New article on color management

Started Apr 26, 2013 | Discussions thread
OP gollywop Veteran Member • Posts: 8,284
Re: Camera-->sRGB versus Camera-->ProPhoto-->sRGB

Jack Hogan wrote:

Great Bustard wrote:

...let me ask you a question.  If someone worked entirely in sRGB to produce a print, under what circumstances might working in a different color space result in a "significantly better" print?

For example, let's say I'm taking a pic of a bunch of red roses, which, obviously, has lots of hues of heavily saturated reds.  Might working in a colorspace other than sRGB produce a "significantly better" photo, assuming, of course, that the printer worked in that color space?

Coincidentally I asked a similar question on a LuLa thread today before seeing this one.  Here's the gist of it:

Since in 99% of cases people are either printing or viewing in sRGB, it would be interesting to know whether it makes a practical difference in day to day use to work in sRGB from the very start versus using ProPhoto/other large color space to work in and convert to sRGB at the end of PP.  Squeeze at the beginning or at the end, but always squeeze we (non-pros) must.  So if your red flowers clipped when going straight to sRGB, they probably still will when ending up in sRGB after ProPhoto: except that in the latter you'd only realize that you are clipping the reds at the end of your session.

My feeling is that most of the color differences/shifts are introduced during conversion into the final color space (sRGB), and that the more (and the more extreme) adjustments one makes in a larger color space, the more the chances that final colors will be wild guesstimates in sRGB.

On the other hand when there are minimal adjustments, there is no reason why Camera Space --> XYZ --> ProPhoto --> sRGB at the very start should not result in very similar values to Camera Space --> XYZ --> sRGB, assuming proper conversion parameters. So:

. Many/extreme adjustments = potentially wild guesstimates going from large to small
. Few/no adjustments = potentially no difference to going straight from camera to small

And the fewer the color space conversions, the less the noise (unchecked gamma curves are not invertible at the origin).

I'd be interested in a discussion based on examples from a couple of 'difficult' Raw files, as opposed to opinions.  Anybody tried this who could provide the Raw materiall?


Hello Jack. I basically agree with your two bulleted summary statements.  I'm wondering, however, where the XYZ came from unless you're talking about OOC jpegs.

I have a couple of potentially good candidate raw files for experimentation, but I have no way to make them available. They all, according to RawDigger are right on the edge, and they all fit into ProPhoto RGB but clip in sRGB. If you have means for making them available, I could e-mail them to you.  They are dngs (I didn't keep the originals).

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