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Thursday, 10 January 2008


Hey that's real nice Mike.....I think a nice natural wood frame and a fair amount of space around the image would suit it.


Did one of those recent tornados blow your dock away?

No other comment because it's a sunset diptych. One at a time please, it's all I can take. Actually, a grid of about 100 of them would make me much happier.

We had rain pounding through the window mullions.

Hey Mike,
Very nice shots. I've had the same issue when converting from raw to jpg. I haven't tested this yet, but was reading about colorspace and according to KenRockwell.com http://www.kenrockwell.com/tech/adobe-rgb.htm. Back when I got my camera, I read all the buff about switching to adobe and did. I've been terribly disappointed with the converted files and wonder if that had anything to do with it. Colors were washed out and flat. I've just switched back to sRGB but haven't had an opportunity to test it. (Trying to learn high speed flash sync at the moment)

Does any of that sound familiar or am I just barking mad? Anywho, love your blog.

John St. Germain,
Try LightZone. The RAW conversions are usually superior to Adobe's.

Mike J.

One ought to use the color space appropriate for the output device. If you convert to Adobe RGB and view it on say, a web browser that assumes everything is sRGB, then colours will be washed out because the Adobe RGB profile is ignored.

Getting the color just right from RAW to sRGB is something I have only been able to do with my eye and a study of output color percentages. I have not found a piece of software that has been able to just give me the output I want.

I adjust the RAW very carefully to ensure my exposure is correct, the white balance is correct and I make most of my changes there. Once I am in PhotoShop I only make very subtle changes.

I also have to edit each image once for print and once for the web.

Mike - these images are so full of subtle colors and transitions that it would be a fun challenge to get them just right.

Hi Mike,
I used to have lots of problems getting images ready for the web, and noticed some big colour shifts when converting to sRGB. Using Photoshop's 'Save for Web' command produced some really flat, nasty results. The best way to minimise the damage, I found, is to use the "convert to profile' command, with the intent set to perceptual. Then save as a normal jpeg and slap it up on the web. Does this change things for you?

I don't know if this would be of any help, but I find this Photoshop workflow helpful when posting files to teh interwebs. First, click Edit > Convert to Profile. Then choose sRGB as the destination space. Then save as desired. In theory, the picture shouldn't look any different after converting, and it also should stay the same when viewed on the web. You mileage, as they say, may vary.

Oh, and they are very pleasing images indeed. I wish I had that much sky to look at around here.

Dear John,

Ken is correct that if you display an Adobe-RGB image on a sRGB device (such as your Web browser) you're going to lose saturation and color gamut because of the way the color space has been compressed. As other folks here have pointed out, doing a color-base conversion before you save the file will solve that problem.

I have found that in general when I want to display an Adobe-RGB image, just kicking up the saturation by 20 points in Photoshop before I save it as a JPEG does a good enough job. It's not like I'm looking for precision color rendition in sRGB situations. This seems to be an adequate match.

I don't think I agree with Ken about an Adobe-RGB image producing no wider range of colors when printed out on a high-end printer, but I admit to not having run any controlled experiments. It's just a feeling on my part. It might also be very subject dependent.

pax / Ctein
[[ Please excuse any word-salad. ViaVoice in training! ]]
-- Ctein's Online Gallery http://www.ctein.com
-- Digital Restorations http://photo-repair.com

I would really be appreciative if someone were willing to put up a "real world" photograph in AdobeRGB and sRGB that we could all print out and see the differences. I keep trying with my own pictures and can't see a revolutionary difference (is it that my Epson 2200 can't really reproduce the AdobeRGB colorspace?).

OK, Ctein, here is a pair of pictures. This may not be a good test, because the colors are not excessively saturated and there's basically no blue. But most real-world pictures don't push the color ranges to their limits, either.

I haven't printed both versions yet.


I've made them both jpegs to keep the size smaller for downloaded, but they are both full-rez pictures at the highest jpeg quality.

Here is the processing history -

Taken with a Minolta A2 in bright sunshine on a fall day. Original was in RAW, processed by Capture 1 LE into Adobe RGB, adjusted a little in Photoshop Elements 3. Sharpened mildly with Qimage.

Converted to jpg in both color profiles using QImage.

I will try to get to printing the two versions side by side tomorrow to see if I can see any difference on my Epson 2200 printer.

From past experience, editing and printing jpeg compared with 16-bit tiff files, I have found that it is very idiosyncratic to the specific picture whether there's a difference that I can see. Sometimes yes, sometimes no. So I would expect the same for printing with the different profiles. But I've only done one small series of tests for that so far, and not with this image.

Regarding the Web display of Tom Passim's images, I'd like to point out that using Safari (Apple's Web browser) there's absolutely no difference between the appearance of the two images. This is because Safari is perhaps the only browser currently to support colour space. Firefox, which displays everything as if it were sRGB, shows the Adobe RGB image as much less saturated.

This is why it's useful to convert to sRGB before posting images to the web: most Web browsers will assume you have done so and display the images as such.

Dear Tom,

It was Jeff who requested photos, not I. But I don't think yours are a good test. sRGB is a subset if AdobeRGB. A single test photo needs to encompass a very wide range of color and luminance values if you're going to see any differences. Otherwise all the colors in the test print will fit in both spaces and you can't figure out if it's ever gonna matter.

Mebbe I'll play with this a bit and see if I can come up with some good test cases.

pax / Ctein

Dear Folks,

OK, I've uploaded some test photos to my web site. Click on the links below and you'll load some LARGE jpeg files in both AdobeRGB and sRGB versions. Copy them to your hard drive and you can use them to see whether your printer can render more than the sRGB color space.

(Please understand that I am only providing these for testing your own, personal printer. You can't convey the files, nor prints made from them, to anyone else. No exceptions.)


Note-- the URL's are case-and-punctuation-sensitive, so if they don't load for you, double check your data entry.

For what it's worth, my Epson R2400 prints of these files look clearly different. Blues and greens are notably better and more saturated in the Adobe prints. Improvements in magentas and reds are much less obvious, although they're present. The R2400 can't render all of AdobeRGB space, but it renders a lot more than sRGB.

This would seem to shoot down Ken's argument against using AdobeRGB, which was that it's more trouble (true) and of no benefit (false).

It's quite possible some printers will show you no differences. If all three pairs of photos look the same on your printer, then which color space you use will not matter to you... until the day you buy a better printer.

I'll stick with using AdobeRGB over sRGB.


pax / Ctein

Dear Ctein,

"It was Jeff who requested photos, not I." - Oops, yes, I see I got out of sync on the posters' names.

"But I don't think yours are a good test. sRGB is a subset if AdobeRGB. A single test photo needs to encompass a very wide range of color and luminance values if you're going to see any differences." - Yes, I agree, but Jeff asked for "real world" pictures, many of which don't have such extremes, so I tried to oblige.

With my Epson 2200, I seem to have the most problems with purple and violet shades. I have one picture of strongly purple beans that doesn't even come close when printed, though it looks pretty good on the screen. This seems to fit in with what I've seem on-line about the color spaces Epsons can print.

Most sky shades seem to come pretty close, though (if I've been able to avoid over-exposing them them).

Dear Tom,

Heheh; I've made that "who-wrote-what" mistake.

There's a bunch of different questions involved here. The first is whether Adobe RGB is even necessary to encompass all the colors in some photographs. The answer to that is simply "yes. " It's also true that many photographs don't have a wider range of colors than sRGB, so one must pick one's test cases carefully. You can't determine anything about the utility of AdobeRGB or whether your output devices can make use of Adobe RGB by only looking at an sRGB photo. That's why your photo failed to provide a good test.

(an aside: does anyone here know of a free or cheap piece of software that will analyze a digital file and plot out the range of colors that are in it, so one can compare it directly with the Adobe and sRGB color space limits?)

Ken's argument against Adobe RGB is based on the assertion that which color space you use has no effect on the print quality, when you have a photograph that includes more than sRGB colors. That may very well be true for his printer; I just determined that it's not true for mine. I would guess that most good displays and printers can render more than the sRGB color space. Although only a few very expensive ones can render all of Adobe RGB.

Which gets to the next point. Your printer and your monitor both render some subset of Adobe RGB that is (probably) larger than sRGB, but they don't render the same subset. The CMYK and RGB color spaces aren't coincident. There are colors your monitor can display that you won't see in your prints (and vice versa). That's why the Photoshop "preview with profile" and "show out of gamut colors" views are so very useful. They alert you to where the trouble spots will be.

When making my comparison photos for this thread, I observed that I could very clearly see differences in the reds and magentas between the photographs on my monitor and could somewhat see differences in the greens, but nothing looked different in the blues and violets. When I printed them out on my Epson R2400 the differences in the blues and greens were most striking and there was only the slightest visual difference in the magentas and reds. Like I said, not-coincident color spaces.

My biggest problem with the 2200 was the way it rendered dark green foliage. Everything went to a dull, muddy olive color, no matter what the precise hue was in the original photograph. It was a real sour spot in the printer's color rendition. A custom color profile helped matters considerably, but it was still something of an aggravation for a landscape photographer like me.

pax / Ctein
[[ Please excuse any word-salad. ViaVoice in training! ]]
-- Ctein's Online Gallery http://www.ctein.com
-- Digital Restorations http://photo-repair.com

Sorry I disappeared (I'm in the middle of a bathroom remodel).

Thank you guys very much for these examples and the subsequent discussion.

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