Choose a Color Space for the Nikon D3300

By Julie Adair King

By default, your Nikon D3300 captures images using the sRGB color space, which refers to an industry-standard spectrum of colors. (The s is for standard, and the RGB is for red, green, blue, which are the primary colors in the digital color world.)

This color space was created to help ensure color consistency as an image moves from camera (or scanner) to monitor and printer; the idea was to create a spectrum of colors that all devices can reproduce.

Because sRGB excludes some colors that can be reproduced in print and onscreen, at least by some devices, your camera also enables you to shoot in the Adobe RGB color space, which contains a larger spectrum of colors. This figure offers an illustration that indicates the differences in the two color spaces; notice that neither can capture all the colors that the human eye can see.

The Adobe RGB color space incorporates more colors than sRGB.
The Adobe RGB color space incorporates more colors than sRGB.

Although using a larger color spectrum sounds like a no-brainer, choosing Adobe RGB isn’t necessarily the right choice. Consider these factors when making your decision:

  • Some colors in the Adobe RGB spectrum can’t be reproduced in print; the printer substitutes the closest printable color, if necessary.

  • If you print and share your photos without making any adjustments in your photo editor, sRGB is a better choice because most printers and web browsers are designed around that color space.

  • Finally, to retain the original Adobe RGB colors when you work with your photos, your editing software must support that color space — not all programs do. You also must be willing to study the topic of digital color a little because you need to use specific software and printing settings to avoid mucking up the color works.

To experiment with Adobe RGB, open the Shooting menu and change the Color Space option from sRGB to Adobe RGB, as shown in this figure.

Select the color space through this Shooting menu option.
Select the color space through this Shooting menu option.

One final tip with regard to this option: The picture filename indicates which color space you used. Filenames of Adobe RGB images start with an underscore, as in _DSC0627.jpg. For pictures captured in sRGB, the underscore appears in the middle of the filename, as in DSC_0627.jpg.