Adobe RGB or sRGB in Lightroom and in camera settings

Started Mar 14, 2016 | Discussions
sirhawkeye64 Senior Member • Posts: 1,955
Adobe RGB or sRGB in Lightroom and in camera settings

So, I shoot in RAW with my D750 and have the camera set to Adobe RGB (as a recommendation by a fellow "advanced" photographer).  Can someone please explain to me what the differences are between sRGB and Adobe RGB.  My photos mainly will be used for display on-screen (computer screen/projector) but I may also want to print them from time to time.

A couple of resources I found online (which still leave me confused as to the difference) recommend Adobe RGB is better for print, and sRGB is better for screen/display on a monitor.  Not sure if this is accurate, so if someone could clarify which one I should consider using?

Secondly, can you switch between the two in LR, or is too much data lost when the camera writes the RAW file using one or the other (to a point where conversion between the two is not really possible)?

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bugzie
bugzie Senior Member • Posts: 1,601
Re: Adobe RGB or sRGB in Lightroom and in camera settings

If you're shooting raw, the choice of sRGB, or Adobe RGB is irrelevant because you can export a raw file from Lightroom to whichever color profile you choose at whatever point. Your choice in camera has no bearing on the raw file at all. If you're shooting jpeg for backup, or whatever, the profile does count and my feeling is stick to sRGB because, you're shooting raw anyways, and sRGB is more compatible and more foolproof with more devices, particularly web sites and most print services. If you use the wrong profile for a device you can end up with a worse result.

With raw, you don't have to make a binding decision so publish to sRGB until you get a better handle on this stuff. You can always republish with a different profile later.

Mark Scott Abeln
Mark Scott Abeln Forum Pro • Posts: 12,804
Re: Adobe RGB or sRGB in Lightroom and in camera settings
7

sirhawkeye64 wrote:

So, I shoot in RAW with my D750 and have the camera set to Adobe RGB (as a recommendation by a fellow "advanced" photographer). Can someone please explain to me what the differences are between sRGB and Adobe RGB. My photos mainly will be used for display on-screen (computer screen/projector) but I may also want to print them from time to time.

A couple of resources I found online (which still leave me confused as to the difference) recommend Adobe RGB is better for print, and sRGB is better for screen/display on a monitor. Not sure if this is accurate, so if someone could clarify which one I should consider using?

Never share anything but sRGB on the Internet. Not everyone has a color managed web browser: displaying Adobe RGB without color management will typically make the image look flat and desaturated. Same goes with emailing a photo to someone, posting the photo on Facebook, etc. Many printing companies only support sRGB.

Generally speaking, I would recommend using nothing but sRGB until you understand color management, and then only use a non-sRGB image with great care.

Both Adobe RGB and sRGB use a system of three primary colors: both systems share the same red and blue primary color, while Adobe RGB uses a green primary that is more intensely saturated than sRGB.

There is benefit in using a wide gamut color space when preparing an image for print, but do you have a monitor that can display a gamut greater than sRGB? If not, then be aware that valid Adobe RGB colors may appear to be textureless and 'blown out' on your sRGB monitor, and so editing an Adobe RGB image will require great discipline since you can't see the results of processing.

Also be aware that there is no benefit to using Adobe RGB if none of the colors in an image exceed the gamut of the sRGB color space.

Secondly, can you switch between the two in LR, or is too much data lost when the camera writes the RAW file using one or the other (to a point where conversion between the two is not really possible)?

Raw data files have no color space, although the embedded JPEG will have one of those color spaces. When running a raw file through a raw converter, then the resulting image will be written in one of the standard color spaces.

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ernstbk
ernstbk Veteran Member • Posts: 3,071
Re: Adobe RGB or sRGB in Lightroom and in camera settings
4

Mark Scott Abeln wrote:

sirhawkeye64 wrote:

So, I shoot in RAW with my D750 and have the camera set to Adobe RGB (as a recommendation by a fellow "advanced" photographer). Can someone please explain to me what the differences are between sRGB and Adobe RGB. My photos mainly will be used for display on-screen (computer screen/projector) but I may also want to print them from time to time.

A couple of resources I found online (which still leave me confused as to the difference) recommend Adobe RGB is better for print, and sRGB is better for screen/display on a monitor. Not sure if this is accurate, so if someone could clarify which one I should consider using?

Never share anything but sRGB on the Internet. Not everyone has a color managed web browser: displaying Adobe RGB without color management will typically make the image look flat and desaturated. Same goes with emailing a photo to someone, posting the photo on Facebook, etc. Many printing companies only support sRGB.

Generally speaking, I would recommend using nothing but sRGB until you understand color management, and then only use a non-sRGB image with great care.

Both Adobe RGB and sRGB use a system of three primary colors: both systems share the same red and blue primary color, while Adobe RGB uses a green primary that is more intensely saturated than sRGB.

There is benefit in using a wide gamut color space when preparing an image for print, but do you have a monitor that can display a gamut greater than sRGB? If not, then be aware that valid Adobe RGB colors may appear to be textureless and 'blown out' on your sRGB monitor, and so editing an Adobe RGB image will require great discipline since you can't see the results of processing.

Also be aware that there is no benefit to using Adobe RGB if none of the colors in an image exceed the gamut of the sRGB color space.

Secondly, can you switch between the two in LR, or is too much data lost when the camera writes the RAW file using one or the other (to a point where conversion between the two is not really possible)?

Raw data files have no color space, although the embedded JPEG will have one of those color spaces.

The above should be emphasized because it is normally overlooked when discussing RAW in combination with color spaces.

When running a raw file through a raw converter, then the resulting image will be written in one of the standard color spaces.

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PenPix Veteran Member • Posts: 3,261
Re: Adobe RGB or sRGB in Lightroom and in camera settings

As I agree with the other replies in this post, I'll add a little about printing...

Most photolabs that cater to the average non-pro consumer use the sRGB colour space.   You can submit an image with in AdobeRBG, however the software may interpret the colours in a way you may not expect.  It tends to be safer to convert to sRGB on your computer as this will give you a better representation of how your image will print.

I shoot in the sRGB colour space because this is what the JPGs will be rendered in.  This makes it easy to transfer these photos to other people, or social media, so they will get a pictures that will display correctly.  This is important when you cannot get to a computer to edit the photos, but you need to share the photos immediately.

Since I edit in RAW, the OOC JPGs are discarded once I get the pictures into Lightroom.  When I export a JPG from LR, it will be in sRGB for the client.

Howard Moftich Veteran Member • Posts: 9,059
Re: Adobe RGB or sRGB in Lightroom and in camera settings

Also of note is that the image you see on the camera's LCD is JPG in that colorspace so if you decide to 'expose to the right', you will want to know that and compensate (mentally).

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Michael Fryd
Michael Fryd Veteran Member • Posts: 9,699
Re: Adobe RGB or sRGB in Lightroom and in camera settings
4

sirhawkeye64 wrote:

So, I shoot in RAW with my D750 and have the camera set to Adobe RGB (as a recommendation by a fellow "advanced" photographer). Can someone please explain to me what the differences are between sRGB and Adobe RGB. My photos mainly will be used for display on-screen (computer screen/projector) but I may also want to print them from time to time.

A couple of resources I found online (which still leave me confused as to the difference) recommend Adobe RGB is better for print, and sRGB is better for screen/display on a monitor. Not sure if this is accurate, so if someone could clarify which one I should consider using?

Secondly, can you switch between the two in LR, or is too much data lost when the camera writes the RAW file using one or the other (to a point where conversion between the two is not really possible)?

The camera writes essentially the same data into the RAW file whether the camera is set to sRGB or AdobeRGB.  The two main differences are:

  1. A flag is set indicating which colorspace was chosen, some RAW processing software will look at this flag and use it as the default colorspace when opening the RAW file.
  2. The requested colorspace is used for the associated JPEG preview

For most purposes, the colorspace setting of the camera is not important when you are shooting RAW.  You can override the setting in Lightroom, without any loss of quality.

As to which you should use, there are a few facts to be aware of, and many differences of opinion.

The choice of colorspace affects the range of colors available to the image.  Adobe RGB has a wider "color gamut" (range) then sRGB.

If all the colors you want fit into sRGB, then there is no noticeable technical advantage to using a wider gamut colorspace.

If all the colors in your image fit into sRGB, then a wider gamut colorspace will not make your images look "better".

The advantages of a wide gamut colorspace is that you have the option of using additional colors, not available in sRGB.  For instance, if you want a highly saturated neon pink, then you need a wide gamut colorspace.

Some people are of the opinion that one should always use a wide gamut colorspace.  The theory is that you don't need to worry about whether or not your image should contain colors outside sRGB.

Not everyone agrees.  There are some disadvantages of using wide gamut colorspaces.  When those disadvantages outweigh the advantages, you should stick to sRGB.

Wide gamut colorspaces don't have "more" colors, they just have a different selection of colors.  Due to the limited number of colors available in an 8-bit per channel workflow, this can increase banding in the image.  When using a wide gamut colorspace, you really should use a 16-bit per channel workflow.  This means you files will be at least twice as big, and take longer to process.

When you use a wide gamut colorspace, the gamut of your colorspace is likely larger than the color gamut of your final output device (whether it be a typical computer screen, or printer).  This means that a decision has to be made as to how to squeeze the larger colorspace of your file into the smaller colorspace of your output device.  The decision will affect the look and colors in the final result.  If you deliver the wide gamut file to someone else, they will make that decision, and it will be out of your control.  If you are making the decision, it is an extra step in your workflow.  Extra steps are additional opportunities for human error.  Errors can degrade the quality of your image.  Note that these decisions need to be made whether or not your image actually contains any colors outside the sRGB color gamut.

My suggestion (and some find this controversial), is that you continue to use sRGB for those images that fit into the sRGB color gamut, or in those situations where the final deliverable is an sRGB file.  This gives you the option of working with 8-bit per channel files, simplifies your workflow, and reduces opportunities for human error.

If your final deliverable in a JPEG file (which has 8 bits per pixel) you should use sRGB whenever the image fits in sRGB.

If you are delivering a file, and you are not confident in the recipient's fluency in proper color management, then you should consider delivering an sRGB file.  For those that don't understand color management, sRGB is more likely to produce a better result.  There are lots of stories of photographers who proudly delivered high-quality Adobe RGB files, only to have the final result look washed out because the recipient didn't do proper color management.

My advice:

If you don't know what you are doing, stick with sRGB.  The vast majority of images on the web are in sRGB, and many of them look great.

If all of the colors you need fit into sRGB, then use sRGB.

If your final deliverable will be an sRGB file, then use sRGB.

If (and only if) you want to use colors outside the sRGB color gamut, then use a wider gamut colorspace (like Adobe RGB).  Use 16-bits per channel.  Avoid using or delivering JPEG files (they are only 8 bits per pixel).  Learn about proper color management, and the differences between "assigning" and "converting" colorspace.  Learn the various tradeoffs involved in the different methods for converting from your wide gamut colorspace to the smaller gamut colorspace of your final output device.

But this is just my advice.  I suspect others will chime in encouraging you to always use wider gamut color spaces.

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(unknown member) Forum Pro • Posts: 13,189
All explained here:

sirhawkeye64 wrote:

So, I shoot in RAW with my D750 and have the camera set to Adobe RGB (as a recommendation by a fellow "advanced" photographer). Can someone please explain to me what the differences are between sRGB and Adobe RGB.

The differences in the working space? See:

http://www.adobe.com/digitalimag/pdfs/phscs2ip_colspace.pdf

And:

Everything you thought you wanted to know about color gamut

A pretty exhaustive 37 minute video examining the color gamut of RGB working spaces, images and output color spaces. All plotted in 2D and 3D to illustrate color gamut.

High resolution: http://digitaldog.net/files/ColorGamut.mov

Low Res (YouTube): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n0bxSD-Xx-Q

My photos mainly will be used for display on-screen (computer screen/projector) but I may also want to print them from time to time.

Then you're fine with raw, you get neither sRGB or Adobe RGB but raw!

A couple of resources I found online (which still leave me confused as to the difference) recommend Adobe RGB is better for print, and sRGB is better for screen/display on a monitor. Not sure if this is accurate, so if someone could clarify which one I should consider using?

Because of the larger color gamut for print output! Another video to watch and a file you can use to test all this:

The benefits of wide gamut working spaces on printed output:

This three part, 32 minute video covers why a wide gamut RGB working space like ProPhoto RGB can produce superior quality output to print.

Part 1 discusses how the supplied Gamut Test File was created and shows two prints output to an Epson 3880 using ProPhoto RGB and sRGB, how the deficiencies of sRGB gamut affects final output quality. Part 1 discusses what to look for on your own prints in terms of better color output. It also covers Photoshop’s Assign Profile command and how wide gamut spaces mishandled produce dull or over saturated colors due to user error.

Part 2 goes into detail about how to print two versions of the properly converted Gamut Test File file in Photoshop using Photoshop’s Print command to correctly setup the test files for output. It covers the Convert to Profile command for preparing test files for output to a lab.

Part 3 goes into color theory and illustrates why a wide gamut space produces not only move vibrant and saturated color but detail and color separation compared to a small gamut working space like sRGB.

High Resolution Video: http://digitaldog.net/files/WideGamutPrintVideo.mov

Low Resolution (YouTube): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vLlr7wpAZKs&feature=youtu.be

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(unknown member) Forum Pro • Posts: 13,189
Re: Adobe RGB or sRGB in Lightroom and in camera settings

Michael Fryd wrote:

But this is just my advice. I suspect others will chime in encouraging you to always use wider gamut color spaces.

IF you capture raw, you are already (using a wider gamut color space)! What you decide to do after the raw isn't raw any longer, well you can have any RGB working space you like.

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Michael Fryd
Michael Fryd Veteran Member • Posts: 9,699
Re: Adobe RGB or sRGB in Lightroom and in camera settings

digidog wrote:

Michael Fryd wrote:

But this is just my advice. I suspect others will chime in encouraging you to always use wider gamut color spaces.

IF you capture raw, you are already (using a wider gamut color space)! What you decide to do after the raw isn't raw any longer, well you can have any RGB working space you like.

When taking photographs, we are generally only interested in the range of colors visible to the human eye. This is larger than the sRGB color gamut.

Frequently, we do not need to deal with every visible color in every image. Usually we can get by by limiting ourselves to a range that includes only those colors actually in the particular image.

The questions to be addressed are

  1. How do we know what range of colors we actually need?
  2. What colorspace should we use? Should it be the most convenient one that can handle all the colors we need, or should we use the widest gamut colorspace we can find in order to preserve all of our options? (perhaps we will want to add some neon pink to our spring landscape?)

.

Of course, the limitation to visible colors is only a general rule. Some people are interested in capturing light outside the visible range, and mapping those "colors" into something we can see. For instance IR photography captures Infrared light outside the visible spectrum, and shifts those "colors" into something we can see. In many ways this raises issues similar to those who work in a wide gamut colorspace, and want to render those images on a device with a smaller color gamut.

Disclaimer: I am misusing the term "colors". Generally this only applies to electromagnetic radiation that we can see. Many would not consider electromagnetic radiation outside the visible spectrum to be a "color".

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(unknown member) Forum Pro • Posts: 13,189
Re: Adobe RGB or sRGB in Lightroom and in camera settings

Michael Fryd wrote:

digidog wrote:

Michael Fryd wrote:

But this is just my advice. I suspect others will chime in encouraging you to always use wider gamut color spaces.

IF you capture raw, you are already (using a wider gamut color space)! What you decide to do after the raw isn't raw any longer, well you can have any RGB working space you like.

When taking photographs, we are generally only interested in the range of colors visible to the human eye. This is larger than the sRGB color gamut.

And Adobe RGB (1998).

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Michael Fryd
Michael Fryd Veteran Member • Posts: 9,699
Re: Adobe RGB or sRGB in Lightroom and in camera settings
2

digidog wrote:

Michael Fryd wrote:

digidog wrote:

Michael Fryd wrote:

But this is just my advice. I suspect others will chime in encouraging you to always use wider gamut color spaces.

IF you capture raw, you are already (using a wider gamut color space)! What you decide to do after the raw isn't raw any longer, well you can have any RGB working space you like.

When taking photographs, we are generally only interested in the range of colors visible to the human eye. This is larger than the sRGB color gamut.

And Adobe RGB (1998).

Yes.

Seldom is there a single workflow that is best for every task.  The trick is finding the workflow that is best in a particular situation.

Sometimes that will be sRGB, sometimes Adobe RGB, sometimes ProPhoto RGB, sometimes CMYK, and sometimes something else.

Frequently the choice will involve compromises.  At some point quality will be "good enough" and it wont' be worth spending addition time, money and effort on incremental improvements.

I am suspicious of people who suggest a particular workflow is best for everyone in every situation.

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(unknown member) Forum Pro • Posts: 13,189
Re: Adobe RGB or sRGB in Lightroom and in camera settings

Michael Fryd wrote:

Sometimes that will be sRGB, sometimes Adobe RGB, sometimes ProPhoto RGB, sometimes CMYK, and sometimes something else.

For the OP, using Lightroom (or ACR), it's always ProPhoto RGB for all processing. Always.

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OP sirhawkeye64 Senior Member • Posts: 1,955
Re: Adobe RGB or sRGB in Lightroom and in camera settings

I guess this brings me to another question--calibration of the screen....  So I use a 32" LED TV (Samsung) as a monitor.  Can someone recommend a calibration tool that would work for an LED TV.  If it's difficult or unreliable to calibrate, then I may look for a LED computer display that is designed for photo/video editing and that can be calibrated correctly.

Suggestions?  I don't remember the exact model but I think it's a 2012 32" Samsung LED TV (1080p).

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popi Forum Member • Posts: 85
Re: Adobe RGB or sRGB in Lightroom and in camera settings

Why does camera display show images more colorfully in sRGB colos space then AdobeRGB?

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Ellis Vener
Ellis Vener Veteran Member • Posts: 9,585
Re: Adobe RGB or sRGB in Lightroom and in camera settings
  • Gpopi wrote:

Why does camera display show images more colorfully in sRGB colos space then AdobeRGB?

Because the subtle colors that exist outside of the limits of sRGB (the s stands for small) gamut are being “clipped” to those limits.

If you want a more accurate camera preview and histogram of the raw file choose Adobe RGB and set contrast to low.

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FingerPainter Senior Member • Posts: 6,994
Re: Adobe RGB or sRGB in Lightroom and in camera settings
1

Ellis Vener wrote:

  • Gpopi wrote:

Why does camera display show images more colorfully in sRGB colos space then AdobeRGB?

Because the subtle colors that exist outside of the limits of sRGB (the s stands for small) gamut are being “clipped” to those limits.

Actually, the 's' stands for 'standard'.

If you want a more accurate camera preview and histogram of the raw file choose Adobe RGB and set contrast to low.

What do you mean by accurate? Are you suggesting that Adobe RGB is inherently more accurate tha sRGB? I'm not sure that is the right way to look at colour spaces. Setting it to Adobe RGB will give you a more accurate display of how the data will look in the Adobe RGB colour space. Setting it to sRGB will give a display that more accurately reflects how the data look in the sRGB colour space.

I really don't think that how the preview looks on the back of the camera is the best reason to choose a colour space. How you choose to finally display your JPEGs is a much more reasonable criterion. And, as has been said by most in this thread, including the colour management professional, use Adobe RGB only if your workflow from capture to print consistently uses colour-managed workspaces and you know how to use colour management.

Fotoni Contributing Member • Posts: 502
If your phone has an AMOLED screen, choose AdobeRGB

I have noticed that colors look a bit better, if you use AMOLED photo mode and photos are set for AdobeRGB color space. AMOLED photo mode is not good for sRGB color space photos because they look then oversaturated, so use Basic mode for those.

When shooting RAW, colors pace doesn't matter.

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Ellis Vener
Ellis Vener Veteran Member • Posts: 9,585
Re: Adobe RGB or sRGB in Lightroom and in camera settings

FingerPainter wrote:

Ellis Vener wrote:

  • Gpopi wrote:

Why does camera display show images more colorfully in sRGB colos space then AdobeRGB?

Because the subtle colors that exist outside of the limits of sRGB (the s stands for small) gamut are being “clipped” to those limits.

Actually, the 's' stands for 'standard'.

Technically you are correct, but it is also the smallest of the commonly used RGB color spaces (all of which are synthetic constructs) and according to one of its creators, it was designed in the early 1990s to allow someone in a high bightness, high glare situation differentiate between closely related colors (like orange and red or orange and yellow) in a pie chart viewed on a low quality CRT. It was designed to be the lowest common denominator is computer graphics.

I

If you want a more accurate camera preview and histogram of the raw file choose Adobe RGB and set contrast to low.

“More accurate” in the sense that, if you are shooting raw files, not compressed JPEGS (the OP asked about shoot raw), because Adobe RGB (1998) is a larger color space there is more differentiation between very similar colors and also in the histogram’s bar graph of color brightness differences in the R, G, and B channels, you get an on camera depiction of the data that it is in the raw file.

What do you mean by accurate? Are you suggesting that Adobe RGB is inherently more accurate tha sRGB? I'm not sure that is the right way to look at colour spaces. Setting it to Adobe RGB will give you a more accurate display of how the data will look in the Adobe RGB colour space. Setting it to sRGB will give a display that more accurately reflects how the data look in the sRGB colour space.

Yes. And if you only ever intend to use sRGB JPEGs please: set your camera that way.

I really don't think that how the preview looks on the back of the camera is the best reason to choose a colour space. How you choose to finally display your JPEGs is a much more reasonable criterion.

Not all of us only work with or deliver sRGB JPEGS.

And, as has been said by most in this thread, including the colour management professional, use Adobe RGB only if your workflow from capture to print consistently uses colour-managed workspaces and you know how to use colour management.

Something which I do.

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bobkoure
bobkoure Senior Member • Posts: 1,487
Re: Adobe RGB or sRGB in Lightroom and in camera settings
1

Mark Scott Abeln wrote:

Raw data files have no color space, although the embedded JPEG will have one of those color spaces.

...and the histograms you are evaluating are from that embedded JPG.

I'm a RAW-only shooter as well, and leave the colorspace set to AdobeRGB because it is a wider colorspace, and I occasionally photograph flowers and I ETTR so I might blow out a single color - and I'd like to know if I do.

BTW, on my D600, in the review panel that shows R,G,B histograms, I can zoom in. The histograms change to reflect what's inside the zoom box. The D750 probably works this way, too.

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