Topic Author
Posts: 2944
Joined: Tue Nov 16, 2004 1:17 am

Colour Space For Beginners

Tue Apr 11, 2006 1:28 am

Hi all.

I have a question about colour space, which I freely admit to knowing next to nothing about.

First - when I bought a book on PS it strongly suggested that I set up colour space using 'Adobe 1998', and that was confirmed in another book I looked at. No problems so far.

When I recently bought a 20D this gave me the option of choosing colour space on the camera settings, and the manual recommended sRGB. Whilst out chatting to a fellow A.netter yesterday I noted that he has his camera set on Adobe RGB. It struck me that there was a potential conflict here with my settings, although I have never had a problem with colour profiles whilst editing, or anything like that.

I have just done a couple of test shots of the same scenes, using the two different settings. I was quite struck by the differences. To a layperson like myself the key difference was that the sRGB images -displayed in my PS set to Adobe 1998 - were brighter and more 'alive', whereas the shots taken with Adobe RGB set in camera were noticeably subdued. The detailed histograms confirmed this difference, with notably different graphs for the 3 colour channels. I then altered the PS colour space setting to sRGB, but I have to say I could not spot any difference in the results described above - camera set sRGB still looked a lot more colourful, Adobe RGB much more subdued and flat. This left me thinking that I would stick with sRGB in the camera, and leave my PS settings unchanged, using Adobe 1998 as recommended.

I would be very interested to hear more from others more informed in all this about the differences, and also what settings colleagues use for their camera (if able to make a choice).

Thanks for your input.

Posts: 223
Joined: Fri May 27, 2005 3:31 am

RE: Colour Space For Beginners

Tue Apr 11, 2006 1:40 am

Hi Paul,
I tried changing the settings when I got my 350D. I set the camera to Adobe RGB and set Photoshop the same. I found that colours did not look "true" when viewing the images in a web browser. I to do not fully understand what the exact difference is but i didn't like the look of the images. I changed all settings back to sRGB and have been more than happy with the result. This probably hasn't answered your questions, but thought I would share my experience on the subject.

Posts: 1128
Joined: Sat Mar 03, 2001 1:18 am

RE: Colour Space For Beginners

Tue Apr 11, 2006 1:46 am

My (limited) understanding is that sRGB is tailered towards veiwing images on a monitor, whereas Adobe RGB is better for images that will be printed.

Flying is the second greatest thrill known to man... Landing is the first!
Posts: 672
Joined: Fri Dec 20, 2002 4:54 am

RE: Colour Space For Beginners

Tue Apr 11, 2006 1:59 am

Posts: 113
Joined: Wed Feb 16, 2005 4:31 am

RE: Colour Space For Beginners

Tue Apr 11, 2006 2:17 am

Hi Paul,

first of all congrats for the nice equipment you bought.

Adobe RGB is the larger color space of both and enables you to better contol tonal corrections for example. sRGB is a smaller color space and commonly used on devices that are not color managed.

When you shoot your pics in Adobe RGB and view them in PS or any other color managed program the result should be just fine. Once you view your Adobe RGB pics in programs which are not color managed the problems start: Flat looking, "grey" images will appear.

The reason for this is that most of the not color managed programs expect sRGB as used color space. Most of consumer digi cams only shoot in sRGB.
Also equipment like kodak picture print machines are setup for sRGB. Perhaps more important for uploading to ANet: most internet browser do NOT support color management and only expect sRGB, hence pictures in Adobe RGB will look flat !!

Lets return to your case:
If you shoot JPG normally sRGB would be the best color space for you to use.
Also setup your Adobe then to sRGB color space to avoid profile mismatches.
You can tick the option about color space mismatch warnings in the color setup dialog of PS to be informed about possible profile mismatches.

The things get interesting when shooting RAW. Then it doesn't matter what settings you apply on the camera since you can change all settings in the RAW convertor afterwards. Normally the Adobe RGB color space is used in the PS RAW convertor. For exporting to JPG you have to set sRGB and 8bit after the doctering your pics.

Just give it a try. Once you know what color spaces are about you can make the choice for yourself of how to setup your camera.

I currently use following workflow:

- shoot RAW
- apply 90% of the correction in the RAW convertor
- export to *.psd in 8bit Adobe RGB
- apply the remaining corrections in adjustment layers
- save the document in psd format with all layers included (approx. 25mb file size
- convert and save the file to 8bit, sRGB jpg when needed afterwards

I hope this helps

good luck,


Posts: 1295
Joined: Sat Oct 02, 2004 5:55 pm

RE: Colour Space For Beginners

Tue Apr 11, 2006 2:17 am

Thanks for the link EDDL, that is a perfect explanation that has saved me a lot of writing  Wink and made me learn a couple of new things.

Topic Author
Posts: 2944
Joined: Tue Nov 16, 2004 1:17 am

RE: Colour Space For Beginners

Tue Apr 11, 2006 7:06 am

Thanks very much, gentlemen, that's very informative.

All the best.

Posts: 1380
Joined: Mon Jan 03, 2005 12:21 am

RE: Colour Space For Beginners

Tue Apr 11, 2006 8:29 am

Hi Paul,

It's a real minefield. sRGB is primarily aimed at TV screen images I think, whilst Adobe RGB gives you a much wider range of shades.

The man to ask, who seems to be a bit of an authority on the subject is Sigurdur Benediktsson (Siggiben).


Obviously missing something....
Posts: 5551
Joined: Wed Feb 02, 2005 11:43 am

RE: Colour Space For Beginners

Tue Apr 11, 2006 10:04 am

Quoting EDDL (Reply 3):
Paul, have a look here:

Damn there is some good info on that site, I would suggest that anyone with more than a passing interest in this craft visit there and look at some of the archived Photo-Tips!!

Or here for some .. somewhat more technical writings


If your camera sends text messages, that could explain why your photos are rubbish!
Posts: 2953
Joined: Tue May 31, 2005 5:17 pm

RE: Colour Space For Beginners

Tue Apr 11, 2006 5:08 pm

Quoting Jhribar (Reply 4):
If you shoot JPG normally sRGB would be the best color space for you to use.

This is correct. It's what I do.

I don't bother with RAW - the incremental improvement is just not worth the extra hassle - and card space taken up.
Nikon D700, Nikkor 80-400, Fuji X Pro 1, Fujinon 35 f/1.4, Fujinon 18 f/2

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest

Popular Searches On

Top Photos of Last:   24 Hours  •  48 Hours  •  7 Days  •  30 Days  •  180 Days  •  365 Days  •  All Time

Military Aircraft Every type from fighters to helicopters from air forces around the globe

Classic Airliners Props and jets from the good old days

Flight Decks Views from inside the cockpit

Aircraft Cabins Passenger cabin shots showing seat arrangements as well as cargo aircraft interior

Cargo Aircraft Pictures of great freighter aircraft

Government Aircraft Aircraft flying government officials

Helicopters Our large helicopter section. Both military and civil versions

Blimps / Airships Everything from the Goodyear blimp to the Zeppelin

Night Photos Beautiful shots taken while the sun is below the horizon

Accidents Accident, incident and crash related photos

Air to Air Photos taken by airborne photographers of airborne aircraft

Special Paint Schemes Aircraft painted in beautiful and original liveries

Airport Overviews Airport overviews from the air or ground

Tails and Winglets Tail and Winglet closeups with beautiful airline logos