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Which Color Space to Use?


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#1 Ronnie Wests OLD ACCOUNT

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Posted 29 January 2007 - 08:28 AM

Color space confuses me! I have tended to use sRGB up until now but since getting the D2Xs I am wondering if I ought to use the AdobeRGB space now. Can you you guys offer some advice on which I should use please. ... Ron West

#2 DigitalDarrell

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Posted 29 January 2007 - 10:32 AM

Color space confuses me! I have tended to use RGB up until now but since getting the D2Xs I am wondering if I ought to use the SRGB space now.



Ron,

sRGB is the standard display space for color monitors and such, for now. AdobeRGB is a "wider-gamut" space that is better for photography, although it cannot be displayed on monitors unless they are the new type that are designed to work with an AdobeRGB profile.

"Wider" color gamut does not mean that one has more colors in the case of sRGB vs. AdobeRGB! In fact, the number of colors are exactly the same between the two color spaces. What is different is the color of the colors. What I mean is this:

Let's say both use 8-bits of display space as an easy comparison. (256 color levels per RGB channel, R-Red, G=Green, B=Blue)

In our imaginary color world there are only 1000 colors available. sRGB would have colors 1 through 256 that you can use. These are in exact sequence from 1 to 256. You can use no more of the 1000 colors than the 1-256 colors. (actually 0-255 to be technical).

AdobeRGB, however, even though it only allows the use of 256 colors, does not have those colors in exact sequence. It might use numbers 1-128 colors (of our 1000) to start, then skip some and use colors 200-210, then 300-325, then 500-510, then 700-725, then 900-925, then 990-1000. In the end you still have only 256 colors total in your "color space," but the AdobeRGB has a wider color gamut, since more range of color is available. It has different colors in the gamut, and they cover a wider range of color, even though they are still limited to 256 total colors.

Another way to say this is:

If you have 1000 crayons lying side-by-side on the table, and you must choose only 256 (your crayon box will only hold 256 crayons), here's what happens as you choose crayons to put in your box: sRGB only allows you to use crayons 1 through 256 of the 1000 crayons, while AdobeRGB allows you to use any of the crayons starting at 1, and choosing sequentially all through the 1000 crayons until you have chosen the maximum of 256 crayons. You can choose a wider range of crayons (colors), even though you only have room in your box for 256 crayons. (This is a very rough understanding of AdobeRGB, but gets the idea across, I hope!)

AdobeRGB gives your images greater ability to display accurate color, since it has more color flavors available.

Does this make any sense? If not, ask questions!

Here is a link to a great tutorial by fellow Nikonian, BJ Nicholls.
Best regards,
Darrell Young (Digital Darrell)
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"Better too many words than not enough understanding." - Darrell Young
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#3 Ronnie Wests OLD ACCOUNT

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Posted 29 January 2007 - 12:03 PM

Excellent reply DD, even I understood what you were saying. From your in depth description I conclude that I should be setting my D2Xs to the 'Adobe RGB' color space - am I correct in this assumption?? BTW thanks for switching my post to a more suitable place where it will be more appreciated. Ron West

#4 Virgil

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Posted 29 January 2007 - 12:57 PM

Hi Darrell, great explanation! So if you use Adobe RGB and change the colour space of your viewing software accordingly you may enjoy this wider gamut on a calibrated screen. But when it comes to printing im must confess im not aware of a printer or printing service who can reproduce Adobe RGB. That means youve to change to a more common colour space which is sRGB right? So whats the use of Adobe RGB from your perspective?
Cheers

Virgil

#5 DigitalDarrell

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Posted 29 January 2007 - 03:04 PM

There is no need to limit your camera to a narrow range of color. (sRGB) Your computer monitor probably will not display it, but you can rest assured that it is there. Plus, there are new monitors available NOW that WILL display AdobeRGB correctly:

http://www.dpreview....c22adobemon.asp

Your inkjet printer probably will take advantage of the wider color gamut. My Epson 2200 allows me to use AdobeRGB from Photoshop CS2 when I print. I let Photoshop manage my colors, not the printer. The Epson 2200, unlike a monitor, has the ability to take advantage of the wider color gamut, and so will make more accurate color gradations by printing from AdobeRGB.

Remember, AdobeRGB can still be output as an 8-bit color gamut (256 colors), but has a wider range of colors. Your printer is an 8-bit device, and if so equipped, should be able to take advantage of the wider color gamut. Why do you suppose they give us all these extra inks now? We are no longer limited to sRGB when we print an image! New printers have as many as 10 inks, while even from a year or two ago have 6 or 7. Those extra inks are there to take advantage of the larger range of color your Nikon can store.

Here is a good tutorial on Monitors:

http://www.earthboun...or-profile.html

Here is a great tutorial on Printers:

http://www.cambridge...dobeRGB1998.htm

Read your manuals for clarification!
Best regards,
Darrell Young (Digital Darrell)
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"Better too many words than not enough understanding." - Darrell Young
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Bodies
: Nikon D810, D800, D750, D600, D2X, COOLPIX A, D100, F80, FM, EM, Olympus OM-D E-M1, Olympus OM-D E-M10
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Lenses
: AF-S Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8G ED, AF-S Nikkor 50mm f/1.4G, AF-S Nikkor 50mm f/1.8G Special Edition (for Df), AF-S Nikkor 24-85mm f/3.5-4.5G VR (x2), AF-S Nikkor DX 16-85mm f/3.5-4.5G VR, AF Nikkor 80-400 f/4.5-5.6D ED VR, AF Micro Nikkor 60mm f/2.8, AF-S Nikkor 24-120mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR, AF-S Nikkor 18-105mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR, AF Nikkor 24mm f/2.8D, AI Nikkor 35mm f/2, AI Nikkor 50mm 5/1.8, AI Nikkor 50mm 5/1.8 Series E, AI Nikkor 105mm f/2.5, AI Nikkor 200mm f/4, Non-AI Nikkor-S 50mm f/1.4, Sigma 10-20mm EX f/3.5-5.6, M.Zuiko 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6 lens, M.Zuiko PRO 12-40mm f/2.8 ED
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#6 Neil Rothschild

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Posted 29 January 2007 - 03:12 PM

New printers have as many as 10 inks, while even from a year or two ago have 6 or 7. Those extra inks are there to take advantage of the larger range of color your Nikon can store.

Read your manual for clarification!



Learn something new every day! I always thought the purpose of the extra inks was to raise your consumables cost :-)

Regards,
Neil

#7 DigitalDarrell

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Posted 29 January 2007 - 03:25 PM

Excellent reply DD, even I understood what you were saying.
From your in depth description I conclude that I should be setting my D2Xs to the 'Adobe RGB' color space - am I correct in this assumption??

BTW thanks for switching my post to a more suitable place where it will be more appreciated.
Ron West


ANY camera that is capable of using the Adobe RGB color space should use it all the time. Why capture a smaller color range on purpose? (Unless I am shooting very narrow colors all the time)

Listen, I shoot NEF and JPEG, and my D2x will shoot either in sRGB or Adobe RGB format. I am not going to throttle my camera back to a lesser setting on purpose. Why should I?

I will lose NOTHING by printing in Adobe RGB, and gain quite a bit, as long as my printer uses an Adobe RGB ICC profile, and my images contain colors that Adobe RGB captures. Also, if I sell my lovely images to a magazine or book publisher, they will be printing from an offset press and using the CYMK color profile. Adobe RGB matches CYMK quite well.

The whole point behind using the wider gamut is so that we can print better. And now, even monitors are available that will directly display Adobe RGB. What is the point of shooting with less color?
Best regards,
Darrell Young (Digital Darrell)
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
"Better too many words than not enough understanding." - Darrell Young
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Bodies
: Nikon D810, D800, D750, D600, D2X, COOLPIX A, D100, F80, FM, EM, Olympus OM-D E-M1, Olympus OM-D E-M10
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Lenses
: AF-S Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8G ED, AF-S Nikkor 50mm f/1.4G, AF-S Nikkor 50mm f/1.8G Special Edition (for Df), AF-S Nikkor 24-85mm f/3.5-4.5G VR (x2), AF-S Nikkor DX 16-85mm f/3.5-4.5G VR, AF Nikkor 80-400 f/4.5-5.6D ED VR, AF Micro Nikkor 60mm f/2.8, AF-S Nikkor 24-120mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR, AF-S Nikkor 18-105mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR, AF Nikkor 24mm f/2.8D, AI Nikkor 35mm f/2, AI Nikkor 50mm 5/1.8, AI Nikkor 50mm 5/1.8 Series E, AI Nikkor 105mm f/2.5, AI Nikkor 200mm f/4, Non-AI Nikkor-S 50mm f/1.4, Sigma 10-20mm EX f/3.5-5.6, M.Zuiko 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6 lens, M.Zuiko PRO 12-40mm f/2.8 ED
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Accessories:
Nikon SB-910 Speedlight, Nikon SB-900 Speedlight, Nikon GP-1 GPS, Nikon ME-1 Microphone, Eye-Fi Wireless Cards, Atomos Ninja Blade External HDMI Video Recorder, Atomos Ninja-2 External HDMI Video Recorder, Atomos Samurai Blade External Video Recorder, Manfrotto Tripods, Markins M-10 Ballhead, Lots of camera bags, Metz 24 AF-1 Flash, Olympus FL-600R Flash, Olympus HLD-7 Battery Grip
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Member of:

Nikon Professional Services (NPS), Professional Photographers of America (PPA), North American Nature Photography Association (NANPA), Founding Member of Nikonians Writers' Guild (www.Nikonians.org), Charter Member (year 2000) of Nikonians.org
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#8 Luis V.

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Posted 30 January 2007 - 01:30 PM

I'll chime in here as well to tell you that I shoot in Adobe RGB mode exclusively. In addition to that I shoot in RAW exclusively which make the color space I use irrelevant. The reason for both is the same thing Darrell is mentioning. Why limit myself to a smaller color space and 8bits of information when I can capture 12bits with a wide color gamut. I have more to work with and will end up with better shots in the end of my post process vs. JPG. The down side (there is always a comprimise) is that I need more computing resources to get to my result quickly. While on the point of color space, a common misconception is that the color space effects the RAW capture. The Adobe RGB or sRGB color space is a limit imposed only on the JPG conversion. What I am saying is that the cameras today can capture a wider range (gamut) of colors than both Adobe RGB and sRGB. When you capture in RAW format, you are getting all the color the camera can capture. As a result, in my workflow, I edit in ProPhoto RGB. It is even a wider color gamut than Adobe RGB and sRGB and it exceeds what most all printers can produce. However, being larger gives me more even tonal graduations in my shots. However, again, I need to keep considerations in mind when printing, such as rendering intent and how that effects the shots. When I go to output to something other than my printer, I convert images to the best color space. For example, the shots I post here are all converted to sRGB (well when I rememeber). This produces a shift in color. In fact, many times, I need to adjust the converted file to try and match the final full version. I am not saying you must use ProPhoto RGB. Some people disagree that it's worth it. I, myself, rarely find myself in a color issue that Adobe RGB can't handle. However, to avoid a problem with that 5% of the shots that may, I simply always use ProPhoto. In the end, use the broadest color space you can and are comfortable in dealing with. It will net you the best results. In the case of JPGs, from most major camera brands, that's Adobe RGB. If you must convert to a smaller space for output, say sRGB for posts, do that only at the end of your process and for another copy of the edited shot. Once you convert to a smaller space, the data of the larger space is lost.
Luis V.Nikon D800/D2X/D200/D100Nikon 17-35mm f/2.8 AFS | 24-70mm f/2.8 AFS | 70-200mm f/2.8 AFS VR-II | 200-400mm f/4 AFS | 50mm f/1.4D | 85mm f/1.4D | 105mm f/2.8 Macro

#9 talligent

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Posted 01 February 2007 - 02:45 PM

Agree with Luis here, I have shot solely in AdobeRGB with my D2x. My complete workflow is in AdobeRGB simply because it holds much wider colorspace. When you view it on an ordinary monitor you don't even see the full color space because practically all monitors show you sRGB comparable color space. I believe there are some very expensive models that show you more color depth than most, but I don't believe they cover the entire AdobeRGB spectrum. Why do I bother then working with AdobeRGB? Because the file itself yield much more info this way, even though you can't print or see it through an ordinary monitor in all its glory. It's a bit the same with bit depth. Monitors typically show you 8 bit. When you are working on a 16bit file or even a 32 bit HDR file you don't SEE it on your monitor, but the data IS there in the background. When doing work in photoshop I think you can hardly do this work in 8 bit when you want to keep the picture as best as possible especially in 100% enlargements. So the same goes for your colourspace. You also don't know what future technology holds. Maybe within a few years we will be able to buy 12-16 bit monitors capable of rendering the full adobe gamma. And the same goes for printers. It would be a shame to limit your current pictures just to that wat current output technology can deliver... When I publish on my website however I choose those images and convert them to sRGB. jpg's embedded with sRGB are more closely matched to the AdobeRGB counterparts you see on a calibrated monitor. My jpg's embedded with AdobeRGB all looked a bit pale or washed out. I believe the reason for this is that most browsers can interprate the sRGB colour space but not AdobeRGB.

Edited by talligent, 02 February 2007 - 03:20 PM.


#10 Ronnie West

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Posted 14 February 2007 - 05:51 AM

It is now quite obvious (from the replies posted) that Adobe RGB is the space to use. However, there are some issues with regard to the setting that should be used in an image editor, e.g. Photoshop. Clearly, the color space selected in Photoshop must match the RGB setting of your camera so make sure that you adjust this. Edit>Color Settings and select the 'Adobe RGB (1998)' Working Space. Ron




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