an important role in the final outcome.

    By the way do a google search on sRGB and see what you come up with.

    When I was film #2 & #3 was done by the lab or in my darkroom!

  4. Adobe RGB(1998)has a substantially larger color gamut.

    sRGB is fine , but only as an output space for the web ,and for dealing with non color
    managed users. It is the lowest common denominator.
  5. A top down, two dimensional view
  6. Best way to know which is best for you to take identical pictures using both, and then printing them out and comparing the results for yourself.

    I used to shoot Adobe RGB and then switched to sRGB recently based on articles I had read that sRGB gives better colors (opposite of what is described above). I find that for my equipment and for the lab I use, sRGB is better (not all labs support Adobe RGB).

    Let the results of your pictures and your eyes guide you to what is best for you. Many things that look good on paper are not as good when put to practical use.
  7. You won't see any difference by printing two pictures side by side as Elliot suggests unless the image is seriously out of gamut. Photoshop levels out most of the differences through color management. The best way to see potential problems is in Photoshop using the soft proof tool.

    You see much more difference in a non-color-managed program like Internet Explorer because sRGB has more inherent contrast. You can also see the difference if you "Assign" various color spaces in Photoshop to test the results. in sRGB there is less to work with, and in the world of digital imaging, more is generally better.
  8. I've actually been doing some reading and experimenting with this lately. sRGB definitely gives brighter colors if you don't do anything special. It's all my printer can handle anyway, which is true of a lot of devices.

    As has been pointed out above, if you shoot in raw mode, you can change from one colorspace to another with Nikon Capture (NX actually gives you 5 choices plus black and white) and see what you like. I used Adobe RGB up till now, but am switching to sRGB from now on with the safety net that I always shoot in RAW and can change my mind after the fact if something changes with my situation.
  9. As pointed out by Ellis, Adobe RGB (1998) has a wider color gamut than sRGB. Even if you don't need the wider color gamut now, are you willing to gamble that you will never need it in the future? If you don't capture the wider color gamut now, you can't put it back in into your images later.

    Would you set your camera to capture 1000x1500 pixel images today because you only have a small 4x6 inch printer? What if you have a 20x30 inch printer in the future and wish you had captured the highest resolution images your camera is capable of.

    The same idea applies to color gamut. Why not capture everything your camera is capable of now so you have no regrets in the future?

    There is good and bad information about color gamut on the internet. Choose your sources judiciously.
  10. Edward, I disagree. In fact, I went ahead and followed my own advice as I just bought a new printer and wanted to see which worked best with it.

    The difference in color from srgb to Adobe rgb is so great that it can even be easily seen on my d200's monitor (especially in skin tones)! I printed the pictures just to be sure and again, with my equipment, srgb is significantly better.

    The Adobe rgb images look dull and unsaturated compared to the srgb images.

    Again, I am suggesting that you do the test for yourself and the printing process you use. You may have different results with your lab or printer you use. I shot for about a year with Adobe rgb and can't believe how much more colorful and vibrant my pictures are now that I have switched to srgb.
  11. My belief is that the best color space is the smallest color space which will hold your image. If the gamut of your image does not exceed sRGB, then there is no advantage, and some disadvantage, to using a larger color space such as aRGB. If you shoot raw, then you can select the appropriate color space in the raw conversion. If you shoot JPEG, you are better off using aRGB to increase the odds that your color space will be large enough. Either way, you must also consider your output device. If your printer can only print the sRGB color space, then there is no advantage, and in fact possibly considerable disadvantage, to sending your images to the printer in the aRGB color space. You may still want to archive your originals in aRGB for future use.
  12. This is something that I haven't read anywhere, but it seems to me to be sound theoretically, so I'm going to throw it out here and see what informed and uninformed replies I get just for the fun of it.

    Digital devices have discreet colorspaces. An 8 bit per channel digital image can represent a little over 16 million colors and shades (256 * 256 * 256). So, when we talk about colorspaces, we're talking about how the same number of color values are mapped to real physical colors as produced on physical devices. It seems to me that there is no free lunch. If you have a wider gamut, then you must be sacrificing the ability to represent some colors within that gamut. Thus, it would appear to me that a narrower gamut would allow for more subtle rendition of color.

    In my time with digital photography I have run into a number of situations where I was unable to get an accurate rendition of certain colors - most often in the pink to purple range, but sometimes in the greens and blues. This has been true even after much experimentation and alteration with Photoshop. No matter what I tried, certain colors simply are not there. Looking at the colorspace charts/diagrams (like the ones posted above) I see that these were not colors that would be out of gamut in any colorspace, so they must be gaps within the colorspace.

    So what I'm thinking is that, even theoretically, no colorspace is inherently better than any other colorspace unless you go to more channels or more bits per channel. On any given day you're about as likely to be unable to represent a color because it's a gap in a wider gamut colorspace, as you are to miss a color because it's out of gamut on a narrower one.

    Oh, this should be fun!
  13. Elliot,

    Your work flow is obviously not color-managed, so you take what you can get. Life is too short for this kind of trial-and-error, and full of disappointments (and piles of waste paper).

    My work flow is fully CMS-compliant and calibrated. I have the equipment to create custom printer profiles (Eye One Photo), although downloaded Epson and Ilford profiles are quite good. Consequently, I can print sRGB and Adobe RGB images to be indistinguishable, using the same printer profile. Photoshop translates either color space perfectly and the print profile handles the rest. My RAW and master (edited) TIFF files are always in Adobe RGB, whereas I generally make print specific files in sRGB (for better commercial compatibility), so I have ample opportunities for comparison.
  14. D.H.,

    Using a color space that is too wide can cause problems, especially if you have an 8-bit/channel image. The step size may be large enough to cause posterization in critical areas of low contrast, like open sky and (especially) facial features. This is not an issue if you use a 16 bit/channel work space.

    Adobe RGB is a good compromise - larger gamut than most display/printing processes, yet small enough to avoid posterization in an 8-bit file. A larger work space gives you more room for color adjustments and the potential for better accuracy.
  15. "I've actually been doing some reading and experimenting with this lately. sRGB definitely
    gives brighter colors if you don't do anything special. It's all my printer can handle anyway,
    which is true of a lot of devices."

    Actually that is probably wrong. A lot of printers today have a larger gamut range than
    sRGB ,
    but you need a good profile for that paper/printer/ink combination to really exploit that.
    Whether that is worth it to you as an individual is a different matter.

    A lot of labs like to dumb down the input from their customers to sRGB or disgregard the
    tagged colorspace an image is delivered in for a simple reason: it makes it easier on
    them. They don't have to spend money on training and they don't spend time lookign at
    every file.

    As Iwrote earlier: sRGB is the lowest commondenominator color space. It was specifically
    designed (nearly 20 years ago) for that purpose when the biggest thing in color graphics
    were pie charts.
  16. Elliot and D.H. have made a common color management mistake, which is why they're getting "better" colors from sRGB.

    I have to think of everything in familiar terms. aRGB is bigger, but has the same number of units, so you can think of each unit as "bigger". Think of aRGB measuring in feet, while sRGB measures in inches. If you send your printer an aRGB image with colors 100 "feet" in size, but the printer thinks everything is sRGB, it's going to give you a color 100 "inches" in size. So the color will look "smaller" (duller).

    If you convert from aRGB to sRGB before sending to a non-colorspace aware device, then the colors should look the same. If your printer is colorspace aware, and you send it an aRGB image, it would only look different if it had a lot of out of gamut color, as Edward said.
  17. Here is an interesting site and I've linked to his color management section. Cruise around
    this web site as this gent is pretty well versed on technical aspects of photography.

    Hope it helps you.
  18. If I take a picture in aRGB and take the identical picture in sRGB, then open both files, there is a noticable difference in color, with the sRGB image being the better of the two.

    With enhancement through software, I can get the two pretty equal. Why go through the trouble? I take a picture, print it and get beautiful prints with rich, vibrant colors without spending any time messing around with color adjustments. What more do I need to do?
  19. I also had this question as i am recent to dslr cameras, i have a D80 with the 18-135 lens, i normally use aRGB over sRGB, i recently ordered 3 prints in A3 format.
    I am still waiting for them, i had to convert to tiff because the local lab doesn't accept .nef, don't ask me why...
    what is your opinion on a3 prints (aRGB) with the d80? (all photos use the max resolution in raw format). will these be visibly better than sRGB? thanks in advance.

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