Reader Yannick asks:
My friend and I have a lot of conversation about cameras and there’s something I wanted to bring up. He said you’d be the perfect person to answer this question. My friend shoots using adobe RBG colour space and I was telling him how sRBG has a slight advantage cause it’s the most commonly used settings and I believe you require some programs to make full use of adobe RBG. I’m not sure if I’m making any sense. But some clarification from your part would be greatly appreciated.
OK, thanks for the trust. Here’s my take on this important question.
If you shoot JPG, you need to decide what colour space to use: you set it in the camera.
- The good: AdobeRGB is best for high-end print publications, while sRGB looks best on low- and medium-end printers and especially on computer screens.
- The downsides: sRGB has fewer colours; Adobe looks very dull on computers.
So you decide based on your purpose. What is the colour space of the device or publication you are making the pictures for.
If you do not know, then my recommendation is: shoot sRBG for general purpose use. That way your pictures look great on computers, in emails and on web sites, and printed at home. The very slight loss of colour space is not a problem there. Shooting in AdobeRGB and getting horrible flat colour on web browsers etc that do not handle that colour space well is much worse.
But the best thing to do by far is to shoot in RAW. That way you need only decide later, on your computer, when you produce your JPG. Until that time you keep all colours – and freedom.
So if I view the RAW file in my converter/editor program, it doesn’t matter which colour space I selected in camera as long as the jpg I create has a colour space compatible with the viewing/printing software?
My practice has been to shoot RAW, but with Adobe RGB set in camera. When I export a jpg, I have a batch step to convert to sRGB as part of the jpg file creation. I was always trying to maximize the colour options during the editing process. It sounds like I could eliminate the colour space steps and be as far ahead.
Yes, you are absolutely right. Your choice in camera means nothing. RAW has all colours; it is only when you convert to JPG that the choice needs to be made.