If you are shopping for a new display, you may be confused as to some of the terminology regarding specifications. For instance, there is the notion of color space and sRGB vs Adobe RGB. The best gaming monitors include many robust color options, after all. Keep reading to learn about sRGB and Adobe RGB.

KEY TAKEAWAYS:

  • sRGB and Adobe RGB are pre-determined ranges of colors as used with computer monitors, digital cameras, and other gadgets.
  • sRGB is the standard when it comes to digital media since its inception in 1996, as it is more universally compatible than Adobe RGB.
  • Adobe RGB is a good choice for those working in analog media, such as non-digital photographers, thanks to an increase in the number of colors available.

Differences Between sRGB and Adobe RGB

The debate between sRGB and Adobe RGB has puzzled creative professionals for many years. Photographers, video editors, and game designers all have their unique preferences when it comes to color space. What’s a color space? The term refers to a pre-determined range of colors. Generally speaking, sRGB boasts fewer colors than Adobe RGB, as the latter is a newer color space. The differences are in line with when you compare limited RGB vs full RGB.

Here are some other key differences between the two color profiles and some preferred uses.

Insider Tip

Adobe RGB can represent around 35 percent more colors than standard RGB.

Web Media

sRGB, which stands for standard RGB, is the preferred choice for web-based media and has been since its inception in 1996. sRGB is built for maximum compatibility across multiple web tools and platforms, including Java, HTML, and more. In other words, if you are reading something online via your phone, it was likely programmed using sRGB instead of the newer Adobe color profile. Much like when comparing a video card vs a graphics card, Adobe’s RGB is preferred for certain creative instances while sRGB is used to create computer graphics and computer-based designs.

Monitor Compatibility

Many monitors can’t even display the full color spectrum as represented by the Adobe system, so photographers and other professionals will have to convert the colors from Adobe’s color gamut to sRGB. This leads to confusion regarding color accuracy, when the colors as seen when taking a photograph show up slightly different when rendered on a computer screen. An ultra-sharp image on your camera could, for instance, show up duller when looking at it on a monitor.

Printing

If you work in print media, such as newspapers and magazines, you likely rely exclusively on Adobe’s color wheel. Why? The additional colors really tend to improve the sharpness of actual physical images. Though it must be noted, the process of printing out an Adobe image is finicky, due to the increase in the range of colors.

F.A.Q.S

Can I edit Adobe RGB images on a standard monitor?

Sure, but you’ll have to convert the images using post-processing. The Adobe default color space features more colors than the RGB color space.


How many colors are there in Adobe RGB?

There are 16.7 million visible colors available in Adobe’s color system.


How do I properly convert to different color spaces?

The process will differ depending on what software you use, so check the manual for instructions on how to convert to a wider range of colors from the standard color space.



STAT: sRGB’s color gamut encompasses just 35% of the visible colors specified by CIE, whereas Adobe RGB (1998) encompasses slightly more than 50% of all visible colors. (source)

Lawrence Bonk

Lawrence Bonk is a copywriter with a decade of experience in the tech space, with columns appearing in Engadget, Huffington Post and CBS, among others. He has a cat named Cinnamon.

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