Q: Color space: Adobe RGB or sRGB, does it matter for raw files?

Started Jun 4, 2012 | Discussions
jpnikon Forum Member • Posts: 61
Q: Color space: Adobe RGB or sRGB, does it matter for raw files?
1

Color space: Adobe RGB or sRGB, does it matter for raw files?

I always want to ask this question but afraid to ask, I know someone may tell me: use the search function.

Actually I already did, and I read a lot already. I understand the basic concepts of color space, and I know the benefit of each other and why people may choose each.

But the question I have never got a clear answer:

If I shoot raw, is the recorded data in the raw files different for different color space settings, besides the meta data part which contains camera setting information?

Or asking another way, if I take pictures with sRGB color space setting, when I open my files in Capture NX, change it to Adobe RGB, and save the raw, will my new raw files be the same as original shots taken with Adobe RGB color space setting?

I am not a professional, I want to stay with sRGB , but I’d like to know that my raw files have recorded same amount of data. If in the future I want to work with Abode RGB, I haven’t lost any information because I set my camera as sRGB.

Am I wrong?

Thanks for your time.

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jp

brianric Veteran Member • Posts: 8,523
Re: Q: Color space: Adobe RGB or sRGB, does it matter for raw files?
6

Makes no difference shooting raw.

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SeanU Senior Member • Posts: 2,092
Re: Q: Color space: Adobe RGB or sRGB, does it matter for raw files?
1

I tend to set the camera up for the flattest rendering in camera. Since the histograms displayed in the camera are based on the jpeg rendering (which is embedded in the raw) you may think you are clipping highlights and shadows when you might actually have more headroom. If you are using the jpegs straight out of the camera, then sRgb makes sense.

One thing I'm not sure of is how the camera treats video if you have AdobeRGB selected.

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uncletim Forum Member • Posts: 85
Re: Q: Color space: Adobe RGB or sRGB, does it matter for raw files?
5

When you shoot RAW you do not assign a color space to the image. Remember this is raw sensor data. The color space is attached to the image at the time of development and output. If you output a RAW file and create a jpg or a tif, then the color space is attached to the image file. Not until then.

Better yet, you can go back into the RAW file and re output using another color space like sRGB, or Adobe 1998 or even ProPhoto.

Note: If you use Lightroom 4.1 (I just happen to have that one open right now) then click on a RAW file then hit file > export and when the dialogue box opens, cursor down to File Settings and notice there is a box there to pick the color space. That is where you assign the color space.

Robin Casady Forum Pro • Posts: 12,898
Re: Q: Color space: Adobe RGB or sRGB, does it matter for raw files?
4

jpnikon wrote:

I am not a professional, I want to stay with sRGB , but I’d like to know that my raw files have recorded same amount of data. If in the future I want to work with Abode RGB, I haven’t lost any information because I set my camera as sRGB.

As said, it doesn't matter if you shoot RAW. You can change it later.

Use sRGB for the web. Use Adobe RGB for printing, unless you use a service that requires sRGB. The practical difference is that with sRGB colors will tend to go out of gamut earlier. That means they will lose color detail and have a plastic look.
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OP jpnikon Forum Member • Posts: 61
Re: Q: Color space: Adobe RGB or sRGB, does it matter for raw files?

Thanks guys, your information very helpful.

Robert Peters Veteran Member • Posts: 5,396
Re: Q: Color space: Adobe RGB or sRGB, does it matter for raw files?

Posted in wrong place

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Robert Peters Veteran Member • Posts: 5,396
Re: Q: Color space: Adobe RGB or sRGB, does it matter for raw files?

The choice of color space will alter the histogram displayed on the camera LCD.

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James Ulrich Regular Member • Posts: 411
Re: Q: Color space: Adobe RGB or sRGB, does it matter for raw files?

Thanks for clarifying this. I've been shooting Raw this whole time thinking it matters but driving myself nuts by not being able to see the difference. I figured it was my monitor.

keano12
keano12 Regular Member • Posts: 435
Re: Q: Color space: Adobe RGB or sRGB, does it matter for raw files?

So if I shoot in adobe I will get a better histogram read out. At what point do I change it to RGB if for web most likely in LR or PS?

j_photo Veteran Member • Posts: 4,070
Re: Q: Color space: Adobe RGB or sRGB, does it matter for raw files?
1

So out of curiosity, I just shot the same scene twice, once with the camera color space set to sRGB (top histogram below) and once set to Adobe RGB (bottom histogram). I set EC to -1, to give space at the right side to see what was happening to highlights.

I don't see any difference in highlights. At the left ends, the sRGB image has more areas in darker shadow and some fully blocked areas. Picture control was Neutral.

I'm not sure what if any conclusions to draw. Just thought some might be interested to see. Comments are welcome.

sRGB histogram above, Adobe RGB histogram below

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Robin Casady Forum Pro • Posts: 12,898
Re: Q: Color space: Adobe RGB or sRGB, does it matter for raw files?
2

j_photo wrote:

So out of curiosity, I just shot the same scene twice, once with the camera color space set to sRGB (top histogram below) and once set to Adobe RGB (bottom histogram). I set EC to -1, to give space at the right side to see what was happening to highlights.

I don't see any difference in highlights. At the left ends, the sRGB image has more areas in darker shadow and some fully blocked areas. Picture control was Neutral.

I'm not sure what if any conclusions to draw. Just thought some might be interested to see. Comments are welcome.

sRGB histogram above, Adobe RGB histogram below

Don't confuse tone (lightness) with color space. Note the slight differences in the shape of the red, and blue areas of the two histograms.

What you would look for in real-life images would be how much saturation a color area can have without losing detail and becoming one solid color mass. For example, if the petals of a red rose image become featureless shapes of color, you have pushed that color beyond what the color space can differentiate. All the various reds that made up the texture of the petal have been pushed so that they are all now the same red. This is known as "out of gamut."

RAW data does not have a color space. The camera setting is simply a note telling Nikon software what color space to use. When working in Lightroom you are not working in a specific color space. You set the space when you export the image.

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j_photo Veteran Member • Posts: 4,070
Re: Q: Color space: Adobe RGB or sRGB, does it matter for raw files?

Yes I understand what you are saying. Earlier posts said color space setting affects the in camera histogram. So I wanted to see this. I don't really understand the differences between the two.

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Iliah Borg Forum Pro • Posts: 26,076
Re: Q: Color space: Adobe RGB or sRGB, does it matter for raw files?
1

j_photo wrote:

Yes I understand what you are saying. Earlier posts said color space setting affects the in camera histogram. So I wanted to see this. I don't really understand the differences between the two.

But you are not looking at the camera histogram it seems, but you are looking at raw converter histogram.

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j_photo Veteran Member • Posts: 4,070
Re: Q: Color space: Adobe RGB or sRGB, does it matter for raw files?

Iliah Borg wrote:

j_photo wrote:

Yes I understand what you are saying. Earlier posts said color space setting affects the in camera histogram. So I wanted to see this. I don't really understand the differences between the two.

But you are not looking at the camera histogram it seems, but you are looking at raw converter histogram.

Right. These are from Capture NX2. But they look very close to what I see in the camera preview. I can photograph the images from the back of the camera if you would like to see.

But my question is, in what ways does changing color space in the camera affect the in camera histogram? This is what other posters are saying. I wanted to see it for myself and am just trying to understand.

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Iliah Borg Forum Pro • Posts: 26,076
Re: Q: Color space: Adobe RGB or sRGB, does it matter for raw files?

j_photo wrote:

Iliah Borg wrote:

j_photo wrote:

Yes I understand what you are saying. Earlier posts said color space setting affects the in camera histogram. So I wanted to see this. I don't really understand the differences between the two.

But you are not looking at the camera histogram it seems, but you are looking at raw converter histogram.

Right.

I see substantial difference in shadows. Highlights are also different. However it may be light changing between the shots, to know for sure you need to look at the histogram of the raw data.

Histogram in the camera is computed from the in-camera JPEG; so any setting that affects JPEG also affects the histogram. Colour space sure affects the JPEG.

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j_photo Veteran Member • Posts: 4,070
Re: Q: Color space: Adobe RGB or sRGB, does it matter for raw files?

Iliah Borg wrote:

j_photo wrote:

Iliah Borg wrote:

j_photo wrote:

Yes I understand what you are saying. Earlier posts said color space setting affects the in camera histogram. So I wanted to see this. I don't really understand the differences between the two.

But you are not looking at the camera histogram it seems, but you are looking at raw converter histogram.

Right.

I see substantial difference in shadows. Highlights are also different. However it may be light changing between the shots, to know for sure you need to look at the histogram of the raw data.

Histogram in the camera is computed from the in-camera JPEG; so any setting that affects JPEG also affects the histogram. Colour space sure affects the JPEG.

I think the light was constant.

Is the Adobe RGB histogram a more accurate representation of the RAW data?

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Robin Casady Forum Pro • Posts: 12,898
Re: Q: Color space: Adobe RGB or sRGB, does it matter for raw files?

j_photo wrote:

Iliah Borg wrote:

j_photo wrote:

Iliah Borg wrote:

j_photo wrote:

Yes I understand what you are saying. Earlier posts said color space setting affects the in camera histogram. So I wanted to see this. I don't really understand the differences between the two.

But you are not looking at the camera histogram it seems, but you are looking at raw converter histogram.

Right.

I see substantial difference in shadows. Highlights are also different. However it may be light changing between the shots, to know for sure you need to look at the histogram of the raw data.

Histogram in the camera is computed from the in-camera JPEG; so any setting that affects JPEG also affects the histogram. Colour space sure affects the JPEG.

I think the light was constant.

Is the Adobe RGB histogram a more accurate representation of the RAW data?

Well yes, but it is not an important part of using the camera histograms to determine proper exposure. Setting the Picture Control to neutral or flat is more important. Next, if you want to be obsessive about it, find or create a UniWB PRE for your camera and use it. The image on the LCD will be heavily cyan, but the histograms will be closer to what the RAW data has.

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j_photo Veteran Member • Posts: 4,070
Re: Q: Color space: Adobe RGB or sRGB, does it matter for raw files?

Robin Casady wrote:

j_photo wrote:

Iliah Borg wrote:

j_photo wrote:

Iliah Borg wrote:

j_photo wrote:

Yes I understand what you are saying. Earlier posts said color space setting affects the in camera histogram. So I wanted to see this. I don't really understand the differences between the two.

But you are not looking at the camera histogram it seems, but you are looking at raw converter histogram.

Right.

I see substantial difference in shadows. Highlights are also different. However it may be light changing between the shots, to know for sure you need to look at the histogram of the raw data.

Histogram in the camera is computed from the in-camera JPEG; so any setting that affects JPEG also affects the histogram. Colour space sure affects the JPEG.

I think the light was constant.

Is the Adobe RGB histogram a more accurate representation of the RAW data?

Well yes, but it is not an important part of using the camera histograms to determine proper exposure. Setting the Picture Control to neutral or flat is more important. Next, if you want to be obsessive about it, find or create a UniWB PRE for your camera and use it. The image on the LCD will be heavily cyan, but the histograms will be closer to what the RAW data has.

I use neutral pc. And I'm comfortable with the jpg histogram, knowing that I have more highlight protection in the raw file than I am seeing in the preview.

I still don't understand the significance of differences in previews and histograms between Adobe RGB and sRGB. (Does the camera preview even display the full Adobe RGB color gamut?) But I'm not going to lose sleep over it either.

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photowurks Regular Member • Posts: 449
Re: Q: Color space: Adobe RGB or sRGB, does it matter for raw files?

j_photo wrote:

Robin Casady wrote:

j_photo wrote:

Iliah Borg wrote:

j_photo wrote:

Iliah Borg wrote:

j_photo wrote:

Yes I understand what you are saying. Earlier posts said color space setting affects the in camera histogram. So I wanted to see this. I don't really understand the differences between the two.

But you are not looking at the camera histogram it seems, but you are looking at raw converter histogram.

Right.

I see substantial difference in shadows. Highlights are also different. However it may be light changing between the shots, to know for sure you need to look at the histogram of the raw data.

Histogram in the camera is computed from the in-camera JPEG; so any setting that affects JPEG also affects the histogram. Colour space sure affects the JPEG.

I think the light was constant.

Is the Adobe RGB histogram a more accurate representation of the RAW data?

Well yes, but it is not an important part of using the camera histograms to determine proper exposure. Setting the Picture Control to neutral or flat is more important. Next, if you want to be obsessive about it, find or create a UniWB PRE for your camera and use it. The image on the LCD will be heavily cyan, but the histograms will be closer to what the RAW data has.

I use neutral pc. And I'm comfortable with the jpg histogram, knowing that I have more highlight protection in the raw file than I am seeing in the preview.

I still don't understand the significance of differences in previews and histograms between Adobe RGB and sRGB. (Does the camera preview even display the full Adobe RGB color gamut?) But I'm not going to lose sleep over it either.

The color space choice is important if you need to output your capture into JPEG via camera. When shooting raw, it doesn't matter as you'll select the destination space when you output via raw converter.

Whether or not the rear camera LCD displays sRGB or adobeRGB correctly is irrelevant when using the histogram to judge exposure. What matters is how the channel values are distributed from left to right in the histograms and how that compares relative to raw data histograms.

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