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04-07-2009, 02:24 PM   #1
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Color space: AdobeRGB??

Most online photo and printing services seem to want jpegs in sRGB color space. For the longest time, I just set my K10D/K20D cameras to sRGB and forgot about the color space issue completely.

But I understand that AdobeRGB is technical superior to sRGB, and lately I've been wondering about a couple of things and I hope somebody can clarify these issues for me.

First, if I'm shooting raw (as I always do), does it make any difference at all what color space setting I have in the camera?

And second, if the answer to the first question is yes - it does make a difference - would there be anything wrong with shooting in AdobeRGB and then converting to sRGB when exporting from Lightroom?

Thanks in advance.

Will

04-07-2009, 03:01 PM   #2
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The answer to your first question is yes and no.

Yes your RAW file will contain the header information that states whether you chose sRGB or Adobe RGB but the actual image data is unaffected.

The answer to question two:

You have the option in Pentax Photo Lab to use the camera's RAW setting, sRGB or Adobe RGB as the conversion default. No need to use Lightroom unless you really want to.

I find Adobe Raw's colour renditions to be too inaccurate for Pentax cameras (even when using DNG) so I do all of my conversions in PPL. It's a much slower program, but produces far better images.
04-07-2009, 03:02 PM   #3
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Mind reading one of your talents?

I was pondering the same thing last evening.

Since you reminded me by creating this thread I just took some test shots of the rough cedar wall above the fireplace with my K20D and DA*50-135, tripod mounted and using the cable release. All at 1/15s, f/2.8, ISO140. I took 3 consecutive shots each in AdobeRGB and sRGB. I used DNG file format since it is uncompressed.

As you can see below, each shot is slightly different in size, but there is no appreciable difference between the sRGB and AdobeRGB.

Code:
04/07/2009  04:40 PM        24,161,261 _JDG7710.DNG
04/07/2009 04:40 PM 24,182,907 _JDG7711.DNG
04/07/2009 04:40 PM 24,153,070 _JDG7712.DNG
04/07/2009 04:40 PM 24,185,385 JDG07713.DNG
04/07/2009 04:40 PM 24,148,729 JDG07714.DNG
04/07/2009 04:40 PM 24,153,295 JDG07715.DNG
This leads me to believe that, unless "space" is allocated regardless, there isn't any difference when shooting RAW and the setting only really applies for in-camera JPEG just like the megapixel and quality settings.

From the specs: "Color depth - 8 bits/channel JPG, 12 bits/channel RAW"
04-07-2009, 03:04 PM   #4
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Hey Lazarus, I see you chimed in while I was still typing. Do you know what affect the color space header info has on programs like Lightroom? Does it actually affect what LR2 can/will do or is it only used when exporting/printing a given image from RAW to the JPG "print"?

Thanks

04-07-2009, 03:35 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by Venturi Quote
Mind reading one of your talents?

I was pondering the same thing last evening.

I'm hardly a mind reader! Much of the time I can't quite figure out what's in my own mind, let alone anybody else's.

This color-space question has been rolling around in the back of my so-called brain for a month or more, but it came to the front last night while I was reading Joe McNally's book on flash photography, The Hot Shoe Diaries. He mentions that he (a) always shoots raw and (b) always uses AdobeRGB. Since he's a smart guy and accomplished photographer, I stopped and scratched my head about his for a bit. I had been under the impression that, if you shoot raw, it makes not a whit of difference what color space the camera is set to. But as I reflected on it, I realized that I have no idea where I got that idea.

I found this blog post by Jeffrey Friedl that seems to jive with what Lazaruscomeout said:

Jeffrey Friedl’s Blog Blog Archive NEF, Color Space Settings, and Embedded JPGs

If you don't know who Jeffrey Friedl is, you probably aren't a programmer. :-)

Will
04-07-2009, 03:43 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by Lazaruscomeout Quote
The answer to your first question is yes and no.

Yes your RAW file will contain the header information that states whether you chose sRGB or Adobe RGB but the actual image data is unaffected.
By "actual image data," I take it you're referring to the raw capture data - NOT to the embedded jpeg. I would have suspected on my own that these settings do affect the embedded jpeg, and perhaps influence the initial preview of the file on the computer; but Jeffrey Friedl's post on the matter says so explicitly.

But I'm still wondering if it makes any real difference. I mean, the embedded jpeg may matter to what I see initially on my computer, but I would imagine that when I start editing the image in a program like Lightroom, I'm now working with the raw data.


QuoteQuote:
The answer to question two:

You have the option in Pentax Photo Lab to use the camera's RAW setting, sRGB or Adobe RGB as the conversion default. No need to use Lightroom unless you really want to.

I find Adobe Raw's colour renditions to be too inaccurate for Pentax cameras (even when using DNG) so I do all of my conversions in PPL. It's a much slower program, but produces far better images.
Well, I guess I do really want to use Lightroom. I'm used to it and my impression is that it's got more post-processing options overall than Pentax Photo Lab. Perhaps I'll reinstall PPL and give it one more look. Haven't had it on my computer for over a year. Thanks.

Will
04-07-2009, 03:52 PM   #7
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Venturi,

Lightroom uses the same basic engine as Adobe Raw, so you have complete contol over your colour space when you open up the RAW file. In Photoshop the options are on the bottom left of the screen. You can convert to any supported colour space without compromise.

Not to downplay the joys of using Adobe products (I love them) but if you have the time, try this experiment:

Take a picture in RAW and develop it in-camera. Then develop it in Pentax Photo Lab and then in Lightroom. Compare all three. I think you will find that Lightroom does not reproduce the colours as well as PPL. You should also find that the in-camera and PPL pictures look almost identical. Many people (far cleverer than I) have reported that Adobe does not have accurate Pentax profiles.

Gerry
04-07-2009, 04:01 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by WMBP Quote
By "actual image data," I take it you're referring to the raw capture data - NOT to the embedded jpeg. I would have suspected on my own that these settings do affect the embedded jpeg, and perhaps influence the initial preview of the file on the computer; but Jeffrey Friedl's post on the matter says so explicitly.

But I'm still wondering if it makes any real difference. I mean, the embedded jpeg may matter to what I see initially on my computer, but I would imagine that when I start editing the image in a program like Lightroom, I'm now working with the raw data.

Well, I guess I do really want to use Lightroom. I'm used to it and my impression is that it's got more post-processing options overall than Pentax Photo Lab. Perhaps I'll reinstall PPL and give it one more look. Haven't had it on my computer for over a year. Thanks.

Will
It is true that the JPEG preview will show up as sRGB or Adobe RGB depending on what you chose. Once you change the settings in Lightroom, the preview should reflect those changes though.

You will be working with the RAW data. Just change the colour space to whatever you want. Try using Adobe RGB for your own printing (correct printer setup is required) and sRGB for the lab.

There are definatly benefits to using Lightroom, but for basic RAW development I am convinced you will find that PPL gives better results.

Gerry

04-07-2009, 07:36 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by Lazaruscomeout Quote
Venturi,
Not to downplay the joys of using Adobe products (I love them) but if you have the time, try this experiment:

Take a picture in RAW and develop it in-camera. Then develop it in Pentax Photo Lab and then in Lightroom. Compare all three. I think you will find that Lightroom does not reproduce the colours as well as PPL. You should also find that the in-camera and PPL pictures look almost identical. Many people (far cleverer than I) have reported that Adobe does not have accurate Pentax profiles.
Hi Gerry,

I did notice this - PPL seemed to produce a broader range of hues than Lightroom in some of my more colorful shots. At the time, I attributed the anomaly to my tired eyes playing tricks on me. That's too bad - I like using LR otherwise.
04-07-2009, 10:57 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by WMBP Quote
If you don't know who Jeffrey Friedl is, you probably aren't a programmer. :-)
I must confess I had to look him up because I couldn't place the name though I knew the name. Regex is one of those things that for so very long caused me to run screaming. Well at least I don't run anymore...

QuoteOriginally posted by Lazaruscomeout Quote
You should also find that the in-camera and PPL pictures look almost identical. Many people (far cleverer than I) have reported that Adobe does not have accurate Pentax profiles.
Now, I would fully expect PPL and in-camera produced JPEGs to be identical, or at least very very close. PPL by default should be using all of the in-camera settings (contrast, saturation, WB, etc) and the RAW converter algorithms should be basically identical.
Lightroom doesn't apply any settings you may have tweaked in-camera though so in order to do a "valid" comparison you would have to flatline all of the camera's image settings. Also, what color profile setting are you using in Lightroom to compare its RAW conversion against the others? If you're going off "Adobe Standard" or "Camera Standard" then I would certainly agree they are a bit bland. The "Embedded" profile too is a tad on the flat side but appreciably better. I'm using ACR4.4 though and find its rendering far and away the closest to "reality" if you will.
04-08-2009, 01:12 AM   #11
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decent printers and monitors that came out in the last year or so can reproduce adobe RGB so id use it over srgb its superior. About time too its only a 10 yr old standard.
04-08-2009, 02:06 AM   #12
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You will hardly see the difference between sRGB and AdobeRGB on a computer screen, since the screen is not able to reproduce much more than sRGB. To actually see a difference, you'll need a good quality printer, and then you would see the difference only if your picture includes colors that sRGB can't reproduce, but can be reproduce by AdobeRGB.
04-08-2009, 06:38 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by flyer Quote
You will hardly see the difference between sRGB and AdobeRGB on a computer screen, since the screen is not able to reproduce much more than sRGB. To actually see a difference, you'll need a good quality printer, and then you would see the difference only if your picture includes colors that sRGB can't reproduce, but can be reproduce by AdobeRGB.
Can any of the TH panel monitors even produce the entire sRGB gamut?
I have a failry high end Lacie that is 95% of Adobe RGB, I couldn't justify the cost the ones that do better.

Lightrooms default colour space is Pro Photo, which is IIRC, the widest gamut colourspace.
Colour photographic paper fits very nicely inside the sRGB colourspace, and all printers will recognize that profile. Noritsu printers in particular don't like files in colourspaces other than sRGB, and will give less than ideal results with non sRGB files.
04-08-2009, 06:42 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by Wheatfield Quote
Can any of the TH panel monitors even produce the entire sRGB gamut?
I have a failry high end Lacie that is 95% of Adobe RGB, I couldn't justify the cost the ones that do better.

Lightrooms default colour space is Pro Photo, which is IIRC, the widest gamut colourspace.
Colour photographic paper fits very nicely inside the sRGB colourspace, and all printers will recognize that profile. Noritsu printers in particular don't like files in colourspaces other than sRGB, and will give less than ideal results with non sRGB files.
There's thje problem, most monitors and especially paper and printers cannot handle anything past sRGB anyway. You really do need to step upo your hardware and your entire workflow to justify using aRGB.
04-08-2009, 07:12 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by WMBP Quote
If you don't know who Jeffrey Friedl is, you probably aren't a programmer. :-)
Please excuse my little OT intervention, but I must say I was somewhat thrilled when I saw Tom Christiansen's and Jeffrey Friedls's names pop up in various photography forums I hang out in. Both names bring back fond memories of the time I was programming in Perl daily for my work.

I know Larry Wall is a photographer as well, but I've never "seen" him anywhere photo-related
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