Adobe or sRGB? You may have wondered how to set up your camera in this regard. Look through its menus and the choice of colour space will come  up.

This question means “how shall I translate the colours to bits when making a JPG file”.

So what determines your choice?

  • AdobeRGB has more colours but can look very bad on a PC, on the web, or when printed on a cheap printer.
  • sRGB has fewer colours but is optimised to look good on  a computer screen, cheap printer, etc.
  • See above: “…when making a JPG file”.  It is only important when you are shooting JPG.

So the answer is:

  • When shooting JPG, use sRGB
  • Only change to AdobeRGB if the publication you are shooting for says you should use that colour space.
  • When shooting RAW the choice is irrelevant (so set it to sRGB too).

Simple. Like so many things.

And this also represents one of the many advantages of shooting RAW: not ahving to worry about such things as colour space, as they are set later, when the JPG is generated.

AdobeRGB or sRGB?

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.