sRGB vs Adobe RGB – Comparison Guide

Color space is a concept nearly every photographer will encounter at least once. The moment you do this is usually when you are experimenting with your camera settings or setting up a new camera. The question is, which color should I use out of the two, sRGB vs RGB?

There is a lot of confusion about which to choose from these two color spaces, although they are the most commonly used in photography. What should be your default color space? Even though this strategy seems straightforward, it has both benefits and drawbacks.

This article aims to examine SRGB vs RGB in detail to help you decide which is right for you.

Let’s begin.

What is Adobe RGB?

There is no doubt that Adobe RGB colors are among the most popular color systems. Modern technology typically uses RGB colors, but RGB has been around since the 1800s. Vintage photographs and cathode ray tubes are examples of RGB color used in the earliest days. LCDs, plasma displays, and light-emitting diodes are some of the modern forms of technology that display RGB colors.

An angular cell or photoreceptor of the human eye is responsible for visual color perception. We perceive colors using the RGB color system because it activates different types of cone cells simultaneously to give us the colors we see.

Different colors can be understood by combining red, green, and blue light. Using red and green light as an example, yellow is the result of the combination, and blue and green appear as cyan. It appears mange when the red light is combined with the blue light, and white when the three lights are combined.

Colors in the RGB range are ideal for applications viewed on a computer screen, such as graphic design. The color channels are expressed as 0 (least saturated) to 255 (most saturated). Consequently, the RGB color space is capable of displaying 16,777,216 different colors.

Why should you use Adobe RGB?

Most popular applications currently support RGB, including Microsoft Office, Adobe Creative Suite, and many other editors. So, we can say RGB is a widely used color space, unlike others. 

Why shouldn’t you use Adobe RGB?

RGB color systems do not translate well to CMYK printing, which uses a CMYK color system. It leads to discoloration of documents printed from Microsoft Office as a result.

Additionally, LEDs are often used in different ways on different devices. Color dots will never appear permanently on smartphones, TVs, or monitors. The exact digital color can present some unique challenges to professionals, from special effects to graphic design or print design.

What is sRGB?

The sRGB color model is subsumed into the RGB color space. HP and Microsoft developed this color model in 1996 to replace the more familiar RGB model. The goal of this color space was to standardize the Internet and make it compatible with standard monitors.

SRGB is usually used for media and games that do not support HDR. The color space does not have a vast gamut, just a standard one. The SRGB mode should display color settings that are true to SRGB, which saves you the trouble of modifying them yourself.

It’s usually unnecessary to have a dedicated SRGB mode on most monitors because they already display SRGB colors anyway.

Occasionally, monitors can give the wrong color if the manufacturer only calibrates each unit rather than factory calibrating them. The mode is required only with monitors that display SRGB content with too much saturation. Also, when using the new monitors, such as the Samsung CFG70 with 125% SRGB, the SRGB contents are pleasantly overridden as these monitors are designed to display SRGB content accurately. If you want to work with it, you will need SRGB emulation.

You shouldn’t use different methods at the same time. The best monitors have a standard “user” mode and a color calibration tool to provide the most accurate color settings. A custom ICC profile will require 100% accuracy on your monitor. Still, you can find an overview of your monitor’s capabilities and select the settings that will give you enough accuracy. Other modes, such as SRGB mode, are usually far from accurate.

sRGB vs Adobe RGB: Differences

Our technological innovations, mainly digital imaging, can produce every color possible through red, green, and blue. You might imagine three colored lights (red, green, and blue) on a white wall if you think of it analogously. Your skin will turn white if all lights are on simultaneously. Shining green and red together will produce a yellow wall. Other colors can be created by mixing different colors. Additionally, many other colors result if one dims or intensifies the ray of color. Dimming the green in a red-green combination, for example, will result in an orange wall.

Color occurs when three different colors are combined with their corresponding intensities. It is referred to as a gamut.

Light and colors are perceived by people the same way, but RGB does not correspond to the color space. HDTV and computer displays use color space primarily for display purposes in the digital and high-definition camera sector. The most popular of these is sRGB, which has been used a lot over the past decade. For user applications, sRGB is considered the advanced color space. A standard RGB color space called sRGB was developed by HP (Hewlett Packard) and Microsoft in the mid-1990s.

Due to sRGB’s limitations, Adobe RGB outperforms it decisively. Adobe has created an entirely new color space called Adobe Wide gamut RGB, which offers even more color options. Highly saturated colors are considered necessary in some industries, so this approach eliminates the problem. Although primarily used in graphic design, Adobe RGB color space is compatible with mid-range cameras.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

In what ways are RGB and SRGB different?

As for the number of colors they include, SRGB has a lower limit than Adobe RGB. sRGB is 35% broader than Adobe RGB. But the color space preferred by professional printers is also varied.

How should I choose a color space?

The best color space, for the time being, is sRGB. The photographer wants to see and appreciate their work as intended. Whether you use sRGB or Adobe RGB, only the former can protect your vision, while sRGB makes it possible to make the most significant number of great photos.

Which RGB profile is best?

RGB has the highest level of security and convenience. It is the default setting for most cameras. Keep your online images in sRGB, especially if you are sharing directly. On the other hand, the range of colors available to you with Adobe RGB is broader.

How are CMYK and sRGB different?

While RGB ranges between 0 and 255, CMYK values range from 0 to 100 percent. RGB’s gamut is more comprehensive than that of CMYK. CMYK cannot reproduce colors in RGB models. As the ink does not emit light, it is not possible to reproduce every color on the screen in printed ink.


It would be good to see what colors your image uses and whether RGB can enhance it. Do you want brighter orange-magenta highlights or more cyan-green shades? What will the final print look like with these colors? Will the differences be visible in the final print? You will be better represented with sRGB if any of these questions are answered negatively.

As sRGB allocates more bits for encoding the colors in your image, it will make the most of your bit depth. The use of sRGB can also simplify your workflow since images on the web are displayed using this color space.

Is there a way to make our workflow faster if we don’t want to choose our workplaces on a case-by-case basis? If you usually work with 16 bit images, you may want to use Adobe RGB 1998; if you usually work with 16 bit images, you might want to consider Adobe RGB 2008. Even if you can’t use extra colors all the time, you shouldn’t discard them.

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