When browsing the settings on your DSLR, you may have come across the color profile settings in your camera's menu, and you will have noticed the AdobeRGB and the sRGB settings.
In this post, we will talk about what these profiles are, and their advantages/disadvantages so that you can make an informed decision on which color profile is best for you.
WHAT ARE THE sRGB AND ADOBE RGB COLOR PROFILES?
This is a standard color space that was created by Microsoft and HP in the 1990's for monitors and internet browsers. Since it was created before AdobeRGB, and because it was created by electronics manufacturers, it has become the standard color space for electronic devices.
Created by Adobe in the late 1990's, this profile is widely used among photographers, graphic designers and print labs. It contains an extremely broad range of colors, many of which cannot be displayed on certain screens, in internet browsers, or rendered by a printer.
WHICH ONE SHOULD YOU USE?
There are people who will swear by Adobe RGB, and there are people who will swear by sRGB, and I personally believe that, like so many things in the photography world, the color profile you use comes down to a) the type of work you do b) the equipment you have on hand and c) personal preference.
So, with that in mind, let's talk about the pros and cons for each color profile.
This color profile will provide you with the maximum range of colors, so if you are a perfectionist who is focused on color critical work, this color profile will be of use to you. It will also provide you with more vibrant color. What's not to love about that?
AdobeRGB can also be converted to sRGB for ease-of-use in file handling.
The main issue with AdobeRGB is the same thing that makes it so useful - its broad range of colors! Since AdobeRGB represents so many millions of colors, a vast number of the colors cannot be rendered on the average screen, in your web browser, and even on a printer.
Since AdobeRGB cannot be displayed in a web browser, if you are sharing your images online, you will need to convert them to sRGB to be rendered properly, which adds an extra step in your editing process.
The main advantage of sRGB is that what you see is what you get. If you shoot, edit, print and share online in sRGB, you aren't going to run into any huge color surprises. You also will not need to convert your files before sharing online, because they will already be in the standard, readable format for web browsers.
The tradeoff here is that you won't have the broad range of colors provided by AdobeRGB, and you may also find that your colors don't have quite the same amount of "oomph" as they do in AdobeRGB.
Also, you will not be able to convert this profile to AdobeRGB.
My hope is that this tutorial has at least clarified some of the differences between AdobeRGB and sRGB.
Like so many things in photography, being flexible in your decision on which one to use is often the best practice. If you are sure that your monitor and printer have AdobeRGB capabilities, by all means edit and print in AdobeRGB! If, however, you are unsure, or you simply do not find yourself printing your images that often and you mostly upload your files online, then sRGB is probably the way to go in your situation.
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