Colour Space

Most DSLRs and many high end compacts have an option to switch color space between sRGB and Adobe RGB. By default cameras are generally set to sRGB. But what’s the difference?

Basically Adobe RGB contains more colors than sRGB. The amount of data in the image stays the same but the colors are represented differently by the monitor or printer reproducing the image. If an Adobe RGB image is displayed on sRGB monitor the colors are made to fit. This makes bright colours look less saturated. However when using a monitor with compatible Adobe RGB colour spaces the image will display more accurate colour levels.

When shooting RAW the cameras colour space setting doesn’t effect the image, it’s only a concern with JPEGs. A RAW image will allow the colour space to be selected during post processing. Many image editors such as Photoshop and Lightroom can easily convert between the two during image export. The JPEG however will use the cameras selected colour space as part of the image capture process and cannot be changed afterwards.

Most printers and monitors use sRBG images so its usually best to sick to this colour space. However if producing images for clients it’s worth checking if they have a preference.