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General photography questions and answers: Discuss ProPhoto RGB...Having just acquired LightRoom 2, I notice that the working colourspace defaulted to ProPhoto RGB. Up to now I have ...
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Old 25-04-2009, 10:59   #1 (permalink)
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ProPhoto RGB

Having just acquired LightRoom 2, I notice that the working colourspace defaulted to ProPhoto RGB. Up to now I have been working with Adobe RGB (1998) at 16 bits. I am trying to decide whether to continue with Adobe RGB or use ProPhoto RGB.

I have had a quick scour of the internet on this topic but would like to hear any personal experience of ProPhoto RGB from Pixalo members. I have noted that Bruce Fraser promoted using ProPhoto but also offered several warnings about generating non-visible colours. Although I have a printer with K3 inks, is there really any significant advantage if I use ProPhoto and what are the drawbacks noting I am already editing in 16 bits anyway.
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Old 25-04-2009, 12:01   #2 (permalink)
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Re: ProPhoto RGB

I am sure you know this but this is a bone of contention. 16 Bit means there are a lot of steps between the colours that can be displayed whereas the colour space expands the range. What is important is that Adobe RGB whilst bigger than SRGB does not have all the colours of SRGB. Prophoto is like SRGB and Adobe RGB combined together with a few extra colours. I come from the school that you keep as much information as possible and then throw out what you don't need, of course all of this is only for raw photos as with jpg the camera will have mapped to a colour space.

Others will argue that monitors can't display everything and printers can't print everything but for how long. My monitor already exceeds Adobe RGB by 123% and gets close to Prophoto as can my printer. A lot of the people that buy images use the same high end monitors for proofing but others insist on SRGB. Of course no one usually knows what they are missing as the monitor and the printer colour management map colours outside the range to the closest match.

However with photoshop you can use proofing for any colour space and hues outside the range show as grey. This is always a good indication. Try some pictures of flowers, grassland or autumn foliage on the various colour spaces and you may be surprised how much is missing.

Of course the down side is file sizes are bigger, third party software may not work in prophoto and you often need to down sample for the end user. During editing the wider the colour space and the more bits you work with the less destructive any corrections are.

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Old 25-04-2009, 12:31   #3 (permalink)
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Re: ProPhoto RGB

The "working colourspace" is not the same as the 'output colourspace".

Lightroom and several other editing apps use ProPhoto as their working colourspace so that all adjustments are carried out with the widest possible gamut range. This is an internal arrangement and is invisible to the user. You then choose the output colourspace which would normally be sRGB or Adobe RGB.

Adobe RGB and sRGB are surprisingly similar except in extreme cyans/greens and magentas where Adobe RGB has the edge. ProPhoto and other very wide gamut colourspaces are considerably different. There's little point in outputting to ProPhoto since it includes 'fairy tale' colours which cannot be displayed or printed.

16-bit TIFF is worthwhile if you need to carry out tonal or colour adjustments after conversion, to avoid blocking or posterisation. I can't tell any difference between 8-bit and 16-bit output on screen or in prints, and my preference is to do as much as possible on the RAW file so there's usually no need for second-stage processing.
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Old 25-04-2009, 13:46   #4 (permalink)
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Re: ProPhoto RGB

Quote:
Originally Posted by silkstone View Post
There's little point in outputting to ProPhoto since it includes 'fairy tale' colours which cannot be displayed or printed.
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See told yah Thanks for the balance but as I said I and others can display well over Adobe RGB and definitely print them as well.
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Old 26-04-2009, 13:02   #5 (permalink)
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Re: ProPhoto RGB

Thanks for comments so far. I am particularly interested in problems anyone has had with ProPhoto RGB. For example producing non-visible and non printable colours.

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