New Apple Products use Wide Gamut Color (P3 rather than Adobe RGB)

Started Sep 10, 2016 | Discussions thread
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ArtAlt
ArtAlt Senior Member • Posts: 1,919
New Apple Products use Wide Gamut Color (P3 rather than Adobe RGB)
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Apple is bringing us more colors! That is, the new iPhones use the P3 gamut rather than being limited by the traditional sRGB. This continues a trend started with last years iMac and iPad Pro.   I expect future MacBook Pro's will be P3.

The press does not seem to have picked up on this transition very much but it might be the most significant part of Apple's announcement, because it means that if they are successful at setting this new standard, longer term we will all be viewing images with a wider array of colors, looking more natural and more vibrant.

In the shorter term, it has the potential to complicate the lives of photographers. Imagine if you deliver your traditional sRGB photographs to a client and they find that the colors are not as vibrant as the P3 images they just shot on their iPhone (not that they will have any idea that they are using a wider color gamut …).

I can’t say that I’m losing sleep over this, since a brilliantly crafted image in sRGB will stomp a mediocre image that has a few more colors, but it does present a potential complication to our lives. An image that is inadvertently presented on a device in the wrong color gamut will usually look either oddly flat or oddly over-saturated, like a badly calibrated screen.

We have been living in a world where it was safe to presume sRGB, so color management in hardware and software was optional from a practical standpoint. Apple claims that their systems are fully color managed, if I understand the announcement correctly. What about Microsoft software, Windows-based computers, and Android devices. I guess we will see!

A related issue is choice of wide color gamut. The most widely used wide color gamut among photographers is "Adobe RGB", but Apple chose instead to standardize on a wide color gamut used in cinema called "P3". There is overlap among the extra colors offered by Adobe RGB and P3, but substantial differences as well.

I suspect - or at least hope - that a lot of vendors are scrambling to get on board with the new color gamut, or offer a similar variation. And I hope that color management becomes universal sooner rather than later.

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