sRGB or Adobe RGB: which color space to set on the camera

color spaces


Although it certainly won’t be the first problem you’ll have to face when you pick up a camera, sooner or later you’ll have to decide which color space to set.

There are two possibilities: sRGB or Adobe RGB. You will find this option in the menu of your camera (if you don’t see it, consult the manual). 

If you have further doubts about the topic, before continuing with the reading, take a look at these previous articles, where I explain which image formats are the most used in photography and what a color space is.


The choice will depend on the image format you are using:


It doesn’t matter if you’re shooting in RAW.


In RAW, data is saved in the native color space of the camera sensor. Only later on through RAW processing software (such as Camera RAW, Lightroom, or Capture One), the data is interpreted by the program and once the file is converted to another format (Jpeg, Tiff, Psd. etc.), the chosen color space is assigned. Therefore, whether you choose sRGB or Adobe RGB is of “no relevance” here. 


It does matter when you’re shooting in JPEG. 


If you shoot in JPEG the choice of color space is relevant and depends on the final use of your photos: an Adobe RGB color space (larger) is recommended for printing, while an sRGB color space (smaller) is better for the web.


Assuming that the conversion from a smaller to a larger color space is not ideal (e.g. from sRGB to Adobe RGB), we can draw the following conclusions:


1. By choosing sRGB your JPEGs will be ready for the web, but not for printing. In this case, if you need to convert a smaller space to a larger one, you may get an unpleasant result;


2. If you choose Adobe RGB your images will be ready for printing, but not for the web. In this case, you will have to make a “Profile Conversion” with a photo retouching program like Photoshop;


3. My advice is always to shoot in RAW, a higher-quality format that contains more information, but needs post-production. If in any case, you prefer JPEG, keep in mind that the choice of color space, sRGB, and Adobe RGB, should be weighted according to the final use of the image.

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