Choosing a hosting site

Started Dec 13, 2006 | Discussions thread
Chris MacAskill Regular Member • Posts: 243
Re: Most hosting sites dork image colors

jfriedl wrote:

If you want to use a hosting site merely as a backup, this doesn't
matter, but if you actually want people to be able to see and
appreciate your photos, realize that virtually all hosting sites
screw up your image colors by stripping embedded color profiles
when making the various resized versions. This guarantees that some
users will see wrong colors, and it's really, really unforgivable
for a photo-hosting site to do this.

I've tested a few... Flickr, Google, Zenfolio, Smugmug, PBase...
and only Flickr preserves an embedded profile. The others are
colormetrically stupid. I happen to have asked PBase about it, and
they said that they have no plans to fix this. Sad.

Hey Jeffrey,

I'm with SmugMug and love to see awareness of this issue, so thank you for blogging about it.

One reason we strip the profiles is because they average 2.5K in size. With an average of 15 thumbnails and 1 larger image on a page, they significantly slow down page loads for anyone without a fast connection.

The other reason is the one you point out: no Windows browser is profile-aware, so they are just dead weight for them. Since we convert images to sRGB as we receive them, all Windows browsers (along with TVs, cell phones, handhelds, game consoles, digital photo frames, etc.) do the right thing and display the images as sRGB, which they are.

The problem browser is Safari on the Mac, which doesn't always assume sRGB even when the image is in sRGB, depending on how the monitor is set. Practically, however, CNN, eBay, Amazon, etc., don't want their customers to think their pages are slow, so they don't embed profiles with their photos. Apple has to deliver their machines so sRGB images without profiles look good with the default settings.

For us, the number of people with Safari whose monitors make sRGB images without profiles look bad is small compared to the number of people who notice every nuance of speed.

I believe the popularity of the Internet is its simplicity, made possible by adopting a simple color space that TVs, game consoles and handhelds can understand. TVs, game consoles and handhelds don't know for profiles, but you can watch TV on the Internet and the Internet on TV, on your Xbox, or on a handheld -- and it looks good on all of them without choking your cell phone with extra baggage it can't understand and that you have to pay to receive.

I hope this helps.


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