Age old digital camera question: SRGB or Adobe RGB

Started Aug 11, 2014 | Discussions thread
MiraShootsNikon Contributing Member • Posts: 774
Another Word: Trope

Stacey_K, do you know what a "trope" is?

In case your answer is "no," I'll explain. A "trope" is a figure of speech that becomes a figure of thinking. Let's say that you tell someone that they're "as hungry as a shark." You've then reinforced a trope--a way of thinking--in which Sharks = Hunger.

We can't talk or write or photograph or be creative people without tropes. Tropes help us see things. Hunger *is* a big part of being a shark. But at the same time, it's essential to recognize that tropes can blind us, too. Sharks are more than hunger machines--they're capable, complicated, magnificently evolved creatures. We can't learn or appreciate any of that if we let the trope determine and summarize our thinking.

Here's the trope that's determining and summarizing yours:

Stacey_K wrote:

And I would hope I captured the image in camera well enough to not need to do any major color/exposure adjustments to the JPEG. If I did screw up bad enough to have to "lean hard" on a slider, that is when I go back and start with the RAW file.

You say: RAW is for "if I did screw up." JPEG is for when you shoot "well enough to not need major . . . adjustments." That's a way of thinking about photographic technique that applies value judgments to specific decisions and outcomes--value judgments that not everyone here shares or wants to share.

I was flipping through Mario Testino's editorial spread of Blake Lively in this month's Vogue. It's breathtakingly gorgeous. And I guarantee that it wasn't shot with sRGB JPEGs--that it couldn't have been produced as published with sRGB JPEGs. One reason it's gorgeous? Really wonderful color--color that's been produced through lighting, setup, shoot production and rigorous, thoughtful post production. Our friend Mario did not "screw up bad enough to have to 'lean hard' on a slider;" rather, leaning hard on sliders appears to have been a necessary part of the game plan.

We do see professionals shooting sRGB JPEGs all the time. Everywhere. Really great news and sports photojournalism, for example, is a parade of wonderful, skillfully composed sRGB JPEGs. The New York Times LENS blog makes a great case every single day for the format's utility and capability.

It's possible, though, to recognize that what works for John H. White cannot work for Mario Testino. And vice-versa. Unfortunately, if we apply your rhetorical value judgments and say that "John H. White gets it 'right' in camera while Mario Testino has to rework things he 'screwed up'," we're doing both of them and ourselves a serious disservice. We're mischaracterizing their talent and skill, and we're cutting ourselves off from being able to appreciate or learn from either of them.

No one begrudges your right to talk about how you do what you do. But I begrudge the trope you use to do it. I don't think Mario Testino is screwing anything up. I don't think you're an authority on any technique or needs beyond your own. (Who is?) If people want to shoot RAW for reasons you don't personally understand, you'd get more out of curiosity than judgment--out of asking why rather than using a narrow trope to stamp it all unnecessary.

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Olympus OM-D E-M5 Canon EOS 5D Mark III Nikon D750 Canon EF 35mm F1.4L USM Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM +18 more
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